How to Use Zelle


In the ever-evolving world of finance, digital alternatives have largely replaced cash transactions. One such digital solution that has become a game-changer for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments is Zelle.

The platform allows enrolled consumers to send money or request money with the mere click of a button. But how exactly does one utilize this financial tool? Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get started with Zelle easily.

woman using mobile app

What is Zelle?

Zelle is a fast, safe, and easy way to send money directly between almost any bank accounts in the U.S., typically within minutes. It is a service offered by Early Warning Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of seven of the largest U.S. banks. Users can transfer money using their mobile banking app or from the website of a participating financial institution.

Unlike other P2P services like Venmo and Cash App, Zelle is unique because it’s embedded within the online banking systems of participating banks and credit unions. This means users can access Zelle through their existing financial institution’s online or mobile banking app without downloading another app.

Getting Started with Zelle

To get started with Zelle, you first need a bank account with a participating financial institution. If your bank or credit union doesn’t offer Zelle yet, you can still use the service by downloading the standalone Zelle mobile app. You will also need to provide your basic contact information, including a U.S. mobile phone number and a valid email address.

Once you’ve met these prerequisites, you can download your mobile banking app (if you haven’t already), sign in, and look for the Zelle option in the “Send Money” or “Transfer Money” section. After setting up Zelle within your mobile banking app, you’re ready to start sending or receiving money.

How to Use Zelle

Using Zelle’s user-friendly interface is a breeze for less tech-savvy people. At its core, Zelle is a service designed to streamline the process of sending and receiving money, taking the fuss out of financial transactions. And since Zelle connects directly to your existing bank account, there’s no need to manage a separate balance or worry about transferring funds to a different account. Plus, funds typically appear immediately after transfer with no fees. What’s not to love?

The primary operations you can perform on Zelle are sending and receiving money. Let’s go through each of these actions in more detail.

Sending Money with Zelle

Whether you’re splitting a dinner bill with friends or sending money to family, Zelle makes it easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send money using Zelle:

  1. Access Zelle: Open your mobile banking app. Look for the “Zelle” option, which is typically found in the “Send Money” or “Payments” section. Select it.
  2. Choose ‘Send’: Once you’re in the Zelle interface, you’ll see options to “Send,” “Request,” or “Split.” In this case, you’ll want to select “Send.”
  3. Enter Recipient Details: Enter the recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile phone number. Make sure you have the correct information. Transactions are typically quick and, once initiated, cannot be cancelled.
  4. Enter Amount: Now, input the amount of money you want to send. Be sure to double-check the figure before proceeding.
  5. Review and Send: Before you hit “Send,” review your transaction details carefully. Check the amount, and ensure the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number is correct. Once you’re certain everything is as it should be, press Send.”

As long as the recipient has already enrolled with Zelle, transactions between enrolled consumers typically occur within minutes. If they’re not yet enrolled, they’ll receive a notification detailing how to complete the process. Once they’ve enrolled, the transaction proceeds as expected.

Requesting Money with Zelle”

Requesting money through Zelle is just as straightforward as sending it. Maybe you’re collecting contributions for a group gift, or perhaps someone owes you for last week’s lunch. Here’s how to request money with Zelle:

  1. Access Zelle: As with sending money, you’ll first need to open your mobile banking app and scroll to “Zelle.”
  2. Choose ‘Request’: In the Zelle interface, select the “Request” option.
  3. Select the Contact: Now, you’ll need to select the individual from whom you want to request money. This can be done by inputting their enrolled email address or mobile phone number.
  4. Enter Amount: Input the amount you wish to request. Be sure to double-check the figure before proceeding.
  5. Review and Request: Before you hit “Request,” review your transaction details. Confirm the amount and check that the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number is correct. Once everything is in order, press ‘Request.’

Once the other party receives your money request, they can then authorize the payment on their end. Keep in mind that even though you’ve requested the money, the transfer won’t be complete until the other person approves it.

In both cases – sending and requesting money – if the person you’re trying to transact with isn’t already enrolled with Zelle, they’ll receive a notification with instructions on how to sign up. After they’re enrolled, you’ll be able to seamlessly send money to or request money from them.

Which Banks Use Zelle?

Zelle has partnered with a wide range of banks and credit unions across the United States. These partnerships make it possible for customers of these financial institutions to send and receive money directly from their mobile banking apps or online banking portals.

