Venmo is a popular mobile app that allows you to send and receive money and split payments in a convenient way. If you are a Venmo user and looking to know if you can use Venmo without Plaid, this post will answer all your queries.
Many users have safety concerns about using Plaid on Venmo. Though Plaid is used not only by Venmo but many other financial apps like Robinhood, Coinbase, Chime, Acorns, Sofi, etc.
You are prompted to use Plaid when you are attempting to link or add your bank account in Venmo. Plaid allows you to verify your bank account instantly with your online banking credentials i.e. your online bank username and password.
But is there any way to avoid using Plaid when linking your bank account with Venmo?
Can I use Venmo without Plaid? Yes, you can use Venmo without Plaid by linking your bank account using manual verification. For this, you need to enter your bank routing number and account number and Venmo will use two micro-transfers i.e. two withdrawals and equal deposits to verify ownership.
You must have at least 2 dollars in your bank account for the micro-transfer to go through and verification can take 1-3 business days.
Alternatively, you can add your bank debit card to link your bank in Venmo. Venmo allows you to add a debit card issued by your bank.
You can also use Venmo without adding a bank account altogether and save yourself from the whole hassle of bank account verification. Yes, Venmo can work even without linking a bank account but there are limitations to this.
The preferred way is to use manual verification, but let’s look into the details of each way to use Venmo without Plaid and what are the pros and cons.
How to Use Venmo without Plaid [3 ways]
- Add your bank account in Venmo by using manual verification with micro-transfers [Works without Plaid]
- Add your bank debit card in Venmo instead of linking a bank account [Works without Plaid]
- Choose to use Venmo without a bank account or bank debit card
1. Add Bank account in Venmo by using manual verification with micro-transfers [Works without Plaid]
You need Plaid only if you want to verify your bank account online instantly to add it to the Venmo app.
However, Venmo provides you with an alternative way to link a bank account, without using Plaid, by using manual verification. Here you need to enter your bank account number and routing number.
Venmo will verify the bank account by doing two small test withdrawals and equivalent deposits. Make sure you have at least $2 in your bank account for the micro transfers to go through. This verification can take 1-3 business days. But usually, it takes one business day.
If you go for manual verification, make sure you take note of the following points-
- Enter the correct routing or bank account number details
- Make sure you add a bank account which is valid for electronic/ACH transactions i.e. a checking account. Do NOT add a savings account, as it will not work
- Make sure you have the minimum balance in your bank account to fund the micro-transfer (at least $2) to avoid overdraft
- Make sure the bank account is active and there is no hold or freeze
- The account’s transaction limit has not been exceeded, or the funds are on hold.
So you can conveniently add a bank account in Venmo, using the micro transfers as a way of manually verifying your ownership. This way you don’t need Plaid to use Venmo.
2. Link Your Bank Debit Card instead of Bank Account [Works without Plaid]
You can also choose to add your bank debit card to Venmo instead of adding a bank account. To add your debit card to Venmo, you don’t need to use Plaid and only enter the card details to verify.
With a bank debit card, you get almost the same options in Venmo as linking a bank account i.e. you can add funds from such linked debit card to your Venmo balance and also transfer funds from your Venmo account to such debit card.
Since a debit card is linked to your bank account, adding or pulling money from your debit card automatically updates your bank balance.
The only limitation is perhaps you cannot use the standard ACH transfer to cash out funds from Venmo when using a debit card. Standard transfer from Venmo to your Bank account is free but takes 1-3 business days. You have to opt for instant transfer in the case of a debit card, which is subject to 1.75% Fees (Max $25 per transfer)
However, when you have added a bank account, whether manually or through Plaid, it allows you to use both instant transfer and standard ACH transfer.
You can add a debit card to the Venmo app by following the steps below:
- Open the Venmo app and log-in
- Next, go to the “You” tab by selecting the single-person icon
- Next tap on Settings (gear icon) on the top right then
- Next tap “Payment Methods”
- Next Tap “Add bank or card” and select “Card”
- Input your card information by typing or using your phone’s camera
3. Using Venmo without adding a bank account or debit card
You can even choose to use Venmo without linking your bank account and thus without any hassles of going through the bank verification. In other words, you can use Venmo not only without Plaid but also without adding a bank account altogether.
However, this does have many limitations, but not a show-stopper.
To use Venmo, there are only 3 basic conditions, you must be at least 18 years of age, physically located in the US, and have a US cellphone number.
However, there are some limitations if you do not add a bank account. To name a few, you can’t move funds from Venmo to your bank account, unless you have it linked to Venmo. You also can’t make a purchase that exceeds your Venmo balance. unless you have added a debit card or credit card as a payment method on Venmo.
You can however apply for a Venmo debit card and withdraw your Venmo balance in cash from an ATM. You can also opt for cashback when you make a purchase at an eligible merchant like Walmart etc. when using Venmo.
You can withdraw funds from Venmo using the Venmo debit card at no cost at MoneyPass ATMs within the U.S. and in some U.S. territories. Cashback with purchase is also available at Point of Sale devices at no cost, as permissible by a merchant that bears the Mastercard, Maestro, or PULSE acceptance marks, and is dependent on retailer participation.
Without a linked payment method i.e. bank account or debit card attached to a bank account, you will NOT be able to
- Add money to Venmo on your own [linked bank account or debit card]. You can, however, still receive money from friends on Venmo to fund your Venmo balance.
- Cash out your Venmo balance online [to your linked bank account or debit card]. You can still withdraw your Venmo balance in cash at an ATM if you have a Venmo Debit Card.
- Pay for something in excess of the balance you hold on Venmo unless you have added another card e.g. credit card as a payment method on Venmo.
So while this is an option, it is not a convenient one. The best option is just to add your bank account manually without Plaid and you have full-fledged access to Venmo. Or choose to add your Bank Debit Card.
Venmo Plaid vs Manual Verification
|Details required||Online bank username |
|Bank routing number and account number|
|Time taken||Instantly (within 30 minutes)||1-3 business days|
How to turn off Plaid on Venmo?
If you have linked your bank account linked to Venmo via Plaid, you can turn it off at any time by removing your bank account first and then adding it with the manual verification process.
Should I Use Venmo Plaid? ? Is it Safe to Use Plaid with Venmo
Plaid is a legit institution that connects banks to various apps. It has partnerships with more than 5,000 fintechs, which include many big names Stripe, Chime, Robinhood, etc. It supports connections to more than 11,000 banks.
As per Plaid, they use various techniques like encryption, authentication, and audits to protect user data. And given the number of banks and fintechs they support, it can be a big reputation risk for them to have any data privacy-related issues.
Plaid also mention they do not share any information with services or apps you have linked your bank with, without your permission. But most people will skip the fine print. So it helps to read more and understand what type of data they collect and how Plaid handles user data on their website.
Also, it depends on the arrangement between your bank and Plaid, if the credentials are accessible and if they are stored by Plaid, when you use it to verify your bank account on Venmo.
That being said, if you’re skeptical about sharing user data, you can go for manual verification on Venmo.
You can also use a separate bank account with Venmo, different from your main bank account, where you maintain a low balance and don’t mind using it with Plaid.
So there are a couple of ways in which you can use Venmo without Plaid. Using manual verification to link your bank account in Venmo is the easy way to go if you want to avoid using Plaid. But make sure you enter the routing number and account number details correctly and be patient to have the verification completed.