Back to Venmo.Com

Take your balance shopping with Venmo card

· by Shelby King, Senior Product Manager

Today, we’re giving you more ways than ever to use Venmo. You’ve used Venmo to pay back friends, and perhaps to make a purchase in one of your favorite apps or online stores. You’ve transferred funds from your Venmo balance to your bank account within minutes. But what if you could spend your Venmo balance at the new coffee shop down the street? Or at the boutique with those shoes you’ve been eyeing?

Now, you can. Introducing Venmo card, a debit card for the real world.

Email_ Card Color Picker (1).gif

With the Venmo card, you can use your Venmo balance in more places. In fact, you can now use it in most places you already shop, even in-store: Venmo card can be used everywhere Mastercard® is accepted in the U.S. Low Venmo balance? We’ll use your linked funding source to reload your Venmo balance so you can make that card purchase. Plus, Venmo card is ATM*-friendly in the U.S. for when you have to try that cash-only ramen spot.

We also made tracking Venmo card activity simple. Card purchases show up in your Venmo transaction history, so you can split with Venmo friends or share what you bought on the feed. For those with Venmo notifications enabled, you’ll be notified on your phone with each swipe. And, we aim to alleviate the panic that comes with losing a card: just a few taps in the app, and boom—your card is disabled.

Thanks to the feedback from our awesome beta card users (you know who you are 😊), we're launching with a fresh new card design in six colors and a slew of new in-app features. We're so excited for you to give it a try. The card is now in limited release. Reserve your spot today.

*ATMs must display the Mastercard®, Cirrus®, PULSE®, or MoneyPass® acceptance marks. Up to $400 USD daily withdrawal limits apply. Transactions at non-MoneyPass ATMs have a $2.50 ATM Domestic Withdrawal Fee. No fee for MoneyPass ATM Withdrawals in the U.S. ATM operator fees may also apply. See Cardholder Agreement for details.

The Venmo Mastercard is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted in the U.S. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


Need a quicker way to get your Venmo balance into your bank account? We’ve got it.

· by Ny Vo, Product Manager

Have you ever discovered a Venmo balance you forgot you had? It's a great feeling. But sometimes you need that balance in your bank account, fast. We've all been there.

Starting today you can transfer your Venmo balance to your bank account within minutes using an eligible Mastercard or Visa debit card.* There’s a $0.25 flat fee for each transfer. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Effective on or after Nov. 6, 2018, the fee for instant transfer is 1% of the transfer amount (minimum fee $0.25, maximum fee $10).] We’ll continue to offer our standard bank transfer method at no charge.

We’re making the new transfer option available to everyone over the next few days. Update your app to see if you have access today. If not, don’t fret, you’ll get access soon!



* Transfer speed depends on your bank and could take up to 30 minutes. Transfers are reviewed which could result in delays or funds being frozen or removed from your Venmo account.


Help Give Back with ALDI and Feeding America® While Celebrating Friendsgiving

· by Josh Criscoe

Friendsgiving is a magical Thanksgiving feast where friends come together to share a meal, imbibe some drink, and remember experiences together.

Over the last few years, Friendsgiving has grown in popularity and people have increasingly used Venmo to split the grocery bill. Based on our number crunching, the term “Friendsgiving” was used more than 25K times on Venmo in November 2016, a 141% increase over November 2015.

To help bring more food to more people this holiday, Venmo has teamed up with ALDI, one of the fastest growing grocery stores in the U.S., and Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, to encourage people to add a new tradition of giving to their Friendsgiving celebrations.

ALDIVenmo FG Emoji in Feed_Logo.jpg

Every time you use the custom-designed Turkey Hand Friendsgiving emoji in a Venmo payment this November, ALDI will donate 10 meals to people in need through Feeding America, up to one million meals.

The Turkey Hand is an ALDI and Venmo custom-designed emoji that brings the spirit of Friendsgiving to your phone. The emoji, inspired by the nostalgic childhood craft, symbolizes the essence of Friendsgiving: sharing and giving.

To activate an ALDI donation with your payment, use the Turkey Hand emoji in your payment note. You can select the Turkey Hand emoji by tapping on the emoji picker or type “Friendsgiving” and choose the Turkey Hand emoji for your payment note.


By creating the first-ever Friendsgiving emoji and teaming up with ALDI, we are happy to help people feed hungry families in America while celebrating the season with friends and family.

