1. Create a Venmo account. Sign up with your email address and credit or debit card information. Add your bank account info if you want to deposit the money you receive. Note that you may pay a transaction fee when using your credit card.
2. Request a transfer. Once you’ve created your account, request or send money by choosing the pen and paper icon at upper right.
3. Enter your Venmo recipient or sender. Use the person’s Venmo username to send or request money, adding the transfer amount. Name your transaction with as fun or serious a memo as you’d like — or use Venmo’s bitmoji shorthand for your transaction.
4. Tap Pay or Request to complete your transaction.
You’ll receive notification from Venmo each time a user sends you money. Unlike other payment apps, the money you’re sent doesn’t go directly into your bank account. Rather, it stays linked to your Venmo account until you choose to transfer it. You can transfer all of your balance or only a portion of it.
The social component
A feature that sets Venmo apart from other peer-to-peer payment systems is the social media aspect. Once you’re sent money, it shows up on your friends’ feeds, where they can see your transactions, but not the amounts.
I don’t particularly like this feature – I prefer to keep my transactions private. Thankfully, you can choose if you’d like to share your activity with just the participants, friends, or the Venmo community at large.
- Send easily to anyone on your contacts list. No need to ask, “what’s your username?”
- Widely popular service. Chances are that your friends are already using Venmo, making it even easier to transfer money.
- Social media platform. Venmo tries to be more fun than other services by including a feed of transactions to your friends.
- Steep credit card fee. Unlike when you use a debit card, a credit card incurs an additional 3% fee for each transaction.
- US only. Venmo’s services are limited to users in the US.
- Venmo to Venmo only. You can’t send money for pickup at a Western Union, for example.
- Can’t reject a payment. There are times when I’d like to refuse money from my friends – I like treating them sometimes and wish an “accept or reject payment” feature was available. As of this writing, Venmo’s FAQ says that if you’d like to reject a payment, to make a return payment to the sender. But then they can return the payment to you, and then you’d have to return it again…
Venmo encrypts your personal information and transactions details. However, whereas Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council gives Square Cash, Google Wallet and other money transfer apps high ratings for standards security, Venmo is considered only “PCI compliant.”
What is PCI compliance?
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council keeps track of companies that meet its strenuous security standards for development, enhancement, storage, dissemination and implementation for data protection. It determines the overall security of businesses that process payments online.
Like most companies, Venmo keeps the magnitude of its user base private, so its lack of a standards rating could mean that it processes fewer than 6 million credit card transactions per year. It’s possible: Venmo’s additional fee for credit card payments all but encourages users to pay through a debit account instead. But it’s worth considering safety, given the security breaches faced by Venmo over the years.
Compare other services that send money within the US