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Zelle money transfer review

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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.

No limit

Max. Transfer Amount

3 - 5 days

Transfer Speed


Product NameZelle
Max. Transfer AmountNo limit
Transfer MethodsOnline
Transfer OptionsOne off payments
Transfer Speed
Minimum transfer time
3 - 5 days
Customer ServicePhone, Email
Available CurrenciesUSD

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.

More on Venmo and other alternatives

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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.


TransferWise: A solid alternative to Zelle

When you need to send money to a friend or family member, benefit from fast service and low transfer fees with TransferWise.

  • Fair service fees of $3 for transfers up to $300
  • Next-day delivery to your recipient's bank account and to businesses.
  • Trusted the world over, with five-star ratings on Trustpilot.


    Product nameZelle
    Minimum transferVaries by bank
    Maximum transferVaries by bank
    Transfer methodsYour current mobile banking app or standalone app
    Transfer optionsDirect transfers only, no scheduled transfers
    Delivery speedIn minutes to banks in Zelle’s network, 2–3 days for other banks
    Banking partner30+ banks including Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and USAA
    Available currenciesUSD only
    Fees and exchange ratesNo fee
    Customer service optionsPhone 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.

    You can download the standalone Zelle app on the Apple Store or get it through Google Play, depending on your device type.

    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.

    Aliyyah’s 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

    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 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.

    Other readers have brought to light that the limits may be based on a rolling month instead of a calendar month. One reader let us know that their “monthly limit in the amount that can be transferred is not based on a calendar month but, rather, on a rolling 30-day period.” Unfortunately, we cannot confirm or deny this based on the information provided by Zelle on their website.

    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.

    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

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    1. Default Gravatar
      March 17, 2020

      I have zelle at 2 different banks and why does the money only go into one bank and not the other?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        March 18, 2020

        Hi CJ,

        Thanks for your comment and I hope you are well.

        When setting up your Zelle account, you are asked to log into your current bank’s online system and register your email address or phone number to establish a connection with your bank account. It’s helpful to know that you can only connect one bank account to your Zelle profile at any given time. Given this, your money will only go to the registered bank account.

        Please check the terms and conditions of your account or contact Zelle directly in regards to your Zelle account/profile.

        Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.


    2. Default Gravatar
      November 18, 2019

      Does the receiver have to have a bank account?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        November 18, 2019

        Hi Chris,

        Thank you for contacting Finder.

        Yes, your receiver must have a bank account as Zelle is a money transfer service that helps you deposit the money directly to the recipient’s bank account.

        I hope this helps.


    3. Default Gravatar
      June 25, 2019

      I sent money to my friend she let the country before she collect the money, my bank already processed and sent how would I get my money back?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        June 26, 2019

        Hi Marian,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        Sorry to hear your friend wasn’t able to collect the money you transferred. As stated in Zelle’s website, you can only cancel a payment if the recipient hasn’t yet enrolled with Zelle. You can go to your activity page within the Zelle experience, either within your mobile banking app or the Zelle app, choose the payment you want to cancel, and then select “Cancel This Payment.” If your recipient has already enrolled with Zelle, the money is sent directly to your recipient’s bank account and cannot be canceled.

        At this point, your friend can send the money back to you. Hope you find a resolve on this soon!

        For any further questions, feel free to reach out to us again, we’re here to help.


    4. Default Gravatar
      June 11, 2019

      This is the worst transfer service EVER! They were Popmoney and they renamed themselves…they still SUCK! Avoid these thieves!

      • Default Gravatar
        June 12, 2019

        Hi Blu,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        I’m sorry to hear about the service you’re experiencing. You may send your feedbacks on Zelle contact support page to help them improve their service.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind regards,

    5. Default Gravatar
      May 24, 2019

      Can you schedule a payment with Zelle for a later date ? I have still not received the scheduled payment my friend sent me. Didn’t get an email or text either. What should I do?

      • Default Gravatar
        May 25, 2019

        Hi Me,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        As I checked, Zelle doesn’t have a scheduled transfer. If another Zelle user sends you money, you’ll be notified at the email address or phone number your sender used. If this email or number isn’t registered, simply register it to receive your funds.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind regards,

    6. Default Gravatar
      March 18, 2019

      I have an OAS FCU account but I’m living abroad just now. Zelle App requires a US mobil number that I don’t own. Is there a possibility to use Zelle App from abroad without a US phone number? My Credit Union account is US based.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        March 18, 2019

        Hi Moncho,

        Thanks for leaving a question with Finder.

        Yes, you can still create an account and use Zelle even without a US phone number. You can use an email address instead. You can enroll your email or US mobile number through your mobile banking app or with the Zelle app. One done, you can start sending money to your recipient by putting in their email address or US mobile number plus the amount you wish to send.

        The instructions can be found above, locate the section that says “How do I send money through Zelle”.

        Hope this helps! 😊

        ​Please feel free to contact us back should you require further assistance.

        Kind Regards,

    7. Default Gravatar
      February 14, 2019

      I sent money to the wrong account using my Zell Td bank can I have a reversal?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        February 15, 2019

        Hi Style44,

        Thanks for getting in touch! According to Zelle, you can only cancel a payment if the recipient hasn’t yet enrolled with Zelle. You can go to your activity page within the Zelle experience, either within your mobile banking app or the Zelle app, choose the payment you want to cancel, and then select “Cancel This Payment.” I hope this helps!


    8. Default Gravatar
      January 2, 2019

      My husband and I both bank with US Bank and every month I use Zelle to send him money. Every month since we’re both enrolled in Zelle, it went in his account in minutes. The last two months it’s taken days. It’s the same amount of money and just once a month, why the 1-2 business day delay?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        January 2, 2019

        Hi Deborah Kay,

        Thanks for reaching out to finder.

        Since you’re using Zelle through your bank’s mobile app or online banking, you will have to contact your bank’s customer support team and inquire with them directly what may be causing the delay.

        I hope this helps.


    9. Default Gravatar
      December 17, 2018

      I received any email on Friday telling some had sent me some money, I still have not received it. That was not my first use of the app

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        December 19, 2018

        Hi Laura,

        Thanks for getting in touch! Do you know the person who’s supposed to send you money? If not, it could be a scam. It would be best to check your Zelle account if there are any deposits or withdrawals made into the account and ask Zelle of their privacy policies.

        Hope this helps!


    10. Default Gravatar
      December 9, 2018

      I live in Puerto Rico, I would like to send money to my children living in the states. Could I use this app. I have a ATM VISA and Mobile app from my bank.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        December 12, 2018

        Hi Cas,

        Thanks for reaching out! Upon checking, in order to use Zelle, the sender and recipient’s bank accounts must be based in the U.S. If your bank account is in the US, this can easily be done even if you are in another country. However, if you’re bank account is non-US, Zelle transfer is not allowed.

        Hope this clarifies!


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