The Brief: Venmo is a money transfer app.


What Is Venmo?

As the world is becoming increasingly cashless, apps like Venmo allow users to exchange money with their mobile devices. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, is the second most popular finance app on the iOS App Store. By connecting to credit cards, debit cards, and/or bank accounts, Venmo users can easily exchange funds.

Venmo is commonly used for paying friends back, splitting checks, and distributing allowances. It has expanded to allow for shopping and business transactions through the app.

“To Venmo” has become a verb meaning to send someone money through Venmo.

How It Works

Anyone with a bank account can link it to their Venmo account to exchange money. Funds can be transferred to your bank account at any time. You can request or make payments large and small. Verified users can exchange up to $2,500 per week for free.

Public By Default

Venmo has a social networking function that allows users to see what their phone contacts and Facebook friends are up to. Although it is not typically seen as a social media app, Venmo can provide detailed information on users’ monetary exchanges. When making transactions, users have the option to make available to be seen publicly, by friends, or only to the other person involved. The default setting is for transactions to be public.

A website called “vicemo” documents public Venmo transactions that include drugs, alcohol, or sex in the subject line.

In a comedic cartoon in The New Yorker, Olivia de Recat cleverly documents the experience of stalking an ex through their Venmo history.

Safety & Privacy

On the app store, Venmo is recommended for ages four and up. Both adults and teens alike who use the app should be aware of its privacy settings and use Venmo carefully.

In terms of financial security, nothing can be 100% safe. Venmo can be used most safely and privately by following these procedures:

  • Use strong passwords for Venmo and other online banking apps.
  • Set a passcode for your phone.
  • Add a pin code to the app.
  • Double check before sending money. When requesting money, it can be easy to accidentally click “pay” instead of “request” as they are right next to each other.
  •  Only send money to people you know IRL.
  • Set all transactions to “private.”