Over 40 million people are using the app Venmo to pay for things with their smartphones. Already this year Venmo payments have totaled close to $50 billion. With so much money changing hands so to speak with Venmo, we expect hackers to be spending a lot of time there and there have been lots of stories of people losing money because someone accessed their phone or their Venmo account. If you use Venmo, there’s one mistake you can make that could allow hackers to drain your bank account.
“If you use a bank or debit card to transfer funds using Venmo and that money goes to someone, if it’s stolen, you really don’t have any recourse,” says Allec Logan, a certified public accountant who runs the financial website www.moneydoneright.com He says Venmo users should never link their bank or debit cards.
“Eat the fee and use a credit card,” he said. “You will have more recourse if there are fraudulent charges than linking a bank account or debit card. Another option is to have a bank account you only use for Venmo and keep some nominal fee in there. $50-$100, that way if it is compromised, you’re only out that 50 or 100 bucks,” Logan said.
But if you insist on using your bank account, you should open another one, an account just for Venmo. And it shouldn’t be at the bank you use now.
“The issue with using your current financial institution, the same one you use as your primary bank account, is that in this world of online banking, if someone is able to get into that new secondary account which is linked to your primary account, they could very well get access to your primary account as well, so you generally want that degree of separation,” Logan said.
“There are so many online banks that don’t have a minimum balance or monthly fee. I would recommend setting up an account at a new institution. There are many online banks that don’t have that monthly service fee. You can just like that account to Venmo.”
Venmo has added security measures to make it more difficult to access someone else’s account and you should make sure the app stays updated.