misc. stuff money management

How to Use Venmo: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Recently it seems like everyone I know wants me to Venmo them. I have been slow to get on this payment train.

Don’t misunderstand; I love technology for my finances. I’ve been auto-paying my bills for about a decade. I could barely contain my excitement when banks started offering mobile check deposit so that I would never have to visit their brick and mortar locations again.

Moreover, I do use payment apps. I have had Paypal for well over a decade. I love to text people money that they can accept through Apple Pay. And yet, I wasn’t quick to get on the Venmo bandwagon.

Venmo Involves a Little Bit of Risk

I think the main reason I was slow to use this app was that several people had told me about problems that they’d had with the site. For example, a friend had decided to sell concert tickets online. He used the app to accept the payment. The payment appeared to come through. Therefore, my friend sent the tickets. However, then the seller reversed the transaction. In other words, my friend sent the tickets but never got paid for them.

The reason the scam was so successful is that Venmo takes no responsibility for it. They remind you that their tool is technically to be used as a way to exchange money with friends and others that you trust. They basically won’t do anything to help you get your money back. In trying to help my friend with this issue, I discovered that it’s a widespread Venmo problem. Moreover, the company seems to have no interest in changing things as far as this issue goes.

Use Venmo with People You Trust

Keeping the above in mind, it becomes obvious that you should heed Venmo’s advice. You should only use their tool to share money with people that you know and trust.

However, as more and more people have begun to use Venmo, it’s become easier and easier to forego that rule. Many established businesses now accept these payments. Therefore, you might find yourself using the tool for purchases even though you told yourself you would only swap money with friends.

Ultimately, you have to decide where on this slippery slope you’re going to land.¬†Venmo has started approving certain businesses so if you’re in doubt, you can check to see if the place you want to pay is an authorized merchant.

Other Important Things to Know About Venmo

If you’re comfortable with the risks above, then you might love using the app. Before you do, here are some additional things that you might want to know:

Basic Things to Know

  • It’s an app available on both iPhone and Android.
  • It only works when transferring money between two people both located in the United States.
  • Both people have to have the app in order for it to work.
  • You have to manually approve each transaction unless you have set the tool to “trust” a specific person.
  • You can fund your Venmo payments through your bank account, credit card, or the Venmo balance that you have from other people sending money to you through the system.
  • Linking your bank account with Venmo allows you to cash out your balance and pay yourself.

Additional Things to Know

  • In general, there are no fees for sending or receiving money. The exception is a 3% fee if you use a credit card to send the money through Venmo.
  • There are limits to how much money you can send. However, the limits are high, so this won’t impact most people. For example, there’s a limit of $3000 for a single item, and a limit of almost $5000 total sent per week.
  • There’s a social networking aspect to Venmo. Therefore your transactions are visible to your friends. If you don’t like that idea, you need to adjust your privacy settings.
  • Venmo has custom emojis that look different from emojis in other apps. The fact that they advertise this hints at the reality that Venmo is primarily used by younger people.

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Kathryn Vercillo

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