Guilty As Charged: Venmo Exposed

The Ultimate College Receipt

Bad Habits | Mia Rafowitz | February 9, 2016

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This Super Bowl Sunday was chock-full of drunken bets and rowdy rivalries. The obscene amount of electronic money that was gambled away with the simple swipe of a finger caused our favorite money-sharing app to crash. That’s right, as your eyes were seeing green, the Venmo mobile payment service was seeing black. The theory? reported:

“Last night, we experienced a temporary disruption in service due to high volume, which prevented some users from being able to use Venmo,” Venmo communications lead Adrianne Wright wrote in an email. “Our engineers worked to address the issue as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, we encourage all Venmo users to follow our Twitter handle (@Venmo) for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Apology accepted, Venmo. You’ve given us so much in these past few years, and we couldn’t be more thankful.

But for a second let’s travel back – back to the days of paper money. Things were simpler back then, but that doesn’t mean they were easier. Splitting groceries, a drink at the bar, or paying your roommate back for the Mac ‘N Cheese you savagely shoved down your throat meant a $5 ATM surcharge. Going to the Grove meant not only dealing with hunting down a cab, but paying with those grime-covered bills that have been God-knows-where. Sure, those bills could have been traveling comfortably in the pants of a savvy businessman. The more likely story, though, is that your bill had been inserted into many nostrils and the G-string of Miss Mary from King Of Diamonds. Yeah that’s the same money you sniff to see how fresh it is. Spoiler: it’s not fresh at all.

Enter Venmo. The mobile payment application that has revolutionized the concept of “I’ll pay you back”, and given us a way to send money instantly and virtually. Venmo is your pocket wallet, your digital I.O.U., a way to track just when and where you sent your last charge. That being said, we’re college students. While Venmo offers a nice blueprint of your night, it’s also a public reminder of your 5 am indiscretions. Does the world need to know that @SarahG. charged you for “37 Chicken McNuggets and Some Real Dank Nuggets” this past Saturday? Probably not.

Essentially, Venmo is giving us an electronic receipt for all our regrets, low points, and bad decisions.

We may not have tangible bills to track, but thanks to Venmo’s news feed some of you have left quite the paper trail. Some examples of the best Venmo receipts and what they mean:

The “using mom’s debit card to electronically pay for drugs” payment:


The “teamwork makes the dream work” payments:


You charged them, they charged you, then you charged them again. Repeat for three to four years.


You’re just figuring out this “Internet” thing.


Musicals are expensive, people!!


Get your shit together, straight up.


The friend you constantly have to “remind” to pay you.


Caring from across the country.


You went to Tuesday’s last night.


Finding out who you will be getting drunk with:

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You went to Blackbird last night.


And you went to Mardi Gras this weekend, didn’t you?


That dreaded facilities charge.


You don’t mess around.


You’ve got virtual porn on your mind.


You’ve been roommates for 3+ years.


When you keep up with current events.


The typical MILF charge.


The necessities.


And finally, rejected.


No need to apologize, Venmo. We understand you were overworked. It wasn’t your fault. We want to say thank you. Thank you for letting us send a quick $1.50 to split that Three-Buck-Chuck with our roommate. We thank you for letting us charge our friends when we’re drunk, and remind them when we’re sober. We thank you for allowing us to forget our wallet, and still indulge in a pitcher at The Rat. Still not sure how it all goes down? Get in the know. Curious how it all started? Learn about the origins of Venmo. And next time you’re stumped naming a charge, a collection of creative emojis always works too.