You Can Now Use Venmo to Pay at Amazon (but You Shouldn’t)

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The Amazon Prime logo on an Amazon box.

New payment methods are never a bad thing — but some are worse options than others.

Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock



Venmo is one of the most popular ways to send money electronically. It’s handy for things like paying rent to your landlord or reimbursing your friend for dinner.

In recent years, Venmo has expanded its usability to merchants, as well. The most recent addition is Amazon; Venmo is officially an option when paying for your Amazon cart.

It’s nice to see more flexibility in Amazon payment options, but they aren’t always a good idea. For example, Amazon allows you to pay for your cart with credit card points — but the value you’ll receive is too poor to make it a good option for most people.

Similarly, under (almost) no circumstances should you use Venmo to pay with Amazon. Here’s why.

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Why you should forgo Venmo for Amazon purchases

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card


Intro offer

$200 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval


Rewards

Earn 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with an eligible Prime membership. Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Earn 1% back on all other purchases. Earn 10% back or more on a rotating selection of Amazon products and categories.

Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card


Intro offer

$200 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval


Rewards

Earn 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with an eligible Prime membership. Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Earn 1% back on all other purchases. Earn 10% back or more on a rotating selection of Amazon products and categories.


Rewards

Earn 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with an eligible Prime membership. Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Earn 1% back on all other purchases. Earn 10% back or more on a rotating selection of Amazon products and categories.


Intro offer

$200 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval


Regular Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

17.24% – 25.24% Variable

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I can only see one real reason to use Venmo at Amazon: You don’t own a credit card. You’re paying with either a checking account or debit card, and you want to add a layer of encryption to your purchase. By using Venmo as a middleman, Amazon won’t receive any of your account information such as your debit card or checking account number.

Apart from that, paying for Amazon through Venmo isn’t necessarily a good idea. Here’s why: When you pay with your Venmo balance or a checking account, you won’t earn rewards on your purchase. You probably won’t earn rewards with your debit card, either — and even if you do, it’ll be the same rewards as had you paid directly with Amazon.

If possible, you should always be using a rewards credit card for Amazon purchases. Besides the fact that paying with a credit card is generally much more secure than paying with a debit card or a checking account, you’ll be sure to earn something for your spending. Here are the best credit cards for Amazon purchases:

Even a low-level cash-back credit card can net you a respectable return. For example, the $0 annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card earns 1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when pay off that purchase. That’s effectively 2% everywhere. You’d be surprised how quickly that can add up — especially if you’re in the habit of using a bank account or debit card for your purchases.

Instead of using your Venmo balance to make Amazon purchases, you’re much better off simply transferring that money to your bank account, using a rewards credit card for your Amazon cart, and then effectively using your Venmo balance to pay your credit card bill.

The one possible development that might make Venmo a worthwhile option at Amazon checkout concerns the Venmo Debit Card. This card earns cash back at select rotating merchants (called Venmo Offers). We’ve seen offers as high as 6%. If at some point Amazon is featured as a Venmo Offer (far from a certainty), Venmo would become a viable option to Venmo debit card holders — but again, you’d still earn the same as if you had paid directly with Amazon.

How to check out with Venmo on Amazon

Adding and using your Venmo account as a payment option on Amazon is extremely simple:

  1. At checkout, click “Select a payment method”
  2. Click “Add a Venmo account”
  3. Follow the prompts to allow Amazon to charge Venmo for future purchases

You can then select Venmo as a one-time purchase or as your default payment method for subsequent Amazon purchases. You can pay with either your current Venmo balance, your attached bank account, or a debit card. To be clear, you cannot pay for Amazon purchases with a credit card through Venmo.

Amazon already allows you to pay with a debit card and a checking account — so the only real addition here is the ability to pay for your cart with your Venmo balance (money you’ve received from others).

Bottom line

Venmo and Amazon have partnered up to allow users to pay for their online shopping with a Venmo balance, a bank account, or a debit card through Venmo.

More payment options is never a bad thing — but using Venmo with Amazon is not the wisest choice for maximizing your spending. Instead of making purchases with a payment method that won’t yield any return, pay Amazon directly with a rewards credit card instead.

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