Venmo vs. Paypal: Is there Actually a Difference and Which One Is Best?
Venmo vs. Paypal: Which one is best? In a time when I’m trying to simplify, both digitally and physically, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I use both. If I’m shopping, I send funds via PayPal. Paying the babysitter or splitting the tab with friends at dinner? Venmo all the way. (Love those emojis.) But which peer-to-peer payment system is best? We weigh the pros and cons—and talk to a financial advisor—to decide.
What Is Venmo?
Venmo is a free peer-to-peer payment app that allows users to send and receive money from contacts and friends. (PayPal actually acquired the service in 2013 as part of a larger acquisition.)
To use Venmo, both the sender and the recipient need to have Venmo accounts. But a primary difference from PayPal is that Venmo is mobile-only, allowing you to “text” cash, so to speak, simply by searching for the recipient’s username, phone or email. There’s also a social component: Users can opt to make transactions public (it shows who’s being paid and for what, but not the amount) so that they appear in a timeline, allowing friends to like and comment on purchases, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Your account is linked to your bank account or credit or debit card.
What is PayPal?
A player since the 1990s, PayPal is one of the earliest cash apps and payment services around. But while the service is known for its help with online purchases and e-commerce, it also offers peer-to-peer money transfers. To set it up, you’ll first need a PayPal account, then—as long as the person you’re sending money to is also enrolled—you can use their name, email address or phone number to send or request cash. (If the recipient doesn’t have an account, they’ll get an email alert that funds are available and they need to set one up to receive.)
Venmo vs. PayPal: What’s the Difference?
Yes, PayPal owns both, but there are still distinctive features about each payment service.
When it comes to security, both Venmo and PayPal offer bank-grade security and encryption. But PayPal takes a couple of extra steps to help you feel more secure about your cash. For one thing, you’ll get a confirmation email whenever a transaction takes place, allowing you to keep tabs and stay alert when it comes to any fraudulent activity. They also regularly scan to be sure you’re using the most up to date encryption technology on your browser.
Venmo stands out in that it requires that users register an account to use it. (PayPal does not.) Still, Venmo encourages you to only send/receive money from those you know and trust. And if you accidentally pay the wrong person, you may be hard-pressed to get that money back. (Venmo can only reverse purchases with explicit permission from the recipient.)
2. How You Use It
Venmo focuses primarily on peer-to-peer transactions—meaning this is the service to use if you want to reimburse a friend or quickly tip at the hair salon if you forgot to carry cash.
On the flip side, PayPal was created to work with businesses. (Peer-to-peer payments and transfers was a feature that was added later.) That means that its infrastructure is well-suited to small businesses. There’s even a toolbox full of customizable solutions and payment options (like a mobile card reader) for merchants.
3. Transfer Limits
The sending limit for PayPal is up to $60,000 for a single transaction (some limits may apply, depending on your currency and account status). You can also use multiple methods to fund your account—a debit card, a credit card, PayPal balance (cash sits in your account until you transfer it to your bank) and PayPal credit (a credit line offered by PayPal).
With Venmo, the limit for peer-to-peer transactions is $5,000 a week (this spending cap increases slightly for merchant payments). That mostly comes down to the use cases of each app, outlined above. PayPal is meant for bigger transactions (for example, a business expense) whereas Venmo is more about day-to-day spending (reimbursing a friend for lunch).
4. Social Features
Here’s where Venmo is a cut above. Venmo allows users to like, comment and add emojis to transactions that take place within the app. Spending is also optionally private, meaning you can choose to share the details (not the amount) of spending activity between friends. PayPal offers nothing of the sort.
5. Fees & Withdrawal Speed
Both apps are quite similar here. Venmo is also free to use and no fees are charged as long as you pay with your Venmo balance, linked a bank account, debit card or prepaid card. Fund transfers are free and speedy (they typically take one business day). Users are charged a 3 percent fee for transferring funds from a credit card, and Venmo also charges a 1 percent fee if you need an immediate transfer of cash to your account. It’s worth noting that Venmo doesn’t offer international transactions at this time.
