Return Money or Cancel Payment on Venmo (Is It Possible?)

can you decline a venmo payment

Venmo is popular, handy, and fun. However, what isn’t fun is having to pay for instant transfers, lack of privacy, and plenty of scammers on the platform. 

And, although it’s easy to use Venmo to send and receive money, sometimes we’d like to have more control over the process. For instance, can you decline a Venmo payment?

Venmo to Venmo transfers are instant. That means there’s no way to decline a Venmo payment because Venmo payments can’t be canceled once they’ve reached your Venmo account. The only thing you can decline is a payment request.

Keep on reading to find out how to return the money and if you should even do it, plus other tips for making Venmo transfers.  

Can You Decline A Venmo Payment?

So, as we already said in the introduction, Venmo transfers are instant. Even if the money is coming from a person’s bank, it will be made immediately available to the recipient.

There’s no accepting or declining a payment or a transfer on Venmo. You can, however, return the money to the sender. Keep on reading to find out why that isn’t a great idea.

Declining a Payment From a Stranger

If the payment came from someone you don’t know, Venmo support can help you return it. Again, you can’t decline it. 

You don’t know if the stranger sent the money by mistake or on purpose and what their intentions are. When you contact Venmo, they will help you reverse the payment. 

You can only decline a payment request from a stranger. Not the actual payment.   

To make sure this doesn’t occur in the future, block the user who paid you or sent you a request. More on that later. 

READ ALSO: How to Send Money From Cash App to Venmo (Step by Step)

Declining a Payment From Someone You Know

No matter whether the payer is a stranger or someone you know, payments on Venmo can’t be canceled nor declined when they reach your Venmo account.

If someone you know made a mistake in the payment or the whole payment was a mistake, you should send the money back to them.  

If the money is still in your Venmo account, it will be used to fund your payment back to them. If you don’t have access to a Venmo balance, or you spent the amount, the payment will be financed with the payment method you select.

Cancel Your Payments


The situation is the same on the sending side – you can’t cancel the payment to an existing Venmo account. Once you send a payment, the money is available straight away to the recipient.

If you made a mistake and want them to return the payment, you’ll have to ask the recipient yourself to send back a payment for the same amount. 

In your message, explain that you’ve sent the money by mistake and ask them to pay you back.

Once you get the cash, you can transfer it from your Venmo account to your bank. The same goes if you paid your friend twice or made a duplicate payment by mistake. 

So, what can Venmo Support do? Can they ever reverse a payment? They can if:

  1. The recipient gives their clear consent
  2. Their Venmo account has a good history 
  3. The funds are available in their Venmo account

That means that they have to ask Venmo support to reverse it. The Venmo Support won’t reverse the payment at your request (the sender’s). 

But what if the recipient isn’t responding or they won’t return the money back to you? Will then Venmo support reverse the transaction? They will try and help but can’t guarantee that you’ll get your money back. 

When you contact them, you should include the following information:

  1. Username of the recipient
  2. Amount of the payment
  3. Date of the payment
  4. Username, phone number, and email address of the person that you meant to pay

READ NEXT: How to Delete Venmo Account (Quickly)

Canceling Payments to Unregistered Venmo Accounts

If you sent a payment to an unregistered Venmo phone number or email address, you can get your payment back from the “Incomplete” section of the Venmo app. 

Incomplete payments that can be claimed back happen when an email or phone number isn’t associated with a Venmo account. In that case, there are three options:

  • You can take the money back
  • The recipient can sign up for Venmo with that information 
  • The recipient can add the info to their account and verify it

To cancel the payment and get the money back by yourself, do the following: 

  1. Go to the “Me” tab 
  2. Tap on the “Incomplete” button  
  3. Look at the “Payments” tab 
  4. Find the payment in question
  5. Tap on “Take Back” 

On the other side, if you believe that you have paid the wrong person or think that you have fallen for a scam, contact Venmo support ASAP.

