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Venmo Review: Instant Money Transfers From Your Phone

Review Updated
Lyle Daly
Cole Tretheway

Our Personal Finance Experts

Eric McWhinnie
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Bottom line: Venmo is the peer-to-peer (p2p) payment app of choice, making it easy to send money to friends and family. It's widely used, you can send money by whichever payment method you want, and recipients get funds instantly.

Great payment apps offer quick transfers, few fees, and a big user base to work with. Our in-depth Venmo app review will detail the app's features so you can decide the right option for you with confidence.

Venmo
Best payments app overallVenmo

Full Venmo review

Pros

  • Quick, convenient p2p payments
  • Free to send money from a bank account or debit card
  • Low fee for credit card payments
  • Can pay with Venmo at select businesses
  • Offers a debit card, teen debit card, and credit card
  • Adds a social element to sending and receiving money
  • Buy popular cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • Payments are public by default
  • Can't cancel payments
  • No international transactions
  • Popular with scammers

At a glance

iOS app rating 4.9/5 stars
Android app rating 4.2/5 stars
Cost Free to send money from a debit card or bank account, 3% for credit card payments, 1.75% for fast transfers to bank

What is Venmo and how does it work?

Venmo is a payments app you can use to instantly send and receive money. You can send money from your debit card, credit card, bank account, or Venmo balance. When you receive money, it adds to your Venmo balance. You can transfer it to your bank account or leave it on Venmo.

Venmo lets you split bills and other expenses with multiple people. For instance, you and your roommate could use Venmo to pay your internet bill, or you and a few friends could use Venmo to split the check at a restaurant.

Venmo adds social media elements to money transfers. Venmo users can add each other as friends. There's a feed that shows payments between users, and on each payment, you can include a note, emojis, or animated stickers. Venmo also offers privacy settings. If you don't want your payments to be seen by everyone, you can make them visible to only your friends or to just you and the recipient.

Top perks

Quick and convenient payments

Ease of use is a big part of Venmo's popularity. There's hardly any learning curve. You can download it and start sending or receiving money in minutes. Venmo also simplifies splitting expenses -- it offers an on-screen calculator when you send or request money. And if you're splitting a bill with a group, you can request the same amount from all of them at once.

When you withdraw money from your Venmo balance, it can take 1-3 business days to transfer money to your bank account. If you need money faster, Venmo offers instant transfers for a 1.75% fee, with a minimum of $0.25 and a maximum of $25.

Free

Venmo doesn't have regular fees, like monthly or annual fees. There's no fee to send money from a bank account, debit card, or your Venmo balance. Credit card payments have a 3% fee, which is standard among payment apps. There's no fee to receive money or transfer it to your bank account unless you opt for an instant transfer instead of a standard transfer.

Can pay with Venmo at select businesses

You can pay with Venmo funds on several apps and websites, including Uber Eats, Hulu, and Poshmark, among others. Shopping at a business that accepts Venmo payments? The app can speed you through the checkout process.

Offers a debit card, teen debit card, and a credit card

Frequent Venmo users may be interested in one of its payment cards. The Venmo Debit Card is tied to your Venmo balance. It doesn't charge an annual fee, and it offers cash back at some stores.

Parents may be interested in applying for a Venmo Teen Debit Card on their teenager's behalf. The card gives parents insight into and control over underage spending, and it gives teens the power to pay anywhere Mastercard is accepted. There's no monthly fee, and it's free to sign up.

The Venmo Credit Card is a no-annual-fee rewards card. It separates your purchases into spending categories. Every month, you earn 3% cash back on your top category, 2% back on your next biggest spending category, and 1% back on everything else.

The Venmo Credit Card offers solid perks, but check out the best rewards credit cards before applying -- there might be a more valuable option available.

Adds a social element to payments

Venmo isn't your typical payments app. It's a payments app that includes popular features from social networks: likes, comments, and messages attached to each payment or purchase of cryptocurrency (see below). Some users don't care about this, but others find that it makes money more fun.

Venmo lets you purchase up to four popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash. Venmo charges zero fees for doing so, and you can buy in $1 increments. Venmo offers users short educational content on crypto basics, such as how it works. It doesn't offer staking or advanced features -- for these, see the best crypto exchanges and apps.

