Sending money to friends, family, and businesses is getting easier all the time, thanks in part to smartphone apps such as Venmo and PayPal. Now a number of major US banks are participating in a rival service, Zelle, that could be a major competitor to Venmo and others.
Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo are among the over 30 banks revealing their support for Zelle, according to The New York Times. Users will only need to have a phone number or email address to send, for example, $20 to their babysitter or $50 to help a friend split the check for dinner. If a person’s bank supports Zelle’s network, they will be able to immediately put any money sent from the service into their bank account for free. Other services like Venmo sometimes take a day or more to place the money into accounts. Banks will begin to officially support Zelle later in June. Those institutions will also be able to incorporate Zelle’s features directly into their mobile apps.
For those people who don’t yet have a bank that supports the service, Zelle plans to launch a standalone app sometime later this year. However, it sounds like it won’t have some of Venmo’s more interesting features, such a social feed that allows its users to show their payment streams to anyone else who is interested.