Venmo vs PayPal: Key differences, advantages, and disadvantages

Venmo vs PayPal - Venmo app on phone

When it comes to digital wallets and simple money transfers, Venmo and PayPal are some of the biggest names on the market. Both are widely accepted and trustworthy, but the two have many key differences in their ideal use cases.

Read also: What is Venmo? How does it work? Fees, safety, limits, and more explained

So who wins in the battle between Venmo vs PayPal? It’s more complicated than you might think, so read on to learn everything you need to know.

Is Venmo owned by PayPal?

Venmo owned by PayPal

Let’s just address the elephant in the room right away. Yes, Venmo is owned by PayPal, and has been since December of 2013. This means that technically all money transfers on both services are handled by PayPal Inc. behind the scenes.

Even so, there are many differences between Venmo and PayPal when it comes to target markets, services offered, and customer experience, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Venmo vs PayPal: Similarities

When considering whether to use Venmo or PayPal, you should be aware that in most situations they will essentially perform the same. Both are capable digital wallets that can transfer funds to other users or to bank accounts, often for little or no fee.

Read also: How to set up a PayPal account — all your questions answered

Accounts are also free to create on both services, and can be linked to bank accounts free of charge. They also offer physical cards, with PayPal offering credit, debit, and prepaid cards, and Venmo offering a linked Mastercard debit card. Android and iOS devices are also fully supported.

In the United States, both services are supported by millions of retailers, so you can use your funds to buy a wide variety of goods in-store and online. Security shouldn’t be a concern for either service, as both encrypt your data, although just PayPal offers fraud protection for reasons we’ll get to in a moment.

Venmo vs PayPal: Differences

Differences between Venmo and PayPal

While the majority of transactions will function the same no matter if you’re using Venmo or PayPal, the two services have a number of key differences, which we’ve listed and explained below.

International payments

Venmo is limited to the United States, and international payments are not possible. Likewise, only US bank accounts can be linked to the service. PayPal, on the other hand, is supported in more than 200 countries and 25 currencies.

Target audience

While PayPal markets itself as a comprehensive solution to money transfers for both businesses and individuals, Venmo has a much more targeted niche. It has a strong social aspect, and it’s true purpose is transferring funds between friends and trusted individuals to split cab rides, meal tickets, and other similar small payments.

Fraud protection

As Venmo is intended to be used just with those you already trust, it does not offer any kind of buyer or seller protection. PayPal offers robust buyer protections and some seller protections, making it the better choice for online purchases from strangers.

Business features

PayPal has many additional features for sellers, making it a better platform for businesses or those looking to sell things online. These include higher transfer limits, support for more countries, fraud protection, POS options, and even advanced features like PayPal Business Loans for small businesses.

Can you transfer money between Venmo and PayPal?

Transfer money from Venmo to PayPal

Although Venmo and PayPal are part of the same larger company and use the same infrastructure for transfers, there is currently no way to transfer money between Venmo and PayPal directly.

That said, you can still get around this limitation by simply transferring funds from Venmo to your bank account then from your bank account to PayPal. In certain situations there may be a fee involved, but generally this can be done free of charge. The process will take a few days to complete.

Overview: Which is right for you?

So when it comes to Venmo vs PayPal, which one is right for you? Well, it depends on what you want to do. If you live in the US and just want to make simple money transfers to friends and eliminate cash from your life, Venmo is an excellent option. For retailers or online shoppers, PayPal is the way to go with advanced buyer and seller protection.

Here is a quick overview of what tasks are better suited to each platform to help you make the decision:


  • Splitting bills with friends
  • Paying roommates for rent
  • Sharing payments socially


  • Buying and selling online
  • Sending money overseas
  • Transferring large payments

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