Posted by Chuck on July 25, 2017

Published on July 25th, 2017 | by Chuck


Zelle Review: Send Money to Friends with any Bank, Free and Instant Transfers [Formerly Clearxchange]

Zelle Review

Zelle (Link) is a free service used by most major banks to send money freely between friends. Instead of having an outside provider (like Paypal, Venmo, or Square) pull the money from your bank and send it to your friend’s electronic wallet, Zelle pulls the money directly from your bank and deposits it in their’s. This saves having the extra account, and can make for a faster transaction.

The company was formerly known as Clearxchange, and is being rebranded as Zelle (pronounced Zell, the final ‘e’ is silent). Chase QuickPay uses the Zelle/Clearxchange network, as do most other major banks.

Zelle – New Features

Two new features are being added as part of the transition from Clearxchange to Zelle:

  • Transfers from partner banks are now instant. This is an awesome feature when it works – only those banks within the network will transfer instantly. You can send money to anyone, even those with who bank with non-partner banks, but it can take a few days.
  • Send money with just an email address on mobile number. Previously, some banks may have required the person’s name or address in order to send funds. Zelle just needs an email or phone number, similar to the way Paypal and Square work.

Affiliated Banks

Full list of banks and credit unions who use Zelle can be found here. Here are some of the bigger one’s: Ally, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, PNC, TD, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo.

Some of these have not yet completed the integration into Zelle, as of this writing, and will be doing so in the coming months. Chase QuickPay now calls themselves ‘Chase QuickPay with Zelle’ which helps people understand that it works even for transfer to non-Chase recipients.

Each email address or mobile number is linked to one bank. If you receive money to two different banks, you can use separate email addresses and link one email with one bank and another email with another bank. Or use your email address for one bank and phone number for the other. You can even use Zelle this way to instantly transfer money between two of your own bank accounts.


Zelle doesn’t have any sort of limits, rather each using bank decides on how much they’ll allow. Here’s Chase’s rule and here’s Capital One’s.

I don’t know of any limits for receiving money with Zelle. They might make you go through additional verifications (e.g. give in the last 4 of your SSN) to receive larger transactions.

Since the money goes straight from sender to recipient, Zelle should not be issuing any 1099 tax forms. (In some scenarios a sender needs to issue a form 1099 to the recipient.)

How to Send with Zelle

Sending money with Zelle is done through your bank’s website or mobile app. You should see a Transfer or Send Money tab somewhere. That uses the Zelle network.

Ask the recipient for their email or phone number, even if they’ve never used Zelle before, and add them as a recipient in the app/website. The system will have you name your recipient; you can use their real name, their nickname, or whatever you’d like, just make sure the email/phone number is correct. You can see a walk-through with screenshots in this Travelwithgrant post.

Clearxchange has their own website to send money. This is used for those whose banks are not part of the Zelle network, they can send money using the Clearxchange website. Alternatively, you can use the Zelle app (iOS, Android) which transfer money by linking your debit card instantly.

How to Receive with Zelle

Anyone with a US bank account can receive money with Zelle, even if their bank is not a Zelle partner. This means that you can send money, for example, from your Chase bank account to anyone with a US bank account.

The recipient gets an email/text from Zelle asking them to link their bank account. If they’ve previously used this email address or phone number to receive money with Zelle/Clearxchange they don’t need to register again. The money will go straight to their bank account within a few days, even if the previous transaction was with someone else or with a different bank. It’s all tied to the email address or mobile phone number.

Note, the recipient may have to verify themselves with Zelle with their name, address, or even the last 4 of their SSN, but none of these details are passed on the sender. Sender only sees the email address given to them.

Final Thoughts

I think the instant transfers feature makes all the difference. When sending your friend $10 for the cab fare, you want the transaction finalized instantly, you don’t want them getting an email about funds which will hopefully come in 3 business days. The huge conglomerate of banks means that a high percentage of Americans will be eligible for instant transfers will Zelle, and even those who use other banks can receive money with slower delivery.

It remains to be seen if people will finally start using direct bank transfers instead of the various money transfer operations like Paypal, Venmo, Square Cash, and Facebook.

