Big US banks introducing Zelle
For years, US banks have watched as their youngest customers split restaurant checks, shared utility bills, and pitched in for parties using third-party payment apps such as Venmo. Now, they’re trying to take back the person-to-person payments business by launching their own app.
Nineteen banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, are teaming up to start Zelle, a website and app that will let users send and request money much like Venmo does. Bank of America says it is the first to incorporate all of Zelle’s capabilities — including the ability to split bills between users — into its own mobile app, starting Wednesday. A standalone Zelle payment app should be available to anyone with a debit card, regardless of where they bank, by the middle of the year.
Bank of America is the first to be launching a service to its customers. Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America.says that “through Zelle, mobile users will be able to use the existing contacts on their mobile device to securely transfer money to – or request money from – almost anyone within minutes, regardless of where they bank.”
The bank’s clients will also be first among Zelle users to be able to split expenses among multiple contacts or friends – such as a group dinner check – and add a personal note along with the payment transfer or request.
Zelle has some stiff competition from Venmo and its parent company PayPal Holdings Inc. Venmo, which started in 2009, processed $17.6 billion in transactions last year, a 135 percent increase from the previous year.
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