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Permanently Deleting Your Venmo Account: An In-Depth Expert Guide

Venmo has exploded into one of the most popular peer-to-peer payment apps, with over 70 million user accounts in 2022. Its simplicity in sending and receiving money has made it a go-to choice for many digital natives. But what happens when you’re ready to close your account permanently?

Unfortunately, simply deleting the Venmo app itself does not erase or close your online account. And that abandoned account could pose security risks or unwanted retention of your personal data. Read this comprehensive 2500+ word guide covering all aspects of permanently removing your Venmo account.

We’ll tackle key topics like:

  • Venmo’s Vast Data Collection on Users’ Transactions
  • Step-by-Step Account Closure Walkthrough
  • What Actually Happens After Account Deletion
  • Alternatives Besides Complete Deactivation
  • Local Device Clearing for Former Venmo Users
  • And Much More In-Depth Analysis

Let’s get started on properly deleting your Venmo account once and for all!

Why Experts Warn About Venmo’s Privacy Policies

Payments industry analysts have sounded alarms about Venmo’s vague privacy policies for years. The peer-to-peer app collects extensive data on users’ transactions, social connections, device usage, locations, and more according to multiple investigations.

But Venmo refuses to reveal specifics on what data is gathered, how it‘s used by Venmo or parent company PayPal, and policies for retaining it after account closure.

“Venmo has access to a lot of your personal information,” explained field expert Lance Cottrell. “And you don‘t know if they are selling that information or not.”

This flocking of personal data for tens of millions of users, combined with untransparent policies for handling it, rightfully unnerves privacy advocates.

“I’m never thrilled when a company says, ‘Trust me with your data,’ without telling me anything about how they intend to use, manage or protect that data,” said senior technologist Bruce Schneier.

“[Venmo] privacy is terrible. It’s designed to publicly share everything that’s happening,” warned security leader Chris Vickery.

So while Venmo provides utility for quick peer-to-peer payments, its business model hinges on collecting exorbitant user data. And attempting to delete your account may prove harder than it seems…

Venmo Account Closure vs. Other Payment Apps

If you wish to delete your Venmo account permanently, the process only takes a few simple steps within the mobile app:

  1. Tap the profile icon in bottom right corner
  2. Tap the settings gear icon up top
  3. Choose Close Account option and confirm deletion

However, business accounts require phoning Venmo customer support for account closure instead of the app controls.

Compare this to payment services like PayPal, CashApp, Apple Pay, which allow users to permanently delete accounts fully online:

App Personal Account Deletion Business Account Deletion
Venmo Via app only Requires customer support call
PayPal Online self-service Online self-service
CashApp Online self-service Online self-service
Apple Pay Online self-service N/A – Consumer Only

As these comparisons showcase, Venmo uniquely restricts complete account deletion to its mobile application. No option exists to close an account through their website or support emails.

This gives Venmo backdoor technical means to retain user data even after an individual deletes an account in-app. More on that later…

Rapid Growth Means More Focus on Your Data

In Q3 2022 alone, Venmo processed nearly $60 billion in payment volume. And the app continues adding millions of new accounts every quarter as well.

But why does immense user and transaction volume growth matter for closing your account?

  • It likely means Venmo assigns MORE importance to hoovering up your personal financial data for internal financial models
  • Broad account usage makes account deletion more complex technically across interwoven systems
  • Sheer growth pressures can lead to data policy shortcuts or security gaps

In essence, attempting to permanently delete your Venmo account is swimming upstream against strong corporate desires to retain user payment histories and social data.

This clashes directly with individuals like yourself just wanting more privacy and control over your information.

Potential Account Security Dangers After App Deletion

Over 35% of consumers keep old unused apps still installed on their mobile devices according to analytics firm However, cybersecurity experts strongly urge fully deleting unused fintech and social apps.

  • Kept apps have backdoor access to scrape new data like contacts or locations
  • They can secretly perform activities in the background you don’t realize
  • Abandoned accounts face higher vulnerability to credential stuffing hacks
  • Forgotten about accounts means not updating apps or password managers

For payments apps especially, lingering outdated apps connected to old accounts pose massive security dangers.

  • Financial login credentials stuffed via past data breaches
  • Bank/card info secretly accessed if not revoked
  • Account wiped and reset by hackers re-accessing it
  • Remaining person funds or data stolen by cybercriminals

By completely deleting your Venmo account, you can cut off this avenues of potential compromise. No account = nothing to access anymore!

Venmo Still Retains Your Data Internally After Account Removal…

Now for the unfortunate part many Venmo users are unaware of when trying to delete their accounts – your personal payment history and some profile data is STILL retained by Venmo even after an account deactivation.

"If you close your account, Venmo also reserves the right to retain certain information about you for business and legal purposes,” a company spokesperson confirmed.

Why does Venmo continue hoarding your historical transaction info and other records internally?

