69% of smartphone users prefer using an app over a mobile site to transfer money to an individual. And, with so many money transfer apps on the market, consumers ultimately have a lot of choices when it comes time to download a finance app that will help make money transfers safe and easy.
It’s never been easier to send and receive money straight from your phone without having to worry about carrying physical cash. From splitting the dinner bill to paying your friend for your share of the rent, there’s a lot you can do with a transfer app like Zelle, Venmo, or even PayPal.
This week, in our series of money transfer apps, we’ll be exploring some of the most popular ones and all of their features and functions. What is Zelle? How does Zelle work? Is Zelle safe? We’ve got all of the answers for you.
What is Zelle?
Unlike other third-party transfer apps such as Venmo or PayPal, Zelle is a peer-to-peer system many banks have incorporated into their own branded apps. So, it’s likely that, if your bank approves a peer-to-peer payment system, it’s probably called Zelle. Why is it so integrated into some banks, unlike Venmo or PayPal?
It’ due to the fact that it was actually developed by 30 major US banks, including Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, and others. However, it’s also a separate mobile application that you can download straight to your phone in order to transfer money to another person or entity.
What Banks Use Zelle?
As mentioned, Zelle is automatically incorporated into the banking apps of most major banks, which means that to use Zelle, you don’t technically have to download anything separately. However, if your bank doesn’t currently offer Zelle, you can download the app itself and begin to easily and safely send and receive money.
Currently, the list of Zelle participating banks is quite extensive, including small, local banks and credit unions all over the United States. It’s best to check their list of participating Zelle banks to see if your bank is one the list, but it includes most major banks, such as:
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo
- PNC Bank
- Capital One
Again, for Zelle Chase, Zelle BOA, and even Wells Fargo Zelle services, you won’t have to download the Zelle app itself. You simply have to log into your normal banking app and initiate a Zelle transfer through your normal banking app.
How Does Zelle Work?
Zelle works like other money transfer apps in that it requires you to first connect your banking information to the app. Again, if your regular bank’s mobile banking app offers peer-to-peer transfers then you might already be using Zelle and therefore won’t be required to download the Zelle app itself. If that’s not the case, then you’ll need to download the app in the Google Play or App Store.
Then, you’ll be asked to sign up with your banking information before being able to send or receive money. All you need to send money with Zelle is the email address or mobile number of the recipient. You choose the amount of money you want to send and then they’ll receive the money within minutes. They don’t technically have to be enrolled or have an account with Zelle to receive the money as they’ll receive special instructions with the transfer on how to receive the money quickly and without hassle.
What Are the Fees for Zelle?
This is actually where Zelle shines versus other transfer apps such as Venmo. Zelle doesn’t charge any fees to its users, mostly due to the partnerships it has with financial institutions. For example, Venmo and Cashapp both charge fees if you want to money using a credit card. And, PayPal charges a fee if you want to deposit the funds into your bank account immediately instead of waiting a day or two for the transfer to complete.
And, you’ll also note that the Zelle transfer limit is quite high as well. If you’re using the Zelle app because your bank doesn’t currently work with Zelle, then the transfer limit is $500 per week. This is compared to the $299.99 Venmo transfer limit for unverified users (verified Venmo users can transfer up to $4,999.99 per week). However, if your bank does offer Zelle then you’re able to transfer larger amounts, depending on the bank limits. There are no limits to how much money you can receive through Zelle.
What Currencies Can You Use with Zelle?
Zelle is great, but it's only available in the US. This is likely due to the fact that it’s a payment app created and supported by 30 major US banks. So, in a way, it makes sense. Unfortunately, to send or receive money via Zelle, you have to have a US bank account and so does the recipient. Furthermore, it’s actually still unavailable in US territories such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and even Guam.
Because of the fact that the platform only supports users with US bank accounts, Zelle Pay customer support appears to only be in English as well at this time.
Is Zelle Safe?
Compared to sending cash straight to your friends or via unsecured financial apps, Zelle is quite safe. It’s important to note that Zelle is safer when you’re using it via your bank’s actual app because your bank already has your sensitive information on file and is used to taking the necessary security precautions in order to protect your information.
Some users note that one of the drawbacks of Zelle, at least in terms of safety, is that transfers happen so fast that it’s difficult to cancel a transaction if you realize you’ve made a mistake. If you’ve accidentally sent the money to the wrong person or if you’ve sent the wrong amount, the transfer will be completed within minutes and you’ll ultimately have to contact Zelle customer service to modify the transfer retroactively.
However, in general, users have reported that Zelle is a safe app to use when transferring money. As is the case when using any sort of financial app on your phone, it’s important to lock your phone with a private PIN to prevent anybody from entering and viewing your financial information within the app.
Another Great Banking Option
Transferring money to and from friends and other people is made easy with money transfer apps such as PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo. And while some of these apps are developing their own debit cards with built-in rewards, such as the Venmo card, you should also look into having a debit card that’s truly optimized for your savings goas.
While the money transfer options with Zelle are great, they don’t offer you the chance to really rack up rewards in the form of cashback. The Cheese Debit Card allows you to earn cashback on all spending.
No banking fees, high cashback rates, and even the chance to earn multiple Cheese Rewards? It’s as good as it sounds. Sign up to join our waiting list today.
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