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

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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 4.3/5 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 bank account to another. It's a good way to send money to someone you already know.

To send money via Zelle, you don't need to know the recipient's bank account details. 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 hundreds of U.S. banks. That means you can likely use Zelle's money transfer service through your banking app. If not, you can access Zelle as a standalone app.

The Zelle app is easy to set up. You just need to 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 zero fees to use Zelle.

Top perks

There are 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, it's always a good idea to check with your bank to ensure it doesn't charge any money service fees.

It's secure

One reason Zelle sells itself as a secure money transfer app is that 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 not be able 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 it even easier to handle your personal finance and money transfer needs.

Integrated with banking apps

Zelle is already integrated with many banking apps so you may not even need to download it separately. It lists hundreds of banking partners on its website 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 account.

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.

There are no receiving limits

You can receive as much money as someone's willing to send you through Zelle as there are no receiving limits. But there are sending limits, which vary by bank. Other apps, like Cash App, have combined sending and receiving limits in place until users verify their identity.

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, simply enter the total amount and choose who to split the expense with. Zelle will do the math for you.

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.

In fact, Zelle recommends you only use 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 apps like PayPal and Xoom, work well for international payments.

You may not be able to cancel a payment

The only time you can cancel a Zelle payment is if the recipient has not yet enrolled. If the recipient already has a Zelle account, there is no way to cancel. Because of this, it's good practice to always review payment and recipient details carefully. And it's advisable to only use Zelle to send money to people you know and trust.

There are payment limits

Zelle limits the amount of money you can send. Each bank can set its 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 limit is $500.

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 160 countries. You can fund your money transfers via bank, debit card, credit card, or PayPal balance. Xoom also 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'll only send domestic payments.

What are the costs?

Zelle is free to use.

This app is right for:

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

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