Why is Venmo Asking For My SSN [Explained]

If you are using the Venmo app, you may have come across a message that needs you to provide your SSN details (Social Security Number) to continue using Venmo. If you are worried about why Venmo is asking for your SSN, this post can help you with an explanation. You may be skeptical about sharing your SSN with Venmo and wondering if you actually need to share these details and if it is a safe thing to share SSN.

And the worry is valid. After all, your Social Security Number is sensitive information which should not be shared lightly.

However, in the case of Venmo and even other payment apps like Cash App, there are legitimate reasons for asking your Social Security Number as a way of verifying your identity.  And this may not be a cause for concern.

Let’s look at why Venmo needs your SSN.

Why does Venmo Need my SSN?

Venmo is a money transfer service that is regulated by the US treasury department. Venmo needs your SSN as a part of the information it is required to collect to verify the identity of its users, in compliance with the FDIC rules. 

Infact, the Venmo website specifically mentions the following events which can trigger Venmo to verify your identity by providing you to share your SSN. 

If you do any of the following transactions on Venmo, don’t be surprised if it’s asking for your SSN:

  • Send $300 or more in one week (rolling 7 day period)
  • Transfer $1000 or more to your bank in one week
  • Create a group account
  • Process more than 200 transactions in a calendar year as a sole proprietor with a business profile

Do note that the Venmo app is owned by Paypal and is therefore a genuine app that won’t ask for any information, which is not required. 

So when you see a message from Venmo asking you to provide your SSN, know that it is not a random request. But make sure the request is indeed from Venmo

Go to Venmo app to update your SSN rather than going through any email link.

Checks to See if it is Request is Legitimate and Coming from Venmo

Make sure you can verify the message is genuine and coming from Venmo, especially if such a message appears on email. Do check the from email id to verify it is genuine. There are always scamsters who are looking to take advantage of vulnerable users. It is better to update this information directly on the Venmo app rather than going through any email link.

If you have done any of the transactions mentioned in the previous section, it is probably an event which triggered the ask from Venmo for your SSN. Venmo usually has these checks configured in its app, as a part of its system measures to be compliant.

Also, note that Venmo’s request for your SSN is a one-time security check. You don’t need to do this multiple times, if you have completed the identity verification once.

Venmo verifies your identity by using the National Database to find a positive match of legal name, address, date of birth, and SSN/ITIN.

How to Update your SSN on Venmo App

You will be able to find the Identity Verification option on the Venmo app to update yoru SSN. Just  open the “☰” menu on app home screen, tap on “Settings,” and then tap “Identity Verification.”   The on-screen prompts will guide you through the process.  

Do note that you can only do this in the Venmo mobile app, not the Venmo website.  

Is it Safe to Share your SSN on Venmo? How does Venmo Protect your Personal Information?

Any personal information that you share with Venmo is required to be stored and protected by Venmo, as per it’s privacy policy. The safety of any information is however not guaranteed and always dependent on service provider and user.

It is natural when you are sharing personal information like SSN with Venmo  to wonder if it is a safe thing to do. The question always comes to your mind like “Is it safe to share your SSN with Venmo”. You should obviously have some idea of how the information is going to be handled and protected. 

I went through Venmo’s privacy policy on its website which mentions how they handle personal information shared by its users. Here is an extract from Venmo’s privacy policy:

“We store and process your personal information using third party servers located in data centers in the United States. This information is protected by physical, electronic and procedural safeguards in compliance with applicable US federal and state regulations. We also use computer safeguards such as firewalls and data encryption, we enforce physical access controls to our office and files, and we authorize access to personal information only for those employees who require it to fulfill their job responsibilities.

We strive to ensure security on our systems. Despite our efforts, we cannot guarantee that personal information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed by breach of our administrative, managerial and technical safeguards. Therefore, we urge you to take adequate precautions to protect your personal data as well, including never sharing your Venmo password with anyone.”

So while Venmo has its own checks and balance to protect your personal information, there is no foolproof way to protect your data. Venmo has a legitimate need to ask for your personal information to comply with the rules. But you should also take necessary steps to give information only when necessary and use Venmo safely.

Can you use the Venmo App without SSN?

Yes, you can still use Venmo without SSN. However, this will not give you access to all features of Venmo. If you use Venmo without SSN, you can still make payments to other Venmo users or businesses using a linked payment method (bank account, credit card, or debit card). You can also receive payments from your Venmo friends etc. and transfer that money out to a bank account. However, you will not be able to make payments using your Venmo Balance. If you want to use Venmo balance, it requires you to complete identity verification with SSN.

Also, in some events, you may still be prompted to provide your SSN depending on your transaction pattern.

Tips on safely using Venmo

Here are some tips that can help you stay safe when using Venmo

  • Use Venmo to only make payments and receive money from people you know and trust like friends and family
  • Don’t share your Venmo password with anyone
  • Avoid acting on any link in any message or email from Venmo, Rather go to Venmo app and do it directly there. 
  • Don’t hold a lot on your Venmo balance and set up to make payments with your Venmo balance (money in Venmo account is not FDIC insured and doesn’t earn any interest) Or if you have linked a bank account, you can choose to link a separate bank account where you don’t have a high balance.
  • Avoid being logged in all the time on Venmo. Make a habit to log-out once you are done. 

Wrap Up
Hope this post has helped you understand the reason as to why Venmo needs your SSN and what are the safety considerations involved.

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