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What is Venmo?

Published: March 06, 2019

One of the most stressful experiences when hanging out with friends is if you need to split a bill of some type. Whether it's a cab ride, a restaurant tab, or anything similar, you may not have enough cash in your wallet to cover your expenses, or you may not have enough money to cover the full cost of the bill on your card before you can deposit the cash everyone else gave you. Instead of stressing out about this situation, there are other ways that you can split the cost of something without having to guess how much cash to bring; one way is through Venmo.

What is Venmo?

Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) smartphone app that allows users to quickly and easily send money to friends and contacts. Venmo is owned by PayPal.

How does it work?

All you have to do is enter your bank account information and/or debit or credit card information into the app. Transactions will withdraw or deposit into that account when a transaction is made. Please note that some transactions may be charged fees, so make sure you read the fine print before you start using the app. If a friend pays you, you'll need to request to withdraw the funds from their bank account, and the money will be in your account the next business day.

How do you use it?

The first step is downloading the app onto your smartphone. Then, you'll need to create an account by entering your email address, creating a password, and linking/verifying your bank account. Once your account is created, Venmo will put a micro transaction on your account to verify that you provided the correct information before you're allowed to make any transactions. Make sure that you have at least $2 in your account to avoid any overdraft fees. Then, you'll be able to add a debit or credit card if you desire.

Now what?

Once you verified your bank account, you are all set to get started. All you need to do is add your friends. To make a payment to someone, you tap the circular icon at the bottom right of the app. Then, select the friend you're looking to pay, input the amount, and tap whether you're requesting money from them or paying them. Then, your transaction is complete.

Please note that Venmo has a newsfeed type situation where your transactions will be published publicly. If you do not wish for everyone to see, make sure you select Private.

Is it safe?

Venmo is relatively safe if you keep everything private and set up additional security in the settings section. There have been recent scams and hacks with the app that you should be aware of. If you are looking to sell or buy an item from Facebook or Craigslist, do not use Venmo until you have the item in your hand. There have been instances where you pay for the item, but you never receive it. 

There's also something you should know about Venmo's security. They do not offer buyer or seller protection, which means that if you are a victim of a scam, they will not reimburse you for your lost money. Only make payments to people you know and trust.

Venmo is a great option to pay your family or close friends quickly without having to carry around a stack of cash. It's quick to set up and you'll be free to use it in no time. Just make sure that you're making smart decisions when it comes to who you're paying with it. You don't want to end up scammed by someone and out of money because you trusted them to stick to their end of the deal.