Venmo exchanges money between users, whether by connecting directly to a bank or acting as a temporary account for funds. Thanks to their excellent security, the ease of payment (if someone is in your phone’s contact list, you can quickly send or request money from them) makes Venmo an excellent way to settle small debts: pay your friend for a meal, buy a refrigerator, or send the security deposit for a house.
However, the app also contains an interesting feature: public transactions.
When finalizing a transaction in Venmo, you’re given the option to make the purchase open to the Public, visible to Friends, or entirely Private. However, the default is set to Public:
There’s no need to be concerned yet! As shown in the two pictures above, Venmo protects user privacy by only releasing four pieces of information: the profile picture of the transaction’s initiator, names of the people involved, how long ago the exchange occurred, and a short, user-created description of the purpose. Also, don’t forget that the privacy setting is up to the user’s choice.
Still, the question is: why does Venmo put transactions in the open?
Surprisingly, Venmo says little about this issue, which can be seen by visiting the Venmo Help Center. Their self-description simply notes the app is, “a social way to pay your friends when you owe them money and don’t want to deal with cash”.
For some, this may be too much. It’s understandable that public transactions come dangerously close to releasing financial information.
For others, this may be seen as a sign of changing times: while the idea of protecting personal information won’t disappear, the age of technology and digital information encourages people to put their information in the open. Why shouldn’t financial transactions be next?
Of course, it’s your choice to decide! If you’re connected to people who use Venmo regularly but you don’t want anything open to the public, go into menu, choose “Settings,” and head to “Privacy.” From there, you can alter the default setting for transactions from public to friends or private. Not only that, but it’s possible to alter the setting for all past exchanges as well, and block certain users.
While some people may be fine with Public transactions, we hope this better informs your personal decision!