Venmo’s ability to instantly transfer money to the bank account linked to your debit card is excellent. Over the last couple months, I’ve routinely moved cash over from my Venmo balance, and it usually shows up in my checking account within seconds after initiating the transfer — all for a measly fee of 25 cents.
But something went awry with Venmo’s convenient, near-immediate money transfers this week. On Wednesday, the company completely removed the feature, with Venmo saying that it needed to make “a few changes.” By Thursday evening, instant transfers were restored for “some” users, but there’s currently no time frame for when they’ll return for everyone. The company later told me that “most” users had again gained access to the feature. Venmo’s traditional, next business day bank transfer option remains available and is functioning as normal.
This isn’t the first instance of problems with instant transfer. In February, the option temporarily disappeared from Venmo due to a “brief disruption.” For users who’ve gotten used to the quickness and worry-free convenience of having their funds immediately available in a proper banking account, these interruptions have proved annoying.
Venmo explained the downtime by saying instant transfer was “undergoing maintenance.” For me, it has largely worked as advertised and is a big reason I rarely use Square Cash anymore. (Square’s Cash App also offers “instant deposit”; the company charges a 1 percent fee for the luxury.) But Venmo continually has to deal with fraud on its platform, and it’s possible that an uptick in bad or unauthorized instant transactions led the company to make some changes.
Venmo’s introduction of instant transfer followed closely after major US banks collaborated on Zelle, which allows customers to make personal payments and move money between different banks instantly.