Send funds in under 5 minutes — but only if you bank with a partner.
Backed by many major US banks, Zelle can transfer money into your recipient’s bank account — typically in minutes. But watch out for unclear limits and much slower transfers for unsupported banks.
What is Zelle?
Formerly called ClearXchange, Zelle is a new payment processing network developed with some of the largest American banks — Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and USAA among them. Zelle prides itself on easily completing transfers instantly to other users. If your recipient isn’t yet a Zelle user, you can send money using their email or phone number. Zelle will prompt them to visit their bank’s app or download the Zelle app to receive their money.
Given the imagery on its site (avocado toast, anyone?), Zelle is obviously skewed toward the Venmo crowd. Unlike Venmo, Zelle is integrated into its partners’ websites and mobile banking apps, so you won’t need to download another one to use it — or encounter your money getting held up in a third-party account along the way.
Zelle Vs. Venmo
Both Zelle and Venmo claim to transfer your money to friends and family more easily than through your bank. How they differ comes down to whether you’re talking about Zelle the standalone app or Zelle the built-in bank service.
Let’s start with the latter: Zelle is a free built-in service of a growing number of American banks, promising money in minutes without the hassle of a third-party app. The “in minutes” part is true, but only if both you and your recipient belong to a bank Zelle supports. Otherwise, your only choice is Zelle’s standalone — or third-party — app, which delays your successful delivery for up to three business days.
Venmo can also take up to three days for delivery, depending on how quickly the sending and receiving banks process your payment. However, Venmo recently added “instant” transfers to its services for a small fee, aligning its services more closely with Zelle’s. Venmo also accepts credit card transactions, though at a fee of up to 3% of your transaction. Zelle doesn’t support plastic at all.
At the end of the day, either Zelle service isn’t all that different from Venmo. Rather, our readers might tell you it comes down to how each company steps in when things go wrong. Many of you report problems with Zelle deliveries and — worse — poor to no customer support to sort out the chaos.
You might avoid a potential headache by instead relying on Venmo’s established process and decent customer service.
How much can I send with Zelle?
This is where things get tricky: There’s a lot of confusion (a possible Zelle theme) as to how much you can send with Zelle. In prior PR, it listed up to 10 transfers totaling less than $2,500 every 24 hours and 30 transfers totaling less than $20,000 every month. For small business owners, those limits rose to $25,000 every 24 hours over a maximum of 10 transfers and $100,000 every month over 30 transfers.
Today, Zelle’s site includes a vague note about contacting your bank or credit union to learn about their limits through the service. Otherwise, “your weekly limit is based off usage and experience with the service.” Not sure where that leaves those of us who don’t have experience with Zelle.
We’ve received so many of your updates about banks limiting your transfers to far, far less than any stated maximums, it sounds like there’s a lot more tweaking going on as Zelle rolls out.
How much will I pay to send money with Zelle?
Like with Venmo, you won’t pay a fee to send money through Zelle. However, when using the app on your smart device, you could pay fees associated with your carrier’s message and data rates.
What types of transfers does Zelle support?
Zelle supports transfers between bank accounts only — in US dollars and within the States. You’ll also need a debit card backed by Visa or Mastercard.
Which banks are currently using Zelle?
As of July 2017, nearly 10 banks and credit cards have officially launched Zelle as its money transfer system:
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- Fifth Third Bank
- First Tech
- Morgan Stanley
- TD Bank
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
To come are an additional 26 banks rolling out Zelle over the year:
- Ally Bank
- Bank of Hawaii
- Bank of the West/BNP Paribas
- BB&T Bank
- BNY Mellon
- Citizens Bank
- Comerica Bank
- ConnectOne Bank
- Dollar Bank
- Frederick County Bank
- First National Bank
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