The Complete Guide To Zelle For Business: What Small Businesses Need To Know About The Money Transfer App
The US-based money transfer service known as Zelle has enjoyed popularity in recent years as an easy way for businesses and individuals to move their funds and cut back on checks and cash payments. And in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that most business owners don’t have any extra time to waste on collecting checks or cash payments from customers. With Zelle, businesses with eCommerce shops as well as brick-and-mortar locations can forgo physical payments and maximize customer convenience with real-time money movement.
Interested in using Zelle? Wondering if it can save both you and your customers time, energy, and money? Then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s break down the basics of what Zelle is, how it works, and whether it’s safe and cost-effective for your business to use:
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What Is Zelle?
The standalone Zelle mobile payment app integrates with mobile banking apps from several major banks (who we’ll cover in just a bit) to simplify the movement of money for businesses without requiring that they handle physical payments. If you have a valid U.S. bank account, then we have good news for you: you can immediately begin using the Zelle network to transmit person-to-person (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) payments to nearly any recipient, as long as they have a valid U.S. bank account.
Zelle, like other mobile payment applications including Venmo and PayPal, allows for the nearly instantaneous transfer of funds. But unlike its competitors, Zelle transfers funds from one user’s bank account straight to another; there’s no requirement that Zelle users set up account numbers to get their transactions going, only to have to wait several days for their funds to settle.
With Zelle, you can transfer money to your recipient’s email address or phone number. They’ll get a text or email from Zelle that lets them know your money is ready and waiting for them. If your recipient has a bank account with one of Zelle’s participating banks or credit unions, they can quickly sign up for Zelle through their bank or union’s mobile app or website.
Can I Use Zelle For Business?
As of 2018, Zelle transformed from a consumer-only service to a B2B and P2P mobile payment application. Business owners with small business checking or savings accounts can likely use Zelle right away since most major banks have integrated Zelle into their mobile banking applications. Note that some banks only offer Zelle for personal account transfers and not for B2B transactions.
If your bank does allow Zelle for small business use, be sure to check if they impose restrictions or on business accounts, as they may be different from those imposed on personal accounts.
Which Banks Use Zelle?
Zelle first began in April 2011 as the “clearXchange” service, offering P2P and business-to-consumer (B2C) payments. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo originally owned clearXchange, until the service was sold to Early Warning Services in January 2016 (owned by Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank, and Wells Fargo).
Early Warning Services then officially launched Zelle in September of 2017, deactivating clearXchange P2P accounts in the same year and encouraging former clearXchange users to sign up for Zelle. Now, Zelle partners with many notable major banks including:
- Ally Bank
- Bank of America
- BMO Harris Bank
- Capital One
- Discover Bank
- Fidelity Bank
- Morgan Stanley
- PNC Bank
- US Bank
- Wells Fargo
Banks that partner with Zelle make it safer and quicker for users to send money from a single and easy-to-use mobile banking application. Several notable banks and credit unions currently partner with Zelle but don’t yet integrate Zelle with their banking app, including BB&T, ConnectOne Bank, Morgan Stanley, M&T Bank, and several others.
Keep in mind that the above list of participating banks isn’t exhaustive; check with your bank to see whether they integrate Zelle with their mobile banking application.
Is Zelle For Business Safe To Use?
It’s understandable if, at this point, you’re wondering how a service like Zelle can be safe to use when it’s accessible to so many users. Fret not: Zelle, as is the case with the best B2B payment processing services, lets users request chargebacks if they accidentally send money to the wrong recipient or if their payment expires.
Chargebacks with Zelle do, however, come with caveats. Canceling a Zelle payment that you sent to the wrong person is only possible if your money hasn’t already been credited to your recipient’s checking account. If it hasn’t, then you can cancel your payment through your pending transactions, or by contacting your bank if you don’t see it as a pending transaction.
If you send money to a recipient who hasn’t signed up for an account with Zelle within 14 days of you sending them money, your payment expires. Once this occurs, Zelle notifies you of your payment’s expiration, whereupon the funds remit back to your account.
Generally speaking, Zelle maintains secure transfers since it doesn’t require that data be stored on a user’s servers. What’s more, Zelle doesn’t require that users transfer physical cash or checks, so payments can quickly and securely move from one bank business account to another. As icing on the cake, Zelle lets users review their transaction history as well as their receipts of payment through Zelle’s app or via their bank’s mobile banking application.
How Much Does Zelle Cost?
At the time of this article’s publication and in support of small businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Zelle charges no fees for users who need to receive or transmit funds. This fact applies to sending or receiving money with Zelle through both a participating bank’s mobile banking app as well as through that bank’s online banking service. Zelle does, however, recommend that users confirm with either their bank or credit union that they don’t need to pay additional fees for using Zelle.