Now grab your friends, bring your appetites and and get those Friendsgiving celebrations underway.

Learn more here about the ALDI meal donations to Feeding America


Now use Venmo to pay at millions of retailers on your phone

· by Ashley Phillips, Lead Product Manager for Commerce

We’ve got big news. Starting this week, you can use Venmo to shop on your phone at millions of U.S. retailers, almost everywhere you see the PayPal button. Now, Venmo’s ready for our favorite autumn to-do—holiday shopping. (Seriously, it’s never too early for presents. Or candy corn.) And it’s never been easier.


To take Venmo shopping, look for the invitation in the latest version of the Venmo app. After you’ve activated this new feature, browse on your phone, fill up your cart, tap the PayPal button on checkout, and choose Venmo to pay. You’ll receive notification of your purchase in the Venmo app, so you can share and split your purchases with friends.

Check out how easy shopping with Venmo can be:

Use Venmo to make purchases in apps and on the mobile web:

  • Convenience built in: Keep your credit card in your wallet. Simply connect your Venmo account with a few taps and you’re ready to pay—on mobile web and in an app.
  • Buy now, split later: Pay with Venmo and split your bill with just a few taps. Venmo remembers the the total cost and allows you to split it the next time you open the app.
  • Share and discover: Share what you purchase and check out what your friends got. Got a surprise present for your friend? Payments will never post to the Venmo feed unless you say so.
  • Keep it on track: Venmo keeps track of what you bought, when, and from where. You can also manage the apps and sites linked to your Venmo account; add or remove access at any time.
  • Secure transactions: For your peace of mind, we use encryption technology to protect card and bank data and eligible purchases are covered by our authorized merchant payment protection plan. At this time, Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection for P2P payments.

You asked for it. You got it. And we will continue to test, introduce and expand features that allow people to use Venmo to split, share, and pay in new ways.

For more information, visit our Help Center.


Introducing Venmo Codes: A New Way to Find Your Friends on Venmo

· by Ny Vo, Product Manager

Part of Venmo’s mission is to make it easier for you to pay your friends and family. Money can be awkward, and we want you to be able to spend less time thinking about it, and more time enjoying stuff that matters to you.

We know that sometimes it can be hard finding the right James Smith to pay or request money from on Venmo. To make your life easier, we’re introducing Venmo codes, so you can easily find the Venmo profile of the person you're trying to pay. For example, if you're out to dinner and someone is trying to pay you, you can open the Venmo app, pull up your own code, and let your friends scan it. On the flip side, if you're trying to pay someone, ask them to open the Venmo app and show you their code so you can scan it. Now you can ditch typing in names, especially the ones you don't know how to spell—we’ve all been there.

 Top Row: Android Screenshots     Bottom Row: iOS Screenshots

Top Row: Android Screenshots     Bottom Row: iOS Screenshots

Planning a big trip? Email, text, or AirDrop (iOS only) your code to friends so they can quickly pay you for the costs you covered.

You probably have tons of other ideas. Share them with us here, or on Twitter and Facebook, with the hashtag #nocashnoproblem.


We've just upped our game with an exclusive festival-themed emoji set

· by Ny Vo, Product Manager

We’ve been working on a neat little feature that allows us to add custom emojis to Venmo so you can have a little more fun with your payments.

We know that music festival season is right around the corner so in our latest app update on both iOS and Android, we introduced a festival-themed emoji set. Yup, now you can spice up your payment notes and show off your festival shenanigans.

Have fun using these emojis with your friends on Venmo because they don’t exist anywhere else!

Custom festival emojis in the Venmo Feed


  • Upgrade to the most up-to-date Venmo app on your phone
  • Access the new emojis by tapping on the emoji picker
  • Type in ‘fest’ and choose a fun emoji payment note


  • Type 'emoji' in the payment note field to see only the custom emojis

What custom emojis should we design next? Drop us a note at

Interested in a partnership? Send us an email to


Sending money to friends from your 📱 just got even easier

· by Venmo

Venmo has always strived to make it easy to pay your friends. Whether you're walking out of a bar, in the 🚖 on the way home after a night out or texting after last night’s 🍴. Starting today, we’re making it easier than ever to include Venmo in those moments with the launch of Venmo integrations for Siri and iMessage in iOS 10.

Now, you can send money for the night’s 🍸 tab with Venmo using a simple Siri voice command. Just say, Hey Siri, Venmo Jonathan $40 for the best date ever.