PayPal is similar—assessing a 3 percent fee, but also tacks on an additional 30 cents for any transactions with a credit or debit or card. (A linked bank account or a PayPal balance are free.) As for speed, transferring money from PayPal to your bank account can take up to five business days. If you want the funds to go to your account immediately, you have to pay a fee of 1 percent. (Maximum fee is $10.) You can also only cancel a PayPal transaction if it’s yet to be completed/claimed. (But unlike Venmo, international transactions are possible for a fee of 5 percent as long as the transfer is coming from your bank account.
Both services check out when it comes to security and ease of use, so we tapped Priya Malani, financial planner and co-founder of Stash Wealth, to weigh in on which app is best and why. “At the end of the day, they’re all good and free, so it really depends on what you’re buying or who you’re paying.”
Her recommendation: PayPal is great for international transfers, but Venmo is the way to go for day-to-day use. “It’s widely used, but it’s also a spectator sport. It combines a social feed with the ability to quickly split a utility bill or bar tab.”
RELATED: Which Payment Type Is Best If You’re Trying to Stick to a Budget?
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Venmo Vs. PayPal: Which To Use And When
Several mobile payment apps and peer-to-peer payment tools can help you quickly send and receive money. You may be most familiar with Venmo and PayPal, two of the most popular apps on the market. If you’re trying to decide between these two services, it helps to know how they work and the pros and cons of each.
Here’s a closer look at Venmo and PayPal and how these platforms can help you send money, receive money and shop online.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Quick Look
Venmo is owned by PayPal and is part of PayPal’s larger family of brands. This mobile payment app allows you to send and receive money quickly. The company describes its service as making sending money “safe, simple and social.” You can also use Venmo to make purchases via the mobile app, online or in person. Venmo has 65 million users.
Who is it best for? Venmo is designed to be a social, consumer-friendly app. If you need to pay a friend for last night’s restaurant bill, or if you need to split the rent payment with your roommate, Venmo is set up to be a quick, no-fee way to make these transactions. Some small businesses also use Venmo to receive payments.
How it Works
Venmo lets you connect your bank account, debit card or credit card and then use the app to make payments or send money and transfer money back to your external accounts. Along with connecting your external bank and card accounts, you can keep money in Venmo as part of your Venmo balance that you can use to spend or send cash.
You can also sign up for direct deposit to have your paycheck go straight into your Venmo account, up to two days earlier than your usual payday. Your Venmo balance is eligible for pass-through FDIC insurance through Venmo’s partner banks, Wells Fargo Bank and The Bancorp Bank, but only if you’ve purchased cryptocurrency or added money to your Venmo account via direct deposit or remote check capture.
Venmo has weekly transaction limits for person-to-person payments, merchant payments and debit card purchases. For person-to-person payments, the maximum is $4,999.99 weekly. It’s $6,999.99 for authorized merchant payments and the same for Venmo Mastercard debit card purchases. The overall combined spending limit each week is $6,999.99. For example, let’s say you spend $3,800 on person-to-person payments within a week. You’ll have $3,199.99 left to spend on authorized merchant purchases and Venmo Mastercard debit transactions in the rolling weekly period.
- Easy to quickly send and receive money and shop online
- Charges few fees, unless you make certain kinds of transactions or receive payment as a small business owner
- Offers interactive social features and colorful emojis to make payments friendly and fun
- Offers debit cards and credit cards
- Only available in the U.S.
- Has a $6,999.99 overall combined weekly spending limit for person-to-person transactions, merchant payments and Venmo Mastercard debit purchases
- Not as widely accepted at businesses as other forms of payment, like debit cards, credit cards or cash
- Charges a 1.5% fee for instant transfer of money to your external bank account or debit card
- Privacy settings may be difficult to navigate—transactions may be publically visible to app users
Founded in 1998, PayPal was one of the first digital payments companies. It started as a method for people to send money via email or pay for purchases on eBay. Today, PayPal connects merchants and customers in more than 200 countries, with 392 million consumer and merchant accounts.
