Updated & Verified: May 2, 2021
Zelle is a very popular peer-to-peer (P2P) payment platform that makes it effortless to send and receive money to and from friends, family and pretty much anyone else with access to the platform.
But have you ever wondered how Zelle makes money - and maybe more importantly, what's the catch with using it?
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In 2020, Zelle users sent an astonishing $307 billion in 1.2 billion transactions through the platform. A volume increase of 58% over 2019. (1)
Clearly Zelle is a huge player in the P2P app space and it's user base is quickly growing.
But how much does it cost to use or what are the fees? It might actually surprise you.
How Zelle Makes Money (Answered & Explained!)
Since Zelle is not a fee based platform, it doesn't actually generate revenue - at least not directly.
Instead, Zelle was developed to save banks money since other peer to peer platforms like PayPal and Venmo actually cost banks money with transaction fees.
With Zelle, banks don't pay these transaction fees. However, at some point in the near future, Zelle may generate revenue with in-app affiliate related offers but currently that is not the case.
Additionally, banks save money by catering toward what will ultimately be a cashless society in which banks don't need to pay to maintain ATMs or fully staff bank branches with many transactions becoming automated.
Is There a Fee to Use Zelle? (And How Much)
There is no fee to use Zelle. You don't pay anything to send or receive money when using Zelle.
It is recommended, however, that you check with your bank or credit union to ensure you don't pay any additional fees that aren't directly related to Zelle but that your bank might still have (like a transaction fee for sending money for example). (2)
What's the Catch with Using Zelle? (Important!)
As the saying goes - if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. But is it too good to be true with Zelle?
In this case, however, using Zelle is really an exception to the rule as there is really no catch for using it to send or receive money to and from others since ultimately there are no fees (unless your bank charges you a fee, but that's pretty uncommon).
The most important thing to know, is that your bank has to be enrolled in Zelle to be able to send money to others (the people you send money to won't have to have a bank that's enrolled in Zelle - but they do need to have a bank account in the United States) and for people to send you money with Zelle, their bank has to be enrolled in using Zelle (your bank account doesn't need to be enrolled, however). (3)
Using Zelle to send or receive money is a fast, easy, and secure way of doing it. It's even better though because it's 100% free with no hidden costs or fees unlike some of the other options out there.
As long as your bank has enrolled in Zelle, you should have no problem sending money to others who have banks in the United States.
1. Zelle Press Release - https://www.zellepay.com/press-releases/zeller-closes-2020-record-307-billion-sent-12-billion-transactions
2. Zelle Frequently Asked Questions - https://www.zellepay.com/support/are-there-any-fees-to-send-money-using-zelle
3. Zelle Frequently Asked Questions - https://www.zellepay.com/support/who-can-i-send-money-to-with-zelle