In this day and age, the general shift is away from the physical and toward the digital, but it seems that the tables may be turning once again. In June, a report noted that Venmo was testing a physical debit card that would make it easier for people who store money in their Venmo accounts to turn around and use these funds to make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. And now, that debit card is being offered to folks as part of a beta program.
Initially, Venmo was only testing the physical card with employees, though careful observers quickly discovered the existence of the program after examining employee Venmo feeds. Once employees started making Venmo purchases at physical stores, like Chipotle and Taco Bell, or other retail locations, the cat was out of the bag.
Now, you can be part of that program as well if you are invited to the company’s beta program. Those chosen are sent a free card attached to their Venmo accounts, which can then be used much as you would use any other debit card. The funds would be deducted from your Venmo balance. How do you know if you’ve been selected? Just open up the Venmo app — if you see a prompt asking you to join, congratulations!
There is no fee associated with the card, and to get started, you simply need to verify your identity and select a backup reload method just in case your Venmo balance is overdrafted. And if this initial beta program proves successful, it seems safe to assume that more users will soon be able to check out the card. The physical cards are Visa Debit cards issued by Metropolitan Commercial bank.
Of course, this is all a departure from Venmo’s bread and butter, which has historically remained solidly in the digital sphere. After all, the whole point of having a money transferring app was to get rid of physical tender, like checks or cash. But it would seem that Venmo wants to be relevant in all spheres, and that includes the tangible one, too. After all, its competitors have already entered the space.
Update: Venmo Debit cards are now being offered to users as part of a beta program.