How Does Venmo Make Money?

Updated on January 6, 2024

At a Glance

  • Venmo is a platform for easy peer-to-peer payments and in-app purchases, founded in 2009.
  • Allows users to send and receive money through an app without the need for physical cards.
  • Generates revenue through various means, including fees from merchants, instant transfer fees, debit card interchange fees, check cashing services, cashback programs, and earning interest on funds held in user accounts.
  • Owned by PayPal and available only in the United States.

People want easy ways to transfer and receive money nowadays, and one of their options is Venmo. But with Venmo being so widely used, many people end up wondering, “how does Vemno make money exactly?” This article will explain everything in detail to you.

What Is Venmo?

Venmo is a platform that allows you to make and receive payments. If you’ve used PayPal in the past, then you should be familiar with this type of platform. Venmo lets friends and family send money to each other through an easy-to-use app. You don’t require a card. Besides, you don’t have to look for your wallet and count how much you have to give your friend back for the restaurant meal he got for you. You just need a credit card that you can link to the app, and you’re set.

Venmo works online, so you need Internet access to send and receive money. On top of that, the platform is also great for those who want to make in-app purchases or pay for certain products or services online.

The service was founded back in 2009 by Iqram Magdon-Ismail and Andrew Kortina, who were roommates at the University of Pennsylvania. At that time, the agreement was for a text-only type of money transfer service. Later, in 2012, it became an actual app that the public could use, and it was accessible from Android phones or iPhones. Through peer-to-peer marketing, Venmo was able to make it possible for people to link their bank accounts or cards to the app.

Now, PayPal owns the app, and only people who live in the U.S. can use it.

How Does Venmo Make Money?

So, Venmo is used to help people send or receive money, but how does the app keep running? Many people wonder how Venmo is able to take their cut by letting people use their services. Are there any fees that apply when you withdraw money? Well, there are several ways Venmo makes money, and we’ll discuss them below.

Pay with Venmo

Pay with Venmo is a feature available for everyone who uses the app. Thanks to it, a user can purchase something from a certain merchant. So, if you want to make a purchase from one of the merchants that partner with Venmo, such as Urban Outfitters or Foot Locker, you can choose to pay with Venmo.

This is very convenient, especially if the user doesn’t want to use the credit card information to pay on the sites. Then, as the buyer uses Venmo to pay, a small fee applies to the order amount. Merchants are charged 2.9%, as well as $0.30 per transaction. Obviously, merchants will not hesitate to pay that fee, as it is for their benefit. By paying the fee and allowing Venmo payment, they will attract more customers, and it will still be great for them.

On top of that, there are many modern apps that do not integrate traditional banks. This means that on some sites, you may not be able to use your bank account. In this case, Venmo becomes a great option. With this in mind, it makes sense how Venmo would be able to take its cut.

Instant Transfers

Are you tired of transferring money from an e-wallet and then wait for several days until you see that amount in your bank account? Well, you can say goodbye to those days if you use Venmo, as it allows you to make instant transfers. This was announced back in 2019. Before that, transferring money to your bank would take 1-3 days, depending on the case.

When you transfer your money, you will also be charged a 1% fee on how much you send. There is a minimum fee of $0.25, and a maximum one of $10. The transfer only takes up to 30 minutes. With so many people requiring money as soon as possible, individuals are bound to use this type of instant transfer, which in return gives Venmo their share.

Interchange & Withdrawal Fees

Venmo started giving people debit cards in 2018. So, anyone who creates an account on the platform will have a debit card. With this, you’re able to go out with your friends and pay for drinks or dinner, or purchase different items. When you’re with your friends, you even have the opportunity to split the bill, which makes the Venmo app even more convenient.

The card is a Mastercard-branded one, and it allows Venmo to make money. Basically, the platform takes interchange fees from merchants. Then, the fees get split between both Venmo and Mastercard – thus, they take their share.

You can also retrieve cash, and this will charge you a small fee as well. For instance, ATM Domestic Withdrawal Fees will cost $2.50, whereas Over-the-Counter Withdrawal Fees will be $3.00.

Cash a Check

Cash a Check is a new type of service, as it was only launched in January 2021. The platform made this service available so users can then cash in their pay, as well as the stimulus checks offered by the government. There are a few requirements to make this possible, though.

You need a verified email address, and also a Venmo Debit Card or Direct Deposit enabled. To deposit the money in your account, you must take a picture of the check. First, Venmo will review it. If everything’s alright and it’s approved, the money will be deposited into your account.

