We Read Venmo's Epically Long User Agreement So You Don't Have To

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Venmo has become so commonplace that most of us use the app's name as a verb and send payments without thinking twice.
But you may want to approach your upcoming Venmo transactions with a bit more caution: According to BuzzFeed, recent violations of the company's epically long User Agreement have resulted in frozen and deactivated accounts — much to the frustration of users.
In most tweets referencing the frozen accounts, users seem perturbed as to why their transactions raised red flags. Their confusion is understandable, Venmo's biggest selling point is that it's quick and easy to pay someone back: You don't need to upload a picture of what you're paying for, or offer so much as a description. Just put in any random emoji and you're set.
However, if you don't want to risk having your account frozen, it's worth brushing up on some of the things you agreed to when you signed up for the service. Ahead, a quick rundown of Venmo's terms.
You shouldn't pay just anyone through the app.
According to the terms, Venmo should be used between friends and with people you know. Trying to pay for a couch you found on Craigslist? You should probably stick to cash or a check.
"We strongly caution Venmo users to avoid payments with people they don't know, especially if it involves the sale for goods and services — like event tickets and Craigslist items," Josh Criscoe, Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications for PayPal and Venmo, told Refinery29. "These payments are potentially high risk, and can result in losing your money without getting what you paid for. At this time, Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection for P2P payments and business usage of Venmo requires an application and explicit authorization."
There is a limit to how much money you can send.
While there isn't a limit on how much money you can receive, there are limits to how much money you can send someone through the app. Those who are just starting on the app cannot send payments that, in total, exceed $299.99 within a given week. Once your account is verified — Venmo uses information including the last four digits of your social security number, birthday, and zip code — you can send up to $2,999.99 per week among friends.
However, Venmo also adds that "limits may change from time to time in Company’s sole discretion."
Anyone under 18 can't use Venmo.
Sorry, high schoolers. You'll have to pay your friend back for that Frappuccino the old fashioned way: cash.
You may need to wait to receive a payment.
The magic of Venmo is the ability to quickly and easily pay back anyone. However, sometimes you may have to wait longer than expected for a transaction to go through. According to the User Agreement, Venmo can place a hold on a payment you receive if it believes there "may be a high level of risk associated with the transaction." While it isn't entirely clear what counts as a high level of risk or how Venmo determines it, a hold could last up to 21 days.
Paid the wrong person? You aren't guaranteed to get your money back.
It's easy enough to pay someone you didn't mean to pay — but the error may be a costly one. Venmo's Help page advises users to "include a note asking them to pay you back for the money you sent by mistake." Any decent person will, hopefully, send you back your money.
But what if the person doesn't use Venmo regularly or isn't feeling kind? Venmo's advice on that is less than promising: "If you don’t hear back from them or need help sending a charge request, contact our support team and we’ll do our best to help get the funds returned to you."
You don't need to feel paranoid about using Venmo or overthink every transaction, but take an extra moment before hitting "Pay" to make sure your description of the payment and the payment itself align with the terms.

More from Tech

R29 Original Series