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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.