Is Venmo safe? The lowdown on privacy and security for Venmo users –

Is Venmo safe?  The lowdown on privacy and security for Venmo users –

Venmo app on phone 4

Venmo is one of the most popular money transfer apps in the US, along with PayPal and Cash App. In many cases, it’s easier and faster to pay friends and family through Venmo instead of a traditional bank transfer. But are you sacrificing your financial security and privacy for this convenience, or is Venmo really safe to use? Let’s break it down.

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Venmo is a PayPal-backed company that is safe to use to send and receive money. However, you should not store large amounts of funds in the in-app wallet or treat it as an alternative to your bank account. Venmo isn’t FDIC insured, so if the company goes under, the government won’t step in to return your money.

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How does Venmo protect my data when I send and receive money?

Venmo app on phone 1

Let’s start with Venmo’s privacy policy, which says you can control who can see your transaction history. The platform gives you three choices: public, friends only and private. These are pretty self-explanatory choices; if you want to keep your transactions secret, make sure it is set to On Private. If you set it to Public instead, your transactions (along with the payment note) may be visible to your friends and other Venmo users.

To change the default privacy setting on Venmo, follow these steps:

  • Open the Venmo app and tap Me icon, you can find it at the bottom right of the screen.
  • enter Settings by tapping the gear icon and then tapping Privacy.
  • Under Standard privacy submenu, select your preferred setting.
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When you send someone money on Venmo, the recipient can only see the following information: the transaction amount, payment slip, sender’s name and time stamp. Venmo doesn’t reveal which payment method you used – so you can safely link your debit/credit card or bank account for use on the platform.

You may also want to hide your contact list on Venmo, as it can easily give away the names of your friends and family members. In fact, that’s exactly what happened when a journalist uncovered US President Joe Biden’s Venmo account and contact list in less than 10 minutes. You can change the privacy of your contact list below Settings > Privacy in the Venmo app.

Venmo may access your transaction history for marketing and legal compliance purposes, even if you set your privacy to private.

Remember that even if you set all your privacy settings to private, your transactions are never truly anonymous on the platform. Venmo and its employees may still retrieve your transaction history for marketing and affiliate purposes. Additionally, the company will comply with US court orders and respond to legal inquiries, so don’t assume your transactions are as untraceable as cash.

Can Venmo be hacked? Has it ever been hacked?

Venmo app on phone 3

The Venmo platform as a whole hasn’t suffered a security breach or hack yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe either. Individual accounts can still be hacked if you’re not careful. To reduce this risk, set a strong password and enable a PIN code or biometric lock on your smartphone.

If you routinely use the same password across multiple websites and apps, a single security breach could compromise your credentials and give hackers access to your entire Venmo account. To protect yourself from this risk, you should always set unique (preferably randomized) passwords for each account. If you don’t already use one, consider a password manager like Bitwarden or Lastpass with a strong master password.

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See also: The best password manager apps for Android

In addition to account security, you should also avoid storing money in your Venmo wallet. Unlike your checking or savings account, your Venmo wallet is not tied to a financial institution or bank. This means that the platform is not FDIC insured. If Venmo or its parent company PayPal were to go bankrupt, the government would not step in to return your money in the app.

See also: What is the difference between Venmo and PayPal?

The same goes for cryptocurrency balances on Venmo. While you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies, you cannot transfer them to a private wallet or send them to anyone else. Once again, you trust the company to protect your money. If Venmo ever suffers a security breach, it is very likely that you will not be compensated for any lost funds. To that end, you should probably buy cryptocurrency elsewhere and transfer your holdings to a private wallet.

Should I trust Venmo?

Money stock photo 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Venmo was purpose-built to send and receive money from people you know, so sending money to strangers is probably not the best idea. If you want to use Venmo to pay for goods and services, be sure to mark the payment as a purchase. Doing so will make you eligible for Venmo’s Purchase Protection, which can come in handy in case you need to dispute the transaction. The platform takes a cut from the merchant for such transactions, so you don’t have to worry about paying anything extra.

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Venmo offers purchase protection, but it’s best used for payments to people you know and trust.

If you are aware of the potential risks described above, Venmo is safe for the vast majority of use cases. As long as you use the platform solely for peer-to-peer transactions between friends and family and don’t treat it as an alternative to your bank account, you shouldn’t run into any problems. Your data is also encrypted, so as long as you set your privacy settings correctly, no one should be able to see your transaction history.


Common questions

Venmo is a PayPal-supported payment platform that encrypts your personal data and has good security. However, you should not store large amounts of money in the app’s wallet, as it is not insured like your bank account.

Venmo is meant to be used to send and receive money from friends and family. If you want to use it to buy and sell goods or services, remember to insert the purchase token so that you are covered by Venmo’s purchase protection.

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