What Is Venmo?

Venmo is a mobile app that lets you send money to friends and family.
Chanelle Bessette
By Chanelle Bessette 

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What is Venmo?

Venmo is a mobile app for peer-to-peer, or P2P, money transfers and payments. It’s known for its timeline feed where you and your connections in the app can send payments to each other with emoji messages, but don't worry: The dollar amounts of transfers always remain private.

» See more transfer options: Top peer-to-peer payment apps

How does Venmo work?

Transfers and purchases. Venmo lets you send money to and request money from anyone who has a Venmo account. The app can help with the awkward chore of reimbursing family or friends for dinner out or other shared expenses, but it’s not intended for buying or selling goods among strangers. Venmo can also be used for web purchases with certain merchants, such as Amazon, or on websites with a Venmo payment button similar to PayPal’s.

Mobile only. Venmo payments are made on its highly rated Android and iOS smartphone apps as well as via iMessage or with Siri voice command. You can sign in at Venmo’s website on a desktop or mobile device to view transactions, but not to pay or request money.

U.S. customers only. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, requires both the sender and recipient to be in the U.S.

» Interested in other services? See Venmo’s business accounts

How do I fund my Venmo account?

Pay with a debit card, a credit card or a bank account. To send money on Venmo, you need to link the app to a U.S. bank account, debit card, prepaid debit card or credit card. If you receive money and want to transfer it from Venmo, you’ll need to link a bank account.

Link a checking, not a savings, account. Savings accounts have traditionally had a limit of six online withdrawals or transfers per month (see more about this limit), although some banks lifted such restrictions after federal regulations changed in 2020.

What are Venmo's fees?

Venmo charges credit card and instant transfer fees. It’s possible to avoid fees when using Venmo. But the service charges two fees for specific options:

  • 3% per transaction for peer-to-peer payments funded by credit card. Peer-to-peer payments funded by bank account, debit card or prepaid debit card are free. And purchases from merchants with a Venmo payment option also are free, even with a credit card.

  • 1.75% per transaction, with a 25-cent minimum, for instant transfers. This fee is charged when you cash out a Venmo balance to a debit card. These transfers are typically delivered within minutes. There’s no fee if you use the standard “cash-out” transfer to a bank account, though delivery takes one to three business days.

How do I receive money with Venmo?

The app shows your balance. Like PayPal, Venmo stores your money as an in-app balance, which can fund your future payments (if there’s enough money) or be cashed out to your bank account. Otherwise, the money sits there, and that’s not ideal. Unless you use Venmo’s Direct Deposit feature, where your funds are kept with a partner bank, your Venmo app balance is not federally insured like bank accounts are, so you could lose it in the event of Venmo going out of business. Money in a Venmo account also doesn’t earn interest.

How much can you send with Venmo?

Up to $60,000 per week. To get started on Venmo, you need to download the mobile app, create a login and confirm your phone number, email address and bank account information. Your initial transfer maximum per week is $299.99 until you verify more of your identity. When you submit your Social Security number, ZIP code and birthdate, you become “verified” and can send up to $60,000 per week in one or multiple transactions.

The maximum you can transfer from Venmo to a bank account starts at $999.99 per transaction, but once you’re verified, the limit is $19,999 per week.

Is Venmo secure?

App security features. Some of the security measures include PIN- and fingerprint-based login options and two-factor authentication. If your phone is lost or stolen and you don’t have these safeguards set up, you can disallow access to your account by logging on to Venmo’s website and changing your permission settings.

Venmo’s parent company, PayPal, reached a settlement in 2018 with the Federal Trade Commission over complaints that customers’ access to funds was delayed without notification, and that Venmo had misled users about how to maintain privacy settings for their transactions.

Social feed feature. Venmo offers social media features, including a feed of payments involving people you’re connected to on Venmo. However, you can adjust your privacy settings so transactions are "private" (visible to sender and recipient) or visible to "friends" (sender, recipients and Venmo connections). Audience settings for past transactions can be altered retroactively.

Does Venmo offer a debit or credit card?

Yes, it offers both. Venmo offers a debit card that works for U.S. purchases anywhere that accepts Mastercard.

The optional Venmo credit card allows users to earn cash back in different spending categories, with those rewards deposited into your Venmo account. See NerdWallet’s review of the Venmo credit card.

Former NerdWallet writer Caren Weiner Campbell contributed to this article.

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