Maybe I’m just a dumb millennial, but I’m going to keep using Venmo

Venmo, a mobile payment app popular among college students and recent grads, has security holes “you could drive a truck through,” according to an article posted on Slate this week. The report was largely based on one man’s story about how a grifter was able to steal $2850 from his account before he was ultimately reimbursed.

The fact that Venmo doesn’t offer two-factor authentication is indefensible, so I won’t defend it. But I’m also not going to delete the app off my phone and cancel my account.

Still using venmo

In fact, I used Venmo last night — as I do fairly often — to reimburse my girlfriend for a magazine she bought for me because I didn’t have cash and it was the easiest way to pay her back. (Ostensibly I wanted the March issue of Vogue for the Apple Watch spread, but I was most interested in the cover story about Taylor Swift and Karly Kloss.)

I’m not going to stop using Venmo because its security is actually appropriate for the service it provides. In fact, I think it’s much more likely that my insecure magnetic credit card will get swiped by an ATM skimmer or through a security breach at a store like Home Depot. It’s simply not worth giving up Venmo’s convenience. And based on the number of transactions I saw in my Venmo social feed from last night, my friends agree.

Sure, Venmo might not have FDIC or credit card consumer protections, but it is legally required to help its customers recover funds from unauthorized transfers. One of the scariest details in the Slate story is that you have two business days under Venmo policy to contact the company after you spot fraud in order to limit your liability to $50 — even if the fraudsters stole close to $3000 (Venmo’s monthly limit.) After that, you could lose up to $500.

But those scary-sounding consumer protections aren’t exclusively Venmo policy — they stem from federal policy that covers unauthorized transfers for debit cards as well as smartphone transaction services like PayPal and Chase QuickPay. It is likely no different than what your bank offers for electronic transfers.

From the Federal Reserve’s regulation E:

Reg E unauthorized transfers

Plus, it’s in Venmo’s interest to make sure its customers aren’t paying for fraudulent charges. Fraud is not part of its business model — in fact, fraud almost certainly leads to Venmo losing money, either because it has to pay or through bad PR. (If you’re a Venmo user who has had thousands of dollars stolen from you and you haven’t been made whole, I’d love to talk to you. Email me.)

Here’s the statement Venmo gave me:

At Venmo, our most important job is to protect our customers and provide a safe experience. We are continuously improving product and security measures but there is always more to do. We have teams dedicated to fraud prevention, customer support, and operations working tirelessly behind the scenes, and we always guarantee our users’ funds. Our customers put their trust in us and we take that responsibility seriously.

Just this morning, I changed the password on my account and immediately got an email from Venmo alerting me to the changes. It’s not perfect: A request to change email ended up sending a message requesting I verify the new email address, but nothing to my old one saying it had been changed.

One real issue is that Venmo’s support line is an email address and it doesn’t get back to customers quickly. Venmo clearly needs to improve that, but the fact that it doesn’t offer a phone line actually seems like a good thing to me, because it means a slick social engineer can’t get a call center employee on the line and sweet-talk him into giving up personal information.

Ultimately, I’m going to keep using Venmo for a few reasons:

  1. All my friends are already using it. If I’m trying to pay someone back for, say, a beer at a bar, I usually don’t need to ask her to download an app.
  2. It works and it’s easy — I’ve made hundreds of transactions and I haven’t had a problem yet. If I do, I feel confident in predicting that Venmo will eventually make it right.
  3. When you link it to a bank account, it’s free to both pay people and cash out.

If you’re really worried about security, you can unlink your bank account, as some of my colleagues have done. I added a PIN to my Venmo app — locking it with my fingerprint on my iPhone — but that seems superfluous because you need my PIN to get access to the phone’s contents in the first place. And when Venmo introduces two-factor authentication, I’m going to turn that on too. But I’m going to keep using Venmo, and frankly, I’m going to keep publicly posting many of my transactions.*

*For the record, I’ve labeled many Venmo memos as “drugs,” but never actually for a transaction that included drugs.

5:40PM: This article has been corrected to clarify the emails that Venmo sends when account settings are changed.

eBay says it is buying Braintree for $800 million

eBay(s EBAY) is buying Braintree, a Chicago-based payment platform for approximately $800 million in cash, the company announced this morning. “Braintree is a perfect fit with PayPal,” said eBay CEO John Donahoe. Braintree, started in 2007 is used by companies such as Airbnb and Uber for accepting payments and is said to be processing a total of $12 billion in payments annually. Founded in 2007, it has raised $69 million in outside funding from Accel Partners, NEA, RRE Ventures and Greycroft Partners. Techcrunch had originally reported on the talks between Paypal and Braintree.

With $35M in new funding, Braintree wants to take payments global

While Braintree has gained attention more recently for powering payments for Uber, Airbnb and Fab, it’s been pursuing a larger vision of fueling online and mobile commerce around the world. And now it’s got some serious funding to go after that goal, thanks to a new injection of $35 million in Series B funding led by new investor NEA, along with participation from existing investors Accel Partners, RRE Ventures and Greycroft.

The new investment brings Braintree’s total funding to more than $70 million and helps it expand its staff of 100 employees as it push into more overseas markets. The company in August launched in Canada and Europe and now serves 31 countries, with more markets set to open up later this year. It is processing more than $5 billion in payments a year — $1 billion of that in mobile commerce — for more than 3,000 mobile and online merchants.

The company has billed itself as a one-stop shop for startups and merchants that want one payment platform they can rely on as they grow. And it’s hoping to be a go-to resource for overseas merchants who don’t have many options to enable payments and online commerce. Braintree competes against PayPal (s ebay) and Stripe for developers getting started with payments but it also goes up against (s v), Cybersource and others for larger customers.

Braintree supports 130 currencies and recently added instant approval for merchants. And with Braintree’s acquisition of mobile payment startup Venmo in August, Braintree is stepping into the consumer business.

Bill Ready, Braintree’s CEO said he wants to create the infrastructure for commerce that developers and merchants can build on top of.

“What Braintree has done to enable single-click check-out, international payments and making it available for every startup and developer, we were the first to do it in US and we think the whole world should have access to it,” Ready said.

Image courtesy of Flickr user foforix

Braintree expands mobile payment ambitions; acquires Venmo

Braintree, a payment processing company that serves Rovio, Uber, and Airbnb, is paying $26.2 million to buy mobile payment startup Venmo. The deal will allow Braintree to expand on mobile payments, the fastest growing part of its business.

Braintree quietly making sure startups get paid

Rovio, Uber,, Airbnb share a common thread: their payments are powered by Braintree, which has become a force in the online commerce world. The company is now processing $4 billion annually and is on pace to break $1 billion for mobile in the next month.