If you're bummed that Apple Pay Cash didn't launch with iOS 11 in September, consider trying Venmo.
Have you heard the phrase "Just Venmo me?" If not, you probably will soon. Venmo is a 7-year-old mobile app that lets people easily transfer money between friends and family. No physical wallets or cash required. It's super convenient and has become very popular in the US over the past few years. It offers industry standard security as well as neat social features that you won't find in rival solutions.
What is Venmo?
Venmo is a peer-to-peer payments app. It lets you send money to friends (or even pay for goods within apps) so that you don't have to deal with cash. But it also provides a social layer. For instance, you can see your a contact's public transaction history. Users are able to share what they spent their money on and even add emoji to their posts. You can then interact with their posts by liking or commenting on them.
You can use Venmo to pay anyone in the US, whether or not they have Venmo, but they will need to join Venmo to claim a payment.
Why would you use Venmo?
At first, Venmo might sound intrusive, but it's super engaging and fun. You can get a sense of what your contacts have been up to and what they tend to do together. For instance, you might see when a friend split a lunch bill, paid half of a cab fare, or sent money to a roommate for rent. You can even remind a contact to send you money by specifically requesting it from him or her, which is handy.
How does Venmo work?
Note: This guide was written based on Venmo for Android, but we've tried to include instructions for the iOS version as well.
Create a Venmo account
Download Venmo for iOS or Android and open the app.
You can sign up for Venmo using your email or by connecting it to your Facebook account. If you choose the latter, you'll still need to give Venmo your email address, then create a password, and verify your phone number (via an SMS verification code that'll be sent to your device). Once you're done all that, you'll need to complete your Venmo profile by creating a username and adding a profile picture.
The next step is to sync Venmo with your device's address book. Doing so will allow you to easily find, pay, and share payments with contacts in your address book, such as your family and friends. Venmo also has a social layer, so if you give it permission to look at your address book, it'll populate a news feed of sorts that shows your friends and what they've used Venmo for (if they share publicly).
When you open Venmo, you will immediately be on the app's Friends screen, aka your Venmo news feed. You can scroll through it, and if you have contacts who use Venmo, you might be able to see what they've spent money on, whether that be burgers or bills. Now, beyond the Friends screen, you will notice a navigation bar at the top of the app that presents three different tabs: Me, Friends, and Public.
Just tap one to toggle to that screen. The Me screen shows your own transaction history and allows you to start a new payment (tap the pencil icon in the corner). This new payment button can actually be accessed from the bottom corner on any of the three main screens in Venmo, including the Public screen, which we haven't mentioned yet. It works just like the Friends screen, but it shows global users.
More specifically, it shows Venmo users from across the world who choose to share their Venmo transactions publicly. Finally, there is the menu. To access it, tap the hamburger icon in the top left of the main screens. It lets you easily find other handy Venmo features, such as:
- Menu options on Android: Search People, Scan Code, Banks and Cards, Invite Friends, Incomplete, Purchases, Get Help, and Settings.
- Menu options on iOS: Search People, Scan Code, Transfer to Bank, Purchases, Notifications, Incomplete, Get Help, and Settings.
Add a bank or card
Now that we've discussed how to get around Venmo, it's time to finish completing your Venmo profile. On Android, go to the menu and tap Banks and Cards. From there you will see options to manually link a bank account or add a debit or credit card. On iOS, go to the menu, then tap Settings, and tap Banks and Cards. From there, manually link your bank account or add a debit or credit card.
Send or request a payment
To send or a request a payment, tap the new payment icon, then select a contact, and fill out the necessary fields. You'll need to enter an amount, and then you can say what's it for. At the bottom of the New Payment screen, you will see extra options to tag a Venmo user, add a Venmo emoji, and change the audience (Public, Friends, or Participants only). Once done, tap request or pay, and Venmo will handle the rest.
Check your requests and purchases
You can check on your requests for money by going to Venmo's menu and then tapping Incomplete. The Incomplete screen lists all your requests that haven't yet been approved by the receiver. If you've used Venmo to pay in other apps or on the mobile web, you can view your purchases, go to Venmo's menu and then tap Purchases. These are different from when you share a payment with a contact.
Those types of transactions are listed on the Me screen, as we mentioned earlier.
Transfer your Venmo Balance
Your Venmo Balance is displayed on the menu. The balance is made up of any payments that you've received from friends. You can leave the balance there and use it as your primary funding source, or you can transfer this balance to your bank account for free. Bank transfers submitted before 7pm Eastern Time will typically reach your bank account in one business day.
- To transfer your Venmo balance on Android, go to the menu and tap Transfer next to your Venmo balance amount.
- To transfer your Venmo balance on iOS, go to the menu and tap Transfer to Bank.
Interact with a transaction
On the Friends or Public screens, if you see a transaction you want to engage with (like, maybe a friend paid another friend $5), you can 'like' the post by tapping the heart icon. You can also leave a comment (like, "Where's my $5 too?") by tapping the comment icon on the post.
When someone sends you money, requests money, or interacts with your transactions, Venmo sends you a notification.
- On Android, you can tap the bell icon in the top corner of the main screens to view all your notifications.
- If you use an iOS device, you'll need to go to menu and then the Notifications screen.
Change your security settings
Venmo allows you to beef up security by setting a PIN code and a fingerprint. This will reduce the risk of accidentally sending money or someone using your Venmo account without your permission. You can find the option to add these checks under Settings from the menu.
What is a group account on Venmo?
Group accounts is a new beta feature. If you are part of a student organisation, athletic team, or other club, you can use Venmo’s digital wallet functionality to send and receive money as a group. To create a group account, go to venmo.com/groups from a computer. You will be guided through sign-up and given a tutorial of how to use your group account. This Venmo guide also has more information.
Does Venmo have any fees?
Venmo is free to download and use. However, there is one caveat: When you use a credit card to send money with Venmo, you will be charged a 3 per cent fee. But sending money from banks, debit cards, and your Venmo balance is free.
Does Venmo need your SSN?
Sometimes. If you send more than $300 in one week, or transfer $1,000 or more to your bank in one week, Venmo will ask for the last four digits of your social security number. The app said it is regulated by the US Treasury Department, so it is obligated to verify its users' identities.
Where is Venmo available?
Venmo is currently only available in the US.
What else should you know?
Venmo works with Siri so you can easily send money with a voice command. It can even be used in the iMessage app.