The way money changes hands has evolved over the years. People have gone from giving cash or writing checks to the more popular digital transfers for money exchanges. The latest addition to tech-savvy banking among college students is the mobile app Venmo.
According to their official website, Venmo is a “digital wallet” that gives users the ability to virtually send and receive money on a smartphone by linking to a checking account, a credit card or debit card. For students like junior Mary Peggins, it’s a new convenient way to repay friends.
“I think it’s good for those people who don’t carry around cash with them to pay people back,” Peggins said. “I do know a lot of other banks are coming up with a same kind of concept, but this one’s great because it’s not associated with a bank.”
Owned by Paypal, Venmo enables money withdrawals from a credit card or checking account to be deposited to another Venmo user’s account.
While receiving money is free, there is a 3 percent service fee for payments using credit cards or non-major debit cards.
Part of the convenience is in the app’s claim that money is sent and transferred within seconds to the receiver’s account.
The money can then remain in the app account or be transferred to a bank account within one business day.
Venmo also features news feed that shows when a payment is made.
“It was super convenient and easy,” junior Anna Stewart said.
Stewart first used the app so an out of state family member could pay her for work she did.
Freshman Jill Sizemore believes the app makes it easier to repay friends and family.
“I think it’s a good way to just give people the exact cash back that you borrowed from them,” Sizemore says. When asked about the cons of the app, Sizemore had none to mention.
“I think it’s a cool app. I think it can be very beneficial for people instead of just giving cash to people,” Sizemore says.
SPU Computer and Information Services Microsystems Analyst James Lim discussed how safe and secure Venmo is.
“It’s owned by Paypal which is a trustworthy company and it’s owned by Ebay, so really it’s not like an app that came out of nowhere that some guy in his mom’s basement made,” Lim says.
When money is sent to a person’s Venmo account it charges the debit or credit card linked to the account the same way a store charges a card. The app is as safe as using a card when making a store purchase, according to Lim.
Despite this ease and convenience, Lim cautioned against Venmo’s flaws.
“The problem I think with Venmo is that… it acts like a pseudo bank account, but it doesn’t have the same level of security of a bank,” Lim says.
Lim also noted that when a user receives money it doesn’t go directly into their bank account, but instead is held in their Venmo account.
Additionally, reviews posted to Apple’s app store noted cases in which Venmo has closed users’ accounts without reason, trapping funds in the app with no way to withdraw them.
“It’s really prevalent, at least in my circle of friends,” Lim says. “But it does need to improve its security just a little bit because you are dealing with people’s money.”