The Venmo Debit Card Introduces A New Way To Nudge Your Friends For Money

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who transfer their Venmo balances to their bank accounts, and those who let the money linger in the app to pay for future transactions. Those sides will come a little bit closer today with the launch of the Venmo debit card.
The card, which uses money from your Venmo account, can be used like a traditional debit card and is accepted everywhere Mastercard is accepted in the U.S.. Customers who sign up for a Venmo card select a bank that will act as the funding source for card transactions (including ATM withdrawals) and then proceed as normal.
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The Venmo card makes it easier to track card purchases, too. Card transactions will be logged in users’ Venmo transaction histories, and then displayed in the app with an option to split or share the cost with Venmo friends. (If your notifications are enabled, those will appear on your phone every time a transaction is made.)
People who shop through the app can also fund their Venmo balances with the funding source linked to the card, using the Reload feature. When enabled, Reload automatically adds funds in $10 increments if you attempt to make a purchase that exceeds your available Venmo balance.
“Venmo card purchases are always funded by your Venmo balance first, but if you don’t have enough balance to cover the full amount of the transaction, we hold your entire Venmo balance,” a publicist explained in an email to Refinery29. That transaction will marked as “pending” in your Purchases section in the app until the hold clears (in “usually one to five business days”), after which point, the merchant will settle the transaction.
The company makes a solid warning about this feature in the Venmo card FAQs, advising that customers “be sure that your linked funding source has sufficient funds in order to avoid declined transactions, or possible overdraft fees.” If you enable Reload for your Venmo card but have a low balance in the funding account it’s connected to, you could risk incurring expensive overdraft fees from your bank, unless you’ve opted out.
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Aesthetes and techies may appreciate that the card is also kind of chic — and functional. Venmo enlisted the opinions of beta card users to develop the plastic, which comes in six different color options. If your card is lost or stolen during a night on the town, it can be disabled in the app using a convenient “Don’t-Panic button”.
At the moment, the Venmo Mastercard is only being issued in limited beta release, so interested customers have to apply for one online. (Downloaded the latest app version — v.7.18.1 — select “Venmo Card” under the dropdown menu, and click “Get in Line.”)
As with any financial service, make sure you’re not caught up in the hype of using something that’s fun — but ends up costing you more money. If you’re a frequent over-spender who needs to keep a closer eye on your cashflow, maybe stick to transferring those Venmo dollars to your bank account. But if you’re a Venmo loyalist who wants to do more with the cash languishing in your app, the card may give you additional ways to get it circulating.
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