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67 Responses to Zelle Review: Send Money to Friends with any Bank, Free and Instant Transfers [Formerly Clearxchange]

  1. Nil says:

    I think this is going to be invaluable in transferring out the remaining balance before closing a bank account. I just did it to zero out a wells account. Would call to close now. It literally took minutes.

  2. alopecoid says:

    FYI: Google Wallet has had “near-instant” fee-free transfers for a while for many banks, as long as using debit cards (and the sending/receiving banks don’t hold up the transfer).

    “If a debit card is set as your default payment method, your bank will likely post the money to your account within minutes. For some banks, it could take up to 24 hours.”

    I think Google Wallet was the first implementation of the underlying protocol that is used by Zelle/Clearxchange, but I can’t remember the source of that information, so don’t quote me on that yet.

    • Gerry says:

      Of all the services available, IMO Google Wallet is the best – and you are correct, the transfers are consistently near-instant – whereas with Zelle, it is not always depending on the individual bank – i.e. Wells Fargo doesn’t allow their accounts to receive instant transfers unless the sending account is a WF account.

      • G says:

        I’ve been able to send myself money from USAA to my Wells Fargo Checking (via Zelle) a few times now and I got instant credit at Wells, so this might be YMMV.

        (FWIW I get instant credit at USAA when sending money from WF as well, but since I also get instant credit for ACH at USAA it’s not really a big deal)

        • Gerry says:

          You’re probably right in that YMMV… Zelle just seems a bit half-baked now… hopefully they’ll work out the bugs. As far as what the WF CSR said about transfers needing to be between two WF accounts to be instant doesn’t appear to be accurate from the feedback here.

      • Bob says:

        That is not true. I have received transfers from US Bank, BoA, Chase for my WF account

        • Gerry says:

          I’m not saying you won’t receive transfers… I’m saying they won’t be instant unless they come from a WF account. A friend of mine called WF and the CSR told him that was the rules.

          • Ben says:

            I believe you were told misinformation. Any account at a clearxchange affiliated Bank will allow for ‘instant’ transfer. Non clearxchange Banks will go through the standar ACH rails.
            Even within clearxchange the money doesn’t transfer instantly, but you’re given credit instantly.

          • Elmer says:

            CSR = -1

          • Bob says:

            I received instant transfers. WF is my main checking and boa, chase, us bank all work instantly to WF.

        • Gerry says:

          Ben, I think you hit on it when you stated that “will ALLOW for instant transfer”. After speaking with CapitalOne they told each transaction is evaluated by some mysterious criteria and then the bank codes whether or not a particular transaction will be done immediately. The CSR didn’t have that information, so now they have escalated and are researching. Obvious answer, CapOne and WF have an issue in their handshaking. They are investigating. You’re right about the WF CSR, that just sounded like hard sell tactics – but we all know that WF doesn’t do anything nefarious to get new business…. 😉

  3. MSer says:

    Anything that wil allow me to avoid PayPal is a huge win. Sure wish more online merchants would offer alternate paymemt methods. As much as I hate Paypal, I trust their security a tad higher than random online merchants

  4. Gerry says:

    My personal observations: I don’t believe this is going to be the “Venmo Killer” as it has been hyped. There are a few more issues with Zelle. For example, Wells Fargo doesn’t allow their customers to RECEIVE instant transfers unless the sending account is Wells Fargo – and Wells Fargo is an “Affiliated Bank” – so much for that. Also, there is no consistent way to REQUEST money as Google Wallet, Venmo, Square, etc. allow. Capital One doesn’t have this function in their app at all and Wells Fargo just sends an email that someone is requesting money. Basically, if you want to REQUEST, you do it manually yourself. The one positive I have found (At least with Capital One 360) is that your checking account ledger contains the MEMO contents that were specified when the transfer was made – instead of the non-descriptive comment from the other services. I believe Zelle’s rollout has left much to be desired. If you want to try Zelle, don’t do it with Wells Fargo. At least Capital One 360 does the instant transfers. As far as REQUESTING money, Zelle doesn’t do that… you have to manually do it yourself.

    • Chuck says:

      Thanks Gerry, looks like you have Zelle thoroughly tested!

