Venmo card review: A debit card for the app lover

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In a Nutshell

If you can’t wait to spend money sent to you via Venmo, the Venmo card could speed up the process. The Venmo card enables you to spend your Venmo balance in all stores that accept Mastercard® in the U.S. — and there isn’t a fee when you use the card for purchases. That’s convenient. But if you don’t mind waiting a few days for your Venmo balance to transfer to your bank account, there are few reasons to switch from your normal debit or credit card to the Venmo card.

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Pros Cons
Use your Venmo balance anywhere Mastercard® is accepted in the U.S. Can’t be used with international merchants
Free withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S. $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee for ATMs outside the MoneyPass network in the U.S.
Can use linked bank account to cover transactions that exceed your Venmo balance Covering transactions with your bank account could trigger overdraft fees

What you need to know about the Venmo card

Venmo makes it easy to send and receive money from friends and family. But what if you want to spend your Venmo balance inside an actual store? The Venmo card makes that possible. Here’s what you need to know about the Venmo card and how it works.

Instantly access your Venmo balance for free

Venmo users who don’t have the Venmo card can transfer funds to their linked bank accounts for free, but it takes one to three business days for funds to arrive. With Venmo’s instant-transfer service, you can move part of your Venmo balance over to an eligible debit card. With instant transfer, funds are usually loaded onto your card within 30 minutes. Venmo charges a 1% fee for instant transfers, which has a 25 cent minimum and a $10 maximum.

But with the Venmo card, you can use your Venmo balance at any store that accepts Mastercard® in the U.S., and there isn’t a fee when you use the card for purchases.

And if you don’t have enough available funds in your Venmo account to cover your entire transaction, the Venmo card can pull money from your linked bank account to cover the purchase. It’s an opt-in feature called “Venmo card reloads.” If it’s enabled, it will move funds over in increments of $10 to cover any purchases that exceed your Venmo balance.

You can also choose to preemptively add money to your Venmo balance from a linked bank account via the Venmo app. Just keep in mind that transfers take three to five days to post, so don’t count on the funds being available right away — unlike a prepaid card.

Credit Karma Guide to Prepaid Debit Cards

Free withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S.

If you want to convert your Venmo balance into cash, the Venmo card could help you do that. ATM withdrawals are free at more than 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S., with a daily withdrawal limit of $400. Getting extra cash back from debit card transactions in stores is also free.

But keep in mind that you’ll be charged a fee of $2.50 for withdrawing cash from an ATM that’s outside of the MoneyPass network. And the Venmo card won’t work for cash withdrawals from your own bank account. You’ll need to have the funds already sitting in your Venmo account.

No other fees … if you’re careful

The Venmo card doesn’t charge any application, annual or monthly usage fees. But if you enable Venmo reloads, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough funds in your linked bank account to cover the transaction. If not, your card can be declined or trigger expensive overdraft fees.

Deep integration with the Venmo app

Venmo is primarily known for its app, so it’s no surprise that the Venmo card is tied closely to it. In fact, you can apply for the Venmo card through the app.

But the connections don’t end there. Venmo card purchases show up inside the app, and you can even split or share the transaction with friends. Lastly, if your card is lost or stolen, you can use the Venmo app to disable the card until you find it again.

Can’t be used with international merchants

You can only use your card where Mastercard® is accepted in the U.S. If you frequently travel abroad, this isn’t the debit card for you. You’ll want to find a debit card with no foreign transaction fees instead.

What else you need to know

Here are a few other details that you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • There is no ongoing rewards or cash back program associated with the Venmo card, although Venmo sometimes offers short-term incentives.
  • Venmo cards can handle contactless payments, if you don’t want to swipe or insert your card.
  • You can’t add authorized user cards for family members.
  • Venmo lets you pick the color of your Venmo card from six color options.

Who this card is good for

The Venmo card is a bit of a conundrum. At first glance, it’s easy to think that it would be a viable option for consumers who don’t or can’t have a bank account. But without the ability to load cash for instant access or set up direct deposit with the Venmo card, it isn’t a full-fledged checking account alternative like a good prepaid card can be.

On the other hand, without offering any ongoing rewards, the Venmo card simply can’t compete with the best cash back credit cards or travel credit cards either. The Venmo app can be great when you need to pay for things that you can’t typically use a card for — situations like needing to split a restaurant bill with friends or paying the babysitter. But we’d recommend continuing to use your favorite rewards card at places that accept plastic.

So who is this card good for? The Venmo card could come in handy for people who need access to their Venmo funds quickly and don’t want to pay the instant-transfer fee. A college student, for instance, who relies heavily on Venmo transfers from family or friends may find value in this card.

But students studying abroad will want to stay away from the Venmo card since it can’t be used overseas. And if you’re a student (or anyone else) who can’t wait a day or two for your Venmo balance to transfer to your checking account, you may just find it simpler to stick with your bank’s debit card.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.