How does Zelle work? Should it be your new banking app? | Inquirer

How does Zelle work? Should it be your new banking app?

/ 08:32 AM July 26, 2021

Zelle lets you send and receive money super quickly and easily. How does Zelle work differently from the other payment apps out there? More importantly, should you download and install it for your day-to-day money transfers?

First, we’ll go through details regarding Zelle, such as who created it and how it works. However, there are signs that you might want to skip this new payment app. That’s why we also listed other payment methods you might like instead.

Lots of trendy new apps pop out of the App Store and Play Store every day. Zelle is one of them, so some people may have wondered, “How does Zelle work?” After knowing more, you might decide to turn away from this payment app.

What is Zelle?

You’re probably using a mobile payment app already. Many people use Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, and so many others. Most of these apps store your funds in their digital wallet.

Zelle cuts that extra storage out. Instead, it lets people send funds directly from their bank accounts. There’s barely any waiting time, and the recipient doesn’t even need to open the app.

The company released the Zelle Network around 2015-2018. It came from the people at Early Warning Services LLC, with Albert Ko works as its CEO.


By the first quarter of 2021, its transactions racked up a total of $392 million. According to its website, around 947 financial institutions use the network. It reached 1,000 on May 28.

How does Zelle work?

How does Zelle work?

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Most banking apps require you to download the app. Numerous banks are already enrolled with Zelle, such as Bank of America. Contact yours to see if it lets you use the service.

If your bank doesn’t offer Zelle, it may do so soon. Meanwhile, you could download the Zelle app. It’s available on the and the Apple App Store.


After installing, enroll your mobile number and your Mastercard or Visa debit card. Now, you’re ready to send and receive money with the Zelle app.

Alternatively, your mobile banking app may already have the Zelle service. Financial institutions may have different requirements for Zelle. Inquire at your bank for more information.

Once you gain access to Zelle, using its transfer services only takes a few steps. Here’s how you can start sending money to friends:

  1. Open the Zelle app or the Zelle service on your mobile banking app.
  2. If the recipient already uses Zelle, you may search their name easily. Otherwise, you’ll need the recipient’s email address or US mobile number.
  3. If the payee is already registered for Zelle, the transaction may execute in a few minutes. Otherwise, it may take a bit longer for security purposes.

What’s more, Zelle allows users to schedule their fund transfers. The money directly goes to the recipient. Other apps typically have separate digital storage.

Zelle does not charge transaction fees. However, financial institutions may have other fees related to their transfer services. Check your bank’s policy for Zelle before using it.

Zelle specifies using a debit card for the money transfers. Yet, Chase allows its customers to use checking accounts too. You may not enroll credit cards to the Zelle Network, though.

Moreover, Zelle offers a stop payment option. It’s only available if the recipient isn’t registered with Zelle yet. If the payee doesn’t claim the funds within 14 days, the monies return to you.

Why you might want to avoid Zelle

Why you might want to avoid Zelle

After reading “How does Zelle work?” you might think the app is rather nifty. All you need is someone’s mobile number or email address to send money immediately!

According to PCMag, Zelle may use cookies on their website or third-party sites. This could be the drawback to its zero-fee service. You pay with your information instead.

What’s more, several irate customers have posted their complaints on the Better Business Bureau website. Most of them claim that scammers duped them using Zelle.

Fraudsters may find it easy to take advantage of Zelle. It directly transfers money between bank accounts, after all. That’s why it has a one-star rating on the BBB site. Overall, you might not want to use the Zelle app. Other apps could provide the same service with more privacy and security.

Try these payment methods instead.

Try these payment methods instead.

If you’re already using a mobile banking app, that may be enough. There’s not a lot that’s changing in these mobile services anyway. You have numerous options that do the same thing.

That doesn’t mean it’s a dead-end for money transfers, though. These were designed to be the next step for global finance! It found a new path to further improvement in cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin (BTC) is one of the most popular examples. Since its launch, many other altcoins have appeared. Many of them improve on bitcoin’s transaction services:

  • Litecoin (LTC): Litecoin transactions are much faster than bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Not only is it faster than BTC, but it also has more features too. Bitcoin Cash allows people to create NFTs and smart contracts.
  • Dash (DASH): Many cryptocurrencies take minutes to execute transactions. For a small fee, DASH can help you send money within seconds.
  • Monero (XMR): Cryptocurrencies list transactions on a public ledger. Monero provides much better privacy and security. Still, it keeps senders and recipients anonymous.
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM): The Steller Network turns regular money into digital tokens. XLM makes online payments and remittances faster and cheaper.

Final thoughts

If you heard of Zelle before, you might have asked, “How does Zelle work?” That could be why you landed on this relevant article. Now you know that using it is inadvisable.

You should also read about cryptocurrencies before using them. Never use any product or service before understanding how it works. You may start by reading more Inquirer USA articles.

You may want to start investing in cryptos too. It only takes a few minutes to create an account for crypto exchanges. Again, check the platform thoroughly before using it.

Learn more about Zelle

Can you use Zelle with any bank?

Numerous banks use Zelle nowadays. Also, it’s adding more banks to its network. If your bank doesn’t allow Zelle, you may download its mobile app.

How do I send money through Zelle?

You need the Zelle app or a bank that allows Zelle. Enter the recipient’s mobile number or email address using either of these. Choose the amount, confirm the transfer, and wait for it to finish.

Does Zelle cost money?

Zelle doesn’t charge fees for its services. However, your bank may have different rules for Zelle usage. Contact your bank for more information.

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Disclaimer: This article is not the official guide to understanding Zelle but is based on the author’s research or own personal experience.

Originally published July 26, 2021. Updated May 10, 2023

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TAGS: interesting topics, mobile apps, PayPal, USFINANCE
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