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What Is Venmo?

Banking, Money Transfer
What Is Venmo?
  • Fees: 3% for payments funded by credit card; no other fees
  • Transfer limits: For verified users, $2,999.99 per transaction and per week for P2P payments; $3,000 per transfer to your bank, up to $19,999 per week
  • User experience: Facebook meets PayPal; mobile apps get great reviews

Dinner and a concert with friends can be a peak experience, but making sure everybody has paid their fair share for tacos and tickets can be a buzzkill. Venmo can help with this awkward chore.

Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer app, similar to Square Cash and Google Wallet, that has a social-media twist: You can send or request money via emoji-studded text messages, which show up in a Facebook-style feed. Don’t worry, though — dollar amounts always remain private.

» MORE: What are peer-to-peer payments?

How Venmo works

Venmo lets you complete a money transfer to any other person who also has a Venmo account. You can do it with a few taps on your keyboard or smartphone screen. The iOS app also enables payment via iMessage or with a Siri voice command.

Venmo, which is operated by PayPal, requires both sender and recipient to be in the United States. If you need to send money abroad, use our money transfer tool to find the best international rates.

Funding the account

Funding a Venmo account is simple. Link the app to a bank account and up to six debit cards, prepaid debit cards or credit cards. When you’re ready to send a payment, select one of these as a funding source, and Venmo will transmit money from that source to the recipient.

Receiving money

As with parent PayPal, the Venmo app stores the money you receive until you use it for a P2P payment or transfer it to your checking account. You can’t apply that Venmo money to credit or debit card balances; it can be transferred only to your checking account.

» MORE: Other ways to send money to an individual

Venmo fees

Venmo makes it easy to avoid fees. Receiving payments is always free. Sending money also is free, unless you use a credit card. Linking your Venmo account to a credit card results in a 3% fee on outgoing P2P payments. To avoid that charge, use only a bank account, prepaid card or debit card.

Even if you use a credit card, you’ll pay no transaction fee on purchases from Venmo’s e-commerce partners, which include Delivery.com, event ticket vendor Gametime and White Castle.

How much you can send

How much money you can send with Venmo depends on how much identifying info you’ve provided to the company. “Verified” users, who have established their identity by submitting their Social Security number, ZIP code and birthdate, can transfer up to $2,999.99 per transaction, which is also the weekly maximum. With purchases at participating businesses included, the weekly cap is $5,000. Transfers to a bank account can total up to $19,999 per week.

Users who haven’t provided the verification details can send $299.99 per transaction and per week, with a limit of $999.99 on bank transfers.

Service and security

Monday through Friday, Venmo provides customer support around the clock via live chat and email. Weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

For security-related issues, you may be able to avoid certain problems altogether if you make the most of Venmo features such as PIN protection and two-factor authentication. The app also uses one-touch identification, if your phone has that capability, to provide one more layer of security.

Even if you haven’t set up these safeguards, if your phone is lost or stolen, you can disallow access to your account by logging on to Venmo’s website and changing your permission settings.

Social media

Although Venmo offers social media features, users don’t have to share all their activity. For example, you can limit sharing just to people in your Venmo network, or you can keep transfer activities to yourself. Audience settings for past transactions can be altered retroactively.

Limitations

Bank deposits from your Venmo account won’t show up immediately; you may have to wait up to three business days before that money is credited to your checking account. So if it’s not urgent to bank your cash, you may prefer to keep the funds in your Venmo balance, ready for the next blowout with your buddies.

Caren Weiner Campbell is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ccampbell@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ccampbell_nw.