And when you're texting with a friend about your recent adventure, he can 🐴⬆️ within iMessage without ever leaving the conversation. Select Venmo from the iMessage app store and give it a try.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about these ways to make sending and receiving 💰 even easier. If you have any questions about using Venmo with Siri or iMessage, check out our Help Center.


It’s time to 🐴 ⬆️ on Venmo

· by Venmo

Today, we’re launching Venmo’s first-ever nationwide brand campaign called “Pony Up on Venmo.”

“Pony Up on Venmo” is both a twist on a common phrase and a reflection of what makes Venmo so special: it removes the awkwardness of asking someone to pay you back, and makes payments fun – whether it’s splitting the cost of 🍕 or a weekend getaway with friends.

Consider it a rally cry against those awkward money moments in everyday life.

Over the next two months, you’ll see Venmo in many familiar places. We’re unveiling our first-ever national 📺 commercial tonight on cable channels including Adult Swim, MTV and Comedy Central, and on digital networks like YouTube, Hulu and The Onion.

People in Austin, Chicago, Portland and Nashville will see billboards, street posters and murals in vibrant parts of town. And you’ll see other Venmo treats like 🍻 coasters, temporary tattoos and pizza boxes at bars and food joints - places where you’re already using Venmo to pay back friends - and even be able to catch a ride on a pony-themed pedicab. Make sure to 👀 for a “Pony Up” filter on Snapchat in those cities too.

In the Venmo app, we’re also adding a special Pony Up emoji combination and we have a plan to reimburse randomly selected users for their payments to friends.

Below, see a sneak peek of the ad that’s kicking off “Pony Up on Venmo" tonight.

“Now, we 🐴 ⬆️!”


Hack Week at Venmo

· by Venmo

At Venmo, there’s an electric energy that runs through our offices as each and every team member passionately works to develop new user experiences that people will use and love. As we continue to grow, we believe it’s important to maintain our original, creative, and start-up feel.

That’s why we were so excited to hold our Summer Hack Week at Venmo earlier this month. For four days, our team took time away from their normal work to go off-script, and collaborated with colleagues across a variety of teams to work on projects that they felt passionate about. Some project teams focused on specific features and improvements that could continue to enhance the Venmo experience at our offices and in our app, while others were just straight up fun and helped to get our creative juices flowing.

At the end of the week, teams presented their work to each other. We’re still deciding which projects will come to life, and we can’t wait to find out more. We’ll be sure to share any important updates, so stay tuned!

Interested in seeing more? Check out this video of Venmo’s Hack Week:


Venmo Honored on Interbrand's 'Breakthrough Brands' Report

· by Venmo

We are thrilled to share that Venmo has been honored as a Breakthrough Brand on Interbrand's 2016 report. This week, Interbrand, a global brand agency, released a highly influential annual report recognizing innovative organizations that have both unique business models and strong brands. Interbrand’s comprehensive methodology analyzes the abilities of top brands to drive business performance, demand a premium for products and services and create passionate customer loyalty.

In celebration of this report, we participated in Interbrand's Breakthrough Brands Summit at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, a half-day of innovative discussion and sharing of best practices among senior leaders from emerging brands to established brands. Venmo's Marketing Director Kasia Leyden participated in the Summit's opening panel on brand growth - how to plan for it, how to maintain it and the future of it.

  (PhotoCred:  Valerie Caviness

(PhotoCred: Valerie Caviness

Being honored with a spot on Interbrand's Breakthrough Brands Report is a milestone achievement for Venmo, further recognizing our dedication to our brand and our users.

Thank you, Interbrand.


Tomorrow, Everyone Can Do More with Venmo

· by Venmo

So long, beta. Earlier in 2016, we announced that a limited number of Venmo users would get to experience the familiar delight and ease of paying with Venmo within their favorite merchant apps. Today, we are thrilled to announce that all of our Venmo users will be able to make purchases with Venmo beginning tomorrow.

And that’s not all. The feature has expanded to more than ten vibrant merchants that we know our core users will love. Munchery, Gametime, Priv, Poshmark, Hop Market, Wish, Parking Panda, Dolly, Urgentli, Boxed, and most recently, will now accept Venmo payments. With this special feature, we’re making it easier than ever to speed through checkout 💨, split and settle the bill instantly 💸💰 and share the experience with your friends 🎫🍕🙋.

