We’re spoiled for choice these days with banking and payment apps. Two digital money transfer apps, in particular, have risen above every other app on the market – Cash App and Venmo. They have millions of users each month and are transferring billions of dollars.
The pandemic only added more fuel to the fire, and now they’re squeezing cash out of use. Young people especially have adopted the new technology very quickly. So much so that “Venmo me” has entered our everyday language.
Cash App and Venmo look very similar at face value, and things like fees and transfer speed are nearly the same. There are differences, though, and these distinctions will help you decide which of these two apps to use. But first, here’s our short verdict:
Cash App or Venmo. Which of these two you’ll end up using probably won’t even be your choice in the end. You see, the ship has left the port. And whichever app is predominately used in your social circle, that’s the app you’ll be using in restaurants to settle bills, to send money for rent to your roommate, or to pay for a used item on Craigslist that you’ll never receive.
Read all about their features, fees, security, scams, and more in our Cash App vs. Venmo overview.
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- Fast online signup
- Send and receive money with everyone
- Receive paycheck two days early
- Invest in Bitcoin and Stocks
- No monthly fees
- Instant transfers
Cash app (before Square Cash) is a peer-to-peer mobile payments service available in the US and the UK. It was launched in 2013 by Square Inc. and now has an incredible 36 million users, with 7 million owning their debit cards for payments.
The Cash App is a great tool to send or receive money, with little or no fees, from people you know, first of all. You shouldn’t see it as a bank account and you shouldn’t let your money, or at least, a great deal of money, sit on it. We like that you can invest in stocks and Bitcoin with little or no charges and that you can spend Bitcoin online or in-store with your free Cash App card.
- No monthly fees
- Widely used
- Easy to register and use
- Make payments with your bank account, credit card, or debit card
- Instant transfers
- Free Venmo Mastercard
Venmo is a breakthrough app for sending and receiving money from people you know, again, with little or no fees. There’s a social component to it as well, as the default setting in the app is for everyone to see what you’re buying or who you’re sending money to. It’s less than stellar from the privacy side of things.
The company is owned by PayPal and is only available to people living in the US.
- 1.5% for instant transfers
- 3% for sending funds using a credit card
- 1% for instant transfers
- 3% for sending funds using a credit card
Cash App and Venmo are almost identical in their fee structure. They both charge 3% of the transaction to send money with your linked credit card. You can easily avoid the 3% fee if you simply use your connected bank account or the funds in your Cash App or Venmo account to send money.
Both Venmo and Cash App offer standard deposits to your bank account and Instant Deposits. And while standard deposits are free and take from 1-3 days to arrive, Instant deposits or transfers will cost you 1.5% in the case of Cash App and 1% in the case of Venmo.
Who should use Cash App
The Cash App is a straightforward app that you can use to send and receive money and invest some of it into Bitcoin and stocks. Its simplicity begs for a comparison to Twitter. No fluff, and straight to the point. A sense of community makes users come back to it over and over. You might love it, or you might hate it, but you will use it (because everyone else is).
Who should use Venmo
Venmo is definitely not an app for people who cherish their privacy or people who don’t like social media. Venmo is mainly used by younger crowds that love the idea of sharing their purchases with friends (and the world), love to split bills, and love the simplicity of the app.
You can add messages and emojis when sending someone money, and transfers are instant (1% fee) or take up to three days. The default option for transactions is set to public so that anyone can see them. If you want to hide them, put it manually to ‘private.’
How to open a Cash App account
Opening an account is easy and straightforward:
- Download the Cash App for Android or iOS, or go to their website
- Enter your phone number
- Enter the 6-digit code they’ve sent you
- Add the debit card information to link your bank account
- Enter your full name
- Choose a unique $Cashtag
- Enter your postcode
- You’re now ready to use the app
How to open a Venmo account
Follow the instructions below to sign up for Venmo:
- Download an app for iOS or Android (Venmo doesn’t have a Windows app)
- Choose your sign-up method and create a secure password (between 8 and 32 characters long).
- Verify your phone number and email address
- Add and verify your bank account
Both Cash App and Venmo were made primarily for sending and receiving money. Both apps support not only personal transactions but business ones as well. But you should be careful who you send money to, as once that it’s gone from your account, it’s really gone.
There are similarities in terms of transferring money as well. Both apps offer the option to transfer the money instantly for a 1.5% fee in the case of Cash App and a 1% fee in Venmo’s case.
If you or whoever is receiving money doesn’t need it instantly, there’s a free option that will take up to three business days.
If you want to make international transfers, that option is only available to Cash App users and only between the US and the UK. Venmo doesn’t support international payments. Read more about it here.
For folks that want to use their credit card to send money through Venmo or Cash App, there’s a 3% fee for that luxury.
Both payment apps come with a debit card, but only Venmo offers an optional credit card as well. Their cards are surprisingly good for traveling abroad as there are no foreign transaction fees when you use them for paying online or in-store.
