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Zelle Review: A Simple, Secure Bank Transfer App With Zero Fees

Review Updated
Natasha Etzel
By: Natasha Etzel

Our Personal Finance Expert

Ashley Maready
Check IconFact Checked Ashley Maready
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Bottom line: Zelle is a fast, simple, and free mobile payment application that allows you to send money from your bank account to anyone you already know and trust.

Our detailed Zelle review will help you learn more about its features and decide if it's the right app for you.

Zelle
Best banking payments appZelle

Full Zelle review

Pros

  • Free and fast
  • Secure transactions
  • Integrates with many banking apps
  • You don't need the recipient's banking information
  • There are no receiving limits

Cons

  • There's no fraud protection
  • You can't transfer funds from a credit card
  • Only supports U.S. bank accounts
  • You can't cancel certain payments
  • There are payment limits

At a glance

iOS app rating 4.8/5 stars
Android app rating 3.8/5 stars
Cost Free

What is Zelle and how does it work?

Zelle is a free payments app that is easy to use and transfers money fast. This mobile peer-to-peer payment app lets you send money directly from one savings or checking account to another. It's a good way to send money to someone you already know.

You don't need to know the recipient's bank account details to send money via Zelle. Instead, you can use their phone number or email address. Zelle will then send a text message or email to let them know there's a payment waiting.

This mobile payment app was created by some of the big banks and it now partners with more than 1,800 U.S. banks and credit unions. You can likely use Zelle's money transfer service through your banking app. If not, you can access Zelle as a standalone app. However, the recipient must have a bank that supports Zelle if your bank isn't part of the Zelle network.

The Zelle app is easy to set up. All you need to do is enter your personal and bank information. You can then send money, request money, or split an expense with others. Each of these tasks is simple to do, and the app will walk you through the process. Plus, there are no fees to use Zelle.

Top perks

No fees

Zelle is free to download and use. Unlike some other payments apps, Zelle won't charge you to send or receive money. That said, checking with your bank is always a good idea to ensure it doesn't charge any money transfer service fees.

It's secure

One reason Zelle sells itself as a secure money transfer app is because it doesn't store your personal information. Your details stay secure with your bank and are never visible to Zelle. However, the downside to an instant money transfer is that you may be unable to cancel the transaction. That's why you need to know and trust the person you're sending money to.

Money transfers are fast

This payment option is a great way to send money quickly. In most cases, those who are enrolled with Zelle can receive a money transfer within minutes. That makes handling your personal finance and money transfer needs even easier.

Integrated with banking apps

Zelle is already built into many banking apps, so you may not even need to download it separately. Its website lists 1,800-plus banking partners, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and says 100 million people can access Zelle through their banks. Unlike other banking apps, there's no middleman. The money will go straight to the recipient's savings or checking account.

High-yield savings account comparison

We recommend comparing high-yield savings account options to ensure the account you're selecting is the best fit for you. To make your search easier, here's a short list of standout accounts.

Show Best Offers Available in

Account APY Promotion Next Steps
up to 4.60%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. You can earn the maximum APY by having Direct Deposit (no minimum amount required) or by making $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits every 30 days. See SoFi Checking and Savings rate sheet at: https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
Min. to earn: $0
N/A
5.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. To ensure you keep getting the highest rate at UFB, you'll need to keep an eye on their rates. Occasionally, the bank launches new accounts with higher rates. Existing accounts need to contact the bank to request being moved to one of these new accounts.
Min. to earn: $0
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4.35%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. 4.35% annual percentage yield as of March 3, 2024
Min. to earn: $1
N/A

No recipient banking info needed

You don't need to have the recipient's banking details on hand to send money. All you need to know is their phone number or email address. Zelle will text or email the recipient and handle the rest.

You can send money, request money, or split purchases

Zelle lets you send money, request money, or split purchases with others. To split the cost of something, enter the total amount and choose who to split the expense with. Zelle will do the math for you.

READ MORE: PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle: What Americans Want Out of Digital Payment Apps

Looking for a simple way to pay someone on the spot?

Check out our top picks for the best payment apps and find the right option for your needs.

What could be improved

There's no fraud protection

One of the biggest concerns about Zelle is its lack of fraud protection. Unlike PayPal, which will reimburse you if a product doesn't arrive or isn't as promised, Zelle does not protect buyers and sellers.

Zelle recommends only using its service to send money to people you know and trust. Don't use Zelle to send money to strangers. Be aware of potential Zelle scams, as they do exist.

You can't transfer funds from a credit card

Zelle only supports bank transfers. If you usually use your credit card to send money to family and friends, this isn't the right payments app for you. Be aware that you often have to pay a fee to make a credit card transfer with other payments apps. Plus, credit card issuers typically mark these kinds of transactions as cash advances, which are very expensive.

Only supports U.S.-based bank accounts

Zelle only supports U.S.-based banks and credit unions, so it won't be a good fit if you need to send money internationally. Other app, like PayPal and Xoom, work well for international payments.

You may not be able to cancel a payment

You can only cancel a Zelle payment if the recipient has not yet enrolled. There is no way to cancel if the recipient already has a Zelle account.

There are payment limits

Zelle limits the amount of money you can send. Each bank can set its own limits, so you'll want to check with your bank. If you're using the Zelle app to send money from your bank, the weekly sending limit is $500 and the weekly receiving limit is $5,000.

Alternatives to consider

If you want an app that allows you to use credit cards for payments: Venmo is an alternative payments app to consider. You can use Venmo to send, receive, or request money, and unlike Zelle, it lets you use a credit card for a fee. But you may want to stick with Zelle if you need a free payment solution.

If you want an app that supports international transfers: Xoom is an alternative payments app that supports money transfers to over 160 countries. You can fund your money transfers via bank account, debit card, credit card, or PayPal balance. Xoom has multiple delivery options, including bank transfer, cash pickup, and door-to-door delivery. Fees vary depending on how you send the money and where you're sending it. But you may want to stick with Zelle if you only send domestic payments.

READ MORE: Need help budgeting? Check out our list of the best budgeting apps

What are the costs?

Zelle is free to use.

Zelle is right for:

Zelle is a convenient money transfer service for people who want to send funds to people they know and trust. Funds arrive quickly, and since the app only supports bank account transfers, there are zero fees.

FAQs

  • If you have a U.S.-based bank account, you'll likely be able to use Zelle. More than 1,800 participating banks and credit unions are part of the Zelle network, and most banking partners have Zelle built into their mobile banking apps. If your bank isn't a Zelle partner, you can still use Zelle to send and receive money by downloading the Android or iOS app. But to use the standalone Zelle app, at least one person must have a bank that is part of the Zelle network.

  • Zelle doesn't charge fees. Zelle users can send and receive money at no extra cost.

  • An enrolled recipient can typically receive money sent through Zelle in minutes.

  • You can only cancel a payment on Zelle if the person being sent money hasn't enrolled in Zelle.

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