You can use a credit card on Venmo, but it could result in a 3% transaction fee. Learn how to avoid the fee and use the card safely.
Over 83 million people use Venmo, a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app that allows you to send money to family, friends and businesses using a debit card or credit card. So you can use a credit card on Venmo – but should you?
In this guide, we’ll cover that question, including the benefits and downsides of using credit cards on Venmo. We’ll also examine how to set up a credit card payment on the app, credit card safety and how to use your card for maximum benefit on Venmo.
What is Venmo?
Venmo is a P2P payment service and social app rolled into one. The company, which is owned by PayPal, allows you to send or receive money when you don’t want to deal with cash. The app is commonly used to split bills, allowing you to pay your roommate half of the rent, pay for your share of a dinner bill and so on.
You can also use Venmo to purchase goods and services from authorized merchants using your bank account or credit card, a Venmo Mastercard Debit Card or Venmo Credit Card, or as a payment method on partner apps and websites.
Should you use a credit card on Venmo?
You can use a credit card on Venmo, but it may not be the best idea. As with any financial product or service, it’s always a good practice to weigh the benefits and drawbacks as they relate to your unique financial situation before making a decision.
- Earn credit card rewards: You may be able to reap more perks and rewards, like cash bonuses, cash back or travel discounts, when you use a rewards credit card as a payment source on Venmo.
- Helps build your credit: Since your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO credit score, using your card regularly and then paying your credit card bill on time each month could help you build a positive credit history.
- Avoid using your checking account: If your checking account is low on funds, you might want to use your credit card as a payment source on Venmo. While the financial flexibility can help you in a bind, it could increase the likelihood of incurring debt, so be careful not to spend money you don’t have.
- Fees: Venmo charges a 3% fee when you use your credit card to send money to friends and family. By contrast, it’s completely free to send money using your bank account, debit card or Venmo balance.
- Possible cash advance interest rates: Some credit card companies may view the money you send to friends and family as a cash advance and charge you an additional dollar amount or percentage rate fee along with a higher interest rate.
- Could add to debt: Venmo makes it easy to send money to any person or business. Using a credit card as your Venmo payment source could make it easier to acquire debt.
How to use a credit card on Venmo
You can change your payment method at any time before you send money or pay for a purchase on Venmo. Here’s how to select a credit card as your payment method.
- Tap on the “You” tab in the bottom right corner of the Venmo app.
- Go to the “Settings” gear in the top right corner.
- Then tap “Payment Methods.”
- Select an existing card or tap “Add a bank or card” and enter your card’s information.
- Once the credit card is linked to your Venmo account, you’ll have the option of using the card for future transactions.
Venmo allows you to add most major credit cards as a payment source, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa cards registered in your name. Keep in mind, Venmo or your card issuer may decline a card for unavailable funds or fraud prevention.
Is it safe to use a credit card on Venmo?
Venmo uses encryption to protect your private account information, and like banks and other payment services, they monitor your account activity to help identify unauthorized transactions. But, Venmo advises users on its website that their service is meant to facilitate payments between friends and family you trust and to avoid paying for goods and services with businesses other than authorized Venmo merchants.
Your transactions may be more secure on Venmo if you use a credit card as your payment source instead of a debit card. That’s because credit cards typically provide stronger protections for consumers than debit cards. Major credit card issuers offer zero fraud liability, which means you won’t be held accountable if someone uses your card to make unauthorized purchases in your name.
No matter how you make payments on Venmo, you should take preventative measures to protect your money and your identity. Set up a PIN or multi-factor authentication to add another layer of protection and safeguard against would-be thieves. Never log into your Venmo account when you are connected to public WiFi, such as at a coffee shop, library or airport. Consider opting into text notifications so that you can stay on top of purchase activity, transfers and log-in attempts.
How to get the most out of using a credit card on Venmo
Here’s how to optimize your credit card use on Venmo to avoid fees and get the most value:
- Avoid a fee by using an American Express credit card with the Amex app: American Express has a new feature, called “Send and Split,” which it developed in partnership with Venmo and PayPal. When you add your credit card to Venmo using the process outlined above, you’ll have the option to link your American Express app. According to Venmo, “we charge no fee for sending money using your Amex credit cards” when you select this option.
- Use your credit card when it doesn’t cost you: If you use another credit card besides American Express, only use it when it doesn’t cost you a fee. In other words, use the card when purchasing from a Venmo-authorized merchant, as you won’t incur a fee. Remember, using a credit card to Venmo money to friends and family triggers a fee equal to 3% of the transaction amount.
- Pay your credit card balance in full each month: If you don’t pay your balance each month, you’ll accrue interest charges on your purchases, which will likely negate the value of any rewards you earn by using a credit card on Venmo.
What can you use instead of Venmo?
Not sure if Venmo is for you? Here are a few other P2P payment services that may be a better fit for you.
PayPal is the original P2P payment service that made it easy to send money to people you know. You can still use your PayPal balance or bank transfer as a payment method, and it won’t cost you a penny. However, the company charges a 2.9% fee (plus a $0.30 flat charge for USD transactions) when you pay using a credit or debit card.
Although Zelle is an app, many users discover it through their banks since Zelle partners with most major banking institutions. Since Zelle is compatible with so many banks and credit unions, you can easily transfer money directly from your checking account to the accounts of friends or businesses without needing to use a third-party app. Zelle also allows you to send payments with your credit card without incurring a fee from Zelle, but it’s a good idea to contact your bank or credit union and ask if they’ll hit you with extra fees.
Apple Pay integrates with iPhone making it easy to send payments to friends, family or retailers. For example, if your friend messages you requesting $25 for your half of a lunch tab, you’ll receive a pop-up notification prompting you to send that payment right now. The service accepts several payment methods, including most credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Card and more. You won’t pay a fee if you use a credit card to pay a business, but Apple will charge a 3% fee if you transfer money to an individual using your credit card.
Venmo is one of the most widely used P2P payment services available, and it’s extremely easy and convenient to use. The service makes it easy to use a credit card on Venmo, which may appeal to you if you’re looking to get more perks and benefits from your rewards credit card. Just remember, you’ll likely incur a 3% transaction fee if you’re using your credit card to send money to friends and family.
If you want to use a credit card on Venmo, follow the safety tips mentioned above, as well as Venmo’s advice to only use the service for payments to people you trust and Venmo-authorized merchants.