Venmo is a service for financial transactions. It’s also designed like a social network. It’s a strange duality that predictably leads to some awkward questions of what good form looks like on the service. To somewhat answer that question, Venmo commissioned a survey for some insight into what its users believe is good etiquette.
The online survey was conducted by creative market research agency Atomik Research, and it asked 1,006 adult Venmo users in the US from May 31 through June 1 this year about their positions on certain ways the service is now commonly used.
“Venmo’s popularity has sparked an ongoing debate about the proper way to split payments for a dinner bill, group travel, gifts and more,” Amit Jhawar, Venmo’s general manager, said in a press release. “We wanted to crowdsource what our users thought was most appropriate and share it back with the community to help them navigate these complicated situations.”
According to the survey, when it came to sending a Venmo request for half of the bill after a date, 41 percent of male users agreed this was appropriate compared to 26 percent of female users. As for whether people should evenly split a bill or pay based on what they ordered, 47 percent said it was easier to do the former while 50 percent—slightly more—would rather not pay more for something they didn’t order.
The survey also revealed that 47 percent would send money over Venmo as a wedding gift, and 65 percent would do the same for a birthday. And 48 percent agreed that dorm or apartment purchases should be split evenly.
As for when someone should send a request, 72 percent of respondents believed it’s okay to send one within 24 hours, and 83 percent agreed on that timeframe if someone foots the bill at dinner on their card.
Outside of just etiquette preferences, the survey revealed some truths about how people feel about the utility of the service in general—65 percent of respondents said it was more stressful to owe someone money than to be owed, while 76 percent preferred to send a request over getting one. (The survey indicated, aptly, that 85 percent of transactions on the service are sent transactions versus requests.)
While the survey didn’t provide exhaustive insight into ways in which Venmo is used, both from financial and cultural standpoints, it did give a basic understanding of what people view as acceptable on the payment app. And it also only surveyed 1,000 users in the US, and it’s unclear what the demographics of these users are, so it wouldn’t be fair to characterize these results as more than a mere window into some of the established norms of the service.
What the survey does indicate, though, is that people have feelings about accepted practices of Venmo and that it’s not unanimous across any of the resulting responses. That wouldn’t be a wild expectation for a social network, and given the divergence of attitudes towards varying types of Venmo etiquette, it’s clear the service is viewed as much more than simply a tool for transferring funds. And if you’re looking for a more detailed guide on how to use the service without looking like a petty jerk, we’ve got you.