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How to Sign Up and Use Venmo: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Sign Up and Use Venmo: A Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to sending money to friends and family, gone are the days of cash and checks. Instead, the Venmo world has arrived and with it come some of the easiest ways to transfer money.

A PayPal-owned brand, Venmo has seen its popularity skyrocket over the past few years as more and more people utilize digital payments. According to reports, Venmo ended 2022 with more than 83 million users which put it among the most-used apps in the United States. 

Freeing all of its users up from carrying cash, using Venmo has become the new way to pay someone back when splitting dinner or a cab ride home. Do you want to make a purchase online through Craigslist? Asking someone to Venmo you now is not only accepted, but expected as one of the most secure and private ways to transfer money.

So, how does this cash-free system work? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sign up and start using Venmo. 

How to Sign Up for Venmo

Signing up for Venmo is as easy as it gets, and from start to finish, you should be online and ready to transfer money in just a few minutes. The most common way to use Venmo is through the Android or iOS application. 

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Start by downloading the Android application from the Google Play Store or the iOS application from the App Store. 
  2. As soon as the app opens, regardless of whether it is Android or iOS, you have two options to choose from: sign up using an email address or sign up using Facebook. You should select whichever one is right for you. 
  3. Through the next few screens you will need to complete the registration process including creating a secure password as well as adding your legal name, email address, and verifying your phone number. Verifying your phone number is critical as it’s the most used method to verify you are sending money to the right person. 
  4. As soon as you are into the app and have verified your phone number, the next step is to add a bank account or credit card for transferring money. 
how to sign up and use venmo
First, download Venmo.
how to sign up and use venmo
Sign in or create an account.
how to sign up and use venmo
Enter and verify your phone number.
how to sign up and use venmo
Add a bank account or credit card.

Adding Payment Methods

Having signed up for Venmo, the next step and the most important one is to add some type of payment method. Venmo accepts various forms of payment including a U.S.-based checking account, credit debit card, or prepaid debit card. All of these methods are good for transferring money but should you want to receive money and transfer it out of Venmo, the only way to do that is to a bank (checking) account. 

Checking Account

To add a checking account, it’s recommended that you use a computer and go to the Venmo homepage and log in using the same information you saved for the mobile app. 

Follow these steps:

  1. Start by opening the smartphone app, clicking on Me and locating on the screen the Add a bank or card instruction.
  2. Once you in the screen, tap on Bank and select your preferred verification method by choosing between the two different verification methods available: 
  • Instant Verification will allow each Venmo user to sign into their bank account through the Venmo app and verify they are the bank account owner. Assuming your bank is eligible for the instant verification process, you will be able to start money transfers immediately. 
  • A Microtransfer process enables Venmo to send a few dollars to your bank account in varying amounts which can then be verified on the Venmo website. If you put in the exact amount that was deposited, Venmo will verify your account and allow you to start making transfers. 

It’s important that as you are adding your routing and account numbers, they are added exactly as they are written on a check, otherwise verification will fail. Additionally, and wisely so, Venmo recommends that anyone using a checking account verify it before they transfer any funds so no payments or transfers are lost. 

One additional note is that you can also choose between two different options when you add a bank account. Instant will transfer any balance immediately but may incur a small fee whereas 1-3 business days will not require any fee. 

how to sign up and use venmo
Click on the Me tab at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, then select Add a bank or card.
how to sign up and use venmo
Add your bank or credit card by following the prompts.

Credit Card

Adding a credit card is roughly the same process as above and the easiest way to go about doing so is through the smartphone app.

  1. When you are using the app, look for the Me tab and tap on either your profile picture or initials
  2. Next, go to the Wallet section and look for the option to Add bank or card and tap on Card. 
  3. At this point, you can either scan your credit card using your smartphone’s camera or add your card information manually. 

As a reminder, anyone who uses a credit card for Venmo is subject to the company’s standard 3% fee. This fee is waived if Venmo is used for any purchases from a merchant that has an authorized relationship with Venmo already in place. 

how to sign up and use venmo
Go to Me and click Add a bank or card.
how to sign up and use venmo
Add your bank or credit card.
how to sign up and use venmo
Click Next and verify.
how to sign up and use venmo
Enter your bank or card details by following the prompts.

How Much Money Can You Send With Venmo?

As far as anyone knows, the only people you will ever engage with on Venmo will be honest. However, Venmo also knows there should be limits to provide a little protection and so they have provided personal profile bank transfer limits to provide a sense of security. 

If you do not complete any security verification, you are capped to a weekly spending limit of $299.99. This applies to both person-to-person payments as well any payments you could make to an authorized merchant. Assuming you have completed verification, you can up your weekly spending to $60,000 per week on the Venmo app. You also have a flexible $7,000 limit on using Venmo at any online merchant checkout or inside another app. 