PayPal is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: PYPL) that owns several other brands in the online shopping and payments space, including Venmo, Honey, Xoom and Zettle. This digital payment service is available online and on mobile—it has a mobile app for iOS and Android that allows you to make payments, send money to friends and family, request money and more.
Who is it best for? Compared to Venmo, PayPal has similar features for sending money to friends and family and shopping online, but it offers a more robust range of payment solutions for small businesses. If you need to accept payments from customers in person or online, PayPal could be a better choice than Venmo.
How it Works
PayPal offers several ways to make payments or send and receive money:
- Buy online. When you buy online with PayPal, you can use your PayPal account without entering your personal financial information.
- Pay in person. If you’re shopping at a business that accepts PayPal payments, you can pay directly from your PayPal account, such as by using a QR code.
- Send money to more than 200 countries. If you have a friend or family member in other countries, you can securely send money to them with PayPal.
- Receive money via your own personal PayPal.me link or QR code. Or, collect money from a group of friends with a Money Pool.
Like Venmo, PayPal allows you to connect your external bank account, debit card or credit card to your account and use that as a source of funds. You can also spend and send money directly from your PayPal account balance.
If you have a verified PayPal account, there’s no limit on the amount you can send from your account in a given time frame. In a single transaction, you can generally send up to $60,000, but it may be limited to $10,000.
- Accepted by millions of merchants
- Available in 200+ countries; PayPal lets you send money worldwide in 25 currencies
- Robust business tools, offering reliable ways to get paid and make payments more convenient for customers
- Fees are complicated: PayPal has a more complex fee structure than Venmo
- PayPal charges a 1% fee for instant transfer of money to your external bank or debit card
- User experience is more complex than Venmo
Venmo vs. PayPal: A Deeper Look
PayPal lets you send money to anyone in more than 200 countries and 25 currencies, so long as you have the recipient’s username or email address. Venmo enables you to send money to anyone in the U.S. who has a phone that can receive text messages. If the recipient does not already have a PayPal or Venmo account, they will be prompted to create one. With both services, you can sync your contacts to the app.
Venmo generally lets you send money fee-free, so long as you’re sending money from your Venmo balance, bank account or debit card. If you use your credit card to send money, you’ll pay a 3% fee.
PayPal lets you send personal transactions fee-free if the money comes from your PayPal balance or bank account, but, if you use a credit card or debit card, you’ll pay a 2.90% fee plus an additional fixed fee based on the currency. You’ll also pay fees for international personal transactions.
Receiving and Requesting Money
There is no fee to receive money for personal transactions on Venmo or PayPal (when no currency conversion is involved).
The Venmo app is available in the App Store (rated 4.9 out of 5 stars) and Google Play (rated 4.3 out of 5 stars). The PayPal mobile app is available in the App Store (rated 4.8 out of 5 stars) and Google Play (rated 4.2 out of 5 stars), or you can sign in to your PayPal account online from any browser.
Venmo Fees vs. PayPal Fees
Perhaps the most notable difference between PayPal and Venmo fees for most personal users is that PayPal charges a 2.90% fee for personal debit card transactions, while personal debit card transactions are fee-free on Venmo.
Pay attention to what kind of transaction you are making. Both PayPal and Venmo charge an extra fee (about 1%) for instant transfers when moving money to your external bank account or card account. And both charge for sending money with a credit card: 3% with Venmo, 2.90% on PayPal.
PayPal and Venmo also charge fees for business transactions. So, if you are receiving payments as a business owner, freelancer or entrepreneur, be prepared to pay a fee for those transactions.
Venmo has business features that enable small businesses to accept Venmo payments in person or online, using QR codes for point of sale. You can set up a Venmo business profile for your small business and get paid via the app in the same way that people use Venmo to pay their friends.
PayPal offers a more extensive commerce system for businesses, with features and services such as point-of-sale (POS), payments and invoicing, business debit cards, working capital and business loans, shipping and dispute management and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What security features do Venmo and PayPal offer?
