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How to Use Venmo: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide with Visuals

Venmo is the popular peer-to-peer payment app owned by PayPal that allows you to easily send and receive funds. With over 60 million users as of 2022, Venmo has become a ubiquitous way for people to pay each other back, split bills and share costs.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to use Venmo for quick and convenient money transfers. I‘ll provide step-by-step instructions for making payments, requesting money and adjusting settings. By the end, you‘ll be a pro at sending funds seamlessly!

Overview of Venmo

Let‘s start with a quick rundown of what exactly Venmo is and why it‘s so widely used:

  • Venmo is a free app that lets you digitally send and receive money from friends, family or contacts. It‘s owned by PayPal but has a separate mobile app.
  • You can easily search for people using their name, phone number or username. Venmo connects to your contacts and Facebook friends.
  • The app shows a social feed of payments, which are public by default. You can adjust privacy in the settings.
  • Transfers are fast – usually instant between Venmo accounts or 1-2 days from a bank. Much quicker than old-school methods like checks!
  • Popular for splitting bills and costs, like rent, dinner, gifts or reimbursements. Allows simple group payments.
  • Venmo is free for bank or balance transfers between individuals. Debit cards have a fee but are instant.

Now let‘s get into the steps for sending your first payment!

How to Send Money on Venmo

Sending money only takes a few taps once you have the mobile app set up:

  1. Open the Venmo app and tap the pay icon in the top right corner. This looks like a "$" inside a circle.
  2. Search for whoever you want to pay. You can search by name, username or phone number. Recently paid people will show as well.
    Venmo pay icon
  3. Enter the amount you wish to pay.

    • Take note that payments between Venmo balances or bank accounts are free.
    • Debit card payments cost a fee (usually 1-2% of the total) but are instant.
    • You can also choose which funding source to use here if desired.
  4. (Optional) Write a short public note about what the payment is for, like "Dinner last night" or "Electric bill."
    Venmo enter amount
  5. Tap Pay when ready to send.
  6. Choose whether this will be a public or private payment using the toggle switch.

    • Public means it appears in Venmo‘s social feed for others to see.
    • Private keeps it discreet between just you and the recipient.
  7. Review the details and confirm the payment.

That‘s it! The money will instantly debit from your Venmo balance or connected bank/card and credit to your recipient right away.

Here are some tips for seamlessly sending payments:

  • Double check the recipient name or username to avoid mistakes.
  • Use clear payment notes like "Electric bill" so recipients understand the context.
  • Send a heads up text if it‘s important the person immediately approves the payment.
  • Attach fun emojis and photos to your payments to liven things up!

How to Request Money

Requesting money is just as easy as sending it on Venmo. It‘s a convenient way to ask contacts to pay you back or reimburse you for an expense.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open Venmo and tap the "Request" icon instead of the "Pay" icon.
  2. Search for and select the person you want to request money from.
  3. Enter the amount you are requesting.
  4. Write an optional note explaining the request.
  5. Tap Request to send the money request notification.

The recipient will get a notification that you‘ve requested money and can then review and approve or deny the request. It‘s up to them whether to send the funds.

Use Venmo‘s request feature for:

  • Friends who owe you their share of a dinner or activity
  • Asking roommates for their portion of rent or bills
  • A reimbursement for buying a shared item, like office supplies

Paying Multiple People at Once

If you need to split a payment between several people, like dividing up a dinner bill, Venmo has an easy way to pay multiple contacts at once.

Here‘s how:

  1. Start a new payment as normal.
  2. Select the first recipient you wish to pay.
  3. Tap the "+" icon to add additional recipients. You can add up to 50 people.
    Venmo multiple people
  4. Enter the total amount you wish to pay. Venmo will evenly split this across everyone added.
  5. Add an optional group note.
  6. Tap Pay when ready to send to all recipients.

The payment total will automatically divide and distribute to each contact for fast group payments!

Sending Money Without Adding Funds

A common misconception is that you need to manually add or deposit money into your Venmo account first before making payments.

This isn‘t necessary! Here‘s how it works:

  • Venmo is connected directly to your funding sources like bank accounts or debit/credit cards.
  • When you send a payment, Venmo will simply pull the funds directly from your connected bank or card.
  • You can check which source it defaults to or change it as needed.
  • As long as you have the app set up with a payment method, you can send funds without pre-loading your Venmo balance.

So don‘t worry about having to transfer money in advance in order to make payments. The money will debit right from your existing accounts when you pay someone!

Adjusting Your Privacy Settings

Venmo payments are visible by default on the public social feed, but you can change this to keep your payments private. Here‘s how to adjust the settings:

Past Payments

  1. Tap your profile icon in the top right.
  2. Go to Settings > Privacy.
  3. Under Past Payments, tap to change from Public to Private or Friends Only.

Future Payments

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy
  2. Under Default Privacy Setting, choose your preferred level:

    • Public (default)
    • Friends Only
    • Private

Now your payments will only be visible between you and the recipient per your chosen setting. Keep it private or limit to friends for more discretion.

Speed of Venmo Transfers

One major advantage of Venmo is the quick transfer speed, especially compared to old-fashioned methods like mailing checks which take a week or more.

Here are the typical Venmo transfer timeframes:

  • Between Venmo accounts: Instant
  • From bank account: 1-3 business days
  • From debit card: Instant but with fee

So you can expect money sent through Venmo to clear within minutes or a couple days at most. Much faster than other money transfer options!

Transfer Type Estimated Time
Venmo balance Instant
Bank account 1-3 business days
Debit card Instant*

*Debit card transfers incur a 1-2% fee

Venmo vs. Other Payment Apps

How does Venmo compare to other top payment apps like Cash App, Zelle or PayPal? Here‘s a quick breakdown:

App P2P Fees Speed Features
Venmo None between individuals Fast Social feed, emojis
Cash App None Instant Bitcoin, stocks
Zelle None Usually instant Built into banking apps
PayPal 2.9% + $0.30 domestic 1-3 days Commerce, online payments

Overall, Venmo stands out for its ease of use, quick transfers, and fun social experience between friends. The biggest downside is lack of buyer/seller protections for goods payments. Use Venmo for personal transfers and PayPal for commerce.

Tips for Using Venmo Effectively

Here are my top recommendations for getting the most out of Venmo based on extensive personal experience:

  • Add useful payment notes – They give helpful context to recipients.
  • Adjust privacy settings to your comfort level – Keep transactions private or limited to friends only for discretion.
  • Split bills easily by using the "Multiple Recipients" feature. Great for groups!
  • Transfer from bank accounts when possible – Avoid card fees unless you need instant speed.
  • Contact support right in the Venmo app if you ever have an issue or question.

Ready to Master Venmo?

I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of how to use Venmo for quick and easy money transfers. The app makes it simple to pay people back, split costs, and share expenses with friends.

With Venmo‘s intuitive mobile interface and instant or fast transfers, it‘s no wonder why it has become one of the most popular peer-to-peer payment apps.

Now you have the complete scoop on sending and requesting money, adjusting privacy, paying groups, and more. Ready to start Venmoing today? Just download the app, connect a bank or card, and start sending funds seamlessly.