Mobile wallets and online payment services have revolutionized how we pay for things online and send money to our friends and family. Similar services like Paypal, Venmo and Square Cash have made peer-to-peer payments extremely easy, but unfortunately they either don't work if you need to send money internationally or are really expansive solutions (looking at you Paypal!).
First, what is Zelle?
Zelle is a US-based payment service that allows you to send funds electronically from a (US) bank account to another person's bank account (again, it must be a US account). Money can either be sent via Zelle's own mobile app or the online banking websites and/or apps of participating banks and credit unions that are part of the Zelle Network.
Which banks are part of the Zelle Network?
There are currently over 100 participating banks and credits unions, including many of the largest banks in the US such as Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC, TD Bank, SunTrust and HSBC.
How does it work and how fast is it?
You just input the recipient's US cell number or email address into the app or the online banking website. You must use a Visa or Mastercard debit card (credit cards aren't accepted) from a U.S. bank account.
If the recipient has previously enrolled with Zelle, the money will automatically be deposited into their account, usually within a few minutes. If the recipient has not yet registered with Zelle, they'll receive a notification with details about how they can register and they'll generally receive the payment roughly one to three days after they register. If the recipient's bank is not in Zelle Network, they can still get the money by downloading the Zelle app and registering with their Visa or Mastercard debit card (credit cards are not accepted). Note that either way, the recipient needs to register with Zelle within 14 days--if they don't, the money will be returned to the sender's account.
Can I send money through Zelle internationally?
No. First, in order to use the Zelle app (or to send money via your online banking site), both the sender and the recipient must have US bank accounts. It is also unavailable in U.S. territories (such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and and Northern Mariana Islands).
So if I want to send money outside the US what are my options?
It depends on where you want to send money, how much you'd like to send and how you prefer the recipient to receive the funds. Many money transfer companies offer international transfers on both desktop sites and mobile apps, plus their exchange rates are almost always better than a traditional international bank transfer or using PayPal internationally. Oh, and it's always best to use a money transfer provider that provides transparent & Competitive fees and exchange rates such as TransferWise, WorldRemit, Remitly and InstaRem all of which are reputable, secure and known for providing affordable and fair exchange rates.
You can't use Zelle internationally, but there are plenty of other services
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