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You might have heard of Venmo as a simple, fast way to split bills, pay back friends and make instant transfers to loved ones.
In fact, Venmo is used by over 40 million people in the US, and showed an impressive 52% year on year growth to the second quarter of 2020.²
However, despite being one of the most loved peer to peer (P2P) payment systems stateside, Venmo is not currently available for users outside the US.
This guide will walk through all you need to know about Venmo - and also look at how to send money to friends and family based abroad with Wise, the smart low cost alternative for international P2P payments, that has over 9 million users already.
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Let’s start with the bad news. Venmo is not currently available in Singapore. You’ll need a US phone number and US residential address to open and use a Venmo account. Depending on what you want to do, you might also need a US based bank account to link to Venmo.²
If you’re here in Singapore, you can use alternative local services like PayNow³ and PayLah!⁴ - but that won’t work if you want to send US dollars to a friend based in LA, or euros to your Aunt in Paris.
The good news is that you can send money overseas easily, and for a low cost, if you choose a specialist provider like Wise.
Just like Venmo, Wise international transfers are quick to set up using your mobile device, and you’ll also benefit from the real mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent transfer fees.
All you need to do is download the Wise app, or log in online, to see the great rates and cheap fees available for your destination country. Simple.
If you are eligible for a Venmo account, the process to send and request payments is pretty simple.
- Log into your Venmo account and find the Pay and request button. This will allow you to enter the friends you want to charge or send money to, and how much the payments should be.
- You can add a note to let your friends know what the payment is for at this stage, too.
- Check the details, hit confirm - and you’re all done.
To process requests and payments you only need your contacts’ Venmo user names⁵ - which is a lot easier than asking for their bank details and processing a wire transfer.
You can then save even more time and give your messages a little more personality by adding in Venmo’s emojis to the note you send to describe the payment or request.
This social slant to making and receiving payments is a unique feature, and one of the things users in the US love about Venmo.
Whenever someone sends you money using Venmo, it’ll be placed into your Venmo balance. You might need to accept the payment to see it appear in your account.
Once you have a Venmo balance you can either hold or send your money, or withdraw it to your linked bank account. It’s worth noting that there’s a fee of 1% for instant withdrawals - or you can choose a standard withdrawal which may take up to 3 business days, but is free to use⁶
Venmo is safe if you apply a little common sense, and use it in the way it’s intended. There are also some simple steps to take to make sure you’re extra confident when using Venmo to send and receive money.
First, let’s look at the things Venmo does to protect your money.
Venmo is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. That means that industry standard payment protections are in place to secure payments and prevent fraud - the same as you’d expect when spending in a store using your credit card.⁷
Venmo also uses encryption to keep your personal data safe, and offers users the opportunity to add a PIN code to their account to give multi-layer security at a device level.⁸
The biggest risk with Venmo is that you’ll fall victim to a scam.
Venmo is intended to make payments to people you know, or to spend online with authorized merchants.
If you’re asked to use Venmo to send money to a stranger, or pay when you’re buying something from an individual you’ve connected with online, it’s probably a scam. Venmo publishes a lot of information about common scams and schemes which users should know about - and avoid⁹.
Taking some time to check out anything suspicious, and avoiding those too-good-to-be-true offers is the smartest way to stay safe with Venmo.
So what is it that makes Venmo such a hit in the US? One thing that makes it stand out among a range of different P2P payment services is the social aspect to using Venmo.
Not only can you use custom emojis¹⁰ and bitmojis¹¹ when sending a payment, your payments will be shown on your timeline which your contacts can see and comment on.
This encourages conversation - although you can switch your settings to private if you’d rather your connections didn’t see how you choose to send and spend your money.
If you’re wondering if Venmo is for you, it’s worth checking out the limits and fees which may apply to your account.
Opening an account is free, as is sending money to someone through your Venmo balance or linked bank account - but you’ll pay a 3% fee if you choose to fund your payment through a linked credit card instead. You may also have to pay a 1% charge to withdraw your balance instantly to your linked bank account, or wait up to 3 business days for a free withdrawal.¹²
Where it’s available, Venmo is a simple and popular way to make payments to friends and family, and to shop online with authorized merchants. However, it’s only used for domestic payments within the US at the present moment, so you can’t get an account if you’re here in Singapore.
If you’re asked to make a Venmo payment to someone based in the US - or need to send an international payment to anywhere else in the world - check out Wise as a simple, cheap and convenient choice. You can send money in minutes, and for a low fee, to recipients all over the globe, using the real mid-market exchange rate with no markups added. See if you can save with Wise today.
- Statista - Venmo: total payment volume 2020
- Venmo Help Center - Requirements
- DBS PayNow
- DBS PayLah
- Venmo Help Center - Sending & Requesting Money
- Venmo Help Center - Standard Bank Transfers FAQ
- Venmo - Security
- Venmo blog - A Note to Our Venmo Community
- Venmo Help Center - Common Scams on Venmo
- Venmo Help Center - Custom Emojis
- Venmo Help Center - Bitmoji
- Venmo - Our fees
Sources checked on 20 November 2020
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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