Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ranking Venmo and PayPal

| December 17, 2020 1:00 AM

If you aren’t familiar with Venmo or PayPal, they're two of the most popular payment option apps available right now.

At first glance, they might appear similar because they're both payment-processing apps and digital wallets — but they do target vastly different customers.

Venmo is basically a digital peer-to-peer payment service that allows users to send money between parties. Some popular applications on Venmo are sending money to friends and family, splitting the bill in a restaurant, paying for only your portion of rent or making a purchase at your favorite small business.

Venmo allows you to send or request money in the app, link a bank account or debit card to send money for free or link a credit card to send money for a 3% fee. Venmo’s signature is the social feed where you can see public interaction between your friends and even strangers because correspondence shows up in the social feed.

PayPal, on the other hand, is best suited for online payments for goods and services. PayPal has a reputation for safety and security, which makes them a popular choice for many ecommerce businesses that need to accept online payments, like eBay. The fees can be high at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

PayPal offers a mobile payment option. When you shop or sell using PayPal, the platform provides protections for you as a buyer or seller.

As a buyer, you can lodge a dispute within six months of a transaction for the possibility of a full refund. If you're a seller, PayPal will resolve disputes on your behalf and won’t charge you if you can provide proof of delivery for a disputed item. Another advantage with PayPal is that most businesses accept PayPal as a form of payment.

With both apps, you can keep money received in your balance for later use or transfer the balance to your linked bank account but transfers can take one to five business days to complete.

Which one is better? That depends on your personal and business needs. If you need a way to manage payments for a freelance business, online store or in-person transactions, PayPal has everything you need. However, the fees can add up.

Venmo doesn’t offer nearly as much support for businesses and they don’t charge fees yet. For personal expenses like splitting the bill with friends, then Venmo works great.

I use both apps and find that when transferring money between people I know, I prefer the ease of use offered by Venmo. If I need to work with a business I don’t personally know and want to make sure funds are good before releasing the product, I use PayPal — but I do pay fees for the services and protections offered.

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Many of us might be rethinking our traditional gatherings or trimming our budget this holiday season. Surveys have shown that there is a shift from gifts to items with a more personal flair to help make the celebrations special this year.

Here are a few ideas to consider this holiday season.

1. Frame a note. Place a heartfelt short note or pen a long letter to someone who has meant a lot to you this year and the impact they have made on your life.

2. Repurpose some gift cards you aren’t going to use. If someone you know likes a place you have a gift card to, consider giving it to them. That way the gift card doesn’t go to waste.

3. Print photos. Many of us have old photos on our phones or computers. Go through them and decide if any are worth printing out and framing as a gift. The frames don’t have to be expensive and the memories in the photos could be priceless.

4. Purchase a nice book. Consider giving a book to someone on your Christmas list. Pick a topic you know they're interested in which will also let them know you care enough to pick out something special.

5. Shop at the Dollar Store. Especially if you have young children, let them go shopping with you. They can find something for those on their list that won’t cost a lot.

6. Make a themed box. One example is a breakfast box. Add anything to the box that will make the meal special like jams, syrup, biscuit and pancake mixes with coffee or tea.

Sharing ideas like these can be a great way to do something special for someone who means a lot to you without spending a lot of money.

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Many of us are getting inundated with online surveys with promises of cash rewards from companies like UPS, Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon (to name a few).

However, if you look closely, the email is not generated from the actual company. Most of these notices are coming from third-party marketers or scammers designed to capture our personal information and likely sell it for profit to the highest bidder.

It seems the other party is the one making out on these deals and as for the cash prizes, I’ve yet to have a reader tell me they’ve received anything.

Rather than reply to the survey, I just hit the delete button because the offer isn’t worth the risk of exposing my personal information to a possible scam.

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Remember: I’m on your side. If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans advocate and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.