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How to use Venmo: A beginner's guide
Venmo is one of the biggest money transfer apps in the US, and chances are you’re here because friends, family, or a business you shop at already use it. If that’s the case, here’s how to hit the ground running.
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How to use Venmo
Creating an account
When you open the app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to choose a sign-up method and create a password. For the purposes of this guide we’re creating a personal account, not a business one.
Passwords need to be between 8 and 20 characters, and contain at least one number or symbol. Be sure to choose a login that’s difficult or impossible to guess — if someone hacks into your Venmo account they can do serious financial damage.
As a part of security measures, you’ll next be asked to verify your phone number and email address. You’ll get a verification text for the former, and an email with a verification link for the latter. If you don’t see the email in your inbox within a minute or two, you may need to check your spam or trash folders.
Lastly you need to add and verify a bank account. There are two options: instant verification, or microtransfers.
Instant verification requires supplying the username and password for your online banking portal, which you might not be comfortable with. Even if you are, not every bank supports this option. It is however the only way you can start making transfers immediately.
Microtransfers happen if you choose to enter your routing and account numbers manually. Within 1 to 3 business days, you’ll see two withdrawals and two deposits on your bank statement, each less than $1. Once these appear you can go to venmo.com/verifybank to complete the process. If they don’t show up, you may have entered the wrong info.
Sending/requesting money and adding friends
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t bother adding money to your Venmo balance. The only way of doing it is with a Venmo Mastercard Debit Card, and Venmo can automatically pull money from the bank account, credit card, or debit card you choose during a transfer. Avoid using a credit card if you can, since there’s a 3% fee.
Add cards to your Venmo account by going to Me > Wallet > Add bank or card in the mobile app. You can enter all of your card’s data manually, or use your phone’s camera to scan most of it automatically.
To send money to someone or request it from them, open the Venmo app and tap Pay/Request. If you weren’t prompted during setup, you’ll be asked to grant the app access to your phone contacts. Doing this improves convenience, since the app can automatically add Venmo users you know as friends.
Whether or not someone is in your friends list, the next step is to search for a user and add them to the transfer. Enter a dollar amount, an optional note, and then tap Pay or Request.
You can handle multiple transfers at once by going to one person’s profile, tapping the plus icon, then repeating the process until everyone is included. Tap Next, then enter a dollar amount and note before choosing Pay or Request. As you may have gathered, you can only choose a single dollar value for a group transaction — you’ll have to use separate transfers if people are sending or giving different amounts.
If you’re interacting with a person or business face-to-face, another way of connecting with them is using their Venmo Me QR code. Open the code scanner in the Venmo app, then point it at their code, usually one displayed in their own app. In some cases people may send you a QR code directly, in which case you can open a link and jump straight to their profile page.
How long do Venmo transfers take?
Standard transfers take 1 to 3 business days, with each day cutting off at 7PM Eastern. Weekends and bank holidays will interfere — if you request money at 10PM on a Friday, for example, don’t expect anything in your bank account until Tuesday.
Users can alternately choose instant transfers, but these come with a 1.75% fee, subject to a $0.25 minimum fee and a $25 maximum. The good news is that the instant option is available 24/7 year-round, so you’re never stuck if someone needs cash.
Here’s how to cancel a pending transaction if necessary.
How to transfer money from Venmo to your bank
In the app, select the Me tab and tap Add or Transfer under Wallet. Choose the amount you want to transfer, then Instant or 1-3 Biz Days. Remember, Instant has a fee attached.
Once you’ve chosen a target bank account or debit card, hit Transfer and you’re good to go.
Venmo isn’t flawless, and you may run into a problem or two. Usually, when Venmo isn’t working, there’s an easy fix.