Did you know your Venmo transactions are public by default? Everyone on the Internet can see your name, the recipient’s name, the message you send, and any comments. They can even jump in and comment on your transactions.

Let’s be honest: You probably don’t want this. A quick skim through the Venmo feed shows people sending money with messages like “DRUGS,” “nudes,” and eggplant emoji. Even if these are jokes, do you want them recorded in public and associated with your real name?

Yes, You Can See Everyone’s Transactions

All transactions are public by default, and you can easily see them in the Venmo app. Just launch the app and tap the globe icon at the top of the screen to see a live feed.

We censored the screenshots in the article to protect people’s privacy, but these people’s full names and photos are all visible on Venmo. The only thing that isn’t publicly visible is the amount of money being sent in each transaction.

The Public By Default website used this data to track several people, including a marijuana dealer in California and a couple arguing about their relationship in public. That’s because Venmo makes this public feed easily accessible to anyone. Who knows what companies are hoovering up this data.

Why Are Transactions Public By Default?

Venmo wants to be a social network. When you sign up, Venmo says your transactions are public “so everyone on the Internet can see, comment on, and enjoy” your financial transactions with you.

If that sounds nuts to you, we’ll show you how to change it.

How to Make Your Transactions Private (or Friends-Only)

The default setting is public, but you can also change Venmo to make your transactions private or only visible to your friends.

To do this, tap the menu button at the top left corner of the Venmo app.

Tap “Settings” in the menu.

Tap “Privacy” on the Settings screen.

Tap “Private” to make your posts private by default. They will only be visible to you and the recipient.

To make your posts only visible to your friends, tap “Friends.” They’ll be visible to you, the recipient, and your Venmo friends.

Venmo tries to stop you, telling you that you can just change every individual transaction to private if you prefer. That’s inconvenient, so tap “Change Anyway.”

How to Make Your Past Transactions Private

You can also change the privacy setting for all your past transactions, making them private. To do so, tap “Past Transactions” at the bottom of the Privacy screen.

Tap “Change All to Private” to make your transactions private, or tap “Change All to Friends” to make them only visible to your Venmo friends.

How to Change the Privacy Settings for Individual Transactions

While composing a payment or request, you can tap the privacy option at the bottom right corner of the screen to change the privacy option for that transaction.

Select Public, Friends, or Private. This changes the privacy option only for the current transaction.

This would let you leave your default setting set to Friends-only and occasionally send a completely private transaction, for example.

You can now send money on Venmo without those transactions being visible to the entire internet. After all, that’s probably what you thought you were doing in the first place. It’s a peer-to-peer payments app, not a social network.

Who wants random people on the internet to comment on their financial transactions, anyway?

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Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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