For this service, Venmo will charge 1%. Also, keep in mind that you should cash in a minimum of $5.

Cashback Program

If you own a Venmo card, you will have the benefit of receiving cashback rewards from several merchants, such as Papa Johns, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chevron, and others. Through cashback programs, part of the price of the purchase will be sent back to your account. As a result, you may be more inclined to make purchases at these merchants.

As a result, the partner, aka the merchant that gives you the cashback, will pay Venmo a commission for referring the customer. As such, Venmo is able to earn from this service as well.

Cash Interest

Lastly, cash interest is also a method that allows Venmo to make some money. Venmo is able to use the cash in the accounts to lend it to different institutions. This could be a bank, for example.

Afterward, they receive interest from said bank. Statista shows that in 2019, the net interest margin was as much as 3.35% for every bank in the U.S.

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Conclusion

Venmo is an amazing app that becomes more popular as time goes by, particularly as people discover its benefits. Even though the platform allows users to send and receive money, that doesn’t stop them from taking their own cut. Withdrawals, instant transfers, and Venmo payments are some of the ways that Venmo uses to take fees from their users, which then allows them to make some money.

If you want to use Venmo, you just need to make sure you’re aware of these fees, so that you’re not taken by surprise.

How Does Venmo Make Money FAQ

What is Venmo, and how does it work?

Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal that allows users to send and receive money from friends and family using a mobile app. Users link their bank accounts or credit/debit cards to Venmo, and transactions can be made easily by selecting a recipient, entering an amount, and providing a brief description.

Does Venmo charge fees for sending and receiving money?

Venmo allows users to send money to friends and family for free when using a linked bank account or debit card. However, there may be fees associated with using a credit card or for certain types of transactions, such as payments to businesses.

How does Venmo make money?

Venmo generates revenue through the following methods:

  1. Transaction Fees: While Venmo offers free transfers when using a bank account or debit card, it charges a fee for certain transactions, such as credit card payments or payments to businesses. These fees contribute to Venmo’s revenue.
  2. Venmo Card: Venmo offers a physical debit card known as the Venmo Card. Venmo earns interchange fees from transactions made using this card, similar to traditional banks.
  3. Merchant Services: Venmo for Business allows merchants to accept payments through Venmo. Merchants may pay fees to Venmo for processing these transactions, generating revenue for the company.
  4. Instant Transfer: Venmo offers an “Instant Transfer” feature that allows users to transfer funds from their Venmo balance to their linked bank account instantly. A fee is charged for this service.
  5. Investment Income: Venmo may invest the funds in users’ Venmo accounts, generating interest or investment income.
  6. Advertising: Venmo may display targeted advertisements or offers within the app, earning advertising revenue.

What are the fees associated with using Venmo?

While many Venmo services are free, there are specific fees users should be aware of:

  • Credit Card Payments: Sending money using a credit card incurs a fee, typically around 3% of the transaction amount.
  • Business Transactions: Businesses using Venmo for Business may pay processing fees for accepting payments.
  • Instant Transfer: To transfer funds from a Venmo balance to a bank account instantly, a fee is charged. The fee amount may vary.

How does Venmo ensure the security of financial transactions?

Venmo employs security measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and account verification to protect users’ financial transactions and personal information. Users are encouraged to enable security features like PINs and fingerprint recognition on their devices for added protection.

Can I use Venmo for international transactions?

As of my knowledge cutoff date in January 2022, Venmo primarily facilitates transactions within the United States. International transactions and cross-border transfers are limited. Users should check Venmo’s updated policies and capabilities for international use, as services may evolve over time.

Is Venmo linked to PayPal?

Yes, Venmo is owned by PayPal Holdings, Inc. While they operate separately as mobile payment services, users can link their Venmo and PayPal accounts for added flexibility in transferring funds between the two platforms.

Are there any restrictions on using Venmo?

Venmo’s terms of service prohibit certain types of transactions, including those related to illegal activities, buying and selling cryptocurrencies, and payments to adult-oriented businesses, among others. Users should review Venmo’s terms and policies to understand the platform’s restrictions and guidelines.

Please note that the information provided is based on my knowledge as of January 2022, and there may have been developments or changes in Venmo’s services and fee structure since that time. It’s advisable to visit the official Venmo website or contact Venmo directly for the most up-to-date information on fees and services.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.