Venmo uses encryption to protect your account information. You can also work with Venmo to set up multi-factor authentication or create a PIN for your account. PayPal offers similar security protections as Venmo, but it also provides a more robust set of security features for businesses.
Are Venmo and PayPal FDIC insured?
It depends on how you use your account. Venmo and PayPal are not banks, and keeping money in your Venmo or PayPal balance is not the same as keeping it in an FDIC-insured bank account.
However, if you use direct deposit for Venmo or PayPal, that money is transferred to and held by each service’s bank partner, where the funds are eligible for FDIC pass-through insurance up to the applicable limits. Also, if you have a PayPal Cash Plus account and a PayPal Cash Mastercard, the FDIC pass-through insurance also applies.
If you want the security of FDIC insurance, make sure your PayPal or Venmo deposits are eligible.
Can I withdraw cash at an ATM from my Venmo or PayPal account?
Yes, if you have a Venmo or PayPal debit card set up for the account. The Venmo Debit Card offers free ATM withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs within the U.S. The PayPal Cash Card lets you withdraw cash fee-free from 33,000 MoneyPass ATMs worldwide.
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Venmo vs. PayPal: Accessibility
PayPal and Venmo both have their own free apps for iOS and Android, which is where most users will go to use each service. They both also have browser-based desktop versions. However, Venmo payments can only be initiated with the mobile app, whereas PayPal payments can be made through the app or the website.
PayPal can also be used as payment with a wide variety of online merchants, and even for QR code purchases in-store. Though Venmo is working to build up this merchant transaction capability among more retailers, its reach is currently very limited compared to PayPal’s very expansive footprint.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Sending Money
The process to send money to someone is fairly similar across the two apps. Both offer the ability to sync your contacts to the app, enabling it to search for any associated PayPal or Venmo accounts held by your friends and family. But even if the app doesn’t surface the contact you’re looking for, you can send money using their username, email address, or mobile number.
After choosing the recipient and the amount, both PayPal and Venmo will ask you what payment method you’d like to use. If you have a positive balance with either service, you can use those funds for your payment. Otherwise, funds will be drawn from the bank account, debit card, or credit card you identify as your desired payment method for this transaction.
Once you hit send on your payment, the amount will hit the user’s PayPal or Venmo balance within a couple of minutes, often even seconds. With Venmo, you’ll want to make doubly sure you’re sending money to the right contact, since Venmo won’t refund your money if you send it to the wrong person.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Requesting Money
It‘s also possible with both PayPal and Venmo to request funds from someone. This is often done to create a tickler for someone to pay you, or to provide them with easy access to your contact info and the proper amount of the requested payment.
Once the person receiving your request for money acts on it by making a payment, the funds will hit your PayPal or Venmo balance almost instantaneously. From there, you can use those funds to make a subsequent payment (or, with PayPal, a merchant purchase), keep them sitting in your account for later use, or transfer them out to your linked bank account.
If you opt to transfer funds to your bank, both PayPal and Venmo give you the further option of how quickly to complete the transfer. Without a fee, you can choose a transfer that will generally be completed the following day, but can take up to two to three days for either app. If you’re in a rush, you can choose an instant transfer for a small fee.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Fees
Fees for the two services are fairly similar. Both offer free payments from linked bank accounts, and both charge about 3% for payments from a credit card. Where they differ slightly is that Venmo extends its no-fee option to payments made from debit cards, while PayPal only allows free payments directly from a bank account. For debit and credit card payments, PayPal’s fee is technically 2.9% plus 30 cents.
One exception to the fee on payments made with a credit card is on payments made via American Express. Through a very new development, American Express is offering free payments through both PayPal and Venmo, though the payment has to be initiated through the American Express app instead of using the PayPal or Venmo apps. But doing so enables users to pay with a credit card and avoid the roughly 3% fee on that transaction.
