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What Is Zelle?

Key Takeaways

  • Zelle allows you to send or receive money among peers, typically in a matter of minutes.
  • Funds are moved directly from your bank account to the recipient’s account.
  • Payments are protected by the same technology used to protect your online and mobile banking.

Zelle® is a new technology offered by financial institutions across the U.S. that allows you to send and receive money among friends and family, typically in a matter of minutes.

That means you can say goodbye to throwing down multiple credit cards to split a bill, or awkwardly tracking down “I owe you’s” from your conveniently forgetful friend. Instead, you can settle up on the spot. So if you and your coworkers want to get something special for a colleague’s birthday, you can all chip in for the gift — all in a quick and painless process.

How do I know if my bank or credit union offers Zelle?

Easy — go to ZellePay.com. There, you’ll find a list of all financial institutions that have — or will soon have — Zelle.

How does Zelle work?

Log onto online or mobile banking. There, you can navigate to Zelle, where you’ll find an interface that gives you three options:

  1. Send
  2. Request
  3. Split

After you make your selection, select the recipient(s) through your list of contacts. (Note: This is separate from the contacts on your phone.) Lastly, plug in how much you’re sending or requesting, then complete the transfer. The recipient will receive a text or email notification related to your request. Then, if you’re the one sending money, the funds will be withdrawn directly from the account and deposited into the recipient’s account. If you’re requesting, the funds will be deposited directly to your account once the other party accepts the request. This is different from other peer-to-peer services that act as a “middle man” — the funds are processed through its app and require you to deposit the funds from the app to your bank account.

How long does the transfer take?

If both the sender and recipient have active Zelle accounts, the transfer typically takes a matter of minutes.¹ This is different than other peer-to-peer payment services that can take a few business days to complete.

However, if any of the parties involved in the transfer are not enrolled in Zelle, the transfer can take 1 to 3 business days.

Is Zelle secure?

Yes — Zelle transfers are protected by the same technology that protects your online and mobile banking.

Does it cost anything?

Zelle is a free service offered through your bank or credit union. However, standard wireless/data fees may apply.

What happens if I send money to the wrong person?

If the incorrect recipient is enrolled in Zelle, the transfer cannot be cancelled. However, you can rectify your error by requesting the funds back from that person.

If the recipient is not enrolled in Zelle, you can cancel the transfer since it takes longer to process.

Can I use Zelle if I’m abroad?

You can use Zelle from anywhere if your bank account linked to Zelle is based in the U.S. So if you’re travelling in France when your roommate requests your portion of the rent, you can still complete the transfer. Then you can get back to enjoying that crème brûlée.

More information

Want to quickly and easily transfer money among your peers? You can enroll in Zelle by downloading the Citizens Bank mobile app or enrolling in online banking.

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