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Security & privacy

Use Venmo? This is the biggest privacy update in years

The popular payment app Venmo ran into some trouble not too long ago. A rather controversial option in the app allowed others to see who your contacts are. Even the President of the U.S got caught in the data leak.

The feature was a bit of a social feed of who paid who. If you bounced from one contact to the next, you could eventually find your way to the contact details of influential and well-known people. That is naturally not good for anybody using the app.

After an expected outcry from users, Venmo has now taken to secure the app. It announced several changes in the coming days, and the social feed will be removed.

Here’s the backstory

The company is owned by PayPal, one of the most-used payment applications on the planet. But when it comes to money and personal details, users weren’t happy — no matter who the parent company is.

So, in the latest update that spans design and security changes, the company said that the social feed would finally be removed.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to continually evolve the Venmo platform, while staying true to the heart of the Venmo experience, we are removing the global feed, and the friends feed is now the only social feed that will appear in the app” the company said in a statement.

This means that you will only be able to see what your friends are up to and not what the entire 70 million user base of Venmo is doing.

The update will be rolled out soon for iOS and Android users and includes additional security features. You can now block other users and choose who can see previous payments. In a previous update, Venmo allowed users to set their profiles to public, friends-only, or private.

In the new update, the company will also add the functionality for users to select if a payment is for goods or services. In another security move, it also introduced purchase protection.

How to stay safe on Venmo

You can choose if you want to appear in someone’s contact list or not. Here’s how:

  • Once you’ve updated the Venmo app, open it.
  • Tap the three-line hamburger menu in the upper right corner.
  • Select Settings.
  • Tap Privacy.
  • Select Friends List at the bottom of the screen.
  • From here, choose Public, Friends or Private.

If you choose Public, your activity is visible to any logged-in Venmo user. Friends mean you are only visible to your Venmo friends. And Private means only visible to you.

Keep reading

The 5 safest ways to pay online (Hint: Don’t use your credit card)

2 smartphone screens are cracked every second in the US – How to protect yours

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