Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platform that allows the use of credit cards, unlike one of its main competitors—Zelle.
Like other P2P platforms, Venmo requires you to add a funding source for payments sent to family, friends, or merchants. You can directly connect your bank account to Venmo or you can add a debit card or credit card. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, does not charge fees when you pay someone using your bank account or debit card, but fees do apply to credit card transactions.
Using a Credit Card on Venmo
Venmo charges a 3% fee when you use your credit card to send money to family and friends, but there is no fee if you are using your credit card to make an online purchase from a business that accepts Venmo. Online merchants who accept Venmo typically will have a Venmo-branded payment button on the site, or there will be a Venmo option after first selecting PayPal as the payment method.
While you can use a credit card to send payments, you can’t transfer funds from your Venmo account to your credit card. Instead, you must transfer funds to your bank account or your debit card, and there’s a fee to transfer funds to your debit card.
Venmo’s user agreement states that your credit card issuer may treat a transaction as a cash advance if you use your credit card to pay someone via Venmo. That same user agreement also states that it is a violation of Venmo’s terms of service to use the service to give yourself a cash advance or help someone else to do so.
Cash advances with a credit card typically carry an upfront fee and a higher interest rate while beginning to accrue interest immediately. So you may want to check with your credit card issuer before sending a payment, to determine whether or not the transaction will be treated as a cash advance.
Which Credit Card Should You Use on Venmo?
Using a credit card on Venmo to pay family and friends is rarely, if ever, worth it because of the 3% transaction fee. However, using your credit card on Venmo can help you reach the minimum spending requirement for a signup bonus on a new credit card, which could outweigh the 3% fee. Even so, there probably are lower-cost ways to reach your minimum spend.
If you’re shopping at a retailer that accepts Venmo, adding your best rewards credit card to your Venmo account could help you make the most of your credit card rewards.
Keep in mind that tiered rewards are based on merchant categories. For example, your rewards program might dictate that to earn higher rewards on dining purchases, the transaction must come through with a merchant category code (MCC) tied to restaurants or eating places. The merchant category on Venmo purchases may not come through with dining-related MCCs, meaning you may not earn the maximum amount of rewards. In that case, you might just want to use your physical credit card, but having it at the ready on Venmo could come in handy.
Make sure the card you add to your account has enough available credit for the types of transactions you’ll make so you’ll avoid denied transactions or penalties for exceeding your credit limit.
Venmo limits the number of credit and debits cards you can have on your account in a rolling six-month period of time. You can have no more than four active or deleted cards on your account in the past six months. If you remove your fourth card from your account, for example, you may not be able to replace it with another card for a few months. Keep this in mind if you plan to rotate your cards periodically in order to max out your credit card rewards.
Since credit cards have stronger fraud protection than debit cards and bank accounts, using your credit card can be more secure than using a debit card on Venmo. Credit cards often have zero fraud liability, which prevents you from being accountable for unauthorized purchases made to your card. Adding a PIN to your Venmo account also can make your account more secure.
Venmo encrypts all information on your account, but it also states on its website that it is intended to be used as a means of transferring money to people you know. Payments to people you do not know or businesses you are not familiar with are discouraged.