We’ve previously written about the rise of the super app
. Or at least the ambition of super apps based on the popularity of these apps in Asia, where Alipay, WeChat, and Paytm have combined everything from payments to food delivery and travel booking. There have been a lot of actors implying that they are going in this direction this week:
While Revolut is leaning toward communication, Twitter seems to be leaning toward Fintech as we speculated in our last issue
. According to the Verge
, Elon Musk brought up the idea of making Twitter a platform for payments in a meeting with the entire staff of Twitter late last week. He said that he sees a “transformative opportunity” in the space:
“Payments really are just the exchange of information,” he said.
“From an information standpoint [there’s] not a huge difference between, say, just sending a direct message and sending a payment. They are basically the same thing.”
– Elon Musk
There may not be a large difference when it comes to zeros and ones when sending a message and sending money, but there is arguably a pretty big difference when it comes to regulatory complexity.
Two weeks ago they also launched a new payment offer
for physical stores in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Germany. Users of the Klarna app scan or show a QR code when they are out shopping in town. From the app, they can choose how they want to pay (of course there is a 30-day BNPL solution ++).
One app to rule them all?
No question that becoming the “operating system” for people’s communication, payment and banking services is an attractive place to be for a company. But is this something that users actually want?
The goal of these super apps isn’t necessarily to be a convenient one-stop shop for users but to keep users locked into their service and away from rivals.
In practice, these platforms are often so complex that it’s hard for users actually to figure out how to use them. In my opinion, a super app seems more like a solution in search of a problem rather than the future of apps.