Have you ever gone out to dinner with friends and had to split a bill seven ways? With the availability of P2P mobile payment apps like Venmo or Square Cash, this is no longer an issue. No more IOU’s that are impossible to keep track of. No more running to the 7-Eleven next door to buy a pack of gum for small bills. Both Venmo and Square Cash allow you to connect a bank account or debit card to your app. You can then either send or request money from your peers. Once you make a transaction, the money will automatically be debited to or from your account. You can also connect a credit card to use as your payment source, but keep in mind that you will be charged a 3% transaction fee.
In terms of service and reliability, both apps are comparable. Both allow you to easily send and receive money. They also allow you to maintain a balance within the app, for faster transfer times. There are, however, differences between them that may make you lean more one way.
What stands out about Venmo is that it is very much a social platform, on top of being a payment platform. When sending money to friends, you can also leave fun little notes and emojis in the memo section. And unless you switch on privacy settings, other people in your network can see who you send or receive money from, and for what items. Some may find this fun, while others may consider this an invasion of privacy. If you’re of the latter, simply go to ‘Privacy’ under settings, and change the ‘Public’ visibility option to ‘Private.’ This way, only the sender and receiver can see the transaction under their app history. For those who like the social element, you can also connect your Venmo to Facebook, to expand your number of contacts.
Additionally, through a partnership with PayPal, you can now use Venmo in most places where PayPal is accepted. This opens up millions of vendors and sites for Venmo use, thus making Venmo more than just a peer-to-peer payment app.
Square Cash functions similarly to Venmo for the most part. However, there is no social element. You simply get something called a $Cashtag, which is like a Twitter handle that other Cash App users can use to find you (if you’re not already in their contacts list). You can even look up someone’s $Cashtag on desktop to send money. Square also allows you to invite other users for a referral bonus; if someone uses your invite code, and then uses the app, both of you receive $5.
My favorite aspect of Square Cash is their release of personalized debit cards last year. Anyone with a Cash App account can create a customized design on a card template, and a reloadable debit card with that design will be shipped to your house within a week or two. I’ve had so much fun making different designs, before settling on this one.
If you go on Twitter, you can check out other people’s creative designs. Because the card is a sleek black, people who simply print their signatures have really cool looking cards too.
Besides the Cash Card being a fun thing to show off to friends, the physical card allows you to use your Cash account for both online purchases and in-person at card swiping terminals. It is even equipped with an EMV chip for added security. The best part of the card is that because it gives you a newly generated card number, your purchases are way more secure than if you used your debit or credit card directly.
UPDATE: You can now use your Square Cash funds to buy Bitcoin. So the next time your friend pays you back for that pizza, instead of depositing it back into your account, you can purchase Bitcoin with it.
Venmo and Square Cash largely serve the same purpose. Both apps have been reliable, and I haven’t had any major issues with them. Venmo’s partnership with PayPal may prove to be extremely useful to you if you make lots of purchases online at those retailers. You may also like the social element of the app.
Despite these factors, I personally think that the Square Cash App is a superior product. I really value my privacy and security, and the EMV chip-enabled, randomized credit card number pushes Square to the top. The fact that I can now purchase Bitcoin with the Cash App is a great bonus. The personalized designs are the cherry on top.
If you still can’t pick, then just go with whichever app your friends use. I personally use both because different groups of friends use different apps (I don’t know anyone else outside of my college friends who use Square Cash). Both apps get the job done and make payments extremely useful.