      • Gerry says:

        For me, the comments in the Bank Ledger make it worth it. Appears some institutions have problems with the instant transfers, so that is a YMMV feature at the moment. They need to do something about requesting money – but the interface between the different bank apps seem to be the problem. You’d think they would have designed a common API for that. I was hoping that the Zelle app would resolve that issue, but from the post it appears that the Zelle app will only be for non-member banks.

  5. Lrdx says:

    How free is this service?
    I don’t think I can avoid the $3 ACH push fee from my BofA account? (I pull from the other side anyway, and there are millions of free credit unions, so whatever.)

  6. Matthew P says:

    Has anyone figured out if there’s an easy way to manage multiple bank accounts with the same owner? Seems like it is inseparably linked to your phone number/email address, and you can only have one account per number/address. Unless I’m missing something.

    • Gerry says:

      No, you’re not missing something. You have to have a unique identifier for each account. This is due to the design of Zelle; the money is sent directly into the target bank account. If you’re wanting to use one service with multiple banks easily, use Google Wallet, PayPal, etc. Money coming into your account with those services are stored on that account, then you transfer the funds out to whatever bank you choose.

    • Create multiple email addresses at gmail like, etc.
      Setup forwarding from those to your primary gmail address
      Then set those as your primary email address at the secondary banks
      Now, since you have unique email addresses at each of the banks, you can Zelle between your accounts.

      Alternatively, if the bank supports the “+” character in your email address, anything after the + is ignored (like from and routes to the base email address of

  7. David says:

    I have been using clearXchange for a while. All four big banks use this for p2p money transfer. However, it would be much better if they have their own app because one email or one phone number can only be registered once with one bank account. It took me a while to figure out which account my phone number was associated to.

    • Chuck says:

      Yeah, I get confused by the multiple email address part as well. Most Americans probably only have one checking account so don’t have this issue.

  8. G says:

    I’ve used Zelle a few times now to transfer money between my own Wells Fargo and USAA accounts and it worked quite well.

    Moving money into USAA has always been easy (they give instant credit for incoming ACH pulls) but pushing money to my WF account always took a day or two. When I use Zelle (rather than ACH) to send from USAA the money shows up at Wells Fargo just a minute or two later. So far I’m quite pleased with it.

    I just have to remember which account has my phone number associated with Zelle, and which has my email address.

  9. Abey says:

    I still like my cash app better, it feels more organized. (They offer instant transfer for 1%).

  10. PT says:

    I wonder why “Transfers from partner banks are now instant” is claimed to be a new feature? This was working between a number of the biggest banks on ClearXchange back in mid-2016 according to press releases as they phased in instant transfer. Zelle is just a rebranding basically, as more banks and credit unions join and as banks like Chase, BofA, etc added Zelle branding to their mobile apps recently. I personally have been using these instant transfers for 4 months and it works great for my very simple application (B of A me <– Chase from other people who owe me money).

    BTW, for those who may only keep savings accouts (not checking) at these banks:

    B of A Savings only – B of A allows you to do instant send and receive to/from other banks in the Zelle/ClearXchange system using only a savings account & without fees; obviously, be careful of the 6 withdrawl/mo limit that apply to all bank savings accounts, though it should only apply if you initiate a send; supposedly, it is supported on the BofA app now, but I just use the website

    Chase savings – Chase does NOT support QuickPay on savings accounts, and thus not Zelle transfers

    • Chuck says:

      Interesting, hadn’t realized it was instant until now. I do believe they vastly expanded their networks so that’s certainly a good thing.

      • PT says:

        The first banks that offered instant real-time transfers (send/receive) on clearXchange were:

        2016 March – Bank of America and US Bank
        2016 June – Chase
        2016 July – Capital One
        2016 Aug – Wells Fargo

        (note that before these dates, they had non-instant clearXchange transfers between these banks that took 2-4 days or so).

        I look forward to many more banks and credit unions going live on Zelle the rest of the year.

  11. I have used Zelle as an alternate way to do around bank to bank ACH transfers.
    I don’t know if it would have successfully met the DD requirements for bonuses too.

    When we setup ACH between a hub account and a target bank, we need routing #, account # and if is not instantly setup, a 2 day wait for trial deposits, follows by another 2-3 day wait for actual deposits.

    How I got around it is this:
    1. My primary bank account with, say WF, has my email address 1 registered
    2. Registered my email address 2 with Chase
    3. Transfer from email address 1 to email address 2
    4. Instant transfer!

