Venmo’s Sustainability: The Good & The Bad 

Is Venmo sustainable? On Karma Wallet, we rate them a 6.5/16. Here’s why!

July 17, 2023


Venmo, the popular mobile payment app, has become a go-to platform for millions of people around the world. But like any other technology company, Venmo’s operations have an impact on the environment. Let’s talk about Venmo’s sustainability and social impact!

On Karma Wallet, we rate Venmo’s sustainability a 6.5 out of 16, evaluated on 8 UN SDGs. This means their score is neutral – while they have some sustainability initiatives, they are still behind the curve in some areas. 

Explore their Company Report Card to learn more about their score!

The Good

With over 70 million users, Venmo has transformed the way millennials and Gen Z interact with their money. 

They’re currently owned by parent company PayPal, so many of their sustainability initiatives align with those of PayPal.

But for this article, we’ll try to focus on initiatives that are more exclusive to Venmo’s sustainability. Check out our article on PayPal here!

Digital Payments

Venmo is a digital payment platform, which means it reduces the need for paper check, receipts, and invoices. All in all, this helps to reduce single-use paper waste and lowers the carbon footprint associated with traditional payment methods.

Charitable Donations

In 2022, Venmo released a new feature: the ability to donate to charities through Venmo. Users can browse verified charities and choose to make a donation using their Venmo balance, debit card or credit card, or linked bank account.

Additionally, PayPal has similar functionality through their PayPal Giving Fund. 

This gives non-profits on Venmo a larger network to reach potential contributors and helps share their mission.

Venmo Small Business Grant Program

Venmo has dedicated their resources to helping emerging businesses grow and succeed. The Venmo Small Business Grant Program selected 20 solopreneurs and small businesses to receive a $10,000 grant in 2022.

As part of PayPal’s mission to build a more sustainable and inclusive global economy, these grant recipients represent a diverse group of entrepreneurs.

venmo's sustainability report card on karma wallet

The Bad

Privacy Concerns

Because Venmo has a social networking component, by default all Venmo transactions are public. While this can be changed in privacy settings, many users don’t take this step

Critics say that this feature can have negative consequences. Additionally, sites like Public by Default utilize Venmo’s API to showcase just how much information can be gathered about you from your Venmo spending.

Spoiler: it’s a TON of private info! 

In 2018, PayPal settled a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commision over allegations that Venmo “misled consumers about the extent to which they could keep their transactions private”. 

Long Term Deposits 

When it comes to your money, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warned that Venmo is not safe to keep money in long-term. 

While some of the funds stored in Venmo might be eligible for pass-through insurance coverage, by default Venmo is not covered by deposit insurance. 

“We find that stored funds can be at risk of loss in the event of financial distress or failure of the entity operating the nonbank payment platform, and often are not placed in an account at a bank or credit union and lack individual deposit insurance coverage,” the CFPB said in its report.

Data Centers

Because Venmo’s operations rely on data centers, they require a significant amount of energy to run and keep afloat. Additionally, these data centers are often powered by fossil fuels, which can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

venmo's sustainability report card on karma wallet

Venmo’s Sustainability and Social Justice

We rate Venmo’s sustainability a 6.5 out of 16. They’re owned by PayPal, which also receives a 6.5 scoring.

All in all, they’re relatively low impact compared to other technology companies like Apple. But they also have a ton of resources – and could be doing much, much more to create meaningful positive impact. 

Explore their Company Report Card on Karma Wallet!