Zelle money transfers review November 2018 | finder.com
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Sending money with Zelle

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Direct, easy transfers in under 5 minutes — no third-party app required. But watch out for many negative reviews.

At some point in your life, you’ve likely needed to transfer money at a moment’s notice. For a round of drinks or a sudden medical emergency, you know what comes next: Venmo tells you it needs a day or two for the funds to clear into your bank account.

The new P2P payment platform Zelle is in a class of its own. It can transfer $1 or more for deposit into your recipient’s bank account — typically in minutes. Backed by many major US banks, Zelle could be your solution for nearly instantaneous transfers with no fees for you or your recipient. But it sounds like there’s still a lot Zelle’s working out.

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.

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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.

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TransferWise: A solid alternative to Zelle

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    Product name Zelle
    Minimum transfer Varies by bank
    Maximum transfer Varies by bank
    Transfer methods Your current mobile banking app or standalone app
    Transfer options Direct transfers only, no scheduled transfers
    Delivery speed In minutes to banks in Zelle’s network, 2–3 days for other banks
    Banking partner 30+ banks including Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and USAA
    Available currencies USD only
    Fees and exchange rates No fee
    Customer service options Phone or through bank partners

    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:

    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
    • BECU
    • BNY Mellon
    • Citizens Bank
    • Comerica Bank
    • ConnectOne Bank
    • Dollar Bank
    • Frederick County Bank
    • First National Bank
    • First Tennessee
    • Frost Bank
    • HomeStreet Bank
    • Key Bank
    • MB Financial Bank
    • M&T Bank
    • SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
    • Star One Credit Union
    • SunTrust Bank

    How do I send money through Zelle?

    Zelle is available as a standalone P2P app that works very much like Venmo. But unlike Venmo, to send money with Zelle, you and your recipient must be members of one of 30 Zelle partner banks.

    Zelle also lives in your current bank’s app, offering a way to transfer money in four easy steps:
    1. Set up your account. Log in to your current bank’s online system and register your email address or phone number to establish a connection with your bank account.
    2. Send your payment. Choose your recipient, the amount you’re transferring and your funding account. Review your information and send.
    3. Zelle notifies your recipient. Your recipient receives an email or text with instructions on how to receive the transfer. If your recipient is not registered with Zelle, they’ll be prompted with a one-time setup.
    4. Zelle deposits your money. Your transfer is deposited into your recipient’s bank account, typically in minutes.

    You can also request money from friends or family, just like with Venmo.

    How do I receive money with Zelle?

    When another Zelle user sends you money, you’re notified at the email address or phone number that your sender used. If this email or number isn’t registered, simply register it to receive your funds.

    What to look out for

    Zelle is currently limited to bank transfers in US dollars within the United States. Like other payment processing services, it imposes some restrictions on the size and frequency of the transfers you can make.

    Zelle won’t be as helpful if your bank doesn’t yet work with it. If your friends or family use these remaining holdout banks, you’ll need to manually enter their banking information or use Zelle’s standalone app. Transfers to banks outside of Zelle’s network can take one to three days, rather than a few minutes.

    We’re also hearing firsthand accounts about low maximums that aren’t always advertised and other blips that could be a result of a quick rollout — or worse. We’ll continue to update our review as we hear more.

    Benefits and drawbacks


    • Backed by 30+ banks. Because it’s integrated into your bank’s app, you won’t need to download another one.
    • Instant transfers. When you use Zelle’s bank-integrated service, it processes direct bank-to-bank transfers in minutes.
    • No fees. Send money to other Zelle users for free.


    • Requires a bank account with Zelle-supported banks. The fastest transfers are between Zelle-supported banks. Otherwise, you must use Zelle’s third-party app — and wait up to three days.
    • Murky maximums. Despite initial PR announcements of high $2,500 maximums, readers don’t seem to be able to send this much. You’ll need to confirm with your bank how much — and how little — you’re able to send with Zelle.
    • US only. Zelle sends transfers in US dollars to US bank accounts only.

    How safe is Zelle?

    Because Zelle’s integrated into your existing bank’s website or app, if you’re satisfied with your current bank’s security and encryption, that same protection is extended to cover Zelle transactions. Zelle’s standalone app is backed by Early Warning Systems, a risk-management company that uses mobile identity authentication and advanced monitoring to ensure that your money is secure.

