Nowadays, cash transaction apps are incredibly popular. It’s easy to understand why—apps like Venmo and Zelle make it simple to send money from one person to another, alleviating much of the stress that can come with carrying large amounts of cash.
However, according to TikToker and former bank employee Sydney (@sydneykidneybean), not all cash transaction apps are created equal.
In a video with over 1.3 million views, Sydney gives her opinion on the apps Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, and Zelle. The results are mixed.
@sydneykidneybean Replying to @sr8130 solely my opinions ! #personalopinion #cashappscam #venmo #zelle #zellescandal #thisweekwellsfargo #bankinghacks #dosanddonts #paypal ♬ original sound – Sydney
To summarize, Sydney says she uses Venmo but does not keep a balance on the app “because it is not insured by the FDIC.”
“An FDIC insured account means if you have up to $250,000 in a bank account and the bank fails, the FDIC reimburses any losses you suffered,” details Investopedia.
She also says that she pays by linking her debit card to Venmo rather than her bank account.
“If [my Venmo account] is fraudulently accessed somehow, I only have to replace my debit card and not my entire bank account that’s linked to it,” she explains. This also allows her to dispute transactions through both the app and her bank via the debit card.
Next, Sydney reviews Cash App.
“Cash App, I do not use,” she says. “I have filed way too many claims on Cash App. I’ve seen way too many scams directed towards Cash App users, and I’ve also seen people who kept their money in Cash App and had it totally seized or frozen, like, constantly, and they just never see it back.”
That said, she did approve of the fact that Cash App’s cards are FDIC-insured.
Third, Sydney takes on PayPal. She notes that PayPal’s ubiquity and low fees for international purchases make it perfect for buying things from abroad, and she speaks positively about its invoice generator.
However, she notes that PayPal is not FDIC-insured and that she has seen “a lot of scams” through PayPal.
Finally, she lands on Zelle.
“Do not ever send a Zelle to someone you do not know,” Sydney emphatically states. “You are not going to see that money back. It’s gone, okay?”
“The banks don’t care if you got scammed through Zelle, they don’t care if you weren’t satisfied with what you bought through Zelle — they’re only going to refund your money on a claim if the bank made an error specifically and it’s provable,” she concludes. “Scammers know that. That’s why scammers love Zelle.”
In the comment section, many users backed up Sydney’s claims.
“I work at a credit union and I REFUSE to use Zelle for anything,” wrote one user. “So many hacked Zelle accounts and it’s nearly impossible to get their money back.”
“I’ve had a few friends that work at banks say the same thing,” added another. “I’m scared to use any of them.”
“Lost 500 through Zelle,” recounted a further TikToker. “Wish I wasn’t so nice to ‘refund’ money to someone trying to buy something from me.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, Zelle, and Sydney via email.
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*First Published: Nov 11, 2022, 10:19 am CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.