More of us are using emojis to demand cash. But is this good for us?
There’s cash in emojis.
This week, DailyPay, an app that fronts people up to $100 of their paychecks before payday rolls around, has launched a new “Emoji Pay” feature. It’s exactly what it sounds like: You can text the company an emoji — anything from a house to a bag of money — and get $20 in your bank account instantly.
And DailyPay is just the latest firm to let people ask for money via emoji. On both Venmo and Apple Pay, users often send emojis to accompany requests for money, instead of writing a message.
Jason Lee, DailyPay’s CEO, tells Moneyish that the new emoji feature aims to “reduce the stigma that comes with asking for money, especially when that money is being used to pay bills, make rent, and avoid late fees.” And, he adds, an emoji “really breaks it down into a simple and straightforward transaction” as well as something that makes managing money “fun.” (Daily Pay makes its money by charging users $1.25 for each transaction).
He may have a point. We’re awkward with each other over money. Indeed, one survey found people are more uncomfortable talking about our finances than we are about sex. “Money is one of the things that defines power in the world,” says Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent. Because of this, she says, the act of asking for money gets “smeared into or mixed up in how one feels about themselves, and whether they truly are valuable as a human being.”
Additionally, most people are terrified of rejection in most aspects of their lives, and they don’t face that possibility as much with emoji, Walfish says: “It’s a hell of a lot easier to risk it nonverbally with an emoji than to pick up the phone or ask face-to-face, and take the chance of having the door slammed.”
But do we need this? Some experts say it could be helpful, especially for those who might just go without the cash because they’re too ashamed to ask. “The person doesn’t need to worry about what to say or how to explain this need for money,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “The emoji does it all.”
That said, be careful not to lean on fun emojis to mask serious problems. “If you find yourself struggling with emotions surrounding money and asking for money…this is something for you to explore and resolve,” Lombardo advises. Walfish suggests taking time to discuss the issue with your partner, parents, roommate, or anyone else who you’re in a position to loan to or borrow from. You can use this helpful guide to start the conversation
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