How quickly you want to transfer accumulated money from your PayPal or Venmo balance to your bank account also has free options on both platforms. Both Venmo and PayPal allow you to choose a standard transfer speed of one to three days for free, or to upgrade your transfer to take place within seconds for a fee of about 1%. Both services cap the transfer fee at $10, while Venmo additionally stipulates a minimum charge of 25 cents.
When using PayPal as a merchant collecting payments from customers, PayPal offers a number of different pricing options. Though none are free, they are on par with the industry average for digital payment tools. Meanwhile, Venmo is not geared toward merchant business transactions, and expressly prohibits purchase transactions not made with a Venmo-affiliated merchant.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Limits
For those wanting to make very large transfers, PayPal offers a strong advantage. Single payments are generally allowed up to $10,000 each, with a total cap of $60,000. That’s significantly higher than Venmo’s limit of $6,999.99 per seven-day rolling period, including a maximum of $4,999.99 in person-to-person payments. Be aware that an identity verification step is required to access these limits. Until then, the maximum transaction amount is capped at $299.99.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Additional Features
As you can see, the two services present fairly similarly on basic features and fee structures. But there are a few areas in which the two apps differ markedly. For instance, with its strong focus on transactions between people who know each other personally, Venmo hosts a social feed of transactions that have taken place among people you know, as well as those of strangers, if you opt to view the public feed.
A scroll through the feed of transactions by your Venmo friends will show you who paid who, and with whatever note they shared. The only thing missing is the amount. The feed also supports emojis, which are almost more common than text in the Venmo social feed. When you make your own transactions in the app, sharing them publicly is the default, but you can change this to viewable only by your Venmo friends or only by the recipient, either globally or on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
Where PayPal stands out against Venmo is in its ability to be used by merchant sellers who are accepting payments, as well as shoppers and buyers at online and physical retailers. Originally established as the payments provider for eBay, PayPal excels in enabling transactions between people who don’t know each other, including offering protections for both sellers and buyers that Venmo doesn’t provide.
PayPal also offers international transactions. Covering more than 200 countries and transacting in about 25 different currencies, PayPal is the app of choice for those who want to pay or accept funds from those outside the U.S. In contrast, Venmo can only be used for U.S. exchanges.
Lastly, both Venmo and PayPal offer their own credit and debit cards, although Venmo’s offering in this area is nascent. By acquiring a debit or credit card, payments to anyone accepting that card type can be charged directly to your PayPal or Venmo account.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Business Features
Further cementing its reputation as the digital payments app of choice for merchants, PayPal offers a plethora of small business tools that are entirely absent in Venmo’s more person-to-person focused business model.
For instance, merchants who establish a PayPal Business account can use the service to essentially set up the financial transaction side of selling items online, making it easy to accept credit and debit card payments from all over the world. In exchange for this capability, merchants agree to a small percentage fee being subtracted on each transaction.
But PayPal’s support for small businesses goes far beyond accepting payments. PayPal Business also offers help with invoicing, product shipping, and marketing insights. Some services are included in the basic business package, while others are available to those with a PayPal Payments Pro account, which carries a monthly maintenance fee.
Growing businesses looking to scale can also benefit from PayPal’s provision of working capital and business loans up to $500,000, some of which can be accessed without a credit check.
Venmo vs. PayPal: Reviews
On both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, the Venmo and PayPal apps receive similarly high marks: 4.9 stars on iOS with almost 11 million reviews, and 4.4 stars from about 443,000 Android users. Ease of use is a significant driver in the favorable ratings, with both apps being well-designed and enabling payments and requests with just a few easy clicks.
Venmo vs. PayPal FAQs
What Are Venmo and PayPal?
PayPal and Venmo are both digital payment vehicles, largely operated as smartphone apps. In the same way that writing a check draws funds for a payment from a linked bank account, making a payment with Venmo or PayPal does the same, but with two modern differences.
First, when making a Venmo or PayPal payment, the user can choose where the funds will be taken from, whether it’s the user’s primary checking account, a secondary savings account, a debit card, or a credit card. Second, the transfer of funds happens essentially instantaneously, unlike checks that must be cashed, and that can bounce for insufficient funds.
