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Venmo is a very popular digital payment app, used by about 27 million people. It’s used for peer-to-peer payments (sending money to friends and family), as well as paying merchants.
Most people don’t realize that Venmo transactions are public by default! Anyone can see the usernames of the individuals in a transaction, as well as the text, emojis, and time stamps of the transactions (the dollar amount is not visible). Bad actors can learn a lot about you by seeing your transaction history.
If someone takes control of your Venmo account, they can send money to others (or themselves).
For these reasons, you must improve the Venmo security and privacy on your Venmo account. Let’s walk through them.
For some settings, I don’t have a recommendation related to security or privacy, so I don’t describe them in this guide. For those, feel free to keep the default, or choose based on your preferences.
This guide was last updated for Venmo 7.32.0 on an iPhone running iOS 12.2. The settings and steps may differ based on the version of the Venmo app and device.
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Improve Venmo Security And Privacy Through Venmo Settings
In the Venmo app, tap the hamburger icon (3 horizontal lines) in the top left. Then, tap Settings.
Tap Preferences to set your preferred payment methods for paying friends and online purchases. It’s better to choose one of your credit cards rather than one of your debit cards or bank accounts, because credit cards generally have strong fraud protection and remediation. But note that Venmo says,
payments funded by credit cards are subject to our standard 3% fee. Making purchases from authorized merchants with Venmo is always free, even if you use a credit card.Venmo
Set your Default Privacy Setting to Private.
At the bottom of the screen, tap Past Transactions and then Change All to Private.
Many notifications are on by default. Review the list and adjust as you’d like.
Under Email Notifications, I recommend enabling the options under Security: Login Attempted and Add Remembered Device.
Here you’ll see merchants you’ve connected to your Venmo. For any you no longer need, select the merchant and tap Disconnect.
Touch ID & PIN (iOS) or PIN Code & Fingerprint (Android)
I highly recommend enabling this option and adding a PIN to the Venmo app. This will improve your Venmo security significantly.
Tap Change Password. Set a long, strong password (20+ characters, with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters). I recommend using a password manager, such as LastPass, to create and store your password.
If you see any devices that you no longer want your Venmo account to remember, click Edit, then remove the devices.
Sessions and Apps linked
Log into your Venmo account online, and go to Settings > Security.
Review the Sessions (places you’re currently logged into Venmo). For any that shouldn’t remain logged in, click Logout or Remove.
Review the Apps linked (apps that have access to your Venmo account). Remove any that no longer need access.
Venmo Privacy And Security: Using Venmo Safely
Make sure your mobile device has a strong passcode or PIN. This is a good security practice even if you set a PIN on the Venmo app.
Be careful whom you send money to. Use the same precautions you would when doing any money transfer or online shopping. When buying, I recommend using a payment app that provides better buyer protection, such as PayPal, or a credit card.
If you use someone else’s device (computer, phone, tablet, etc.) to log into your Venmo account, be sure to log out when you’re finished! Otherwise, the other person can use your Venmo account after you leave.
Keep the amount of money you store in Venmo (your Venmo balance) to a minimum. Unlike traditional bank accounts, Venmo accounts aren’t FDIC-insured.
As with any financial account, it’s a good idea to regularly review your transactions, watching for anything suspicious. If you notice anything questionable, contact Venmo.