After six years, the big banks have finally debuted “Zelle,” their competitor to Venmo that works inside the apps of participating banks.
Zelle is meant for casual person-to-person payments, like paying someone back for dinner or splitting a utility bill. All you need to send money to someone is their email address or phone number. If this sounds like Venmo, that’s because it is very similar in functionality.
But the fundamental difference here is that Zelle is backed by over 30 of the biggest banks: Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and so on. That encompasses over 86 million customers. Zelle also doesn’t have its own app yet, but instead lives within the app of your bank, giving it the ability to easily send and receive money. A standalone app is coming later this year, however.
Zelle isn’t the only new entrant into the market that could make Venmo execs nervous.
At WWDC last week, Apple announced that Apple Pay would support peer-to-peer payments in iOS 11, the new software update for iPhones and iPads coming later this year. The new Apple Pay payments feature will be integrated directly into iMessage, so iPhone users can send money while in a text message thread with a friend. To make sure these transactions are secure, Apple will use Touch ID to verify your identity. The money will go onto a Apple Pay cash card, which you can transfer to the bank.
This highlights an advantage that Zelle has over Venmo and Apple: If the bank of the person you’re sending money to is part of the Zelle network, the funds will only take a few minutes to transfer. Venmo makes you “cash out” in a process that takes one to two business days. If the recipient’s bank isn’t in the Zelle network, however, there’s a bit of an annoying claims process, which requires them to manually enter bank information.
The rollout of Zelle starts this week, but will continue over the next year. Here’s a list of the banks that are participating in Zelle:
- Ally Bank Bank of America Bank of Hawaii Bank of the West BB&T BECU Capital One Citi Citizens Bank Comerica Bank ConnectOne Bank Dollar Bank Fifth Third Bank FirstBank First Tech Federal Credit Union First Tennessee Bank First National Bank Frederick County Bank Frost Bank HomeStreet Bank JP Morgan Chase KeyBank M&T Bank MB Financial Bank Morgan Stanley PNC Bank SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Star One Credit Union SunTrust Bank TD Bank USAA U.S. Bank Wells Fargo