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How To Reload Your FamZoo Prepaid Card Instantly From Venmo

Venmo Instant Transfer Confirmation

Typically, reloading your FamZoo card electronically takes 1 to 3 business days via ACH transfer. There is, however, an electronic instant reload option that many of our Zoomer cardholders have been using heavily: Venmo Instant Transfers. It’s an excellent alternative to instant cash reloads which must be done in person at a local retailer.

I tested it myself a few weeks ago. Here’s how it works:

  1. I had my 18 year old son send me some money via Venmo so I’d have some funds to transfer into FamZoo. (By the way, money rarely flows in that child-to-parent direction. 😉)
  2. I added my FamZoo card to the Venmo app under Menu > Settings > Payment Methods > Add Card.
  3. I tapped on Menu > Transfer money next to my balance.
  4. I selected Instant Transfer, entered the amount, and selected my FamZoo card.

    Venmo Instant Transfer Screen

    Heads up: Venmo instant transfers are not free. They cost a hefty 1.0% of the transfer amount with a minimum fee of 25 cents and a maximum fee of 10 bucks. (So that’s how Venmo makes money on Zoomers!)

  5. I tapped the Transfer button to complete the transfer.

And... It didn’t work. 😬

In fact, that’s literally what the error screen said: “That didn’t work... Sorry, this instant transfer can’t be completed.” Helpful. Not.

I contacted Venmo support via their online chat feature.

Here’s the response I got:

“It appears our system is declining your instant transfer attempt, which means this feature is not available to you for this transfer. There are many reasons that a transfer can be declined due to our automated transaction review process. In order to maintain the integrity of our internal systems, our customer-facing teams don’t have access to the exact reasons.”

Translation 1: “We have some hairy AI algorithm for detecting suspicious transactions, but nobody knows exactly how it works and why it flags the transactions it does, so we can’t give you a helpful response.”

Translation 2: “As a company, we choose not to invest the energy or resources needed to empower our customer service folks with the tools they need to help customers effectively.”

Translation 3: “I’m actually just a soulless robot on the other end of this chat, and nobody programmed me to give a useful answer to this particular question.”

Thinking at least number one was true, I figured if I linked my Wells Fargo bank account to my Venmo account, the algorithm would probably view me as less suspicious.

Sure enough. A couple days later, when I completed the verification of my Wells account — “Voila!” I was able to complete my instant transfer.

Of course, my 18 year old didn’t have to suffer any of that indignity. His instant transfers to his FamZoo card worked right away — no linked bank account required. Go figure. I guess he’s just a safer financial risk than I am. I’d like to think his years of FamZoo training has something to do with that. 🙂

Pro tip: change your default Venmo privacy setting from Public to Private under Menu > Settings > Privacy. Why in the world would I want others to see my private financial transactions? I don’t get it. OK, Boomer.

Footnote: if you’re hoping to spare yourself the fee and opt for the 1 to 3 business day transfer to your FamZoo card, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Venmo has a longstanding bug that blocks our cards from being added as a bank account using our direct deposit routing number and 16 digit bank account number:

Venmo Add Bank Account Bug

We filed the bug quite some time back, but to no avail. It’s frustrating because our cards can be added just fine as bank accounts to PayPal, and PayPal owns Venmo. Maybe someday...

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