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. Last 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. On Monday, June 25, Venmo officially launched its own debit card as part of a partnership with Mastercard. Beta customers will receive a sign-up invitation, while the rest of us will have to fill out a form in order to reserve a spot.
This isn’t the same Visa-branded debit card that the company trialed in beta mode last year, though it works in much the same way. You’ll be able to pay for items or services using this card anywhere Mastercard is accepted (in the United States, at least), and it will keep tabs of transactions so that you can split payments later with your friends. You can even use the card at an ATM in order to withdraw funds from your Venmo balance. 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.
If you already have one of the old Visa-branded Venmo cards, you’ll have to get a new one. Those who previously participated in the beta should get an invitation to sign up for Mastercard, issued by The Bancorp Bank. In order to truly utilize the card, you’ll likely want to activate the Reloads option in your Venmo account, so that your bank automatically increases your Venmo balance anytime you want to make a purchase. This new card will let you withdraw up to $400 a day at ATMs that accept MasterCard, Cirrus, Pulse, or MoneyPass. No fees will be applied to U.S. MoneyPass ATMs, though others will charge $2.50. No fees will apply to purchases you make with the card either.
You can manage your debit card from within the Venmo app, including activating the card, resetting your PIN, or disabling a misplaced or stolen card.
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 such as 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.
Updated on June 25: Venmo Mastercard debit cards are now being offered to users as part of a beta program.