Zelle vs Cash App: Differences, Fees & Which Is More Secure?

Dec 22, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

Cash App and Zelle are two of the most common apps used in the US to send money domestically. While both are free to download and offer free and fast transfers, they have some major design differences too.

Zelle is purely a bank transfer service that helps you instantly send funds between American bank accounts online without having to go into a bank branch or input long routing numbers. Cash App is a mobile app that also initiates instant transfers between other Cash App users. In addition, Cash App lets you hold actual account balances and access many other financial tools.

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One of the most popular peer-to-peer payment systems in the United States, Cash App is a secure way to transfer money domestically.

With a verified account, you can get a US bank account number, receive unlimited direct deposits, send money to the UK for free, trade stocks and Bitcoin, and file your taxes for free.

Cash App vs Venmo: Which is Safer?

Cash App and Zelle are both safe digital finance platforms that use two-factor authentification and data encryption to keep your money and data safe. However, they offer different services and are regulated differently as a result. Ultimately, we recommend you send money to vendors and people you know and trust because returns from scams are not ensured. It may be helpful to think of your transfers like irreversible cash transactions.

Is Cash App Safe?

Yes, Cash App is a trustworthy financial platform because it partners with FDIC-insured banks. When you verify your Cash App account, you will receive a routing number and checking account number to hold cash balances with their bank partners. The FDIC will cover eligible Cash App accounts up to $250,000 per customer in the rare case that Cash App declares bankruptcy.

With Cash App, you may trade stocks on the stock market. Their brokerage services are provided by Cash App Investing LLC, which is a member of both FINRA and SIPC. You must be aware that investing involves risk and that you may lose money. Investing balances are not covered by FDIC insurance.

Is Zelle Safe?

Zelle is a safe financial service that uses high-security measures to keep your payments and your data safe and secure. Zelle is only an electronic funds transfer service and does not hold current accounts, which is why it does not need to partner with FDIC-insured banks that hold customer funds.

As long as your recipient has an email or phone number registered with Zelle, you will be able to easily transfer money to them. If you plan on sending money to a vendor who you don't know or trust, then we recommend using a credit card first if possible. Zelle does not offer fraud protection and payments cannot be reversed without consent from the recipient.

📋 License

Money Transfer Service

Electronic Fund Transfer Service

👥 Customers

70 million

100 million

🔐 FDIC-Insured partner

Try Cash App ❯Learn More

Cash App vs Zelle: Which Has the Better App and Service?

You can download Cash App and Zelle on any iOS device via the App Store, any Android device via Google Play, or a web browser. As we will find in this section, the two are a bit difficult to compare because they offer quite different services.

In sum, Zelle is ideal for bank-to-bank transfers with friends and family. Cash App is a popular peer-to-peer payment service that lets you hold balances and access many other financial tools.

Similarities Between Cash App and Zelle

Both offer very similar services for sending and receiving money:

  • Sending and receiving money: You can send money to individuals and pay businesses easily and instantly.
  • No hidden fees: Both are free to download and neither charge monthly membership fees.

What is the Difference Between Venmo and Cash App?

The main difference between Cash App and Zelle is that Zelle only sends cash electronically from bank to bank while Cash App allows you to hold actual cash balances on the app. We also walk through Cash App's major offers:

1. Sending Methods

Zelle users can send money to each other's American bank accounts by inputting either the recipient's registered email or phone number. If you send money to someone who has not yet enrolled, then they be notified. If they do not enroll within 14 days, your money will be refunded to your account.

Cash App users can instantly send each other money through the app by typing in the recipient's unique $Cashtag, registered email, or registered phone number. Like Zelle, your transfer will expire if your recipient doesn’t accept the money within 14 days. If you want to top up your own account, you can do so by bank transfer, debit or credit card transfer, and cash. You will need to go to a participating store, like Walgreens, to top up your account with cash.

2. International Payments

Cash App supports free international money transfers between Cash App users in the United States and those in the United Kingdom. Not only do they charge zero fees, but Cash App also uses the real mid-market exchange rate (as opposed to pocketing an exchange rate margin).

This is honestly an astounding and incredible feature when compared to other international money transfer services. Zelle does not support international transfers.

3. Investing

Cash App's brokerage service lets you buy publicly-traded stocks without charging commission fees. You also have access to Bitcoin trading, which will cost around 1.5% to 2.3% per purchase. Investing and cryptocurrency both involve the risk of you losing money.

