Security & Fraud

Venmo Might Get Rid Of Public Transaction Posts To Protect User Privacy

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Executives at PayPal are deciding whether they should remove the option to post and view public transactions on Venmo.

According to Bloomberg, an anonymous source said that regardless of what is decided, payments between friends would still be visible on the home feed.

Venmo is always evaluating what’s best for our customers,” a PayPal spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “The safety and privacy of Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we do a number of things to keep our users informed and help them protect and control their privacy.”

The discussions are the result of growing concerns over the app’s privacy. Venmo users link their bank accounts or credit cards to the app so they can send and receive payments using their smartphones. Users often send messages with their payments, which are visible on a public newsfeed by default unless the settings are changed.

As a result, Venmo has been criticized for its privacy policies. In February, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused the payments app of misleading consumers about its security, as well as making it too difficult to change privacy settings. As a result, PayPal agreed to change its disclosures to more clearly explain how to limit the sharing of transaction details.

And while a small survey found that 88 percent of Venmo users “indicated indifference [toward] whether their transactions were shared or private,” 88 percent of people who haven’t used Venmo don’t want a social network element inside a payments app. It’s important to note, however, that Venmo recently began showing its users a tutorial about privacy settings when they open the app.

“We’re obviously pleased with the initial reception within the Venmo user base, with all the different services we put out,” said PayPal Chief Executive Dan Schulman in an interview. At the same time, “we want to be sure people understand just what they’re sharing and what their various options are,” he added.

PayPal recently disclosed that Venmo processed $14.2 billion in transactions last quarter.

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