  12. Ellie Arroway says:

    Anyone try gmail aliases with Zelle? This way you could setup an address for each of your accounts. Something like myemailladdress+chase@gmail for your Chase account and so on.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Does Zelle work for International transfers? Can someone from Outside USA send money to me in USA via Zelle?

    Right now i am using PayPal which sucks as i do not see any other option and it charges hefty fee for receiving money….

    Best ideas/suggestions?

    • Gerry says:

      Zelle is available to U.S. bank account holders only. I know of no other solution at this time other than Paypal. Google has rolled out Google Wallet in many countries but hasn’t yet turned on the ability for international transfers. I would imagine it’s a regulatory issue.

    • Yet Another Redditor says:


  14. boridi says:

    I had used Chase QuickPay and Capital one 360 P2P payments before Zelle. Just tried to transfer $1600 from my Cap One 360 acct to my Chase acct, but I had to do a phone verification text. However, I kept getting errors about an invalid mobile number, possibly because my mobile number is linked to both accounts. Maybe they’ll let me skip the verification for smaller dollar amounts

    • Taylor says:

      Yeah, Zelle requires a different phone or email for each account.You only have to verify a code once to register so I’ve set up throwaway emails when I use it to transfer from an account I’m churning.

  15. Caryl Jersey says:

    Just recently used this new Zelle. While I never had a problem before in transferring monies to another’s account, we could not get this to work at all. Transferred from Capital One 360, money immediately taken and after 3 business days not arriving anywhere. Multitude of excuses. Zelle, which was completely registered on the other side and said it was complete, stated the transaction had to be reversed and try again. Faster to right a check. I also find this troublesome where I require quick transfers. I know Capital One is slow and the reason I do not use their bill pay but I have to question this move to Zelle. Not comfortable using this at all now.

    • Gerry says:

      You didn’t mention the other institution where you were transferring. As I mentioned above I had an issue with transfers from Capital One to Wells Fargo not being instantaneous – but they were completing within 3 days. I subsequently escalated the issue with both banks and it has been fully resolved. You might give it another try and politely escalate – or wait a few more months while they work out the issues and let others troubleshoot. 😉

  16. Dee says:

    Capital One did not process the Zelle quick transfer. Capital One indicated 3 business days. Received email from Cap One indicating payment was sent to account. Payment did not posted by Cap One

    Capital One has to be one of the least technical capable bank. Routinely will not process these types of transactions

    • Gerry says:

      I had issues earlier with CapitalOne but all have now been resolved. If you are sending to or from a newly created Zelle account the first few times there may be a delay. All my transactions now go through instantly.

  17. Lee says:

    Problems so far: Anyone who has an account at a “non-affiliated” bank or CU, like a small local credit union will find that he can NOT switch from ClearXChange to Zelle unless he has 1) an android or IOS smartphone that he can download the new Zelle App to and 2) a DEBIT card associated with his small bank/CU.

    There is no Zelle website that you can use a browser with to send/receive money, like ClearXChange supported.
    A transaction that has been working for over a year FAILED this morning with no pre-warning.
    It was sending money thru ClearXChange from a small CU to a B of A account.
    To make it work required the email address to be inactivated at ClearXChange and then to re-establish it with Zelle, requiring 1 and 2 above.

    • Gerry says:

      Found the app and tested it. Unfortunately, as you stated if you already have your email address registered with Zelle at a particular bank, you have to unregister it there before you can use it with the Zelle app. For the time being I’ll just use my phone number for the Zelle app, and my email for the bank app. The only advantage I see right now for the Zelle app is the ability to split and request. Not sure how that will work in practice however.

      Also, the app seems a big buggy. You can’t update your password, it keeps crashing. I suppose that is to be expected for a new app. The big issue I have with the Zelle rollout overall is that Zelle was touted as the Venmo killer and they were talking it up for a year. It is anything but. There is little consistency between the functionality of the different bank implementations and the Zelle app itself. For example, Wells Fargo allows you to request money from their app – but Capital One does not. When a request comes from Wells Fargo, it goes to email – so instead of tapping on the request as you would do using Venmo, Google Wallet, Square Cash, etc. you have to manual copy the request and then send the $$$. It’s a big of a kludge to say the least. It’s a real shame IMO because with the resources of the big banks one would think they could get this right after a year. Apparently not. The only advantage I see at this point is how the transactons show up in your checking account ledger. They have the comments – i.e. Split Lunch with Susan, etc. whereas Google Wallet, Square, etc. just show a non-descript *** Google ***, etc. I haven’t tried the actual Zelle app yet to see if it updates the checking ledger with the comment. If not, that’s a fail.

