With its free and instant transfers, Zelle has become a go-to platform for seamless transactions among friends and family.
But in a landscape where Venmo and Cash App also dominate the mobile money transfer space, what sets Zelle apart?
Prepare for an in-depth exploration of Zelle in our comprehensive Zelle review. We’ll review the platform’s standout features, advantages, disadvantages, fees, customer reviews, and much more.
What is Zelle and How is it Different?
Zelle is a peer-to-peer mobile payment service that lets you transfer cash without needing the recipient’s bank details. As long as the recipient has a U.S. bank account, all you need is their email address and U.S. mobile number to transfer money through Zelle.
Zelle offers instant cash transfers between almost all U.S. bank accounts. You can find Zelle in 1,700+ banking apps. Alternatively, you can download it as a standalone app.
Unlike other payment transfer apps, Zelle completes the transfer in just a few minutes. Other apps can take a few business days and cost an additional fee if you want an instant transfer.
So, Zelle is the best option if you need to transfer cash on the spot.
Pros and Cons of Zelle
- Money transfers are instant without any additional fee.
- Zelle’s mobile app is easy to set up and use.
- The app can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices.
- Zelle can be used within your U.S. banking app, so you don’t need to download the Zelle app separately.
- Zelle doesn’t apply a limit on the amount you transfer.
- You can’t cancel the payment if the recipient has enrolled with Zelle.
- You can only use your debit cards for payment transfers. Business cards and credit cards can’t be used with Zelle.
- You can’t make international bank transfers.
Who is Zelle For?
Zelle aims to make cash payments as seamless as possible for its U.S. users. It gives users options to use the service within their banking app. If the user’s bank does not offer Zelle services, they can download the Zelle app separately to make payments. The app has an easy-to-use interface to keep the transfer process simple.
The service does come with some drawbacks. If you make most payments using your credit cards rather than your debit cards, Zelle isn’t the right service for you.
The service doesn’t support credit cards, gift cards, or debit cards linked with international accounts. That also means you can’t use the app for payments outside of the U.S.
The app is perfect for making payments to your close-knit community of trusted individuals. As long as there is no interference from your bank, Zelle will allow you to make instant payment transfers of any amount.
How Does Zelle Work?
Transferring payments through Zelle can be done through its separate app or your bank portal. The process for both is simple and similar. Follow the steps below for making a payment with Zelle:
- Log into your banking app or your bank’s website portal. If your bank doesn’t offer Zelle as a service, download the Zelle app on your phone and make an account to get started.
- Through the banking app, you’ll have to verify your email address and mobile number before using their Zelle payment option.
- You’ll have to enter your complete debit card information for the Zelle app.
- Select the “Send Money with Zelle” option.
- Enter the recipient’s email address and mobile number before choosing the amount you want to send.
- Click “Send.”
Within a few minutes, the recipient will receive a notification on how they can access the payment.
Zelle App Review
Zelle’s app is easy to use and is compatible with both Android and Apple devices. The interface is simple to navigate, even if you’re a newbie making payments on your phone.
Once you make an account on the app and enroll with your email address and mobile number, you’ll be prompted for your debit card information.
The app also accesses your contacts with your permission. This means you can easily look up friends in your contact list to transfer or request payments directly and quickly.
Once you enter the amount you want to transfer, the app lets you review the details regarding the transaction before processing it. You can also send the recipient a memo regarding the payment.
When the payment is sent, you’re given a transaction record, and the recipient is notified of the deposited payment in their bank account.
See our review of Best Cash Apps.
Is Zelle Safe and Legit?
The main concern for users of money transfer apps is the safety of their personal and bank account information. Zelle has incorporated authentication and monitoring features in its service to ensure secure transfers.
Though Zelle ensures data encryption, it does not have a protection program against fraud. This is a drawback associated with instant transfers.
If the recipient user is not someone you know, you may be more susceptible to scams. For this reason, Zelle recommends using its service only with recipients you trust whilst ensuring you’ve input their correct information in the app.
What are Zelle’s Fees (for U.S. customers)
Zelle charges zero fees to send or receive payments. As long as both the sender and recipient have U.S. bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, they can use Zelle without a problem.
Many other cash transfer services require a regular fee for using their service. In addition to this, they also have separate fees for international and instant transfers.
See our article Cash Apps That Don’t Charge A Fee.
What Are Zelle’s International Fees
To use the service, the sender and receiver must have U.S. bank accounts and mobile numbers.
Therefore, those looking for an international payment service will be disappointed with Zelle.
Zelle’s Customer Reviews
Zelle has a 4.1-star rating on Google Play. Reviewers expressed their satisfaction with the app’s simple-to-use interface. Users also stated that the app is the perfect replacement if you don’t want to carry any cash but want the same convenience.
Customers revealed that the major downside of the service is its software. Some found the app to be a little glitchy at times. Others noticed that the transfer process had to be repeated multiple times before the payment was confirmed.
Many users also updated their reviews and claimed that the software bugs they experienced had been fixed.
If you find that the Zelle app is not for you, there are alternatives that you can use, including the following:
- Venmo – Has more than 10 million downloads on Google Play and is the go-to app for peer-to-peer payments in the U.S. The app is perfect for splitting bills with a group of friends and allows for sending or receiving money between several people simultaneously.
- Cash App – Can be used to send payments both in the U.S. and the U.K. The app also has an in-app security lock to ensure secure payment and data. Aside from transferring money to your contacts, Cash App also lets you invest in stocks and Bitcoin.
- PayPal – PayPal is best for users looking to transfer funds internationally between more than 200 countries with 25 currencies supported. You can fund PayPal transfers easily using a bank account, debit card, or credit card.
Zelle is a simple-to-use payment app that doesn’t deal with any kind of middleman. It directly transfers cash instantaneously to the recipient’s bank account for free. This makes the process extremely similar to a physical real-time cash payment, without having to carry cash.
All in all, Zelle is a great choice for people in the U.S. who want to make and receive payments with friends and family without any fees or hassle. For those outside of the U.S., you’ll want to consider options such as PayPal that allow for international transfers.
Although, users interested in transferring funds exclusively between the US and the UK would benefit more from Cash App’s zero exchange fees.
Is Zelle instantaneous?
Yes, Zelle transfers money to your desired recipient within just a few minutes. Unlike other apps, it does not deal with any middlemen so the transfers are made without much processing time.
How to receive money from Zelle without a bank account?
To transfer money through Zelle, both the sender and recipient must have U.S. bank accounts. The service will transfer money directly from the bank accounts. It doesn’t have a digital wallet to store money for later use.
Which online banks support Zelle?
Zelle can be used in over 1,700 banking apps.
If you want to confirm that your bank is associated with Zelle, you can check your online bank portal. Or you can visit Zelle to find out if your bank is on the list.
Can you use Zelle everywhere?
Zelle can be used anywhere within the U.S. The app and service are not available in foreign countries. If you want to make international payments, you can use other payment options like PayPal, Wise, or Remitly.