Money Stored in Venmo, Other Payment Apps May Not Be 'Safe' in Event of Financial Crisis, Gov Warns The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is warning customers that money kept in popular payment apps is not protected in the same manner as banks.
Payment apps like Venmo and Cash App have made it easy to make payments to friends, family, and businesses. However, the platforms may lack financial stability in the event of a crisis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warned on Thursday.
"Popular digital payment apps are increasingly used as substitutes for a traditional bank or credit union account but lack the same protections to ensure that funds are safe," said CFPB director Rohit Chopra, in a statement. "As tech companies expand into banking and payments, the CFPB is sharpening its focus on those that sidestep the safeguards that local banks and credit unions have long adhered to."
Unlike traditional banks (which have insurance on consumer deposits), payment apps may not have the same safeguards (such as the FDIC's policy that insures deposits up to $250,000) to protect money stored on the platform.
Since peer-to-peer payment platforms do not automatically transfer funds to one's bank account, the CFPB added, the companies' investments "carry risk" and in the event of a failure, users could lose their funds.
The agency added that it is working with state and federal regulators to monitor the increasingly popular sector of non-bank payment apps to "take appropriate steps."
And yet, it's not the only electronic banking issue that has come up this week.
In April, Apple launched its own savings account in partnership with Goldman Sachs with a high annual percentage yield (APY) of 4.15%. Within the first day of launching, nearly $400 million in funds were deposited into Apple Card savings accounts.
While the Apple Card Savings account is FDIC-insured (it prohibits users from depositing more than the FDIC insurance limit of $250,000), some users are claiming it is taking weeks to withdraw money or transfer funds to their banks, per the Wall Street Journal.
"A two- to four-week delay definitely seems long," Dennis Lormel, a bank consultant with three decades of experience working in financial crimes told the outlet. "As someone who deals with banks on a frequent basis, to me that seems unreasonable."
The WSJ notes that the delays could have a simpler explanation: Attempts to withdraw significant sums of money from brand-new accounts may have triggered fraud and money laundering alerts that required banks to conduct additional screening.
"While the vast majority of customers see no delays in transferring their funds, in a limited number of cases, a user may experience a delayed transfer due to processes in place designed to help protect their accounts," a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said in a statement to Entrepreneur.