What Are the Rules for Talking About Money With Friends? Millennials Weigh In


Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Consider this scenario: You went out to dinner with a group of friends and covered the bill, knowing that everyone would transfer you later. You sent a request via Venmo, and one week later, you still haven't been paid back. What should you do?

While the latest finance apps aim to take the awkwardness out of borrowing or lending money to friends, it seems the digital shift has created its own set of etiquette issues. Venmo, one of the fastest-growing money apps (it's poised to process $20 billion of payments per year), might remove the oft-uncomfortable physical exchange of cash, but it's clear that there's still a gray area which can cause a rift among friends.

"I've had friends request $3 for a slice of pizza!" a colleague told me when asked what amount was too small to warrant a Venmo request. Another vented about an awkward situation that arose when a friend ignored her request and then asked to be paid back for a different expense. "You wouldn't send a utility payment past its due date, so why let it linger with your friends?!" she asked. 

To settle it once and for all, we asked Venmo users to share the biggest faux pas every millennial needs to know, from sending payment request reminders to settling a charge you don't agree with. Consider this you unofficial etiquette guide. Venmo users: These are the six rules you need to know.