Major banks that work with Zelle include:

  • Bank of America
  • Chase
  • Capital One
  • Wells Fargo
  • U.S. Bank
  • Citibank
  • PNC Bank
  • TD Bank
  • BB&T
  • SunTrust

Several credit unions also support Zelle. These include:

  • Alliant Credit Union
  • BECU
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • PenFed Credit Union

Here’s a full list of all the banks that use Zelle.

It’s worth noting that even if your bank or credit union isn’t on this list, you can still use Zelle. This is possible through the standalone Zelle app, which is available for download on both iOS and Android devices. To use the standalone app, all you need is a U.S.-based bank account and a U.S. mobile number or email address.

Is Zelle safe?

Zelle provides a variety of safety features to ensure that your transactions are secure. The service employs encryption technology to protect your financial information. Furthermore, because it operates through your existing bank or credit union, you can enjoy the same level of security you’re used to with your online or mobile banking app.

However, it’s crucial to note that Zelle should primarily be used to transfer money to friends, family, or others you trust. Unlike some other P2P services, Zelle does not offer a protection program for authorized payments. Therefore, if you send money to the wrong person or for a purchase that does not pan out, you may not have recourse to recover your funds.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Occasionally, users may encounter issues when using Zelle. For example, a transaction may fail, or funds might not arrive as quickly as expected. In such instances, remember that transfers between enrolled users typically occur within minutes. However, the first-time payments may take a bit longer as it takes between one and three days to enroll a mobile number or email address with Zelle.

If you’re still experiencing issues, it’s best to reach out to your financial institution’s customer support, as they may be able to provide specific insights or solutions.

Zelle may also experience outages that delays the transfer of funds. Typically, these will resolve within hours, if not minutes. Stay in communication with the person you are sending money to or receiving funds from. The money will probably transfer soon.

Pros and Cons of Using Zelle

The benefits of using Zelle are numerous. The service is easy to use and does not incur transaction fees, making it a popular choice for P2P payments. It’s also very quick, with transactions between enrolled consumers typically occurring within minutes. Additionally, the vast network of participating banks and credit unions makes it widely accessible to anyone with a bank account.

However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Zelle does not offer a protection program for authorized payments, so users must be careful when sending money. Additionally, international transactions are not supported, as Zelle works only with U.S.-based banks. International deposit accounts are not eligible for the service.


Zelle is a powerful tool for digital P2P payments, allowing users to send and receive money with just an email address or phone number. By understanding how to use this service properly, individuals can easily manage their finances and facilitate quick transactions with friends and family. Always remember to practice safe online banking habits and use Zelle responsibly for your financial transactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

See what people are asking about Zelle.

What is the Zelle transfer limit?

The transfer limit for Zelle is determined by your bank or credit union. Some banks may allow you to send up to $2,000 per day, while others may have a lower limit. If you’re using the Zelle app directly and your bank doesn’t offer Zelle, your limit is $500 per week. It’s best to check with your financial institution for the specific limits they have in place.

Does Zelle charge a fee?

Zelle does not charge any fees to send or receive money. It’s important to note that while Zelle itself doesn’t charge fees, your bank or credit union might. Always check with your financial institution about any potential fees associated with sending, requesting, or receiving money.

Is Zelle instant?

Yes, Zelle transfers between enrolled users typically occur within minutes. If the recipient is not yet enrolled with Zelle, it could take between 1 to 3 business days after they enroll for the money to be available.

Can I use Zelle with multiple banks?

Yes, you can use Zelle with multiple bank accounts. However, you’ll need to use a unique email address or U.S. mobile number for each bank account. The same email address or mobile number cannot be used with multiple bank accounts.

Can I cancel a Zelle payment?

Once a payment is sent via Zelle, it cannot be cancelled, unless it was sent to an email address or phone number that hasn’t been enrolled with Zelle yet. Be sure to double-check your transactions before you send them.

Is there a minimum transfer amount on Zelle?

Zelle does not have a specified minimum transfer amount. However, banks and credit unions may set their own minimum transfer amount, so you should confirm with your financial institution.

Can I use Zelle for international transfers?

Zelle is only available for U.S. bank accounts and does not support international transfers. Zelle does not work with international phone numbers or bank accounts, even if the user is physically located in the U.S.

Dawn Allcot
Meet the author

Dawn Allot is a personal finance writer and content marketing expert specializing in finance, travel, real estate, and technology. In addition to her work at Crediful, Dawn regularly writes for Bankrate, GoBankingRates, and The Balance.