The Complete Guide To Using Zelle For Business
Zelle is a money transfer service meant to compete with Venmo and PayPal. Now businesses can use Zelle to make and receive payments. Our guide tells you how.
Zelle for business offers businesses a promising potential alternative payment method. Namely, Zelle eliminates the need for both credit card payments and digital wallets such as PayPal. Instead, businesses can use Zelle to request or receive funds directly from customers, as well as send or request payments from vendors and contractors.
Zelle relies on bank-to-bank transfers and would seem like a viable low-cost alternative to digital payment processing. However, Zelle’s payment processing for businesses is still incredibly limited. Access to the service and features depends on which bank the business uses, and it is only available within the US.
Still, some businesses that are looking for an easy way to occasionally send and receive money and dislike the hassle of maintaining a digital wallet may find that a Zelle business account is the better alternative. Read on for an in-depth look at what Zelle is, what services it offers businesses, what Zelle costs, and what you need to be able to use Zelle.
Table of Contents
- What Is Zelle?
- Can I Use Zelle For Business?
- Which Banks Offer Zelle For Business Accounts?
- How Much Does Zelle Cost?
- How To Set Up A Zelle Business Account
- Not Sure Zelle Is Right For Your Business? Explore Some Alternative Payment Methods
- The Bottom Line On Zelle For Business
- Frequently Asked Questions About Zelle For Business
What Is Zelle?
Zelle transfers payments between consumers using hundreds of pre-vetted banks that are part of the Zelle processing network. You can access Zelle using your bank’s online banking app or the standalone Zelle app.
Zelle, like other mobile payment applications, including Venmo and PayPal, allows for the rapid transfer of funds. Unlike its competitors, Zelle transfers funds from one user’s bank account straight to another. You don’t need a Zelle account number, and there’s no long waiting period for funds to settle.
You can transfer money using 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 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?
Zelle now supports business and personal transactions. You and your customer(s) will need access to Zelle, which shouldn’t be a problem since most major US banks already use the Zelle network. Before getting started, you should set up Zelle For Business using your business banking account, business credit card, and an email address that’s different from your personal one.
While personal transactions are free using Zelle, business transactions may have fees imposed by one or both banks involved in the transfer of funds. You’ll want to confirm your bank’s policies on using Zelle for business, as not every bank in the Zelle network supports this use. Also, banks supporting Zelle for business transactions will usually have maximum transfer limits and possibly transaction fees.
Here are the main things to consider when using Zelle for business purposes:
- Contactless payment method
- Nearly-instant funds transfers
- No transaction processing fees (some banks)
- Transactions are very secure and FDIC-insured
- Available through most US banks
- Only available in the US
- Only supports transactions in US dollars
- No buyer purchase protection
- Transaction fees may apply (some banks)
- Usually subject to maximum transfer limits
4 Ways To Use Zelle For Business
Zelle For Business is quick and convenient for a variety of business use cases, but it works best in the following situations:
- Freelancers or independent contractors
- Service industries (e.g., gardeners, electricians, plumbers, etc.)
- B2B payments to contractors or vendors
- Businesses that only occasionally accept non-cash payments
Note that Zelle won’t work at all for international transactions and will be very unwieldy for any high-volume business that processes a large number of transactions daily.
Which Banks Offer Zelle For Business Accounts?
Zelle is operated by a company called Early Warning Services, LLC, a consortium owned by several of the largest banks in the US, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and several others. However, a bank doesn’t have to have an ownership stake in the company to use Zelle. Hundreds of banks across the US are part of the Zelle payment network, although it’s important to note that not all of them offer Zelle For Business accounts.
Here’s a brief list of some of the best-known banks that offer Zelle For Business:
- Ally Bank
- Bank of America
- BMO Harris Bank
- Capital One
- Discover Bank
- Fidelity Bank
- Morgan Stanley
- PNC Bank
- US Bank
- Wells Fargo
You can use Zelle For Business through either the proprietary Zelle mobile app or your bank’s mobile banking application. Several well-known 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 it supports Zelle For Business and integrates Zelle transfers with its mobile banking application.
How Much Does Zelle Cost?
In support of small businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Zelle charges no fees for users that 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 recommends 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 and the number of payment transfers users can send per day, week, and month. For example, Bank of America’s current transfer limits for small businesses are as follows:
|Time Period||Dollar Amount||Total Transfers|
Referring to the above example, small business users can process a single $15,000 transfer or 20 $750 transfers in a 24-hour period. The same goes for the seven-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 limit how much you can receive through Zelle.
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 one-two-three process that you can complete in a matter of minutes.
Before you get started, 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 US 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 your recipient’s email address or US mobile phone number 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 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. That’s 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.
Not Sure Zelle Is Right For Your Business? Explore Some Alternative Payment Methods
We’ve outlined common use cases for Zelle For Business above, but what if your business needs don’t match up with any of them very well? Luckily, you have other options. Spurred on by the surge in eCommerce transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative payment methods have flourished recently. Today, your customers have more ways to pay you than ever before. Each method offers its own unique features (and shortcomings), but all of them have the potential to improve the cash flow of your business.
Here are some of our articles that discuss the benefits of several of the most popular alternative payment methods available today:
- The Complete Guide To Accepting Online Invoice Payments
- Everything You Need To Know About Setting Up & Accepting ACH Payments
- What Is A Payment Link & How Do You Use One? 6 Best Pay-By-Link Options For Small Business
- What Is A QR Code Payment? Everything You Need To Know About Scan To Pay Methods
- What Is An SMS Payment & How Does Text To Pay Work?
- What Is Square Online Checkout? Your Guide To Using This New Square Payment Option
The Bottom Line On Zelle For Business
Zelle is, simply put, a godsend for both businesses and customers needing 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. With the COVID-19 pandemic finally winding down and inflation surging, however, it’s uncertain how much longer Zelle will remain free to use.
Zelle makes a lot of sense for businesses and users in the US that want lightning-fast payment transfers between US bank accounts. It’s also a great choice for small business owners who want an equally fast signup process that doesn’t require creating a new account number 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, as 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.
- It’s not only possible to pay contractors and vendors with Zelle, but it’s also just as easy as sending money to anyone else you know and trust. So long as your vendors and/or contractors have a bank account in the US, 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, such as increased customer convenience without the processing times of ACH debit and ACH credit payments. And, just like ACH payments, users can set up recurring payment plans that are perfect for recurring or 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.