Interested to know what the experience will look like? Tune in to the video below to learn how you can make purchases with Venmo:

This is just the beginning. If you’re a merchant with a mobile app and would like to learn more about accepting Venmo, check out our site or contact Braintree directly. If you’re already using Braintree’s SDK, contact your Account Manager to join the movement.

Questions? Users can contact our Support Team via, in-app chat or Twitter, and we will be happy to help.


Venmo Unveils Most Emoji-Loving Cities in Honor of #WorldEmojiDay

· by Venmo

In honor of 🌍 Emoji Day tomorrow, we are featuring some of the latest and greatest emoji-loving stats Venmo has seen to date. From the most emoji-obsessed 🌆 to the most “expensive” emoji, emojis are enhancing the Venmo experience by making moving 💸 supremely simple - and flat out fun.

Want to know if your favorite city or emoji is on the list? Check out the infographic below.

Most Emoji-Loving Cities on Venmo


Keeping the Venmo Community Secure

· by Venmo Leadership

There has been recent discussion around specific keywords associated with payments within Venmo that have caused us to pause the transaction and review. We understand the frustration this may cause, and it’s important to us to take the time to address your concerns.

Since our earliest start-up days, our goal has consistently been to help people send and receive money to and from those they trust in a secure and easy way. We’re also committed to ensuring that Venmo’s products and services are not used in violation of U.S. economic or trade sanctions. To that end, we’ve implemented specific policies to ensure that we are moving money from person-to-person in a way that complies with government regulations.

Venmo, like all U.S. persons, including other U.S. financial institutions, is required to screen activity and flag any payments that may violate U.S. trade sanctions and/or involve certain foreign countries (comprehensive country-based sanctions) and governments, regimes, corporations, organizations and individuals (selective targeted sanctions) on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). For more information on OFAC, we encourage you to visit the OFAC FAQs section on the U.S. Treasury website at

While in most cases, the review will not have any impact on your payment transaction, we realize that this hasn’t been an easy process for some of our users. We would like to assure you that we are continuously working to improve our algorithms and ensure our review time is efficient. It’s our obligation to comply with government regulations, but also to ensure this is a smooth process for all our users. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience as our teams work hard to get this up to the service level that you deserve.

To help you understand the process, we’ve cut through the jargon, and have worked to provide you with the details in a simple and straightforward way. Check out our quick Q&A below:

What’s OFAC? OFAC is an office of the U.S. Treasury that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against certain foreign countries, targeted individuals and entities. In its simplest terms, OFAC helps protect our national safety, economy and security.

How will this affect my payments? If your note appears to be in potential violation of any OFAC regulation, we are required by federal law to review your payment until we verify that it isn’t a true violation. Once we determine that it isn’t a true violation, then your payment will be processed as usual.

When will I know what happened with my payment? We will review your payment to determine whether it is in potential violation of any OFAC regulation, and will contact you on the status of your payment within 72 hours or less. If we have further questions before we can approve the payment, or determine we cannot process the payment, we will contact you via email. We understand that this may cause an additional delay, and apologize for any inconvenience.

I received an email saying someone's payment to me is "In Review." Why? Your friend may have mentioned a restricted good or entity in their payment, or their/your account is pending further identity verification. Please note that we must review the payment and determine whether it is a true violation before we can transfer the funds. If, during our review, we determine that this is a true violation, we must block or reject the transaction (depending on which OFAC regulation is impacted).

I tried to approve a charge/request and then my payment was put in review. Why? The note in the request may have mentioned a restricted good or entity, or their/your account is pending further identity verification. We screen requests at the time you approve them and the funds are transferred, not when the requester sends the request for funds to you.

Have more questions? Please feel free to reach out to or via our in-app live chat, where our Support team representatives will be on standby to assist.


$1 Billion Served

· by Michael Vaughan, Venmo GM

For the first time in our history, in the month of January, over $1 billion in payments were made on Venmo. That's over two-and-half times what we saw in January 2015, and more than 10x our volume in January 2014. We thought this was a pretty big milestone so we wanted to share it with you.


Now, pay in your favorite apps with Venmo

· by Michael Vaughan, Venmo GM

A while back, we realized that the magic of Venmo shouldn’t be limited just to payments with your friends. What if we could make that same Venmo experience possible when our users pay for things inside their favorite mobile apps? Today, we are taking our first step toward that new reality.

