Venmo is a mobile payments application that is especially popular with young adults.  Why? Because it allows them to send cash fast and directly to a friend’s bank accounts.

However, in Venmo’s case, fast is not necessarily better — especially in light of serious security flaws.  A number of articles have appeared recently detailing the flaws and unhappy consequences.  Mike Isaac and John Zorabedian have particularly helpful articles.  Their articles can be found, respectively at: bits.blogs.nytimes.com (“Venmo Was Ordered in July by California Regulators to Address Security Issues”; February 27); and nakedsecurity.sophos.com (“Venmo mobile payment service under fire for security carelessness”; March 3).

What are some of the problems? Both articles cover the basics which include the fact that Venmo had been using only an email and Twitter account but didn’t have a customer support line.  Mr. Zorabedian recounts the story of one Venmo user who had $2,850.00 stolen from his bank account.  How could this happen? In part, Mr. Zorabedian writes, because the Venmo application has no security against unauthorized account access.

In his post, Mr. Isaac reports that Venmo claims to have implemented “…companywide best practices and programs and user privacy, security, customer service and fraud loss management.”  However, Mr. Isaac reports that Venmo is still under ongoing supervision by the California regulators.

Have these important improvements been made?  Maybe but Venmo should be used very cautiously until there’s concrete proof that strong security and privacy features have been added.