Should parents trust teens with Venmo? Experts say money-sharing app is safe option

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Is Venmo the way to go? That's the question a lot of parents are asking about the popular money-sharing app.

Younger people routinely turn to online transactions. Now, parents are finding apps like Venmo are a safer bet than cold hard cash.

They serve up a lot of tasty scoops at Betty Rae’s in Kansas City’s River Market, and for some of their customers, especially those under 30, it's one of the few places where they ever use cash or a credit card.

“If somebody steals your cash, you are out of that cash,” Victoria Throckmorton said.

Katie Watson said not only does she seldom use cash, but she also rarely even lays eyes on the actual green stuff.

“From my work, I just have direct deposit, so it’s in my debit account. So I never really see cash,” she said.

Watson, Throckmorton and millions of other young people prefer peer-to-peer money-sharing apps like Venmo.

"There`s just less and less cash flowing around these days. It seems like it's just a simpler way. Everyone`s got something in the palm of their hand, and I can hit you back for that five bucks, 10 bucks whenever," said Annie Kalahurka with Betty Rae's.

The app is owned by PayPal and works much the same way. Whereas PayPal allows to buy merchandise from a website or business, Venmo allows friends and family to split the cost of a dinner bill, for example, without shelling out cash.

It's one of the many reasons more and more parents are turning to Venmo to share money with their teens or kids away at college.

“If you want to monitor what transactions are going through, with Venmo you can do it much easier than you could, going through your banking or credit card app,” said Burton Kelso, a Kansas City tech expert.

Kelso said Venmo is safe, easy to track and unlike cash or the family credit card, money shared via the Venmo app can’t get lost in the laundry or in a friend’s sofa cushions.

“It’s all done within the app, so that way you don’t have to worry, as a parent, as far as worrying about the family credit card or family checking account getting hacked,” Kelso said.