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Payment apps collect and share your data. Here's how to lock them down.

Mashable 09 Jun 2021 09:30
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Image: bob al-greene / mashable

Privacy Please is an ongoing series exploring the ways privacy is violated in the modern world, and what can be done about it.


Mobile payment apps including Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal Mobile Cash have wormed their way into the fabric of our lives. While they offer users real value and convenience, they extract a serious, and often hidden, privacy toll.

Buried deep in their settings are sometimes vague disclaimers and notices warning customers that, once they download and use the apps, their information is no longer solely their own. When it comes to financial data — which has the potential to reveal people's religious beliefs, sexual orientation, medical history, political persuasion, friends, and location — that's a huge problem. 

And when it comes to mobile payment apps, there's only so much users can do about it.

What Venmo shares, and how to lock it down

Or don't.

Or don't.

Image: Andrew Harrer / getty

What began as a cute story about a forgotten wallet has long since morphed into something less adorable

Privacy, please.

Privacy, please.

Image: screenshot / venmo

Your past is your business.

Your past is your business.

Image: screenshot / venmo

You can still have friends in real life.

You can still have friends in real life.

Image: screenshot / venmo

Debuted in 2013 as a way to send money via email, Square Cash was initially a bare-bones service that did one thing well. Its current iteration, Cash App, brings a lot more to the table — including the ability to buy bitcoin and stocks. With those added features come added privacy concerns. 

While PayPal owns Venmo, the online payments company founded in the late 1990s by Elon Musk and Peter Thiel (among others) also has a mobile app that bears its name: PayPal Mobile Cash.

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Tags

VenmoVenmoPaypalGebhartGennie Gebhart
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