Read More →

Venmo Pitches in with Friends of Rockaway

· by Katie Mulligan, People Team

The team at Venmo recently had the humbling opportunity to volunteer with Friends of Rockaway, a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding homes for displaced Hurricane Sandy survivors. We put in a hard day’s work, but this time around it was with power drills and paint rollers instead of laptops and headphones.

Friends of Rockaway has helped rebuild over 122 homes since Hurricane Sandy devastated the area three years ago, and has cleaned out and repaired over 600 more. We were invited to help out on Mrs. Stevens’ home. Site managers Sarah and Emily explained to us that Mrs. Steven’s entire first floor flooded during the storm, and she had been living on the second story of her house for a few years before the non-profit came in to help her clean out the mold, muck and gut the first floor, and begin renovations.

The Venmo volunteers spent the morning bopping around on ladders, sanding the newly-installed drywall, getting covered in dust, laughing at each other, and rocking out to Sarah’s catchy playlist. After lunch, we took turns sharing some of our favorite Venmo memories while replacing old hardware on the outdoor porch and giving it a good coat of fresh paint. Despite sore muscles, we had a joyful trip home, knowing that we worked hard and made a difference.Thanks to Friends of Rockaway and their amazing volunteers, Mrs. Stevens should be able to occupy the first floor of her home by the end of December. Visit to learn more about how to help their cause.

Venmo Volunteers.JPG

Introducing Camellia George (kah-MEEL-ya), Head of Product Development

· by Michael Vaughan, Venmo GM


Give us a brief description of what you do here at Venmo. I oversee and guide the three teams that define and design our products: User Research, Product Design and Product Management. Together we synthesize learnings from our Strategy, Operations and Engineering teams, our customers and competitors into new ideas for Venmo. Sometimes these are simple extensions to help make existing parts of Venmo more usable or delightful for our customers. And, sometimes these are ideas for new products or services that don’t exist at all within Venmo.

Our team is responsible for defining the business logic and requirements, designing the user experience, and managing the creation and release of these features and products into the wild.

What do you enjoy most about your current position? I love getting to work every day with a mix of people on the Product team, Engineering teams, and Strategy team at Venmo. I deeply believe that great products are the result of fantastic relationships and the chemistry between people with a shared mission.

But something that's unique to being at Venmo is that this product has been on my personal "bucket list." Seven years ago, as part of Intel Research's Personal Digital Money initiative, I took part in experience definition of intersection of social networks, mobile devices and personal finance. Future-casting for the computing giant was amazing, but ever since I have been looking for an opportunity to put those learnings and vision into real products in the market. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of such an exciting product and team.

How do you spend your free time? What free time? Just kidding. I have a six year old son, so most of my free time these days is spent building Legos—usually various forms of speeder bikes for an extended Star Wars universe—and playing soccer at the park. But when I sneak away for some quiet time by myself I like to read about science (especially epidemiology), watch sci-fi television, and fritter away time on Etsy, which I like to think of as a crowd-sourced 3D printer.

What are you listening to these days? I'm obsessed with Steven A Clark's "Bounty" (you can thank me later) and some other cuts from the same album, I love the HBR Ideacast and Freakonomics podcasts.

Where would you like to go on your dream vacation? I love, love, love Santa Fe, New Mexico, especially in the fall or early spring while it's still chilly at night and crisp during the day. It's my go-to day dream. I'm also really hoping to visit Copenhagen sometime soon!

What would be the title of your autobiography? "The Future is Fabulous" or "For a Short Story, That Sure Went on for a While."

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? As a kid, I was 100% sure I was going to be a pediatrician.

Go-to karaoke song? "Edge of Seventeen" or anything off Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks is my hero, hands down.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? Time-freezing. Obviously. So I could get more things done and sneak in a nap.

What's your favorite joke? A: Knock knock. B: Who's there? A: Control freak...Now you say, "Control freak who?"


A marketing analytics summer internship at Venmo

· by Tom Vladeck, MBA Intern


Hi, my name is Thomas Vladeck. I’m in the middle of getting my MBA from Wharton and this summer I had a marketing analytics summer internship at Venmo. Prior to Wharton I did a variety of things related to climate policy, so although I majored in math a long time ago, this is a bit of a new thing for me. I loved the three classes I took in marketing and market research I took in my first year, and since Wharton is heavily quantitative, I felt ready to take on a new challenge.