For any bank transfers you wish to make, Venmo caps transfers to a bank account to $999.99 per week in the event you have not yet completed identity verification. When verification is complete, this limit increases to $19,999.99 as well as a $5,000 transfer limit. Attempting to transfer more than $5,000 will require multiple transfers. 

how to sign up and use venmo
Venmo limits spending depending on your account and where the transaction is made.

How Secure is Venmo?

Whenever you have an app that includes potentially significant monetary exchanges, security and privacy should be a primary concern. The good news is that Venmo takes security very seriously. The company focuses on its bank-level encryption to help protect your account information as well as monitor for any activity it might suspect is unauthorized. 

On the app itself, you should secure it from anyone looking to do harm by using either PIN or fingerprint-based login options. In addition, the Venmo app offers two-factor authentication which should be one of the first steps any Venmo user takes as soon as they download and register for the app. 

The verification process itself is another step toward security, requiring new and existing users to verify either a credit card or bank account in order to successfully initiate a transfer or receive any money. 

Syncing Contacts on Venmo

As an app that often uses a contact list on a smartphone, Venmo also offers its users an opportunity to opt out of letting app users from being identifiable by another Venmo user. You can set the app as private and hide from anyone who might have you in a contact list or just set up Venmo so only a select group of friends can identify your account. 

how to sign up and use venmo
Venmo gives you the opportunity to access and sync contacts.

Avoid Losing Money

The most important thing about using Venmo is to make sure you are secure against losing money. To give yourself the best chance at safety, make good use of these tips. 

The first is to make sure your password is not only unique, but something no one will guess. Even if you use a fingerprint ID to login, you may need to use your password from time to time, so make it difficult to guess. The second tip is to make sure two-factor authentication is enabled. As noted above, this should be the first thing you do.

The next best advice is to use a credit card instead of a debit card. Assuming you don’t want to use a bank account, you have far more protection using a credit card rather than a debit card where money is instantly deducted from a bank account.  

Monitoring your notifications for account activity is another good way to stay safe with the Venmo app. If you receive a notification about something suspicious, immediately look at your transactions and then reach out to Venmo support. 

Who Can Use Venmo? 

As of March 2023, Venmo is only available to U.S.-based users. The company recommends that anyone who wants to make or receive payments while traveling internationally use PayPal, which allows for international transfers. Venmo has not provided a timeline of when or if it will ever be available for international use. 

Does Venmo Have Any Fees? 

While a good portion of Venmo’s person-to-person payment transfers is free of charge, there are some exceptions. 

If you send money to someone using a credit card, there is a 3% fee for this transfer. If you add money to your account using the cash-a-check feature for payroll and government checks, there is a 1% fee or a minimum $5 fee, whichever is higher. Should you add money using the cash-a-check feature for faster check deposits, there is a 5% fee or a minimum of $5. 

If you need to make an electronic withdrawal and transfer money from your Venmo account to a verified debit or bank account using the Instant Transfer option, there is a 1.75% fee (minimum $0.25, maximum of $25). 

how to sign up and use venmo
Venmo has different fees depending on where you are and how you want to send your money.

Wrapping Up

As a payment transfer service, Venmo has jumped to the top of the pile as far as familiarity and popularity. It’s so popular that Venmo-ing someone has almost become something of a verb as Googling is to search on the web.

The biggest hope is that the company will find the right opportunity to create an international platform and boost its user base to create a truly global payment transfer service. It might be hesitant to do so based on PayPal’s international popularity but there is a strong argument to be made for both services having an international presence.

Regardless of when Venmo goes international, it will continue to solidify its place as the go-to payment transfer service in the United States.

And for a helpful video on the topic, simply check out the one below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Venmo to pay for something on Amazon?

Yes! As of October 2022, Amazon announced that Venmo users will be able to make payments through its platform after adding their account as a payment option. 

Is it safe to link Venmo to a bank account?

With over 83 million users, Venmo has not yet seen significant levels of malicious activity or privacy breaches. Using the right levels of verification, strong passwords, as well as two-factor authentication, and you should be safe online. 

What kind of relationship exists between Venmo and PayPal?

PayPal wholly acquired Venmo in December 2013 for a deal worth more than $800 million dollars. Venmo and PayPal continue to co-exist as two separate payment options.

Do you have to have a bank account to use Venmo?

Not at all as long as you have a credit card, debit card, or prepaid credit card, you should be able to use Venmo without a bank account. 

How do you find someone to transfer money to on Venmo?

This is much easier than you think and it’s either by their phone number or a username. Every Venmo user has a unique username that is set up when a new account is created.

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