Cal State Long Beach student Bryant Trinh found himself nearly $3,000 short after his Venmo account was hacked this past June. Trinh is just one of the growing list of Venmo users who have become victim to theft. Venmo, the up-and-coming internet wallet, provides users with a streamlined payment process for transferring money across bank accounts. The application has popularized itself amongst college students and young adults, allowing users to split checks and bills conveniently across smartphone devices. Despite the security concerns that accompany the application, Venmo provides a highly convenient service for college students.
Venmo critics cite its faulty security measures and poor customer service as reasons for not using the social media-oriented financial service. Complex security measures are evidently forgone for the efficient interface and usability of the mobile payment service. Venmo’s lack of immediate and responsive customer service also adds to the unreliability of the application.
Though criticism of Venmo’s security measures are warranted, the issues surrounding the application are not new to the world of financial services. In 2014, Target’s systems were hacked into and millions of gigabytes of personal information and credit card data were stolen in one of the largest hacking scandals of the century. Not long after, high-end department store Neiman Marcus suffered a similar fate, losing the credit card information of more than a million of its customers to hackers. Even the federal government fell victim to the thievery of hackers when confidential information of over 20 million Americans was stolen from a government database.
Security breaches regarding sensitive information are a fault of the victim’s security measures, but the hackers are to blame as well. The high profile cases regarding Target, Neiman Marcus and the U.S. government demonstrate that even the most rigid forms of internet security are unable to stop some hackers. Thus, Venmo is not particularly negligent of the privacy and protection of their users, but simply newer to the game and suffering from issues that even the most established of companies still face.
Criticizing Venmo’s security measures and uninstalling the application might be too rash of a decision for now. Venmo truly is an innovative and convenient way to streamline the payment process between multiple parties with a few admitted flaws in security.
Tricia Xu, a junior majoring in business administration, says that she uses Venmo to split restaurant bills among her and her friends.
“It alleviated the awkward need to remind your friends to pay you back,” said Xu, who is among the growing mass of students at USC who regularly utilize Venmo for similar purposes.
Despite Venmo’s faults, the application is still functional and efficient. Monetary transactions can be made and received at an instant with one’s mobile device. Moreover, Venmo’s transaction system has propelled America even further into becoming a cashless society.
Prior to Venmo, borrowing and transferring cash efficiently was considered a taxing inconvenience in a society in which fewer and fewer people carry physical money. Now, Venmo offers one of the most convenient solutions to the matter and is here to stay. Despite qualms about Venmo security measures, the application is still fairly young and is constantly improving. Update 6.13.0 of Venmo now sends security codes to its users when accounts are signed in to unfamiliar devices, showing that the company is indeed working to enhance its security measures and protect its customers.
Though Venmo users do bear the risk of hacking and thievery, these risks are hardly any different from the risks associated with traditional credit cards. Venmo consistently makes bug fixes and fortifies security measures in order to strengthen its online security. With its constant improvements and the fluidity it offers to the money transferring process, users should continue to enjoy the luxuries of efficiency and convenience provided by the application.
The credit card as a tool of monetary transaction surely created skepticism during its early stages but is now a commonly accepted medium of payment. Much like the credit card, Venmo should expect to establish itself just as strongly within the wallets of Americans.