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September 9, 2017

Zelle is your bank’s answer to Venmo, and it’s finally getting a mobile app

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Mobile is the banking platform of the future and Zelle is here to make sending and receiving money instantly even easier.

We’ve all heard of Venmo and Square Cash, but soon there could be another player on the block — and this one has some pretty serious backing. The service is called Zelle and it first launched in June. Now, however, the service is getting its own stand-alone app.

Zelle has been powering transfers for some pretty major institutions in the past few months, including Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and more. In fact, if you use a mobile banking app, it is likely already powered by Zelle. Thirteen banks and credit unions in total support the service, with 17 more boasting plans to connect with Zelle.

Zelle App (PRNewsfoto/Early Warning Services)

So what is the point of Zelle? Person-to-person payment platforms have become increasingly popular over the past few years and for good reason. They are simple, quick, and reliable. Not only that, but they are far better than the large bank alternative, which requires information like routing numbers and account numbers. Zelle aims to change that. In fact, it was created by a coalition of large banks who don’t want to lose out to services like PayPal and Venmo.

Like other person-to-person payment services, Zelle will allow users to send and request money using only a friend’s phone number or email address. On top of that, it will work with both Visa and MasterCard, even if the associated bank does not yet officially support Zelle. Since its initial rollout in June, Zelle says that more than 50,000 new customers are enrolling in the service on average per day, with the goal being to bring the service to all 86 million mobile banking customers in the U.S.

The app itself will be available on Tuesday and users will be able to send funds instantly to one another, providing they both have Zelle. If one person in the transaction does not have Zelle, transactions will take between one and three days to complete.

Zelle will not be without serious competition. PayPal, which owns Venmo, recently announced it would offer instant transfers, though it will be charging $0.25 per transaction. The feature has already rolled out to PayPal, and will likely hit Venmo soon, especially given the launch of the Zelle app.

Zelle will be available on both Android and iOS.

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