  18. Gerry says:

    AFAIK there isn’t a standalone Zelle app. At least it is not in the Google Play store. It’s supposed to be coming out soon. I’m hoping it will have a request money feature. The imbedded Capital One app does not have that feature.

  19. Angry customer says:

    Zelle is awful. An entire day of frustration wasted, as well as 100.00$ for a new cellphone we didn’t need. we never did get the stupid thing to work (spoke with their “customer service” three times). This is going to be an enormous black eye for the banking industry.

    • T. Rex says:

      Not to mention it is very unsecure and hackers are taking money from lots of people, me included, even though we’re not even registered for it and have never even heard of it until charges show up on our accounts.

  20. Avto says:

    A few days ago, somebody has stolen $2,000 from my Chase bank account using Zelle!
    Thanks to my bank, the amount has just been deposit( reimbursed) to my account! But now, I had to close that account, open a new one and I have( temporally) no online access to my bank accounts!
    And I even never had any account, any relation with Zelle!
    Here is an alert signal for everybody: Zelle easily can be used by hackers to steal your money and you can be next victim!

    • T. Rex says:

      WOW! they got more from you then they got from me – $700. And I had to fight with my bank cause they kept insisting nobody else could have possibly made the transactions. Until they finally figured out my account is not even registered with zellepay.

  21. Daphine D Head says:

    I have never heard of this company before today and they have some how stolen 200 out of my account. I guess because they are partnering with my bank. Please do not use!!!! I have never did anything with this company and I did not give permission for them to do anything

  22. Nicole says:

    Just FYI:
    If you do not bank with an institution from their list, you HAVE TO download their app onto your phone, in which case they require access to “manage and make calls” in addition to access to pictures and location like other apps ask for. I wonder why a money-handling app needs that type of access.

  23. Noreen says:

    Zelle does have some limitations. My account with Zelle was set up when I sent my daughter money from her college fund. However I have multiple bank accounts. So for me to be able to use this app I would have to set up another account with a different email and phone number – huh???? I may have more then 1 bank account but I don’t have more then on cell phone number and recently have streamed lined back down to 1 email. So basically the app is only useful for sending my daughter money and no one else – this maybe ok with her though lol.

  24. T. Rex says:

    Completely 100% UNSAFE!!!! UNSECURE!!!! USER BEWARE!!!!! I am NOT even registered to use zellepay and have already been a victim of fraud from the service. Someone else managed to link their zellepay to MY account and ran off with $700. I had a big fight for 2 days with the fruad department at my bank about whether I had made the transactions or not. With them telling me to file a police report and it was going to take them 45 dayys to investigate. I had to physcially go to my bank and with with the manager before they finally figured out I my account was not even registered with zellepay and therefore I could not possibly had made the transactions. I don’t care HOW MANY banks back it, it’s unsafe!

  25. Guadalupe Esquivel Garcia says:

    Zelle sucks! It took many tries and a few phone calls to “confirm” my cellphone number. The app doesn’t work. Three times already, people try to send money and there are issues. No confirmations being emailed, no notifications being sent.
    The latest one, my friend used an old phone number I used to have… It turns out even though Zelle has my email and my cell phone registered, they sent the money to whom ever owns my old cell phone number. You would think the transaction would have to match the name. And now, who knows when I am going to get that money…. It’s ridiculous!!

  26. Jerry Moody says:

    One of my renters tried sending me money using this crap. I got a text, signed up and tried to get my money. Never happened. I tried searching for pending transactions and it showed nothing yet I was informed I had money waiting for me. Their customer service blamed it on me. They were full of fecal matter. Used PayPal instead.

  27. Lilia F says:

    It’s garbage. I had to register and download the app – even though I didn’t want it. It’s been over a week since I have “received” the money. This can’t possibly be legal.

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