In our largely digital culture, we often need to send someone money or pay for something in person, when we don’t have cash on hand. Luckily, there is no shortage of digital or app-based payment options, but even with all the competition in that particular market, there are two heavyweights that most people use, Venmo and PayPal. This has evolved to the point that both brands have become a common meme verb. “Just Venmo me.”
If you are thinking about picking a new digital payment app, you might be wondering whether PayPal or Venmo is going to be right for you. You will need to consider who you will most often be exchanging funds with. Mostly friends and family? Business use? Splitting the occasional dinner tab? Some of these are certainly more suited to one app over the other, let’s take a look.
Both apps are available for Android and iOS, and both also feature full-featured desktop sites. While PayPal can initiate payments either via app or web, Venmo can only initiate payments on the mobile app. PayPal can also be used by a huge variety of merchants and vendors.
The process for sending money in both apps is more or less the same. You sync your contacts, find the username for the friend you want to pay, set the amount, and off it goes. Both apps also have functionality for sending money to those for who you only have an e,mail address for, or a mobile number, for example.
Both apps allow anyone to request money from others. In most cases this is done as a reminder, since it will generate a notification and essentially, an invoice. Once the recipient receives the request, they can either act on it and pay, or deny it. In both cases, the balance hits your account nearly instantly.
Both offer free payments from bank accounts that you’ve already linked and verified, but they also allow credit or debit card payments, with a fee of about 3%. Venmo extends the no-fees to debit cards, whereas PayPal only allows free payments from linked accounts.
PayPal is a much stronger choice if you need to send larger amounts. PayPal will allow sends of up to $10k in a single payment, with daily caps around $60k, or more with further verification. Venmo’s limits are around $7k per 7-day period, with max of $5k in a day.
PayPal is a much better bet for small busiess, or not so small business users. They have a robust array of merchant-oriented tools that can be used to sell online, and accept global payments.
Bells & Whistles
In many ways, PayPal and Venmo have a lot of similarities. There are some places where they vary a bit more. With Venmo, the focus is very much on the social side; you can check out your social feed and who is paying whom and notes sent with the payment, just not the dollar amount.