Just as Apple launched its own attack on Venmo with iMessage payments, so did the banks.
The bank-approved peer-to-peer payment tool Zelle went live Monday morning in most mobile banking apps.
Zelle is basically Venmo, only directly within your Bank of America/Chase/CitiBank app.
Zelle’s big advantage against Venmo, PayPal, and even Apple is that it’s approved by the banks where users already keep their money. Zelle doesn’t have its own app yet and for now is just a tool to send money within the mobile banking app you already have.
More than 30 financial institutions, from the biggest banks to tiny credit unions, have signed on to add the tool to their mobile banking services. The firm Early Warning Services is behind the tool.
Even though Zelle is backed by banks, it’s still trying to be fun and hip like Venmo.
But more than just stealing users from Venmo, Zelle is hoping to sign on the millions of consumers who don’t yet send money to their friends through an app a.k.a. non-millennials.
“Through mobile banking, it’s a safe and secure way to bring P2P beyond just millennials into a mainstream audience,” said Early Warning vice president of marketing and branding Melissa Lowry.
Money sent through Zelle, Lowry said, will deposit in your account within minutes a perk compared to Venmo’s multi-day cash-out period. That stands even when sending and receiving money from friends who use a different bank, since most major banks are using the same tool.
Apart from getting other age groups to try digital payment apps, Zelle wants to attract customers who’ve been too worried about security to sign up for Venmo.
Zelle will roll out to more banks and get its own standalone app within the coming months, the company behind the tool said. For now, you need a phone number or email address and a U.S. bank account to sign up.
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