After lunch out with co-workers or going in on a baby shower gift with a friend, most of us don’t even hesitate anymore when it comes to how to handle splitting the bill. “I’ll Venmo you” is pretty much the standard approach. There are, however, other peer-to-peer payment services, AKAhttp://venmo ways to pay and get paid quickly.
Venmo’s biggest competitor, is two year-old Apple Pay Cash, which may be lesser utilized only because it came after Venmo had already established a strong foothold in Millennial bank accounts and popular culture (Venmo was founded in 2009… ancient by tech start-up standards!)
Still, just because it’s the current go-to tool for moving cash around doesn’t mean it’s the best tool. Actually, oftentimes innovators follow the first iteration of service and make it better.
With that in mind, I set out to do a head-to-head comparison: Venmo vs. Apple Pay Cash. Let’s see if you should be using one or the other (or maybe even both) for the most seamless digital cash payments possible.
Overall Access and Ease of Use
One of the things that I think made Venmo so successful is how simple it is to use. Anyone can download it, link a bank account, find friends, and start moving money around right away. There’s really only one way to send and receive money, but you can make it happen in less than five clicks (depending on how many emojis you’d like to include, naturally). The simplicity works.
With Apple Pay Cash, you don’t even have to add another app to your library. You just add a debit card to your Apple Wallet, link a bank account to the Apple Pay Cash card in your wallet (detailed instructions here).
Once you’re set up, you’re automatically able to send and receive money to people in your phone via iMessage. As in, there’s a button on your keyboard that brings up “pay,” you click it, choose an amount, and send the message.
Apple also boasts about the ability to use Siri to send money, but Siri can also access Venmo, so it’s pretty much a wash on that point.
Finally, you can also use both services to pay for online purchases from select retailers, but cash in your Apple Pay account is more widely accepted in brick-and-mortar stores.
Some Apple Pay Cash facts:
- It only works if you have an iPhone and the person on the other end does, too, so you may still need Venmo if your BFF is on Team Android.
- You’ll need to be running iOS 11.2 or later on your mobile device.
- Minimum age is 18. Sorry kids.
- Only available in the US (though users are starting to see the option pop up on their phones in Canada, so maybe that’s rolling out soon?)
Banking Accounts and Fees
Almost all of the financial fine print is the same between Venmo and Apple Pay Cash, too.
Transactions made using a bank account are free on both, as are transfers to your bank account if you’re willing to wait 1-3 business days. Both charge a fee for a faster, nearly immediate transfer (one percent, with a $.25 minimum and $10 maximum).
Venmo charges 3% if you want to use a credit card. Apple recently ended the option to use a credit card to fund Apple Pay Cash transfers because they didn’t want their customers paying that 3% surcharge… they also just announced their own upcoming credit card but you won’t be able to use any credit card to transfer funds in the future.
Both have single $3,000 transfer limits, but Venmo also sets that limit for a week, while Apple allows for up to $10,000 per week. But, um, if you’re moving that much money around per week, I’m guessing you’re not too concerned with who’s paying for burgers and beer.
Your Network and Privacy
On Venmo, you have to search for and add friends you want to exchange money with. With Apple Pay Cash, you get to skip that step entirely, since you’re able to use iMessage, with is already loaded with your contacts. Of course, again, it’ll only work with iPhone users, whereas on Venmo, you can trade dollars with people on all kinds of devices.
On the privacy front, it seems like Apple wins. Both claim that your data is totally secure, but a Consumer Reports comparison found Apple Pay Cash scored better on metrics like payment authentication, data security, and data privacy.
It’s so private, in fact, that there isn’t a way to share your transactions with others outside the exchange. Venmo, on the other hand, is structured like a social network and encourages you to turn payments into another form of social currency. AKA letting everyone know you got pizza and wine with Jill and had such a good time it warranted four smiling emojis. if you’re the kind of person that likes posting public transactions, Venmo’s for you. TBH, that part of Venmo always bugged me… I do my best to remember to set my transactions to “private” but sometimes I forget and everyone knows my sordid dealings with the guitar teacher, or the handyman.
The Bottom Line
The Venmo vs. Apple Pay Cash comparison ended up being pretty comparable on most points, like overall convenience and fees. If you and most of your friends and family are Apple users, iMessaging money around is pretty unparalleled in terms of ease of use, and I love the idea of having one payment system you can use for online shopping, in-store-purchases, and paying friends. For now, though, Venmo is winning in terms of pervasiveness, since anyone can use it, regardless of device.