What is Venmo and how does it work?
Venmo is a payments app allowing you to instantly send and receive money. You can send money from your debit card, credit card, bank account, or your Venmo balance. When you receive money, it adds to your Venmo balance. You can keep it there or transfer it to your bank account. Venmo also lets you split bills and other expenses with multiple people. You and your roommate could use Venmo to pay your internet bill, for instance, or you and a few friends could use it to split the check at a restaurant.
One of the most unusual parts of Venmo is that it adds social media elements to money transfers. Venmo users can add each other as friends. There’s a feed that shows payments between users, and on each payment, you can include a note, emojis, or animated stickers. Venmo also offers privacy settings. If you don’t want your payments to be seen by everyone, you can make them visible to only your friends or to just you and the recipient.
Quick and convenient payments
Ease of use is a big part of Venmo’s popularity. There’s hardly any learning curve. You can download it and start sending or receiving money in minutes. Venmo also simplifies splitting expenses — it offers an on-screen calculator when you send or request money. And if you’re splitting a bill with a group, you can send or request the same amount from all of them at once.
When you withdraw money from your Venmo balance, it can take a few business days (usually one to three) to transfer money to your bank account. If you need money faster, Venmo offers instant transfers for a 1% fee, with a minimum of $0.25 and a maximum of $10.
Venmo doesn’t have regular fees, like monthly or annual fees. There’s no fee to send money from a bank account, debit card, or your Venmo balance. Credit card payments have a 3% fee, which is standard among payment apps. There’s also no fee to receive money or transfer it to your bank account unless you opt for an instant transfer instead of a standard transfer.
Can pay for purchases at select businesses
Venmo is a checkout option with several apps and websites, including Uber, GrubHub, Hulu, Poshmark, and Foot Locker, among others. If you’re shopping at a business that accepts Venmo payments, the app can help you zoom through the checkout process.
Offers a debit card and a credit card
Frequent Venmo users may be interested in one of its payment cards. The Venmo Debit Card is tied to your Venmo balance. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, and it has cash-back offers with some stores.
The Venmo Credit Card is a no-annual-fee rewards card. It separates your purchases into spending categories. Every month, you earn 3% cash back on your top category, 2% back on your next biggest spending category, and 1% back on everything else. It’s a solid credit card, but check out the best rewards credit cards before applying — there might be a more valuable option available for your spending habits.
Adds a social element to payments
The hook with Venmo is that it isn’t your typical payments app. It’s a payments app that includes popular features from social networks, including likes, comments, and messages attached to each payment. Some users don’t care about this, but others find that it makes money transfers more fun.
What could be improved
Payments are public by default
The privacy settings on Venmo aren’t ideal. By default, your payments are public — any Venmo user can see them. They don’t include the amounts, but they do have your username, the username of the other person (sender/recipient), and the message.
You can change your privacy settings for individual payments or all your payments so that they’re only visible to you and the recipient or your Venmo friends. Still, it would be better if the most-private option was the default. Some consumers use the app without even realizing that their payments are public. That’s frustrating if you like to keep your personal finances to yourself.
Can’t cancel payments
Once you make a payment in Venmo, there’s no way to cancel. The recipient gets the money immediately. If you need a payment returned, Venmo recommends asking the recipient for the money back. The other option is for Venmo’s support to reverse the payment for you, but they can only do that if the recipient agrees, if their account is in good standing, and if they still have the money in their account.
It’s frustrating that Venmo doesn’t offer an easier way to get an errant payment back. You have to hope the recipient agrees to return the money.
No international transactions
International payments aren’t an option with Venmo. To open a Venmo account, you must live in the United States and have a U.S. cell phone number. You can also only transfer your Venmo balance to a U.S. bank account. If you want to send money to friends or family outside the country, you need a different payment app.
Popular with scammers
Venmo is extremely popular, which has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, a large user base means a lot of people you know are probably on Venmo. This makes it easy to send them money or request money from them without them having to download a new app first.
Unfortunately, Venmo scams are common. For example, imagine you get a random $500 Venmo payment from someone you don’t know. They contact you, say it was a mistake, and ask you to send it back. Scammers often do this with stolen credit cards. When the cardholder reports the payment as fraud, Venmo takes the $500 from your account. If you’ve already sent $500 to the scammer, then you’ve lost your money.
View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/venmo-review/