PayPal is the pioneer in this field, having been established in the late 1990s and then soon after becoming the payment tool that has facilitated millions of eBay transactions over the last 20 years. Venmo, in contrast, is the new kid on the block, though a popular one. Founded in 2010, Venmo was acquired two years later by Braintree, and then by PayPal in 2013.
How Do Venmo and PayPal Work?
The basic functionality and setup of both services are the same. You create a free account with the service, establishing your security credentials. You then link at least one bank account for transfers and optionally add other payment methods, like additional bank accounts or debit and credit cards.
When you’re ready to pay someone, you enter or search for their contact info, enter the amount to pay, and choose the payment method you’d like to use for the charge. Conversely, both apps include buttons to request funds instead of sending them.
PayPal and Venmo fund your payments by creating ACH transfers to and from your linked bank account, while those opting to use a debit or credit card will see the payment amount added to your statement like any other purchase.
Who Should Use Venmo or PayPal?
For those making primarily personal payments to someone they know and trust, Venmo is the ideal choice. With its social interface, making payments with Venmo and seeing exchanges among your contacts feels like a friendly and personable arena.
PayPal can also be used for paying your friends and family. Whichever platform is best for you will depend on which one more of your contacts are using.
But if you’re selling products, or are regularly paying for online purchases, a PayPal account will serve you much better. Though Venmo has begun to establish a Venmo Business account, it is still a fledgling service.
In contrast, PayPal has been serving merchants and small businesses for more than two decades, and offers the richest menu of merchant supports of any digital payment app.
How We Evaluated Venmo vs. PayPal
To help you understand when each of the two digital payment apps makes the most sense, we delved into PayPal’s and Venmo’s terms on features, payment transaction fees, bank transfer fees, transaction limits, and business/merchant offerings. By laying out a head-to-head comparison on these aspects, it should be easy to see which app will best serve your different needs, or possibly concluding that the best option is to have an account with each.
Or paypal venmo
Venmo vs. PayPal
Venmo and PayPal are two of the most popular payment platforms that can be used to send and receive money to and from friends or customers. PayPal was founded in 1998 as an electronic payment system tailored specifically to online commerce. Venmo was developed 11 years later to make it easy for everyday users to send money to each other via text or a mobile device.
Although there are many similarities between the two (PayPal owns Venmo), there are also important differences that sometimes make one better than the other. We reviewed both platforms based on cost and fees, ease of use, transaction limits, ratings, where each can be used, and more.
Venmo vs. PayPal at a Glance
|Platforms||iOS, Android, web*||iOS, Android, web|
|Payment Methods||Credit, debit, bank transfer||Credit, debit, bank transfer|
|Credit Card Fee||3%||2.9% + $0.30|
|Debit Card Fee||Free||2.9% + $0.30|
|Bank Transfer Fee||Free||Free|
|Transfer Limit||$4,999.99||Up to $60,000 (limited to $10,000 in a single transaction)|
|Withdrawal Timeframe||1-3 business day||3-5 business days|
|Fee||Free to use||Free to use|
|Best for||Everyday users (P2P)||Businesses (merchants)|
|Availability||U.S. only||200 countries|
* Venmo only lets users make payments using its mobile app
Accessibility: Venmo vs. PayPal
Both Venmo and PayPal can be accessed using a desktop or mobile browser or their native apps. While PayPal allows users to make payments both online and via its app, Venmo payments can only be made through the Venmo app.
Payments: Venmo vs. PayPal
Both Venmo and PayPal allow users to send money using their account balance or through connected credit cards and bank accounts.
Previously, only a few businesses accepted payments directly through Venmo, including Uber, Grubhub, Forever 21, J. Crew, and Poshmark. However, the company recently began allowing retailers to offer customers touchless Venmo payments using in-store QR codes starting with CVS. PayPal already supports touchless QR pay with its retail partners.
Pay Pal is used by online merchants and many e-commerce sites that allow shoppers to make purchases with their PayPal account. Because PayPal is tailored for business use, it has a high transaction limit of $60,000 (and may be limited to $10,000 in a single transaction).
