Dig Baton Rouge

(Snap)Cashing In

By Leonela Guzman

Send me nudes. The request predates social media and withstands the test of time, and Snapchat is nearly synonymous with nude-swaps. With the recent introduction of SnapCash, imaginations are running wild.

Earlier this month Snapchat revealed a partnership with mobile payment kingpin Square, Inc. Launched in October 2013, Square Cash software was unveiled to permit person-to-person money transfers via email. When applied to Snapchat, users 18 and above record a debit card, swipe into an existing chat, type a dollar sign ($) followed by the amount, and cash is transferred directly into a friend’s bank account similar to its email counterpart. Naturally, SnapCash transactions are password-protected in the case of theft.

The ease of transfer paired with an app renowned for upping the sexting game means business – literally. Snapchat sugar daddies, mamas, and babies are set to take advantage of a pay-per-view system with set prices depending on length and actions taken. Gone are the days where teasers went unaccounted; SnapCash is providing SBs a method of invoice. SnapCash provides the tools for the hormonally-charged, the exhibitionists, the opportunists, and the sexually confident to make a profit in exchange for a timed snapshot of their bodies.

But it’s not all about sex for SnapCash. The practical uses that make competitors such as Venmo popular translate to the photo messaging app. Lunch tabs split among friends are paid back within seconds, roommates collect rent, and tuition is paid as evidenced by a recent Yik Yak boasting. (Parents on Snapchat?) As of late, viral campaigns across Tumblr and Twitter have even Ferguson protesters receiving funds in support as usernames are shared and stories verified.

However, there are limits to the maximum amount allowed transferred on a weekly and monthly basis; restrictions range from $250 per week to $1,000 per month. Limits are lifted only through identity verification inclusive of a user’s full name, date of birth, and social security number. Up until now, Snapchat championed the ability to create an account unassociated with a full name. Yet, an updated privacy policy details the ability to acquire names, locations, photos, and web browsing history from linked accounts regardless. As users are asked for more personal information, new concerns arise over the security of the app.

Snapchat caters to social needs and sexual desires in an instant, yet the “burn after reading” hype has suffered the consequences of multiple “hacks” within recent months. According to the New York Daily News about 200,000 Snapchat accounts were compromised back in October in what was deemed “The Snappening.” Although it was only the year before in which SnapchatDB.info exposed a security breach collecting over 4.6 million usernames and associated phone numbers made available for download. SnapchatDB clarified their intentions as a necessary measure in order to raise public awareness on the recklessness with which internet companies handle user information and to pressure security and privacy concerns into a position of top priority.

For the time being, Snapchat is making an effort to let users know transactions will be handled by Square, Inc., a reputable company in security, and new users are steadily increasing regardless of vulnerabilities. If a user is inclined to hand over the details, SnapCash may prove to be a convenient solution to another detail of a daily routine. As with most technological advances over the last decade, the long-term costs remain to be seen.


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