Picking my project

My first step was to pick my project. I was hired with the understanding that (a) I’d do some sort of technical market research project and (b) I’d mostly manage myself. During my interview process I put together a process I’d follow for defining the project, performing the analysis, and distributing my findings. My first task was to get acquainted with the team and figure out what everyone wanted to know - and what would be the highest-value projects I could work on.

Eventually we settled on trying to understand what types of people were not getting value out of Venmo and churning out. This would happen in two stages: first, I’d figure out which users were no longer using Venmo, and second, I’d correlate that with other things we could observe about those users to come up with a general finding.

A diversion into product survey data

But first! I got sidetracked. While getting acquainted with the data we stored in various places, I started looking into the surveys we send our users. Like most companies, we keep track of our Net Promoter Score. We also ask a bunch of follow-up questions about how our product is performing, such as “Do you find it easy to find the right person to pay on Venmo?”. I noticed that we were sending three different versions of the survey out, with different sets of questions. Our PMs had a lot of questions, and no good way to sort out which they should be asking.

Ta Da!! I had just learned a tool to do this, and wasn’t going to let the opportunity go to waste. A tool called factor analysis can help marketers interpret the information they are getting from their surveys, and redesign them to ask fewer questions.

Factor analysis works on the following principle: we can observe only how our users answer the questions we ask them, but we can’t directly observe the “factors” that are important to them. The process uses fancy math to infer what factors are driving different answers to questions.

As it turned out, we were asking a lot of redundant questions; for example, we were asking five questions that began “I feel that it is easy…”. The graphs below are one output of the factor analysis (called a scree plot), and show how much variation in survey responses is accounted for by each factor - and clearly some factors are far more important than others. This meant that we could reduce the number of questions we ask and get the same amount of information.

Based on the factor analysis, we were able to reduce the number of questions we ask from 23 to just 8, and combine our three regular product feedback surveys into just one.

Back to customer analytics

With that little mini-project out of the way, I turned back to the task of thinking about retention and churn at Venmo.  Apps like Venmo have a much tougher time calculating churn than do subscription services like Dropbox or cable TV. In “contractual” settings, you can observe churn directly when people cancel their subscription; by contrast, if someone doesn’t use Venmo for a while, there’s a chance they just haven’t been in the right place or mood and will come back.

I had planned to dive right into this sexy stochastic model that would put a probability on each user being “alive” but I was urged by our GM, Mike Vaughan, to start simpler. The sexy stochastic model would come later.

The first thing he suggested doing was creating a “transition matrix.” Like most every other tech company, we measure our “monthly actives” - the number of users that show up in a given month. But we weren’t measuring how much “turnover” there was in our active user base. Were active users staying active? Were inactive users becoming active and vice versa? There was no way to tell.

 A transition matrix has every user fitting into one of these cells:

This can give more detail on what our retention looks like. Given a monthly active number, more turnover is better, as it means that more users overall are still using Venmo.

With Mike Cohen - my strategy mentor - I wrote some R code that combed through our database to track individual users to fill out this matrix. Sure enough, in addition to high retention, we also had high turnover. Since it was worth keeping track of, I worked with JT Glaze - data engineer impresario - to sketch out the Python code that will ultimately feed into a Looker dashboard for the company to keep track of. 

The sexy stochastic model

With our transition matrix presented to the team, I turned my attention back to the modeling our user base. It turns out that many of the good folks back at Wharton have spent a lot of time thinking about churn rates in a non-contractual setting, and have developed some models and R code to work it out.

The model that seemed to apply best is called the Pareto/NBD model. Roughly speaking, it assumes that every Venmo user, while they’re alive, has a constant probability of using the app on any given day - but those probabilities are different for every user, and they vary according to a prior distribution. Similarly, the model assumes that users have a constant probability of churning out each day, and again, these probabilities are different for each user, and vary according to a prior distribution.

The beauty of this model is that it only needs a few pieces of information for each user (how long they’ve used Venmo, when they last used it, and how frequently they use it), and there is a really useful R package that will do most of the heavy lifting (although we did have to patch some functions).

With tons of data and a state-of-the-art model at our disposal, we plugged and chugged, and… bummer:

As you can see here, the model is substantially underpredicting our holdout data. We scratched our heads, and we ended up finding the culprit: clumpiness! (No, really, that’s the term). It basically means that our users don’t have a constant probability of using the app every day. Some weeks you’re with friends sharing payments left and right, other weeks you’re heads down at the library studying for finals and barely going out.