Zelle does not offer an investment platform.

4. Cash Card

Cash App offers a Visa debit card that is connected to your Cash App balance. When you spend, you can get discounts at select brands. Cash App does not offer a credit card.

As a money transfer app that does not hold current balances, Zelle cannot offer a cash card or debit card.

5. Filing Taxes

Cash App processes personal tax filings and tax refunds, which is both convenient and 100% free. If you are an individual using Cash App to buy stocks, Cash App will also send you Composite Form 1099. Businesses that use Cash App to get paid for goods and services will be sent Form 1099-K.

Zelle does not issue tax forms to its users. Private users and businesses that use Zelle are responsible for reporting taxable activity to the IRS.

💻 Platforms

Android, iOS, web browser

Android, iOS, web browser

📧 Send Methods

$Cashtag, Phone Number, Email

Phone Number, Email

💵 Top-up

Bank transfer, debit & credit card, cash

Int'l transfer

Yes, for US and UK


Bitcoin only

Stock trading

Debit card

Credit card


Google Pay

Apple Pay


Files taxes

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Cash App vs Venmo: Which Has the Cheaper Fees?

Cash App and Zelle are free to download, have no account opening fees, and charge no monthly fees. It's completely free to send and receive money from a linked bank account or another user.

Transfer Fees

Zelle never charges any fees for their bank transfers. However, you should check with your bank if they levy their own fees for using Zelle. Most American banks let customers use Zelle for free.

Cash App also provides free and instant peer-to-peer transfers. If you want to top up your Cash App account from a bank, the free transfer may take 1-3 business days. For instant transfer fees: Cash App will charge 0.5% to 1.75% for the service. To top up your card by credit card, Cash App will levy a 3% fee.

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Cash App charges $2.00 per ATM withdrawal with its debit card but will waive ATM fees for eligible customers. To become eligible, you must receive $300 or more in direct deposits per month on the app.

Zelle does not have a card and does not offer cash outs by ATM.

Business Transaction Fees

This section only applies to business profiles. If you are a business that uses Cash App to accept payments from customers in exchange for goods and products, then you will have to 2.5% per transaction (2.75% when accepting credit card payments). In contrast, Stripe takes 2.7% + $0.05 per sale.

Zelle does not charge any fees for business users, which is a major draw. However, Zelle only initiates transfers from other Zelle users. Payments can only be sent via your email or phone number, as Zelle does not accept credit cards, debit cards, or checks.

Account opening



Monthly fee



Transfer by bank



Business transactions



ATM withdrawal



Top-up by credit card



Instant transfers

0.5% to 1.75%


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Cash App vs Venmo: Which Do Customers Review Better?

With tens of millions of customers each and thousands of reviews, Cash App and Zelle are the two most popular and highly-trusted P2P networks in the United States. Despite having less users than Zelle, Cash App's users have written more reviews in total and have given higher scores on average.

Cash App scored 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Play over Zelle's score of 4.1. Cash App and Zelle tied on the App Store with a 4.8 out of 5 stars.

In the end, we think it's safe to say that both services, by and large, impress their customers.

🌎 Availability

the US & the UK

the US

📞 Support

In-app live chat, phone, and social media

In-app chat, phone, and email

Google Play score



Goole Play # reviews



App Store score



App Store # reviews


431,559 reviews


70 million

100 million

Try Cash App ❯Learn More

Cash App vs Zelle: The Bottom Line

If you intend to use these apps primarily to receive money or pay friends and family, then you can't go wrong with either option. Your decision may simply come down to which app is more widely used in your circle of acquaintances.

For additional features, like buying stocks and Bitcoin, sending money to the United Kingdom for free, or getting discounts with a cash card, Cash App may be a better choice. Cash App's free tax filing feature may also make it the more appealing app.

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Cash App Features:

  • Get US account details for direct deposits, tax returns, and tax refunds;
  • Transfer $7,500 per week and receive unlimited;
  • Send money to UK users with no hidden fees;
  • Deposit checks and cash.

Frequently Asked Questions About Zelle vs Cash App

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References Used In This Guide

Square. Terms and Conditions. Accessed 16 December 2022.
Square. Licenses. Accessed 16 December 2022.
Cash App. Help Center. Accessed 16 December 2022.
Zelle. Support. Accessed 16 December 2022.
Zelle. User Agreement. Accessed 16 December 2022.

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