We Had No Idea You Could Use Venmo For THIS

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Venmo, which allows users to send and request money from others, is a game-changer when it comes to settling up between friends, whether you're out to drinks or splitting the rent. It’s such a staple in our daily lives that it’s become a verb — you’ve probably found yourself saying, “I’ll just Venmo you later.” While we love that paying our half of the utilities is now as easy as pushing a button, one of the most fascinating parts of the app is that payments, unless otherwise specified, are public. The amount itself is hidden, but the payer and the payee, as well as the required memo line, are visible. Many of the descriptions are just emoji of pizza slices, wine glasses, and the occasional taxi. But if you scroll through the Discover tab enough, it might lead to some interesting results. Obscure emoji choices? Suspicious regular payments? “Friends” who seem to be paying each other for drinks all too often? We asked around, and it turns out we’re not the only ones noticing some questionable activity popping up on our Venmo feeds. The most common responses? Money bluffs, illegal activity, and romantic entanglements.
Rent “I stalked a friend's Venmo and learned that his mom pays his rent. (This guy constantly gloats about his extravagant lifestyle on social media). I think that still makes me the pathetic one in this situation, but I was amused nonetheless.” Drugs “I discovered my office weed dealer.” “I found out who my friend’s drug dealer was because she Venmo-ed him $10 on a weekly basis.” Work “I found out two coworkers were dating and living together after three monthly ‘rent’ payments. Yes. It took three. I can be thick.” “I found out two former colleagues were dating because they were always paying each other.” Exes “A few days after I was dumped, my ex was Venmo-ing his ex-girlfriend money for a trip they were taking together.” “I first developed a hunch that my (recent) ex had a new girlfriend after I saw a bunch of Venmo payments they exchanged over the course of a few months. I had to ask him if he was seeing someone new, but [I] never told him what gave me an inkling.” “I found out that my best friend was finally officially in a relationship when he paid for ‘brunch + bf’ to another mutual friend. I sent him a screenshot of the evidence and he couldn’t deny it.” Not All Is As It Seems “My younger brother, I noticed, only paid people for pizza — either with the pizza emoji or just the word ‘za,’ multiple times a week. It was especially surprising considering he’s on an unlimited meal plan at school. Then I confronted him, and he said that he and his friends just use 'za' for everything, so no one knows what they’re paying each other for. Very mysterious.”

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