How to Use Zelle for Mobile Payments

Learn how Zelle works and how to get started

Money flying around a laptop computer

NeONBRAND/Unsplash

Zelle is a free service that makes it easy for users to send and receive money directly to and from almost any bank account. Learn how to use Zelle, from initial set up to sending cash.

What is Zelle?

Zelle is a service that works with banks to enable consumers to send money to friends, family, and more. The money transfers directly from the sender's bank account into the recipients, but the sender only needs the email address or phone number associated with the recipient's Zelle account. There's no exchange of personal information or account numbers.

While there are no fees associated with using Zelle, banks or credit unions might charge customers for using the service.

What Banks Use Zelle?

More than 300 financial institutions currently partner with Zelle, from Ally to Zions Bank. These banks and credit unions provide access to Zelle via their mobile apps and/or online banking options.

You can view a complete list of partnered banks on the Zelle website. Even if your bank or credit union isn't listed, you can still use Zelle via the Zelle app.

Benefits of a Zelle Money Transfer

Typically, when someone sends money using Zelle, the recipient has it available for use within minutes.

That said, there may be a hold of one to three days on the money if the recipient is not yet enrolled with Zelle. This is designed as a security feature to reduce risk of sending money to the wrong person or being involved in a scam. Creating a fully enrolled Zelle profile prior to receiving money is recommended.

Both the sender and the recipient must be using bank accounts based in the United States to use Zelle.

Zelle also uses authentication and monitoring features in the app to secure payments. In addition, banks offering access to Zelle provide security features in their mobile apps, as well as online.

How to Register With Zelle

If your bank provides access to Zelle, there is no sign up process. You simply log into your financial institution's online banking platform or mobile app and locate the Zelle Transfer option.

If your bank is not a Zelle partner, you must download the app in order to enroll with Zelle. Once the app is installed, you can sign up with Zelle to begin sending and receiving payments.

You can use Zelle within your bank or credit union's online site if they offer Zelle payments. However, if your financial institution does not offer access to Zelle, you must use the Zelle mobile app to send or receive money.

  1. Open the app and tap Get Started.

    Zelle will request permission to make and manage phone calls and to access your device's location. According to Zelle, these permissions are there to detect unusual login activity, make the app smarter, and improve security.

  2. Enter your mobile number and tap Continue.

  3. Read and consent to the Privacy & Security agreement. Tap Continue.

    Get Started, Continue, and agree to privacy policy checkbox
  4. Begin typing the name of your bank. Tap it from the list of results.

    If your bank is not listed, tap Don't See Your Bank? You'll then be prompted to enter your email. Zelle will email you a verification code, which you can enter to complete the enrollment process.

  5. Tap Login to being linking your bank account to Zelle. You'll be directed to a secure browser window where you can log in to your banking platform. This will link your bank with your Zelle profile.

    If your bank is not partnered with Zelle, you'll be asked to enter your debit card information and to upload a photo of your debit card to the app.

  6. Agree to give Zelle access to your account for:

    • Balances and transactions
    • Account Details
    • Quickpay with Zelle
  7. Enter your first name, last name, email address, and a password for your Zelle account, then tap Continue.

  8. Zelle will send a verification code to the email address you provided. Enter the code and tap Verify.

    Search field, Login button, Verify code in Zelle
  9. Tap Continue on the confirmation screen informing you that your enrollment is complete.

  10. You'll be taken to the main page of your Zelle account, where you can send money, request money, or split a bill.

How to Send Money with Zelle

Sending money through Zelle using your financial institution's mobile app or online banking platform is typically straightforward. Although this is usually located in the transfer/send money section, every bank is different. Check with your financial institution to find out how and where to access Zelle payments.

You can also send money through the Zelle app.

If your bank or credit union offers access to Zelle, contact them directly regarding limits on how much you can send through Zelle. If your bank or credit union doesn't offer Zelle, there's a $500 weekly limit, which cannot be increased.

  1. Log into the Zelle app.

  2. Tap Send.

    Zelle will request permission to access your contacts the first time you send a payment.

  3. Search your contacts to find the person you want to send money to. Alternatively, enter the phone number or email address of your recipient, then tap Next Step.

    If the Zelle app asks to access your contacts, tap Access Contacts.

  4. Enter the recipient's name and tap Confirm.

  5. Choose your bank account, then enter the amount you wish to send. Tap Review to continue.

    Send button, Access Contacts, Review button in Zelle
  6. Tap Send to send the payment.

You can only cancel a payment you've sent if the recipient has not yet created a Zelle account. To find out, go to your Zelle activity page (either within your banking app or the Zelle app), choose the payment and tap Cancel This Payment. However, if the recipient has a Zelle account, they'll receive the money immediately and you're unable to cancel the payment.

How to Receive Money with Zelle

Once enrolled with Zelle, you can receive instant payments from others. You'll receive a notification via email or text message when money has been sent to you. Log into your bank's platform or go to the Activity page in the Zelle app to view payments you have received.

Zelle does not offer a refund method. You also cannot dispute a transaction with Zelle and there is no resolution process. For instance, if you pay for a service or product using Zelle and don't receive it or it's not as described, Zelle will not offer any recourse.