A guide to Venmo etiquette, straight from the Venmo community



In 2009, Venmo was designed to help eliminate the awkwardness of IOUs by providing a quick and convenient way to split and share payments with friends using only a mobile device. Ten years and more than 40 million active users later, Venmo’s popularity has posed new questions about payment etiquette when it comes to splitting a dinner bill, expenses with roommates, traveling with friends, dating and more.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years, so we asked Venmo users across the country for their thoughts on payment protocol and partnered with etiquette expert Myka Meier to share tips for proper money manners inspired by our community of users.


Venmo lifecycle = 48 hours. For the most efficient experience, send a request for payment within 24 hours of the original transaction. When you receive a request, do your best to pay back the requested amount within a 24 hour timeframe. If for some reason you need more time to pay, send the person a text or email to let them know when they can expect the payment. Which brings us to our next tip...

Don’t ghost your payments! Settle up and avoid the stress of debt. Venmo users agree that it’s appropriate to use the remind feature within four days of the original request, so check it off the to do list and save your friends the hassle of chasing you down.

No surprises. It’s best to discuss all requests and group splits AHEAD of the payment requests, whether it’s for a taxi or a bachelor party. The cost may not be within everyone’s budget and it’s important to allow someone to opt out before sending a Venmo request.

You asked, you pay. When it comes to dating, 63% of Venmo users think the person who asks for the date and picks the location is typically the one who should pay the bill (regardless of gender). Thirty percent of users agree the bill should be split, but unless that’s discussed ahead of time, we do not recommend sending a post-date request.

Timing is everything. If one person picks up the check at a group dinner, it is recommended, when possible, that everyone Venmo the person covering the bill in real time given the larger amount. This also goes for other large purchases such as concert tickets, sporting events, and flights that may be planned months in advance.

Cash gifts are no longer gauche, but increasingly preferred. If someone gives you money on your birthday, then lucky you, but that doesn’t mean you should ask for cash gifts or shoot out Venmo requests on your birthday.

Pay before you fly. Not all Venmo requests have to happen after the fact. If you are the person who has taken on any group trip expenses, it’s fine to request payment ahead of the trip if you’re fronting the payment, but be as detailed as possible when requesting and be sure to have the total amount and breakdown per person available in case someone asks. If you need faster access to your balance to pay a credit card bill or put down a deposit, Venmo offers an Instant Transfer feature so you can transfer your Venmo balance to your bank account within minutes using an eligible Mastercard or Visa debit card*.

Mind your emojis. The average Venmo user checks the app 2-3 times per week and it’s not just for payments, but to see what their friends and family are up to. Be aware that your friend’s mom or your boss may be watching your Venmo activity and your emojis or an inside joke in the payment note may not always come off as intended.

Correct mistakes. If someone sends you a Venmo request for the wrong amount, politely point it out when you receive the Venmo request - you can decline the request and they can send a new request for the correct amount. If someone sends you too much money, send the additional amount back as soon as you recognize the mistake.

No amount is too small. When it comes to requests, 24% of Venmo users believe the request can be between $1 and $5. Some people use Venmo to send small surprise payments of $1 or less just to say hey or thank you to a friend - Venmo calls these ‘penny pokes’ and over 3 million were sent in 2018 alone!

 *Transfer speed depends on your bank and could take up to 30 minutes. Transfers are reviewed which could result in delays or funds being frozen or removed from your Venmo account.

(Newsroom Ad tile) The Modern Enterprise
(Newsroom Ad tile) Small Business Spotlight
Stay up to date.

Sign up to receive the latest news to your email.