  • Financial audits – Venmo must keep payment records for accounting and taxation purposes
  • Risk modeling – Aggregated payment statistics feed into Venmo’s fraud algorithms
  • Legal obligations – Regulators mandate retaining closed account records for anti-money laundering enforcement
  • Reactivation capability – Keeping user records allows reopening accounts if demanded
  • Marketing data – Closed account payment histories get included in sales pitch datasets

So in essence, Venmo “deletes” your account from visibility via the app or webpage…but comprehensive personal records continue being stored in internal databases.

Alternatives to Completely Deleting Account

Given payment histories, social connections, and other data hangs around internally even after a Venmo account deletion, are there any intermediate options before going nuclear?

Temporarily Deactivate Account – You can essentially freeze all account activity while keeping it officially open. Prevents transactions while retaining your online profile.

Enable Stronger Privacy Settings – Venmo has privacy controls allowing you to make friends list, profile, and even transactions private via your account settings. These stay private even if you later reactivate public visibility.

Remove Friends Connection – Delete all accepted friends in your connections list within Venmo. This grants them no visibility to your payments or profile.

Stop Using Venmo Payments – Simply abandon making further Venmo transactions without formally closing the account. Over time lack of additional payment data limits exposure.

Open a Brand New Account – If desired later, you can always sign up for a 100% new Venmo account with different credentials. Tedious but grants true fresh start.

Evaluate these intermediate options before jumping right to permanent deletion. They might meet your needs for additional privacy without losing Venmo access.

Delete Venmo Locally From Your Devices

Whether you fully close your online Venmo account or not, most users understandably want the app and any stored data removed from their mobile devices or computers locally as well after stopping usage.

Here’s the proper steps to clear Venmo locally from all your devices:

1. Delete Venmo app – Unlike just closing an account, removing the installed application erases all cached data stored on your phone or tablet.

2. Sign out of Venmo on any browsers – Make sure to sign out of the Venmo website via settings on all browsers across your devices to revoke access.

3. Revoke Venmo app permissions – In both iOS and Android system settings, look to revoke all special app access granted to Venmo like contacts, camera, photos, etc.

4. Change primary passwords – If you reused your Venmo password anywhere else, be sure to change those passwords everywhere to invalidate that credential.

Following this virtual scorched earth policy for locally removing Venmo provides crucial security wins whether you formally deleted your Venmo account online or not. It wipes most retained access and data.

Expanding the Conversation: Expert Q&A

We’ve explored a myriad of critical topics surrounding permanently deleting your Venmo account – still have some lingering questions? Below we tackle some frequent questions according to leading payments industry experts:

What happens to my remaining Venmo balance or gift cards if I delete my account?

"Closing a Venmo account automatically triggers a withdrawal of your current balance to the bank account or debit card on file,” explained analyst Shea Walker. “Any gift card balance gets forfeited back to Venmo via the user agreement.”

Can I delete just my Venmo transaction history without closing account?

“No, regular Venmo users cannot selectively or partially delete transaction history data the way account admins can in other payment apps,” said FinTech expert Leslie Klein. “It’s essentially all or nothing – delete the account and lose visibility of payments data or keep the entire history.”

Is my payment or friends data deleted if I just uninstall the Venmo mobile app?

“A common misconception – deleting the Venmo app does not itself delete or close that online account,” cautioned social privacy advocate Jordan York. “All personal data remains intact and accessible on Venmo’s servers to anyone with account credentials.”

What’s the easiest way to create a new Venmo account after deleting my old one?

“Rejoining Venmo post-account deletion is straightforward – just sign up with a different email address and bank card on file to essentially recreate everything,” said investigative consumer journalist Ron Gluzman. “But history and friends would start completely fresh versus restoring a closed account.”

The Definitive Game Plan to Removing Venmo

We’ve gone far beyond a typical “How-to” guide in fully examining permanent Venmo account deletion. To recap, here’s the definitive checklist whether closing your account officially or just uninstalling locally:

Deleting Online Account

✅ Back up any Venmo data wanted for personal records

✅ Withdraw current balance to a bank account

✅ Delete friends/contacts within Venmo app

✅ Locate Close Account option and confirm deletion

✅ Contact Customer Service for business accounts

Local App/Data Removal

✅ Delete Venmo app from all mobile devices

✅ Sign out of Venmo on all browsers used

✅ Revoke app permissions and access to phone data

✅ Change the password for any re-used credentials

Following this comprehensive strategy allows properly severing ties with Venmo at both the account and installed application levels. Execute these technical and privacy best practices for assured security wins!

Parting Thoughts

We explored every aspect around permanently removing accounts from Venmo in this deep-dive guide. Our examination revealed just how much user payment histories and friend data remains internally retained by Venmo – despite closing accounts formally.

Hopefully this full picture better informs your decisions around whether to definitively break things off with Venmo or explore intermediate options. Remember that deleting your Venmo account requires intentionally locating the specific app setting to confirm this final significant act.

Please reach out with any other questions!