Modern Money Etiquette: Should Venmo Transactions Be Private or Public?
You’re one of the more than 60 million people who use Venmo because it’s seriously convenient. Whether you need to send or receive money, this savvy app allows you to quickly and easily exchange cashless payments with friends and merchants.
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However, what you might not realize is Venmo transactions are public by default. While payment amounts are not disclosed, the emojis, descriptions and time stamps that accompany each transaction can be viewed by anyone on the internet.
In an interview with CNET, Venmo revealed transactions are public by default because the digital wallet app doubles as a social network.
“We make it default because it’s fun to share [information] with friends in the social world,” a Venmo representative told CNET. “[We’ve seen that] people open up Venmo to see what their family and friends are up to.”
Your family and friends can view your public transactions, but this means strangers can also see who you’re sending money to — and receiving payments from — which can make you vulnerable to fraud.
Manny Vetti, managing partner and president of BackTaxesHelp.com, advises against keeping your Venmo transactions public.
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“I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with allowing other people to constantly see how I’m spending my money or how much money I’m spending through Venmo,” he said. “I personally believe that you should have your transactions private, because you never know who’s watching you.”
Vetti said sharing your transactions publicly can essentially invite fraud.
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“When you publicly reveal who you’re sending funds to, especially with large sums of money, you’re basically holding up a sign saying free money, come and take it with a simple hack,” he said. “The last thing you’d ever want to happen is someone accessing your private information and getting into your taxes and bank [account].”
Therefore, he advises staying on the safe side and keeping your transactions private.
How To Change Your Default Privacy Setting
You can change the privacy settings on individual Venmo transactions, but it’s safest and easiest to just switch your default preference to private. Taking this step is easy and ensures only you can access your transaction history.
To change your default privacy settings, just sign in to your Venmo account, go to “Settings,” click “Privacy” and select “Private.” Click “Save Settings” and you’re done.
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If you’ve just realized your payment history is public, you can also go back and make past transactions private. All you have to do is sign in to the app, go to “Settings,” click “Privacy” and select your preference under “Past Transactions.”
Do note, if you send a payment to another user, the transaction will be shared in their feed. However, the dollar amount will only be visible to the other person and you’ll have exclusive access to the funding source.
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Taking these steps is an important way to safeguard your finances. The general public — and in most cases, your family and friends — doesn’t need access to your Venmo payment history.
In the digital era, you can never be too safe with your money, so take every opportunity to protect yourself from fraud.
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