Zelle is a mobile payment app that can move money from your account to another person’s asccount within minutes, even if you and the recipient are with different banks. Whether it’s settling an IOU, splitting the rent or paying the babysitter, the process is fast and free. The company aims to give the likes of Venmo, Square Cash and Google Wallet a run for their money.
Zelle was created by a group of big banks: Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo. With all these financial institutions backing it up, it’s no wonder Zelle has partnered with more than 100 banks and credit unions and is accessible to more than 95 million consumers in the United States through its mobile banking applications.
If your bank isn’t on the Zelle network list, don’t fret. You can still use the service with Zelle’s standalone app.
Zelle: How It Works
Zelle is a fast, safe and easy way to send money, within minutes, to your family and friends through your trusted banking app, or the Zelle app if your bank doesn’t currently offer the service. Different from Venmo, Zelle moves money directly from one bank account to another. While most banking transfers require account numbers and can take up to several business days to complete a transaction, Zelle allows users to transfer funds almost instantly using just the recipient’s email address or phone number.
Make sure to keep the following points in mind:
- In order to send or receive payments, you’ll need a bank account in the United States.
- Transfer limits vary from bank to bank.
- Zelle is not made for buying and selling things, and you are not protected for these types of transfers.
- Protection is limited to when someone steals your Zelle account or password to send money. Sending money to the wrong person or transferring the wrong amount is not covered.
- Zelle does not support credit card transactions.
- Zelle does not support international transfers.
Zelle: Step By Step
You can use Zelle as a standalone P2P app that works a lot like Venmo. However, unlike Venmo, you and the recipient will need to be members of one of 30 partner banks in order to send money using Zelle from within your bank’s app. Simply follow these three easy steps to send money with Zelle:
- Access Zelle. Find Zelle in the mobile banking app. If you already have your banking app on your phone, there’s no additional download necessary. If your bank or credit union is not partnered with Zelle, download the Zelle app to get started.
- Pick a recipient. Once you enroll, you’ll need the recipient’s email address or mobile number in order to process the transaction.
- Enter the amount. If your recipient is already enrolled with Zelle, the money will go directly into their bank account, usually within minutes. If they aren’t yet enrolled, they’ll get a notification explaining how to receive their funds.
Like Venmo, you also have the option to request money from family and friends.
There are no fees for cash transfers, including the standard “instant” transfer. Your funding options are limited to your bank account or your debit card. Credit cards are a big no-no.
Zelle Funding Limits
If you’re with a non-partnered bank, you have a maximum transfer limit of $500 over a rolling seven-day period. Those that bank with a member of Zelle’s network are subject to their bank’s spending and receiving limits.
For example, Chase limits personal checking account transfers to $2,000 per transaction, up to $2,000 a day and $16,000 in a calendar month. Chase Private Clients or Private Banking client accounts can send up to $5,000 per day and $40,000 during one calendar month.
Zelle Transfer Speed
Zelle transfers money directly between US bank accounts and is typically completed within minutes, unless the recipient is not already enrolled with Zelle. If that’s the case, it could take up to three business days for the money to become available in their bank account.
Because Zelle is integrated into your existing bank’s website and app, the same protection used by your bank is extended to cover transactions with Zelle. The standalone app is backed by Early Warning Systems, a risk-management company that employs advanced monitoring and mobile identity authentication to make sure your money is secure. The app also gives you the option to use touch ID to sign in, which gives you added protection.
Even with those security measures in place, you should always follow my best practices outlined below:
Know the Recipient
Sending money with Zelle is like handing cash to someone. Make sure to only transfer to people you know and trust so you don’t get scammed.
Confirm Recipient Information
Transactions with Zelle cannot be reversed or disputed. Cross-check with the recipient and make sure you’re using the right email address or phone number. If you send money to the wrong person, Zelle is not obligated to help you get your money back.
Enroll With Just One Bank
Make sure the email or phone number you want to use for your Zelle account is enrolled at only one bank or credit union, and that it matches what the bank has on file. This will avoid delays in sending and receiving funds with Zelle.
Zelle offers one of the fastest ways to send and receive money with people you know. However, if you’re not registered with Zelle already, or if your bank isn’t a Zelle partner, then the benefits aren’t so prominent.