The Venmo Debit Card: Is it right for you?
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Since its 2009 launch, Venmo has become one of the most popular mobile payment apps in the United States. The app—which lets users pay one another with linked credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts or account balances—began offering a Mastercard debit card in 2018, now known as the Venmo Debit Card.
Unlike traditional debit cards that pull from a linked bank account, the purchases you make with the Venmo Debit Card are charged to your account balance (though you still need a linked bank account to transfer funds into said balance).
Issued by The Bancorp Bank, the Venmo Debit Card allows you to withdraw cash from ATMs, and there’s no charge for doing so as long as you withdraw at a MoneyPass® ATM in the U.S. ATMs outside of the MoneyPass network charge $2.50 per withdrawal.
Get cash back with Venmo Rewards
Venmo Rewards, the official rewards program for the Venmo Debit Card, launched in October 2019. With the help of Dosh—the third-party cash back platform that manages Venmo Rewards—the Venmo Debit Card offers instant cash back rewards for making purchases with the card at participating merchants. Whenever you make an eligible purchase, your rewards are automatically deposited into your Venmo balance.
Merchant offers are available for a limited time, and they can be viewed within the Venmo app. Unfortunately, there’s no way to see these offers unless you have the Venmo Debit Card. Cash back amounts vary per offer, and there may be limits on the amount of cash back you can earn. In the past, Venmo has offered 5 percent cash back for purchases at places like Target, Wendy’s and Sephora.
Venmo Debit Card security protections
Under the Mastercard network, purchases made with the Venmo Debit Card are covered by zero liability protection, meaning you won’t be held accountable for unauthorized transactions. With Mastercard Global Service, you can report a lost or stolen card and receive an emergency replacement. Mastercard ID Theft Protection monitors your credit file and alerts you to suspicious activity as long as you activate it. And if you lose your card and then find it, you also have the ability to disable or enable your card within the Venmo app.
Venmo offers its own set of protections as well. Under the Protected Purchase Program, purchases made at authorized merchants using the Venmo Debit Card are covered in full (plus shipping costs) in certain circumstances, including if you did not receive the item or if the item does not match its original description.
How the Venmo Debit Card compares with its competitors
The Venmo Debit Card isn’t the only debit card to offer its users rewards for their spending. For example, there’s the Discover Cashback Debit, which earns 1 percent cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each month. Then there’s Venmo’s competitor, Cash App (formerly Square Cash), which released a Visa debit card, Cash Card, in May 2017—just over a year before Venmo did.
Cash App’s Cash Card is tied to users’ balances and also offers a rewards program. In the past, Cash Card’s rewards were unofficially reported to include 10 percent cash back at Whole Foods, Burger King, Petco and more.
Both Venmo and Cash App set limits on card usage. The Venmo Debit Card has a daily purchase limit of $3,000, which is significantly lower than the Cash Card’s $7,000 limit per day. Other terms apply.
Is the Venmo Debit Card worth it?
If your main goal is to earn rewards for your purchases, a rewards credit card may better suit your needs. Most rewards credit card options, including ones with no annual fees, provide up-front information on how and where you can earn rewards, meaning that you can choose a card based on how and where you spend.
It should be noted that the Venmo Debit Card can’t be used outside of the United States or for online purchases with international merchants. Those who are interested in the Venmo Debit Card, but travel abroad often, should be sure to have alternative payment options available.
Even if you’re a frequent user of Venmo, the rewards potential of the Venmo Debit Card isn’t much compared to that of a rewards credit card. It should be noted that Venmo also offers the Venmo Credit Card, a co-branded credit card with Synchrony Bank, which comes with no annual fee and offers a higher cash back rate on select category purchases. With the Venmo Credit Card you’ll earn 3 percent cash back on your top eligible spending category, 2 percent back on your next top eligible spending category and 1 percent back on all other purchases. The card also includes a “purchase crypto” feature, which allows you to purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin with your cash back—an option that may be appealing to those who are new to cryptocurrency.
The bottom line
If you’d rather not use a credit card for your spending, and if you’d prefer using Venmo over a bank debit card, then the Venmo Debit Card may be a good option for you. Its integration with the Venmo app is convenient, it still offers the chance to earn cash back and there are more than 37,000 MoneyPass locations in the U.S. that you can use for withdrawing funds. However, keep in mind that you can’t use the Venmo Debit Card outside of the U.S. or for purchases with international merchants. Lastly, if you want to earn more rewards on your purchases, you may want to consider a rewards credit card instead.