    What does the Internet say about this brand?

    Zelle’s still fairly new, but you’ll find customers who say they’ve seen unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts with Zelle. The service is backed by Early Warning Systems, which claims that it doesn’t have visibility into its consumer accounts. For that, it says customers need to return to their own banks to handle any questions about transactions. Still, many users report that their banks themselves aren’t sure how to handle potential fraud.

    As for the media, in June 2017 Bloomberg Technology called Zelle the “Venmo killer,” announcing Capital One as the first of 30 banks to offer Zelle within its own app. There’s no question that Zelle is gunning straight for Venmo — prompting Venmo to add instant bank transfers to its own app in 2017.

    What do our readers say?

    We’ve received reports from finder.com readers that it’s not always clear Zelle works best and fastest when both parties to a transaction are members of a Zelle-supported bank. Also unclear? How much your bank allows you to send through Zelle.

    Capital One 360, the online brand of Capital One, limits its Zelle transfers to well below a stated $2,500. We combed through Capital One’s sites to confirm specific limits but found only this buried in its FAQ: “There are limits to and from your account and it will be up to the discretion of Capital One.” For at least one reader, the result of this discretion was a limit of $300 — though Capital One admitted that it’s updating its system to accommodate larger transfers.

    We’ve also heard from a reader who found their Wells Fargo account locked through Zelle. They’ve spoken with developers through both the bank and the app. But without the ability to delete an account from Zelle, it’s simply stuck with no resolution. “When you’re dealing with your money, you expect apps to work,” our reader wrote. We agree.

    If you’re experiencing problems with the app — or your bank’s integration with it — call your bank first. And then let us know about your experience in the comments.

    Our firsthand experience with Zelle

    One Wednesday night, I realized I needed to send money to someone quickly. I was looking for a same-day domestic money transfer service, and Kelly recommended Zelle as a bank-to-bank option.

    First, I confirmed that my recipient and I both have bank accounts with Zelle’s partner banks. Wells Fargo and Capital One.

    Then I sent $5 through my Wells Fargo mobile app to make sure she’d get the money right away. She refreshed her bank account balance summary on her tablet and saw my funds in her account.

    I went ahead and transferred the full amount right after. Happy with the convenient service, I’ve used Zelle twice since then, and it’s now my default method for quick transfers.

    Aliyyah, Publisher

    Bottom line

    Zelle’s taking off with transfers among users who expect funds within minutes. But not without snags that include hung-up transfers and customer reps who appear unwilling to untangle the problem.

    Before deciding on an app, see our guide to peer-to-peer payment services like Zelle for a general idea of what to expect and an overview of major competitors.

    Frequently asked questions about Zelle

    Kelly Waggoner

    Kelly Waggoner is a senior editor with finder.com. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.

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    56 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      ThomasNovember 14, 2018

      Hello, I want to send money on Huntington bank through Zelle transfer. I want to know how I can send in once?

      • finder Customer Care
        CharisseNovember 14, 2018Staff

        Hi Thomas,

        Thanks for reaching out to finder.

        Huntington Bank has partnered with Zelle but hasn’t launched yet. Keep posted for updates from Huntington Bank on when Zelle will be available for use through your mobile banking app.

        You can go to this page to see other money transfers options you can consider using.

        I hope this helps.


    2. Default Gravatar
      fredSeptember 27, 2018

      Can I use zelle to transfer funds between my own bank accounts if both my banks are Zelle participants or is it only limited to other people with Zelle?

      • finder Customer Care
        CharisseSeptember 27, 2018Staff

        Hi Fred,

        Thanks for reaching out to finder.

        Zelle allows you to send money to any bank account in the US as long as either the sender or the receiver has access to Zelle through their bank or credit union. However, you can only link one bank account to your Zelle profile at any given time.

        I hope this helps. If you need further assistance, please contact Zelle directly for help and support.


    3. Default Gravatar
      HRSeptember 5, 2018

      how to accept payment through zelle from out of US. without US bank or card. is it possible ?

      • finder Customer Care
        johnbasanesSeptember 5, 2018Staff

        Hi HR,

        Thank you for leaving a question.

