Venmo has become an incredibly popular way for people to send, receive, and transfer money between each other.
The fact that the app is so simple to use, combined with its low fee structure means that it’s now a standard way for people to send payments.
However, this has left some people wondering – do you have to be 18 to use Venmo, and what are their age requirements?
In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Venmo?
Venmo requires all users to be at least 18 years old in order to use their service. Users under the age of 18 cannot create accounts, nor can they send, receive, or transfer money using the service.
Venmo also requires that you are located within the United States, have access to a U.S cell phone, and are at least the age of majority in your state of residence (if this age is greater than 18.)
Unfortunately, this means that teens and other minors are not able to use Venmo in any capacity.
Why Can’t Minors Use Venmo?
Why can’t minors use Venmo, you may ask? Ultimately, it comes down to legal issues.
Financial services such as Venmo are subject to much stricter laws and regulations than other types of companies and services. This means, there is a lot more that they have to legally comply with in order to exist and operate.
When you sign up for a Venmo account, you are entering into a legally binding contract. Because minors cannot legally enter into these types of contracts, Venmo unfortunately isn’t allowed to do business with them.
So, it’s not that Venmo doesn’t want to offer its services to teens. Rather, it comes down to legalities and risks.
Other Reasons Teens Might Want To Avoid Venmo
Of course, the legalities aren’t the only issue. In fact, even if teenagers were allowed to open Venmo accounts, there are some good reasons why they may not want to – or why parents may wish to forbid it.
Let’s look over a few of them.
The first reason is that scams are prevalent on Venmo. Although Venmo is taking every step they can to minimize scams on their platform, the unfortunate reality is that it does happen.
Once you send money to someone on Venmo, it is nearly impossible to get it back – even in the event of outright scams.
This is quite different to ordering items through legitimate websites, or even using other financial services like PayPal (which has buyer protection for many purchases.)
Because of how hard it is to get refunds on Venmo, it makes a prevalent payment method for scammers. And unfortunately, teenagers may not be experienced enough to recognize a scam when they see one.
Poor Financial Choices
Unfortunately, the risk of credit card use in general has been proven to increase poor spending habits.
This effect is even more prevalent when you don’t even have to see the card, or hand over the cash to make the transaction.
Most teenagers do not have very much disposable income. They are also more likely to make big financial decisions based on impulse or emotions, with can lead to devastating consequences.
Just the act of physically handing over money can help people of all ages think through their buying decisions more thoughtfully.
Venmo however is about as far away as you can go from it. Your balance is just numbers on a screen – it hardly feels real!
Venmo Alternatives For Teens
There are legitimate reasons for teenagers to need to send money to each other over the internet.
Assuming that you have the funds in your account and you aren’t operating on credit, responsible use of a payment platform like Venmo shouldn’t be a problem.
While people under 18 are not allowed to use Venmo, there are some alternative options available. Let’s look over some options!
First, The Bad News
Unfortunately, there are no other financial apps or websites like Venmo that allow minors to send payments.
The following apps do not allow minors to sign up and hold an account:
- Cash App
- Apple Cash
- Google Pay
- Zelle (With one exception, mentioned below)
- Facebook Payments
Therefore, it’s not worth downloading or trying to sign up. Unless you are at least 18 years old, none of the above apps will allow you to register and use their services.
Thankfully, there are still some other options.
1. Step – Banking for Teens
As far as Venmo alternatives for teens go, Step is one of the top choices.
What makes Step unique is that with Step, you also receive a secured credit card. A secured card means you can only spend one has been preloaded into the account.
However, since it is still technically a credit card, this is also a fantastic way for teenagers to start building a credit history, which will serve them well into adulthood.
For users under 18, they are required to have a parent or guardian ‘sponsor’ the account – tying themselves to it, and managing the account.
However, teens will be able to use the debit card freely.
The one downside to Step is that in order to receive money directly into your Step account, the other person must also have a Step account. This is a little bit more challenging, because Step is a much less popular app than mainstream money apps like Venmo or Cash App.
2. Zelle (Kind Of)
This one’s a little bit confusing.
To actually use the Zelle app and transfer money between Zelle accounts, you must be over 18 years of age.
However, many bank accounts have Zelle integration built into them. In these instances, the rules are decided by your bank, rather than Zelle themselves.
While many banks require you to be 18 years old to open an account with them, there are some banks that allow teenagers to hold accounts.
Wells Fargo Clear Access, Capital One Money, And Chase HS Checking accounts all allow teenagers who are aged 13 years and up to hold accounts.
If you are an account owner with one of these banks, you may be able to transfer money via Zelle, through your bank.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finally, lets look over some frequently asked questions regarding the use of Venmo, while under the age of 18.
Can I Set Up A Venmo Account For My Child?
No. Even if you are an adult yourself, Venmo does not allow accounts held by anyone under the age of 18, even if they are set up by a parent or guardian.
However, you can send and receive payments on their behalf through your own Venmo account. This is a common workaround – if kids want to transfer money to each other, they can instead have the parents Venmo each other. Then, the money can simply be given to the child or teenager manually.
Alternatively, some people have linked their teenager’s debit card to their own Venmo account as a workaround, if your teenager has their own bank account. However, you must be the owner of the Venmo account.
Can You Use Venmo At 17 Years Old?
No, you are unable to use Venmo at 17 years old. You must wait until you are at least 18 to open your account, even if you don’t intend to actually use Venmo until after your 18th birthday.
Can You Use Venmo At 16 Years Old?
No, 16 year olds are not able to use Venmo. You must wait until you’re 18 in order to open a Venmo account. However, you can use other alternatives, like Step or Zelle’s platform for teenagers.
What Happens If Venmo Finds Out You’re Under 18?
If Venmo finds out that you’re under the age of 18, your account will be immediately suspended and all of your funds will be frozen.
Unfortunately, this means that you may lose any money that you’ve received via Venmo.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped teenagers from lying about their age in order to sign up for an account. The problem is, once you pass a certain threshold, Venmo may ask for legal information (such as your birthdate or social security number) in order to verify who you are. This is a legal requirement and is unavoidable when using the Venmo platform.
During the verification process, you must tell the truth, or the verification will fail.
Of course, if you’re under 18, Venmo will find out when they ask you to verify your information.
Therefore, it’s inevitable your account will be closed before long, even if you were to lie about your age.
Unfortunately, you cannot use Venmo if you’re under the age of 18.
However, there are a number of Venmo alternatives that teens can use to send and receive payments, which can help until they’re old enough to open a Venmo account.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about Venmo, please feel free to ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister