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

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

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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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    Details

    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.

    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

    Benefits

    • 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.

    Drawbacks

    • 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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    36 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      BobApril 8, 2018

      Why would a bank as large as Huntington not be in the zelle system?

      • Staff
        joelmarceloApril 8, 2018Staff

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

        As I checked, Huntington already partnered with Zelle and will be launching real soon. We will update this page as soon as it’s officially launched. Keep an eye out for updates from Huntington Bank on when Zelle will be available for you to use in your mobile banking app.

        Cheers,
        Joel

    2. Default Gravatar
      ITZELApril 1, 2018

      I have Zelle with wellsfargo. If they transfer over the weekend will it work? Or I have to wait till Monday

      • Staff
        jenivelascoApril 1, 2018Staff

        Hi Itzel,

        Thank you for getting in touch with finder.
        Money sent with Zelle is typically available to an enrolled recipient within minutes so you don’t have to wait for Monday. If the recipient is not yet enrolled, it may take between 1-3 business days after the recipient has enrolled for the money to be available.

        I hope this helps.

        Have a great day!

        Cheers,
        Jeni

    3. Default Gravatar
      TMMarch 20, 2018

      Does Zelle allow for business accounts to send and receive money?

      • Staff
        JasonMarch 24, 2018Staff

        Hi TM,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        Zelle does not currently allow registration of business accounts. You will not be able to register business debit cards, credit cards, cards linked to international accounts, gift cards or pre-paid cards from financial institutions outside of the Zelle network.

        Alternatively, you may check out this page for a guide and for other money transfer options for business accounts.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind regards,
        Jason

    4. Default Gravatar
      KeAnnaMarch 6, 2018

      Does Zelle work with Walmart

      • Staff
        AshMarch 7, 2018Staff

        Hi KeAnna,

        Thank you for reaching out to us.

        Unfortunately, Walmart does not accept payment/ money transfer from Zelle. You may refer to the list below for Walmart accepted payments:

        *Credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa)
        *Walmart Credit Card, Walmart MasterCard and Walmart MoneyCard
        *ATM / Debit / Check Cards
        *PayPal
        *Walmart Gift Cards and eGift Cards
        *Pay with Cash (cash, checks, EBT, and money order)

        Also, Zelle only supports bank transfers of US Dollars within the US.

        I hope this helps.

        Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you have additional questions.

        Cheers,
        Ash

    5. Default Gravatar
      MegJanuary 22, 2018

      Does Zeller work with banks in Puerto Rico as they us U.S. Currency?

      • Staff
        joelmarceloJanuary 22, 2018Staff

        Hi Meg,

        In order to use Zelle, the sender and recipient’s bank accounts must be based in the U.S.

        Cheers,
        Joel

      • Default Gravatar
        J.January 23, 2018

        Joel – Puerto Rico is considered a US Commonwealth. Does Zelle work with banks in Puerto Rico or not. YES or NO please.

        USA Today: Puerto Rico is part of the United States
        https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/26/yes-puerto-rico-part-united-states/703273001/

      • Staff
        joelmarceloJanuary 23, 2018Staff

        Hi there!
        I can confirm that Zelle does not do money transfer to Puerto Rico. For your options, you can check THIS out.

        Cheers,
        Joel

    6. Default Gravatar
      RandyDecember 19, 2017

      Will zelle work with an ATM card that is not a debit card.

      • Staff
        RenchDecember 21, 2017Staff

        Hi Randy,

        Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with Zelle or any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

        Zelle supports transfers between bank accounts only — in US dollars and within the States. You’ll need a debit card backed by Visa or Mastercard.

        Kind regards,
        Rench

    7. Default Gravatar
      SmithDecember 10, 2017

      Do i need to enroll for zelle before i receive money sent to my account? My bank is not associated with it and i’m not ready to enroll. After it takes 1-3 business days can i still get it in my account without enrollment?

      • Default Gravatar
        BrookeDecember 13, 2017

        I have been trying to receive my money for seven day. I created an account twice and my boyfriend made one. I have called 6 times. None can fix it. Great birthday gift I can’t use. Terrible service. I’ve now been on hold for 37 mins. On call 7.why can’t they just put the money on my card over the phone at this point. I not interested in keeping the app and my sister can’t even get a refund. They people should be arrested for stealing

      • Staff
        MayDecember 24, 2017Staff

        Hi Booke,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        Sorry for the delay and I can see your frustration of not receiving your money on time. Usually, if you’re the recipient and not yet enrolled with Zelle, it may take between 1-3 business days after you have enrolled for the money to be available. If it has been more than three days, Zelle recommends confirming that you have fully enrolled your Zelle profile, and that you entered the correct email address or U.S. mobile number and provided this to the sender. Hope you have done this.

        Meantime, you would need to contact your bank or credit union’s customer service team or check their support FAQs if in case you’re using Zelle through your bank or credit union’s mobile app or online banking. For further assistance, you’d need to get in touch with Zelle’s customer support again to resolve this issue.

        Cheers,
        May

      • Staff
        AnndyDecember 12, 2017Staff

        Hi Smith,

        Thanks for your question.

        To receive money sent to you via Zelle, you will need to create first your Zelle profile. If your bank is NOT among the supported or listed banks, you will have to download the Zelle app and enroll your Visa or MasterCard debit card to receive the money.

        Kindly note that if you don’t enroll and create a Zelle profile within 14 days, the transfer will expire and the funds will be returned to your sender.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

    8. Default Gravatar
      JaneDecember 6, 2017

      I will never use Zelle to SEND money, only receive it one a month (as I always did via ClearXchange). Why do I have to have a debit card to RECEIVE money?

      • Staff
        RenchDecember 6, 2017Staff

        Hi Jane,

        Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with Zelle or any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

        Zelle supports transfers between bank accounts only — in US dollars and within the States. You will need a debit card backed by Visa or Mastercard. Like other payment processing services, it imposes some restrictions on the size and frequency of the transfers you can make.

        Kind regards,
        Rench

    9. Default Gravatar
      BarbaraDecember 6, 2017

      My bank is not a participant in Zelle and I do not have a smart phone. Until now I was able to receive money through clearxchange but it looks now as if I cannot be part of the Zelle system. Is this correct?

      • Staff
        JoanneDecember 8, 2017Staff

        Hi Barbara,

        Thanks for reaching out.

        To use Zelle, at least one side of the transaction which is either the sender or receiver must have access to Zelle through their bank.

        Since your bank does not offer Zelle, the person you want to send money to, or receive money from, must have access to it through their bank. For you to use the service you also need to have a smartphone so you can download the Zelle app for Android and iOS.

        Banks that offer Zelle has an online banking site to send and receive money without a need for a mobile device. However, for banks that do not offer the service, a smartphone is needed in order to access the Zelle standalone app to send and receive money.

        Cheers,
        Joanne

    10. Default Gravatar
      WendyDecember 2, 2017

      How do I cancel a pending zelle payment?

      • Staff
        AnndyDecember 2, 2017Staff

        Hi Wendy,

        Thanks for your question.

        You may only be able to cancel a payment with Zelle if the recipient has not yet enrolled with Zelle. To cancel, you can follow the following procedure:

        1. Log-in to your Zelle account and go to your activity page (either within your mobile banking app or the Zelle app)
        2. Select the payment you want to cancel and then choose “Cancel This Payment.”

        If you are sending to someone with a Zelle account, the money is sent directly to your recipient’s bank account and cannot be canceled.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

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