You and your buddies have just finished a wonderful meal at the local sports bar, tossed back a few cold ones and are shooting the breeze while talking smack about the rival team. Your team comes out on top, and all is right with your world.
Then comes the check.
The leader of your pack reaches for it, and carefully adds the tip and divides the cost of the night’s feast evenly among you and your friends. He’ll pay the bill with his credit card, and everyone else will pay their share back to him.
But who actually carries cash on them these days? Not you!
So, you offer to zap him the funds via PayPal or Venmo, but he requests payment by Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment service now offered by many financial institutions.
According to its website, “Zelle is an easy way to send money directly between almost any U.S. bank account typically within minutes. With just an email address or a mobile phone number, you can quickly, safely and easily send and receive money with more people, regardless of where they bank.”
How does Zelle work?
Users can either download the Zelle app or enroll via their credit union’s mobile banking app, if it offers Zelle.
Participating financial institutions can be found on the Zelle website.
To send money, users only need the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number.
If recipients are enrolled in Zelle, the funds will transfer directly into their credit union or bank account. Recipients who have not enrolled in Zelle will get an email or text notification of how to enroll in Zelle to safely receive their money.
“If they’ve enabled Zelle on their bank’s website or app, the money just goes into their bank account, thanks to its ties with the banks,” according to PCMag. “If not, there’s a 1-to-3-day wait period after they enroll into Zelle, for security purposes.”
Zelle can be used anywhere in the United States as long as either the sender or recipient has access to Zelle through their financial institution.
Is there a fee?
While Venmo charges 25 cents per transaction, Zelle does not charge any fees for money transfers. Your bank or credit union may charge a usage fee.
How much can you send?
According to Zelle’s website, the banks or credit unions that offer Zelle determine sending limits. If your bank or credit union does not yet offer Zelle, the weekly sending limit is $500. Requests to increase or decrease send limits are not permitted.
How safe is Zelle?
Only trusted recipients (family, friends, babysitter, roommate, cleaning person) should be paid using Zelle. According to its website, senders are not protected if they pay repcients for goods or services they do not receive or are dissatisfied with, such as crooked online auctions where merchandise is never received.
Online safety is always a concern, and Finder.com says, “Because Zelle is integrated into your existing bank’s website or app, if you’re satisfied with your current bank’s security and encryption, that same protection is extended to cover Zelle transactions. Zelle’s standalone app is backed by Early Warning Systems, a risk-management company that uses mobile identity authentication and advanced monitoring to ensure that your money is secure.”
Next time you need to pay your share of the dinner bill, utility bill or even rent, tap Zelle for a quick, seamless transaction.
Your turn: Have you tried Zelle yet? Tell us about it in the comments.