Can we measure clumpiness? Of course we can! Some more good folks at Wharton have come up with a measure based on the familiar notion of entropy. When we calculated it for our users, we found that a huge number of our users were “clumpy.”

So, basically, our users are binge-users of Venmo. This jibed well with the data that our user base was turning over significantly. It also meant that a critical assumption of the Pareto/NBD model was violated. On the bright side, we learned something new about our users.


With the stochastic modeling route closed off until someone (or we) make inroads into extending customer lifetime value calculations to customers with hidden states (in a way that’s computationally feasible), we turned to segmenting our user base, including clumpiness as a segmenting variable.

You may be wondering, “what is segmentation”? Basically, it’s an attempt to classify your users into different types. You may know of “soccer moms” and “nascar dads” from the political arena. Same thing. For example, some people on Venmo are in college and use it when they go out with their friends; others are older and use it only for rent. We found these archetypal users by using a technique called model-based clustering.


In addition to working in R, I really enjoyed a few other things about this summer. The first is pairing. Venmo has a ton of pairing rooms where you can sit next to a teammate and work off the same computer. My mentor Mike and I spent countless hours working together on problems - sometimes as simple as going through an academic paper or writing an email - and we were at least five times as productive as we would have been individually.

The other thing I really enjoyed about Venmo are demo days. Every other Friday the various Product, Engineering, and Design teams will demo what they’ve been working on. Over the summer I demoed a few times. At first I was a bit hesitant that people would be interested in this quant-heavy marketing stuff, but was very pleasantly surprised to find people really enjoyed it.

Finally, Venmo was just a plain fun place to work at. I mean, I was so into playing dodgeball that I basically threw my arm out:

I had such a great summer that I even wrangled my way into continuing to work on projects during the school year! Although I’ll miss being in the office everyday, I’m excited that I’ll get the opportunity to continue scratching my statistical-modeling itches. 


Group accounts on Venmo launched in beta

· by Lili Jiang, Product Manager

Venmo’s mission has always been to connect the world and empower people through payments. And today, we’re excited to announce that we are taking another step towards reaching that goal. We’re launching the beta for groups, a new feature that lets Venmo users create an account for their group or club.

No more lost checks, complicated spreadsheets, or delayed transactions. We’re bringing the magic of Venmo to group payments.

You can now easily make an account for your group to use for anything from paying dues, to issuing reimbursements, to collecting money for an event. Group accounts offer all the Venmo features you know and love, plus the ability to add managers to help administer the group.

If you’re interested in opening an account for your group, sign up at!

Feel free to share the news! And if you’re interested in being involved in a focus group or have ideas for the product, please email


Expanding Venmo Support

· by Tim Bakeris, Head of Support

Here at Venmo we have heard you loud and clear - we know you've been looking for a faster response from our support team, and we are excited to share that we’ve been hard at work building a team worthy of our incredible community.

Today, we are thrilled to announce three new support upgrades that will help get you the support you need, when you need it.

Live Chat

With the launch of in-app live chat you can now have a conversation with us right in the app. If you happen to leave the app while chatting with us, we’ll send you a push notification once we’ve responded (for this to work, make sure you have enabled Push Notifications on your phone). Our goal with live chat is to provide you with timely, effective support. The support team is really looking forward to being able to communicate with you in real time.

If you have questions and want to chat with us now, here’s how:

Step 1: Open the drawer by swiping right or tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper lefthand corner, then choose ‘Help Center’".

Step 2: Select the topic that most closely resembles your problem.

Step 3: Select the Help article that is most closely related to your problem. If it doesn’t help, just tap “Contact Us."

Step 4: Our support agents will be with you as quickly as we can. Chatting with us feels like texting a friend! Just make sure you have Push Notifications enabled on your device.

Upgraded In-App Search

Our in-app Help Center has been upgraded with native, searchable FAQs and help articles. Now you can find relevant help articles just by searching with a few words. For example, looking for information on how to move money to your bank? Type “transfer” and you’ll be shown all of the relevant information. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Just start a conversation with one of our agents right from the article you’re reading.

24/7 Support Coverage

Over the past few months we’ve tripled the size of our support team and have expanded our hours of coverage to 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday. On the weekends we have people available from 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CDT). We anticipate full 24/7 availability by the end of 2015.

There is still a lot of work to do and we are very excited to continue improving upon the foundation we’ve built. We are fully committed to building the support team that you deserve. Thank you for being patient with us as we grow our team quickly to keep up with our fast-growing community!