Sending and transferring money directly from your mobile device just got easier. Apps like Zelle, Venmo, and the Cash App, from sharing a meal to sending money to a friend or business, have revolutionized the way consumers move money, allowing money to be transferred in seconds without having to write a check or process cash.

So what is Zelle and how does it work? Read on to find out how this payment app can make safe and fast money transfers – and what you need to look out for to use it securely.

What is Zelle?

Zelle is a mobile payment application that allows peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, simplifying the process of paying for things and making it easier to transfer money without having to go to cash or visit a bank. In 2019, users transferred $187 billion using Zelle, up 57% from 2018.

Zelle has been developed by over 30 major US banks and has a separate application that users can download to their smartphones. The service is also integrated into the mobile banking applications of major member banks, including Bank of America, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. Consumers who already have their bank’s mobile app can start using Zelle right away.

How does Zelle work?

Unlike Venmo, money transferred using Zelle is transferred directly from one bank account to another. Most bank transfers between accounts require account numbers to initiate transactions, and these transactions can take up to several business days. Zelle eliminates this need by allowing users to transfer funds from one checking account to another in minutes.

All you need to initiate a transfer is the email address or phone number of the person you are sending money to. Zelle sends the recipient a text message or email stating that they are awaiting payment and a link to accept it. If the recipient’s bank is a participating partner, the recipient simply needs to register to receive the service through their bank’s website or mobile app with an email address or phone number.

Once registered, the recipient can accept the payment, although new users may have to wait up to three days to receive the payment. If the beneficiary’s bank is not a member of the program, they can still receive funds by downloading the Zelle mobile app, registering via email or phone number, and entering a debit card to receive funds.

Which banks use Zelle?

Zelle is compatible with almost all major banks, and most of them even integrate this service into their mobile banking apps. Consumers downloading the standalone Zelle app must provide a phone number or email address and debit card information to be able to receive and send funds.

If you have a Visa or Mastercard debit card, you can download Zelle and use the app to send money. If your bank is already working with Zelle, you will be redirected to your bank’s mobile app, if downloaded to your device.


The main difference between Zelle and its competitors is the speed of work. The funds transferred to the account are credited to it instantly. It is also very common for people to buy bitcoin with zelle, especially in the USA. Most American payment systems and money transfer systems charge additional fees for instant transfers, and some do not offer such a service at all.