PayPal users can activate PayPal’s One Touch feature, which lets them enter their PayPal information once and shop from participating merchants with one click without having to sign in to their account every time. One Touch works on both desktop and mobile devices. Shoppers can also pay directly with the PayPal app by scanning eligible QR codes.
Sending Money: Venmo vs. PayPal
Venmo’s app is specifically designed to make sending money to other Venmo users fast and easy. The app can automatically find the Venmo accounts of family and friends by connecting to a user’s Facebook account and phone contacts. Money can be sent to another user by searching for their account or by scanning the QR code on their app. Users can also see purchases their friends share publicly with a social-style news feed, send a message with a payment, and “heart” a friend’s purchase.
PayPal also offers some pretty impressive features for sending money. Rather than sending someone an email address for payment, PayPal lets users create a PayPal.Me link that they can share instead.
Users with a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account can also create a Money Pool page where friends and family can chip in for a common cause. Funds get sent to the PayPal account of the person who set up the pool and can be accessed immediately. Although there is no fee for friends in the U.S. who chip in using their linked bank account or PayPal balance, PayPal charges 2.9% per transaction + a fixed fee if they use a credit card, debit card, or PayPal Credit.
PayPal also lets users send money to someone’s bank account or cash pickup location in over 130 countries with its Xoom service, even if they don’t have a PayPal account. Fees vary by country and deposit or withdrawal type, charging users starting from $4.99 for a single transaction.
Venmo’s initial person-to-person sending limit is $299.99. Once a user is verified, that increases to a weekly rolling limit of $4,999.99. PayPal requires all users to be verified and allows users to send up to $60,000, but may limit the amount to $10,000 in a single transaction.
Depositing Checks: Venmo vs. PayPal
Recently, Venmo rolled out a new Cash a Check feature that lets users deposit a check into their Venmo account by taking a picture of it with the Venmo app. If a check is approved, the deposited funds are available within minutes. Not all users are eligible for this feature, so users will need to sign into their Venmo app to see if it’s available.
PayPal also allows users to deposit checks into their PayPal account using its app, but they will need to sign up for PayPal Cash Plus first. PayPal charges a 1% fee for payroll and government checks with a pre-printed signature and 5% for all other checks ($5 minimum fee per check).
Business Features: Venmo vs. PayPal
As mentioned earlier, Venmo is just starting to become more merchant-friendly. Online sellers can create a business profile allowing users to pay them as they would a friend, and retails can also make in-store pay easy with QR codes that can be scanned by the app.
Because PayPal is primarily geared toward merchants, it offers more features for business than Venmo. PayPal’s Commerce Platform lets businesses accept a variety of payment types and options, including point-of-sale (POS) systems, virtual terminals, subscriptions, billing agreements, and invoicing. PayPal supports 25 currencies in more than 200 countries.
PayPal offers fraud and seller protection to protect businesses from chargebacks, reversals, and fees using advanced machine learning to identify new fraud risks.
PayPal Buyer Protection
- 24/7 monitoring
- Fraud prevention
- Full refund if the order never arrives
- Full refund if the buyer receives the wrong item
- Full refund if the item is damaged during shipping
- Full refund if the buyer receives a counterfeit version of the item
PayPal Seller Protection
- 24/7 monitoring
- Merchant fraud prevention
- No chargeback for “Item Not Received” claim with proof of delivery/shipment
- No chargeback for “Unauthorized Transaction” claim with proof of delivery/shipment
Additional Features: Venmo vs. PayPal
PayPal has several additional features through its service. For instance, it offers fixed-fee working capital and term business loans based on a merchant’s PayPal history. Loans require no credit check and can be repaid with a percentage of PayPal sales for working capital loans or through automatic weekly payments for term business loans.
Once approved, loans are funded within minutes. PayPal charges a single fixed fee based on sales volume, account history, the loan amount, and the percentage of sales the business directs toward repayment (10% to 30%). Payments are automatically deducted from a business’s PayPal account until the loan is repaid.