Looking for a simple way to pay someone on the spot?

Check out our top picks for the best payment apps and find the right option for your needs.

What could be improved

Payments are public by default

The privacy settings on Venmo are unideal. By default, non-teen account payments are public -- any Venmo user can see them. While public, anyone can see your username, the username of the other person (sender/recipient), and the attached message.

You can change your privacy settings so payments are only visible to your friends – or make them private. But some consumers use the app without even realizing that their payments are public. That can frustrate those who prefer to keep personal finances to themselves.

Can't cancel payments

Once you make a payment in Venmo, there's no way to cancel. The recipient gets the money immediately. If you need a payment returned, Venmo recommends asking the recipient for the money back. The other option is for Venmo's support to reverse the payment for you, but they can only do that if the recipient agrees, if their account is in good standing, and if they still have the money in their account.

No international transactions

International payments aren't an option with Venmo. To open a Venmo account, you must live in the United States and have a U.S. cellphone number. You can only transfer your Venmo balance to a U.S. bank account, and you can only log into the Venmo app within the U.S. If you want to send money outside the country, you need a different payment app (more below).

Venmo is extremely popular, which has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, a lot of people you know are probably on Venmo. This makes it easy to send them money or request money from them.

Unfortunately, Venmo scams are common. For example, imagine you get a random $500 Venmo payment from someone you don't know. They contact you, say it was a mistake, and ask you to send it back. A scammer often does this with stolen credit cards. When the real cardholder reports the payment as fraud, Venmo takes the $500 from your account. If you've already sent $500 to the scammer, then you've lost your money, and Venmo can't help you.

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What are the costs?

The Venmo app is free. You can send and receive money with Venmo free of charge. But Venmo charges for “premium” features. These include the following:

  • Sending money on credit: Credit card payments have a 3% fee. You can avoid this by paying with a debit card, bank account, or your Venmo balance.
  • Withdrawing money from Venmo to your bank account fast: Instant transfers have a 1.75% fee, with a $0.25 minimum and a $25 maximum. You can avoid this by opting for a regular withdrawal that takes one to three business days to settle.
  • Buying and selling cryptocurrency: Venmo charges users to buy and sell cryptocurrency within the app. The exact fee varies, starting at less than $0.50 for small purchases and going up from there.

Venmo's fees are standard for payment apps. You almost always pay extra when sending money with your credit card or withdrawing money to your bank account quickly. Other than those situations, you can use Venmo for free.

Venmo is right for:

People who want a convenient way to send and receive money with friends and family.

For peer-to-peer payments, Venmo checks all the boxes. It offers debit card, credit card, and bank account payments. It's fast and easy to use. Last but not least, it has a massive user base, so many of your contacts may already be using it. Considering its popularity, Venmo is a payments app worth having on your smartphone.

Alternatives to consider

If you want an app that lets you send money internationally: Xoom lets you send payments to 160 countries. You get 24/7 status updates and you can send to multiple places: the recipient's bank account, a pickup location, or even to the recipient's door.

If you want an app that has better banking payments: Zelle lets users send and receive money through their regular bank accounts, and funds are available within minutes. Zelle partners with quite a few U.S. banks and credit unions, and it's integrated with several banking apps already. Though less flexible than Venmo, Zelle's zero fees and fast settlements make it a compelling alternative.

FAQs

  • Venmo is safe to send and receive money on. Transactions are encrypted so hackers can't steal money from your account. But scammers can trick users into giving up their money, so it's possible for users to lose money. To keep money safe, consider keeping transactions private.

  • Common Venmo scams include the following:

    • Phone calls from fake Venmo representatives.
    • Scammers impersonating family members and friends.
    • Romance scams.

    To counter each of these scams, do the following:

    • Keep passwords and verification codes secret (real Venmo reps won't ask for these).
    • Check usernames to ensure they match up with your real friends and family.
    • Verify online identities before sending them money -- and don't expect backup.

    There are other scams on Venmo. To minimize these, turn account settings to private. For more details, check out the Venmo Help website.