App review: Venmo “The social check-work”

Garrett Kluever, Biz & Tech Editor

Venmo, owned by Pay-Pal, is a person-to-person payment app that allows users to give and request money between friends or family via a connection to their bank account. What sets Venmo apart is the social media aspect of the app, allowing you to comment on, like and share payments publicly.

The app is designed for ease, all users need is another friend with the application and both parties agreeing to the transactions for the money to trade. The app connects to users contacts to find people using the app, and also suggests people connect with Facebook for a greater list of connections. Users can still transfer money and accept payments to people whom they are not friends with on the app but it takes a little longer to complete.

The added layer of social media to the app really brings users back to using it more. Each payment has a memo with it that explains what the money is for, like a memo on a check. This proves to be hilarious because you can make it anything you want, like giving $5 to Trent for “adulting-things”. It’s basically like a caption for your payment. Along with the ability to share over Facebook and Twitter, gives the app more life and reach instead of just transferring money.

Venmo doesn’t charge any money for depositing and withdrawing from users’ checking account attached to the app; however, it does charge a 3 percent fee on payments taken from credit cards and also may not work with smaller card companies. Venmo is also available as a payment option for apps that have integrated it as an option, but that may also include 3rd party fees depending on the vendor.

The tap and pay process with the app is effortless and more efficient than trying to split a bill, divide checks or paying back money with cash. The app works best if users have a consistent friend or work group, that all use Venmo. The app loses its luster though if someone does not have it downloaded. Users have to then pay back or split using the “old school” methods. But as with any product, it’s safe to assume not everyone is using it. Users will still most likely end up paying with regular methods and using the app as a happy convenience.

As with any online finance storage, users still put themselves at risk if the company’s data is compromised, such as in the recent Equifax hack. This is a case by case basis, but buyer beware the likelihood of this is greater now than ever.

Overall, I give Venmo 4 out of 5 stars. If you find yourself with a group connected to the app, this is one of the most enjoyable and simple payment apps on the market. The social aspect adds a layer to the process that encourages fun and sharing. The limited functionality however ensures that you will still have to keep cash and change around. After all, you can’t put all your moneybags in one basket.