It's happy hour, and the air is pregnant with possibility... and humidity. Spritzes abound. Upon entering the bar, your friends beeline for that one vacant table in the back while you stake out a residence in the stool area and try to get the attention of the bartender — effectively rendering drinks on you. Then, with glasses in hand, you close out your tab, retreat to your friends, and indulge in your hard-earned summer Friday. If only it were this simple.
Eventually, you and your pals part ways. Your most considerate friend might say: "Venmo us later!" Others might instead opt to do the math right then and there because they don't trust you not to charge them a single penny over their money's worth. Others more might say nothing, hoping you'll forget that they owe you altogether. Two (three?) roads diverge in a yellow wood, so to speak, when it comes to Venmo etiquette. And this week, Venmo released an illuminating study reflecting what users really think about the how/when/where/what/why's of Venmo requests. TLDR; it's more stressful to owe someone else money than to be owed money (and it's not just me — 65% of users agree)!
As far as requesting etiquette: Of note, 72% of Venmo users polled agree that the appropriate window of time within which you can send someone a Venmo request post transaction is 24 hours, and that after a request is sent, the recipient should fulfill the request within an additional 24 hours. Fair.
But what about the IRL conversation before the request is sent? Need there be any face-to-face discussion, or is it cool to just hit someone up with a request for a meal without any precedent? (I once went on a date with a person who, in my opinion, had been clear about the fact that dinner was on him, only to receive a sobering Venmo request from him the next morning. We never talked again. Unsurprisingly, 66% of Venmo users do not endorse this post-date behavior, which makes me feel validated in my anger.)
To remind or not to remind? According to the same study, 67% of Venmo users think it's appropriate to send a "remind" notification within four days of the original transaction if it hasn't yet been fulfilled. (An aside: I am much too afraid of being this passive aggressive and thusly, have never done this. But maybe that's a me problem.)
The pièce de résistance: Venmo users believe that no amount of money is too small to request. 24% of users believe the request can be between $1 and $5. There were over 3 million transactions of under $1 in 2018, referred to as "penny pokes" by Venmo. Basically, we are all a bunch of cheap-os. And similarly, over half of users who receive a request they think is at least $20 over their estimation of what they owed would ask for a copy of the receipt, while only 28% of users say they'd send the payment so they aren't perceived as cheap. "What's mine is yours" has been replaced with the 50-cent Venmo request.
I will close with the following anecdote, which corroborates the findings of Venmo's study and also horrifies me to this day: At my birthday dinner two years ago, my friend kindly told our waitress that it was my birthday and ordered me a slice of cake while I was in the bathroom. We ate it; it was delicious. But when the check came, my friend proceeded to Venmo request everyone (except for me) 50 cents for the $10 piece of cake. Yup.