10/21/2015 - The Scary Thing You Don’t Understand About Venmo

Millenials love Venmo, and for good reason. The PayPal-owned app provides a way for friends to pay one another without using cash. And if one of your pals “forgets” to pay what he owes, you don’t have to resort to the awkward (and old-fashioned) step of asking for the money—the app’s “request” button will do the job for you. Those conveniences enabled Venmo to mediate some $2.4 billion worth of transactions last year. But they also come at a price: The service has taken heat for lacking security, consumer protections, and customer service. The company recently responded by adding two-factor authentication. But as of September 2015, a customer service phone number is still nowhere to be found on its “contact us” page, and the service remains ripe for fraud because of a very common misunderstanding about how the it works.

Namely, many people seem to think Venmo cash transfers happen instantly. They don’t.

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