        Currently, 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. Hope this helps!


    4. Default Gravatar
      ShaniceSeptember 3, 2018

      If I send money on a holiday does everything still work the same . Or Is my friend going to have to wait to until the following day to receive the money from me?

      • finder Customer Care
        johnbasanesSeptember 3, 2018Staff

        Hi Shanice,

        Thank you for leaving a question. Depending on the holiday being celebrated may it be local or national, there may be some delay to sending money through any money transfer company. Delays may also come from the cut-off time prescribed by money transfer companies when sending money. It is highly recommended specially when the money being transferred is urgently needed for you to send it days in advance of an anticipated holiday to ensure that no delays are experienced. Hope this help!


    5. Default Gravatar
      JenniferSeptember 1, 2018

      can I use Zelle on weekends

      • finder Customer Care
        CharisseSeptember 1, 2018Staff

        Hi Jennifer,

        Yes, you can use Zelle anytime you need to. If the recipient is also enrolled with Zelle, he can receive the money within minutes even when you do the transfer on weekends. However, if the recipient is not yet enrolled with Zelle, it may take between 1-3 business days before he receives the money, after enrolling.

        Hope this helps.


    6. Default Gravatar
      SunilJuly 31, 2018

      I’m trying to transfer from WFO to Citi and also WFO to BoFA. I get this exceeds your spending limit. The amount is less than 2500$ (weekly/daily limit)

      • finder Customer Care
        AshAugust 3, 2018Staff

        Hi Sunil,

        Thank you for reaching out to finder.

        The limit of the amount that you are able to transfer from your Wells Fargo account using Zelle depends on the funding account that you have with them. The minimum limit is $2,500 daily and an accumulated $4,000 in a month. To know your transfer limit, you may log in to the Transfer Service on your Online Banking account (“Send Money” then “Transfer Limits”) or through your Mobile Banking (“Send Money with Zelle” then read more on the FAQs).

        I hope this helps.

        Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.


    7. Default Gravatar
      NikkyJuly 16, 2018

      I am currently a First National Bank Customer and I was wondering why does it continue to tell me that my card is not accepted. Has the First National Bank joined yet?

      • finder Customer Care
        nikkiangcoJuly 17, 2018Staff

        Hi Nikky,

        Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

        First National Bank has already joined Zelle but hasn’t launched yet. You can keep an eye out here for when First National Bank is already working on Zelle.

        Hope this helps!


    8. Default Gravatar
      CarriJuly 5, 2018

      I work at a bank & I’m interested in finding out how we can partner with Zelle.

      • finder Customer Care
        joelmarceloJuly 6, 2018Staff

        Hi Carri,

        Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

        If you are looking to be a Zelle partner bank, you will need to go to their website and scroll down at the bottom. Look for the Partner tab and click on it. Fill out the form and they’ll be in touch with more info.


    9. Default Gravatar
      GeorgeJuly 3, 2018

      If I request to send money on a weekend ,when will it arrive?
      I just requested money be sent on a weekend and it took until Monday to arrive

      • finder Customer Care
        AshJuly 4, 2018Staff

        Hi George,

        Thank you for visiting finder.

        Transfers through Zelle’s network typically takes minutes but if it’s outside their network, it can take 1-3 days. The receiving bank may hold the funds for (3) three days to make sure that it is not a fraudulent transaction.

        I hope this helps.

        Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.


    10. Default Gravatar
      TammyMay 3, 2018

      Can Yvan I send money to someone with a Green Dot card

      • finder Customer Care
        AshMay 4, 2018Staff

        Hi Tammy,

        Thank you for visiting finder.

        Sending money through Zelle should be between banks that are included in their partner’s list. You will see the accredited banks at the page above.

        Unfortunately, Green Dot Bank is not included in the list of partner banks. Also, Green Dot is not a Prepaid or Debit but a Credit Card that can help build your credit. You may read this page for more information regarding the Green Dot® Platinum Visa®.

        I hope this helps.

        Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.


    US International Money Transfers Offers

    Important Information*
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    Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

    WorldRemit International Money Transfers

    Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
    Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

    World First Foreign Exchange

    No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

    TransferWise International Money Transfers

    Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

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