Venmo Is Pausing Some Payments Being Sent To Palestinian Relief Funds

The escalating violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused donations to pour in for aid groups. But some donations on Venmo are getting stalled and even stopped.

The payment app is reportedly pausing some attempts to fundraise for Palestinian causes — particularly if the payments have any combination of words like “Palestinian” or “Palestine” alongside the phrase “relief fund,” according to tests conducted by Rest of World, an international nonprofit journalism organization that covers primarily the intersection of technology and culture.

In one screenshot posted to Twitter on Monday, Venmo’s customer support appeared to ask a user about a $50 payment they had received for “Emergency Palestinian Relief Fund.” The screenshot showed Venmo was “trying to understand… the reference to ‘Palestinian Relief Fund'” and asked the user for the “purpose of this payment, including a complete and detailed explanation of what is intended to be paid for and the establishment/location.” The company also asked for a “brief summary” of the poster’s fundraising efforts, and “details on how the funds will get to the beneficiaries,” according to the screenshot.

The user told Rest of World that he was collecting funds to donate to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, an organization established by humanitarians in the U.S. to bring free medical care to injured and sick children.

 A Venmo spokesperson told Mashable that the company isn’t blocking legitimate payments entirely, but they are holding them for a review period, which typically lasts 48 hours. Venmo did not respond to Mashable about what qualifies as a legitimate payment, but pointed to a blog post updated in March 2020 that describes the company’s review process, which includes screening payment activity and flagging any payments that could violate U.S. economic sanctions…Read more>>

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