The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement on Tuesday over allegations that the popular payment app, Venmo, misled users about “the extent to which they could control the privacy of their transactions.”
Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said, “this case sends a strong message that financial institutions like Venmo need to focus on privacy and security from day one.” While there are currently “privacy settings” in the app, Venmo isn’t clear how those settings work. According to a complaint mentioned in the FTC’s report, users who have limited the “default audiences” of their payments for future transactions are not ensured that their transactions will be private unless they also change a second setting.
Apps, specifically financial apps like Venmo, need to address user privacy as a first concern. Our private search engine was built with privacy by design, however not all apps can say the same. While banks are under more strict scrutiny to apply privacy regulations and limits, mobile apps can slide under the radar. As a result, Venmo will likely be the first of many financial apps to tighten their privacy settings in the coming months.