The popular social media and communication app SnapChat last year released a facility within the app that allows users to forward and receive money with the tap of a button.
This new functionality is called ‘SnapCash’
Many other companies provide online facilities to transfer money however this one specifically works within the SnapChat app which is enormously popular with children and teenagers. This app, like many others of its type, has no moderation, monitoring or identity verification. Not a sound environment to be dealing with money back and forth. It’s a program designed for social networking, not finance.
How it works is that a user in snap chat can add DEBIT (Not Credit) card details to their account and with a swipe and tap, money can be sent to another user. It’s as easy as that. A lot of teens currently use Debit Cards.
Security in the program is limited. In a recent case 4.6 million users in SnapChat had their personal account information hacked and made available to the public online.
Another concern which has alarmed groups in the united states is it is the perfect environment for online child sex offenders to pay children in exchange for images, video or webcam depicting naked or compromising material relating to that child. The possibilities in this regard are endless for predators. It is a classic predatory methodology to obtain material from a potential victim to be used to threaten or extort that child.
Some considerations for parents and carers:
- As with all similar apps and programs they are not there for us or our children, they are there for themselves and exist to make money
- Online banking facilities and companies such as Paypal are designed to deal with money transfers and they are generally good at doing that. SnapChat is not.
- Another entity now has our or our children’s debit card information amongst other personal particulars
Advice to parents:
- Do not allow children or teenagers to send or receive money via SnapCash
- If our children appear to be obtaining unusual or out of the ordinary sums of money check bank accounts and talk to our kids. It may or may not be attributed to online activity but should never be discounted
- Read up about SnapChat and SnapCash to be prepared
- We and our children do not need this program or it’s offerings to handle our finances.
What some young twitter users think of it:
At this stage it is only available to those in the United States, however, it is financially rewarding to the company to make the natural progression to Australia and New Zealand is inevitable.