Proper Venmo etiquette

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Many students use their smart phones for increasingly varied uses and functions, such as online payment options. Photo by Francesca Norman.

Asking people for money is easy with help from convenient payment-sharing apps like Venmo and Cash App, but it seems many people may need a refresher on common courtesy when dealing with money exchange.

Requesting money for events or dinners with the use of an app reduces a lot of the anxiety that comes with awkward social situations involving money. However, when a seemingly charitable invitation transforms into a Venmo request a few hours later, it is hard not to feel salty about reimbursing someone for what you thought was a kind-hearted gesture.

To avoid coming off as rude the next time you use Venmo or similar apps, I’d propose the following:

First, make sure the other person knows beforehand if they are going to be expected to pay you later. Establishing how you are going to split a bill or cover certain costs will help to avoid later annoyances and dismiss any possible misunderstandings.

In most scenarios, if you have not discussed sharing a cost, you should not expect a Venmo request or payment from the other person. Before sending a request, clear it with them.

Secondly, be considerate about money outside the digital world. As a broke or nearly broke college student, the idea of penny pinching is far from foreign, and it is hard not to sweat the $8 Uber bill you had to foot for yourself and a friend.

However, if you can afford it, think about bearing the cost every once in awhile, especially if your friend does the same for you. In summation, do not be stingy.

Lastly, do not substitute an app for communication. Venmo is a tool for payment, nothing more. If you find yourself getting more Venmo requests from a friend than text messages, maybe it is time to meet up and have a conversation.

If you feel you are being taken advantage of, rethink your relationship with that person and act accordingly. Venmo certainly doesn’t make a person greedy, but rather makes someone who is already inconsiderate more greedy.

Maybe a few Venmo transactions were all that you needed to realize how impolite and careless a person can be. All in all, avoid being a bad friend and don’t let the expediency of Venmo undermine generosity.

Hopefully, you have been using Venmo the courteous way all along, but if  you have found yourself in some sticky situations because of that $5 you requested for wine at your place, this advice might be helpful. Use Venmo responsibly, or not at all.

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