Venmo is a popular peer-to-peer payment platform in the United States that allows users to send and receive money from friends and family.
Sometimes, peer-to-peer apps are more convenient than your major bank, whether it be TD, CIBC, RBC, or other online banking institutions.
Is Venmo available in Canada?
The short answer? No, it's not. While Venmo is a convenient money transfer service, it is unavailable in Canada due to regulatory issues.
Venmo is owned by PayPal, one of the world's largest payment platforms, but does not have the necessary licenses to operate in Canada. Our regulatory restrictions here are different, and although they aren't necessarily complex, a lot of companies don't find it worth the time or capital to expand here because of our smaller population.
So, unfortunately, Canadians cannot use apps like Cash App or Venmo to send or receive money, nor can they create an account on the app. Venmo is primarily available to Americans.
That said, I wouldn't rule out Venmo coming to Canada in the future. It just isn't right now.
A U.S. phone number and a U.S. bank account are required to use a Venmo account or Venmo credit card. This means that even if a Canadian resident has a U.S. cell phone, they still cannot use Venmo unless they have a U.S. bank account.
Why you may not need Venmo in Canada anyways
While Venmo is not available in Canada, there are other digital wallet apps that Canadians can use, such as PayPal, Interac e-Transfer, and Apple Pay. These apps allow users to send and receive money within Canada and internationally.
In addition to this, we have a multitude of options available in Canada that although may not have everything Venmo does, will get the job done. Lets go over them.
Best Venmo alternatives in Canada
- Wealthsimple Cash
- Interac E-Transfer
Wealthsimple Cash is a popular user-friendly alternative to Venmo in Canada. It is a mobile app that allows Canadians to send and receive money instantly, just like Venmo.
Wealthsimple Cash app is a free service that does not charge any fees for sending or receiving money, thus avoiding any high fees being charged elsewhere.
There is also a Wealthsimple Cash Card. Users simply link their bank accounts to the app and can transfer funds easily to and from the prepaid card. Wealthsimple Cash is also insured by the CDIC, meaning your money is safe and secure.
In addition to Wealthsimple Cash, they have a crypto and trading platform, called Wealthsimple Trade, which allows Canadians to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more, all with no commission charges.
Unless you've lived under a rock for the last two decades, you likely know what PayPal is. It is arguably the most recognizable money transfer service on the planet, accepted across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries.
You can send, receive, and request money and make payments through a credit card.
Although certain transactions may incur fees, personal transactions between friends and family are typically free.
PayPal happens to own Venmo, as mentioned. So, outside of Wealthsimple Cash, it would be one of the best options for Canadians looking for Venmo-like functionality.
Interac E-Transfer is another popular alternative to Venmo in Canada. It is a service that provides Canadians with the convenience of sending and receiving money online.
The platform has evolved rapidly. Even just 10 years ago, most financial institutions would charge anywhere from $1-$5 to send an E-Transfer. Now, Interac E-Transfer is available through most Canadian banks and credit unions, free of charge.
Users can send money to anyone with an email address or a mobile phone number. Interac E-Transfer is a fast and secure way to transfer money, and it is one of the more widely used peer-to-peer forms of payment in Canada.
If you register for instant deposits, you can even accept money without even having to do anything.
Koho is a mobile app that allows Canadians to manage their finances. It is not specifically designed for sending and receiving money.
Still, it offers a "Koho Instant" feature that allows users to send money instantly to other Koho account users. It also has cashback functionality and if you sign up for their Premium plan, it can be as high as 2%. There are additional features of
Premium that can be handy to Canadians, including price protection, free financial coaching, and internation ATM withdrawals.
Koho charges fees for some transactions, such as ATM withdrawals and foreign currency transactions. However, users can avoid these fees by using their Koho card at select ATMs and by using their Koho card for purchases in Canadian dollars.
Shakepay is a mobile app that allows Canadians to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin.
It is not explicitly designed for sending and receiving money, but it does offer a feature called "Shakepay Cash" that allows users to send money instantly to other Shakepay users.
Shakepay charges fees for some transactions, such as buying and selling cryptocurrency.
The platform serves over 1 million Canadians and you can have an account set up in just over 10 minutes.
Again, this isn't something that will give you completely functionality like Venmo, Wealthsimple Trade, or Interac E-Transfer. But moving cryptocurrencies to your friends isn't easy, and Shakepay makes it easy.
Security and privacy on Venmo vs Wealthsimple
Overall, Wealthsimple Trade is the best alternative to Venmo here in Canada. So, lets go over the security of both platforms to see how they hold up.
Venmo takes security and privacy seriously. Canadians would be wise to review the standards of any payment app they wish to use, Wealthsimple Trade or not.
Venmo has implemented several measures to ensure the safety of its users' data and transactions. Here are some of the security and privacy features that Venmo has in place:
- Encryption: Venmo uses encryption to protect users' information and transactions. All data sent between the Venmo app and its servers is encrypted using industry-standard SSL/TLS encryption. Wealthsimple uses 256-bit SSL/TLS certificate to encrypt all information transmitted between user devices and Wealthsimple web servers.
- Two-Factor Authentication: Venmo offers two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to users' accounts. Users can enable two-factor authentication by linking their accounts to a phone number and receiving a verification code via SMS. Wealthsimple also offers a layer of security in 2FA.
- PIN Protection: Venmo allows users to set a PIN code to protect their accounts. The PIN code is required whenever a user logs in to the app or makes a transaction. Wealthsimple also offers its own version of a PIN code.
- Fraud Protection: Venmo has a team of fraud specialists who monitor transactions for suspicious activity. If they detect any fraudulent activity, they will take action to protect users' accounts and funds. Wealthsimple Cash offers the function of disputing authorized and unauthorized transactions.
Overall, Wealthsimple has top level security, and Canadian users can feel confident and secure when using Wealthsimple Cash to send and receive money.
Unfortunately, Venmo is not currently available in Canada. While it is a popular payment app in the United States, it has not yet expanded to Canada or any other country outside of the U.S.
Canadians looking for similar mobile payment services may consider using Wealthsimple Trade or Interac e-Transfer, widely used across Canada to allow users to send and receive money from their bank accounts. Another option is PayPal, which is available in Canada and offers similar features to Venmo.
Canadians should take into account all the options available to them, as many companies offer sign-up and referral bonus perks or cashback advantages in terms of credit cards and such. There are oodles of financial tools at our disposal these days, whether used for peer-to-peer payments, in-app, in-store, or whatever the case may be. Make sure to review all the tools available to know you are getting the best deal.
It is important to note that Canadians should always be cautious when sending or receiving money online and ensure that they are using a reputable and secure payment app or service.