Zelle Payments Transfer Limits
Zelle’s transfer limits vary depending on a user’s participating bank. Typically, though, there’s a limit on the amount as well as the number of payment transfers users can send per day, week, and month. For example, Bank of America’s transfer limits are as follows:
|Time period||Dollar amount||Total transfers|
Referring to the above example, users can process a single $3,000 transfer or 10, $300 transfers in a 24-hour period. The same goes for the 7-day and 30-day limits. Remember that since member banks control many details of Zelle including transfer limits, it’s important that you verify what your bank’s specific limits are for daily, weekly, and monthly transfers.
Lastly, note that a transfer limit typically applies to outbound transfers. Usually, banks don’t place a limit on how much you can receive through Zelle. Zelle also notes that users who use banks or credit unions that don’t offer Zelle must adhere to a weekly send limit of $500, which is not subject to requests for increases or decreases in send limits.
The Best Ways To Use Zelle For Business Accounts
Zelle makes a lot of sense for businesses and users who are in the U.S. and want lightning-fast payment transfers between U.S. bank accounts. It’s also a great choice for small business owners who want an equally fast signup process that doesn’t require that they create a new account number just to start sending payments.
Of course, there are multiple B2B payment processing services that can handle high-volume B2B transactions with relatively short fund transfer times. So, how does Zelle stand out amongst the competition? Just take a look at some of Zelle’s most ideal use cases:
- Zelle can handle relatively high-volume B2B transactions since it allows for an easy transfer of funds between bank accounts that requires only an email or phone number to initiate. Fund transfers with Zelle take mere minutes and don’t require that business owners jump through hoops to ensure PCI compliance since Zelle doesn’t store any payment data on user servers. Zelle’s payment transfer limits may not be conducive, however, to very high-volume B2B transactions that occur within fewer than 24 hours.
- Paying contractors and vendors is not only possible with Zelle, it’s also as easy as sending money to anyone else whom you know and trust. So long as your vendors and/or contractors have a bank account in the U.S., they can receive money from you via Zelle.
- Business owners looking for alternatives to checks, cash payments, and even automated clearing house (ACH) bank transfers have a lot to love about Zelle. Zelle includes the best parts of ACH transfers like increased customer convenience without the processing times that come with ACH debit and ACH credit payments. And, just like ACH payments, users can set up recurring payment plans that are perfect for payroll and occasional scheduled bill payments.
If you’re a business owner who’s looking for a convenient way to send, request, and receive money from your customers, contractors, and vendors through your mobile banking app or online banking service, Zelle may be perfect for you.
How To Set Up A Zelle Business Account
Setting up a Zelle account for your business is easy. In fact, it’s pretty much a 1-2-3 process that you can complete in a matter of minutes.
Before you get started, though, double-check with your bank that you can use Zelle with their mobile banking app or online banking service, and confirm that you have a cell phone number or email address that you can associate with your new Zelle account — you can’t use the same email or phone number for your Zelle business account that you already use for your personal Zelle account.
Now that you’re ready to set up a Zelle business account, just follow these three simple steps to get started:
- Access Zelle by enrolling an eligible U.S. phone number or email address through your bank’s mobile banking app or directly through the Zelle mobile app.
- Once you’re signed up, enter the email address or U.S. mobile phone number of your recipient through your mobile banking app’s integrated Zelle service or the Zelle app.
- Finally, simply choose the amount of money you want to send your recipient, whom Zelle notifies with instructions to claim their funds once you transfer the money.
Below is a screenshot of the Bank of America Zelle signup page (modified for privacy and security concerns):
For sole proprietors who are wondering whether they must have a business bank/checking account in addition to a personal account, rest easy: you can send money to an eligible business through your personal Zelle account because Zelle uses the same network to transfer payments, whether they’re going to a business or consumer account. However, business accounts cannot send or receive money from personal accounts that have enrolled in the Zelle app with only a debit card.
Frequently Asked Questions About Zelle For Business
Should My Small Business Start Using Zelle For Business?
Zelle is, simply put, a godsend for both businesses and customers who need to navigate a new world of remote purchasing, selling, and banking. Because Zelle is readily accessible for use through a huge number of major participating banks and is free to use, it’s no wonder that the app has made waves even amongst equally large and well-known competitors. Whether Zelle remains free-to-use beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, however, remains to be seen.
If you’re a business owner who needs a simple and fast way to pay contractors or vendors, hasten the payments you make and receive from other U.S.-based recipients, or simply want to cut down on the number of cash and check payments you process, then Zelle could very well be for you. If your business processes an extremely high volume of payment processing in short amounts of time or needs to send and receive payments from international bank accounts, consider alternatives to Zelle.
Intrigued by Zelle’s cashless, alternative payments? Learn all about the best cashless payment solutions that make it easy for small businesses to go cash-free and navigate an increasingly self-service-focused business landscape.