That doesn’t mean that it won’t be a bit more expensive to use them abroad. The currency exchange rate might not be the best, and a bank might charge you separate fees for their trouble.
Unfortunately, scams are running rampant on both platforms. That’s only natural as so many people are using them, and scammers always go where most of the people are.
The companies state that you should only use their apps to send money to people you know and to verified businesses. For that reason, if you get scammed by someone, you probably won’t see your money ever again as the fintechs won’t have your back.
The money that you send appears instantly in the receiver’s account, and they can withdraw it immediately. However, the transaction itself is still processing. It could bounce, be canceled, or Venmo and Cash App could keep it until they verify it.
The scammers are well aware of this fact, and they use it against you when you’re both buying or selling something on Craigslist, for example.
Some of the more “popular” scams are:
- Text and emails phishing (pretending to be the company)
- Buying items with a stolen card
- In-person scam (letting someone use your phone)
- Sending you money out of the blue
- Cash App giveaway scam
- Cash-flipping scam
- Cash-circle scam
- Any many more
The rule of the thumb when using financial apps and life in general, I guess, is – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Just don’t use Cash App or Venmo (or Zelle for that matter) to send strangers money.
They weren’t made for this, and you’re far better of using PayPal that has buyer protection. If someone insists on not using PayPal to do a transaction, it should be a red flag for you.
Banks own neither of the two apps, and therefore, any funds that you keep in them aren’t insured by the FDIC. That means that you’ll lose the money that you kept with them if any of them goes under. Venmo is owned by PayPal, though, so that’s probably not going to happen, and Cash App is owned by Square that has become a huge, multi-faceted company in itself.
I wanted to cover this because it’s a hot topic in the past couple of years. Cash App is the only one of the two apps with other features besides transferring money and paying for things. It offers crypto and stock investing to its users.
It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s there. And the best part is that there are no fees for investing in stocks. Cash App currently supports investing for approximately 1000 stocks listed on the NYSE or Nasdaq exchanges.
But, unlike trading stocks, Bitcoin trading does incur two kinds of fees:
- a service fee for each transaction, and
- an additional fee determined by price volatility
But, at least sending and receiving Bitcoin to and from others is free. Buying and selling Bitcoin is straightforward; you need to tap the Investing tab in the app, press buy or sell, enter the amount, and confirm your pin or touch ID.
As of now, there are no clues that Cash App will start to support other cryptocurrencies. That’s a shame as it would boost the crypto market as a whole because there was $4.57 billion worth of Bitcoin sold through the app in 2020 alone.
You can get help through Cash App or online at cash.app/help. You can also reach them by calling 1 (800) 969-1940.
In addition to that, you can reach Cash App by mail at:
- Cash App
- 1455 Market Street Suite 600
- San Francisco, CA 94103
As a reminder, no one representing Cash App will ever ask for your sign-in code over the phone, on social media, or through any other medium.
You can contact Venmo by calling 1-855-812-4430 (M–F, 10:00 am–6:00 pm ET), by visiting venmo.com/contact-us or by mail at:
- 117 Barrow Street
- New York, NY 10014
But, for the fastest service, chat with them in-app (M–F, 7:00 am1:00 am ET; Sat-Sun,9:00 am–11:00 pm ET)
Oh boy, where do I start? Although both apps have stellar reviews on both Apple Store and the Google Play store, it’s a different story on Trustpilot. Granted, they only have a couple of thousands of reviews on Trustpilot, compared to millions on app stores.
Still, from what you can see, there are hordes of issues plaguing some of their users. For that reason and security reasons mentioned earlier, we don’t recommend holding cash in either account, especially not thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Cash App and Venmo alternatives
Zelle is popular with both users and banks. Users don’t have to wait a few days to get their money into the account. The app is already conveniently attached to many banking apps and banks because they save money on processing paper checks.
Chances are you’re already using PayPal for online payments or money transfers. This fintech behemoth has been around forever, or so it seems. And, although it’s getting a lot of hate, it’s still a solid choice for money transfers and shopping. It’s also the owner of Venmo!
Google Pay, formerly called Google Wallet, connects your debit or credit card with your Google account and your phone to make faster, more secure payments, online or in-store. You can send money through Google Pay to anyone who has an email address and a phone number.
Apple Pay is very similar to Google Pay. It’s effortless to pay for things or transfer someone money through the messaging app.
Another easy way to send a person money is to use the Facebook Messenger app. Simply open a conversation and choose the $ option to send money. Facebook doesn’t charge users to send or receive money in Messenger.
The bottom line
Both of these P2P money transfer apps are a convenient and fast way to send money to friends and family or even to pay for services and products to verified businesses.
If you want to have the option to trade stocks and Bitcoin in addition to sending money, then Cash App is your choice. For those of you that just want to send money to others with the added benefit of having another social network where you can see what others are paying for (and vice versa), then Venmo is for you.