Asking clients to leave their email in Venmo descriptions risks their privacy

Venmo’s social activity feed makes your clients email addresses vulnerable to bad actors

We recently wrote about why it's important for virtual fitness professionals it’s time to level up from Venmo, but one thing we didn't talk about is the privacy risk.

The social nature of Venmo is great! You can see when your friends are hanging out, leave funny comments and stay socially connected to people you follow. But while it may also seem like a simple, quick solution to running your business, asking clients to leave their email in the Venmo description to manage virtual link sharing exposes them to a major privacy risk.

Venmo’s worldwide public-by-default feature means that each transaction and the accompanying description is visible to the public — which inevitably means bad actors may use this information inappropriately.

Image for post

The information Venmo collects isn’t just available to everyday users. Marketers also have access to this public information and use it accordingly.

As Forbes explained in 2018, “Venmo’s privacy policy states that it shares user data ‘for everyday business purposes, for marketing purposes, for joint marketing with other companies.’ Venmo also shares ‘information about your transactions and experiences’ with its affiliates.

What should I do?

To make sure your clients are protected and are not exposed to this risk you should consider on of the changes below:

[Recommended] Use a payment platform designed for business, like Stripe
  • As we noted in our last blog post “Fitness Creators its time to level up from Venmo” we recommend using a business payment platform like Stripe.
  • This is a long term answer if you are series about scaling your fitness business. Stripe coupled with a booking platform like onPodio will automate the booking and payments experience for your clients and allow you to offer new products like memberships.
[Workaround] Switch payments to Paypal which keeps descriptions private
  • As an alternative to Venmo you might consider switching to Paypal which does not make available a payment activity feed. While this solves the immediate privacy concerns it is a temporary solution if you intend to continue growing your business.
[Workaround] Ask clients to change their Venmo privacy settings
  • While not a recommended, you might consider informing clients change the setting on each individual transaction the risk of your clients forgetting each time is high. To learn how to change the settings see the Venmo guide here

If you’re ready to transition from Venmo to Stripe in order to protect your clients information and also unlock the power of technology to streamline your business with automation for your bookings, payments, and more then give us a shout at onPodio or email us directly at info@onpodio.com!

Ready to get setup with onPodio?

Get all features instantly. No credit card required.

Or if you'd like to arrange a FREE consultation to help get setupclick here to arrange a time

Get great content updates from our team to your inbox.