Why Was My Payment Declined?

declined payment

Sometimes, payments get declined by Venmo. There can be many reasons as to why, however, the most common reasons for declined payments are:

  • Your bank or card issuer is declining the transaction  
  • The payment has triggered one of Venmo’s automated security flags 

In the first case, it’s best to contact your bank or card issuer and see why they are declining the payment. Or, alternatively, try using another payment method, like a different card. 

If everything’s fine with your bank or card provider, try making the payment again later.

READ ALSO: How to Get Money From Venmo Without A Bank Account (Guide)

Blocking Users

Some people just don’t know when to quit or are simply annoying. The Venmo equivalent would be folks sending you unwanted payments and/or payment requests.

Blocking a Venmo user means that:

  • They won’t show up in your Venmo network
  • They won’t show up in your Venmo feed
  • They won’t be able to search for you in the app 
  • You won’t be able to search for them
  • They can’t send payments to you
  • They can’t request payments from you

To block (or unblock) someone:

  1. Open the Venmo app
  2. Go to the person’s profile (search for their name or username using the search bar)
  3. Once you’re on their profile page, tap the three circles 
  4. Block/unblock the user
  5. Log out of the app and back in 

Does Getting a Payment From a Stranger Mean my Venmo Account is Hacked? 

Although Venmo is seriously lacking privacy by default and therefore their security isn’t the best, getting payment from someone doesn’t automatically mean your account was hacked, compromised, or that anything else is wrong with it.

If you didn’t get random notifications from Venmo and didn’t see any unauthorized transactions, you’re probably just fine. However, you should listen to your gut and use common sense. 

Most wrong payments happen when someone has the same name as you and the sender used the search option to find them. 

As we said, the best course of action would be to contact Venmo and report that you got paid by mistake. You can then block the user to prevent future mishaps.

It’s recommended to set your default privacy settings to Private so that your activity isn’t shared with EVERYONE.

READ NEXT: Cash App vs Venmo: What Is Better For Mobile Payments?

The “Accidental” Payment Scam

Venmo, Chime, Zelle, and Cash App are full of scammers. They exploit the goodwill or inexperience of some users to steal their money and/or personal information. 

Getting a payment by mistake could be a start of a scam or an innocent mistake by a genuine Venmo user. There’s really no way of knowing what’s the truth. 

The scammers will use stolen credit cards to send money to your Venmo account. They will then send you a message asking you to return the money claiming it was sent by mistake. 

Because you’re a good person and don’t want to take someone else’s money, you will agree to return it back to their account. In reality, you’re making a new voluntary and authorized payment to that person’s Venmo account. 

The person cashes out as soon as the money hits their account and they deactivate their Venmo account and/or block you. 

Because the scammer used a stolen credit card, the credit card company will reverse the initial payment and you will lose both payments – the original payment and the payment you sent to them.

But how can a Venmo payment be reversed you’re asking? The truth is, credit companies run the show and they make Venmo give the money back to the credit card victim. 

On the other side, Venmo will wash their hands and won’t protect you, their “valued” user. They’ll say that you voluntarily authorized the payment and that there’s nothing they can do because “Venmo payments are final and irreversible”. 

NEVER return the mistaken payment by yourself. Contact Venmo customer support and let them deal with it. Or else.

How to Change The Default Privacy Setting in Venmo App

All Venmo payments are visible by anyone by default. Venmo got some serious slack from privacy advocates and people with common sense. 

Although they have ditched the global feed, you can still see your friends’ payments as well as tap on a random person’s profile and see what they’re up to.

To change the default privacy setting from Public to Private or Friends:

  1. Open the Venmo app
  2. Go to the “Me” tab
  3. Tap the Settings gear 
  4. Tap “Privacy” 
  5. Under “Default Privacy Setting” select your desired privacy setting


You can’t decline a Venmo payment because they’re instant. You can only decline a payment request and block users. Be careful when getting payments from strangers because they could be scams. 

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