PayPal also offers business loans between $5,000 to $500,000 based on the financial strength of a business and its credit score. PayPal charges a fixed fee and withdraws repayments weekly from the business’s bank account instead of a PayPal account. Loans are funded within 24 hours and are repaid over 13 to 52 weeks depending on the amount.
PayPal offers cash-back and points-based credit cards, as well as a digital line of credit wherever PayPal is accepted. Although Venmo can’t compete in this arena, it does offer a physical card that extends Venmo’s purchasing power to just about any merchant. The card can be used to split payments between friends and also earns cashback rewards. Individuals who set up direct paycheck deposits to their Venmo account can also access their money two days earlier using the Venmo card.
Recently, PayPal has entered the cryptocurrency marketplace. Users can buy, hold, and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash with a PayPal or Cash or Cash Plus account. PayPal lets customers start with as little as $1 and offers several useful resources to educate them about buying and selling cryptocurrency.
Cost: Venmo vs. PayPal
There is no cost to create either a Venmo or PayPal account. Each also offers free iOS and Android mobile apps. PayPal allows users to create an account using an email while Venmo requires a mobile phone number.
PayPal charges 2.9% of each transaction plus $0.30 for purchases made with a credit or debit card. Venmo charges 3% per transaction for purchases made with a credit card and no fee for debit card purchases.
Although neither service charges to transfer money to a connected bank account with a standard turnaround (one to three business days for Venmo and one to two business days for PayPal), both services charge a 1% fee with a maximum of $10 for an instant transfer.
Designed for quick money transfers
No fee for debit card purchases
Cash a Check feature
Only available in the U.S.
Low initial person-to-person sending limit
Not widely accepted by retailers
Available in 200 countries
High transfer limit
Fraud and seller protection
High transaction fees
PayPal Cash Plus account required to cash a check
Charges for debit card purchases
What Are Venmo and PayPal?
Venmo and PayPal are digital wallet services that let users make electronic purchases by securely storing payment information and passwords for multiple payment methods. Both allow users to connect their accounts to multiple bank accounts or credit cards.
While both services make it easy to send money to other users, PayPal is more focused on acting as a payment gateway for online purchases. As mentioned earlier, PayPal also offers credit card and business financing options.
Although Venmo is slowly gaining traction as an online payment portal, its primary use is for sending money quickly between two users. It does this far more easily and faster than PayPal.
How Do Venmo and PayPal Work?
Venmo and PayPal process payments using either the existing balance in each account or by drawing on funds from connected bank accounts or credit cards. Both services can be accessed online or through mobile apps. PayPal lets users send or request payments on the web while Venmo only offers this function through its mobile app.
Who Should Use Venmo or PayPal?
PayPal is best for online merchants who want to offer additional payment options to their customers. It offers both buyer and fraud protection so businesses can be assured they’re protected.
Venmo is the easiest solution of the two for sending money between two people. However, because it doesn’t have buyer protection like PayPal, it might not be a great option to send money to people a buyer doesn't know.
How We Evaluated Venmo vs. PayPal
In comparing Venmo vs. PayPal, we looked first at the users each served. We also looked at what each charged, how easy the service was to use, what protections each offered, and how well each service was reviewed.
In general, although both services are owned by PayPal, PayPal is by far the more robust, secure, and safe option for processing online payments. For sending money quickly and easily to friends and family, however, Venmo is the better choice.
Sign up for Venmo now.
Sign up for PayPal now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who owns PayPal?
PayPal is a publicly traded company, which means it's owned by its shareholders. Dan Schulman is the President and CEO, and it has a board of directors. eBay owned it until 2015. PayPal owns several companies, including Honey Science Corp., iZettle, Braintree, and Xoom Corp.
Who owns Venmo?
Venmo is owned by PayPal and has been since 2013. PayPal acquired Venmo when it purchased Braintree. While it might seem counterintuitive to own a competitor, Venmo is popular with a different audience than PayPal.
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