The main difference between Zelle and Venmo is that Zelle is a free service, with zero fees attached while Venmo offers free next business day transfer service, with a 1% fee attached to instant transfers.
Gone are the days of paying friends back in cash. It has never been more secure to exchange money with your friends and family, thanks to the introduction of peer-to-peer payment apps. These mobile services are making waves in the world of fintech, with a number of viable options for US customers to choose from. Two of the leading services are Zelle and Venmo; but which one is best suited to you? We find out.
Zelle and Venmo are popular payment providers for customers based in America. Both companies exclusively handles domestic money transfers, a deal-breaker for anyone hoping to send money overseas. If international money transfers are on the agenda, you will need to look elsewhere as both Zelle and Venmo handle US-only transactions. Find out How to Transfer Money Within the USA.
Zelle is owned by Early Warning Services, a private financial services company owned by some of America’s biggest banks including Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo. At the end of 2020, Zelle reported a company record of 1.2 billion transactions, citing $307 billion sent via their network.
Venmo was launched by college roommates Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail in 2009, before being acquired by PayPal in 2013. The company has gained 60 million users since its inception, reporting a 52% year-on-year growth in 2020.
When it comes to comparing Zelle vs Venmo, the key difference between the two payment networks is that Zelle works as a “quick pay” service, accessible through mobile banking hosts, as opposed to a stand alone app. Venmo, however, functions as a separate entity which allows users to hold funds in a digital Venmo account. While Zelle serves one primary purpose – to move money between linked bank accounts free of charge – Venmo does not limit transfer methods and allows the use of credit and debit card transactions too.
Splitting costs with friends is easier than ever before, due to the development of peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services. Th safety of this type of remittance is ensured by the bank and the app working together to provide temporary authorisation codes to ensure the banking information won’t be intercepted.
Divergent in functionality, Zelle and Venmo were both designed to elevate mobile money functions, enabling users to easily split costs and make payments instantly. Both organisations are excelling as digital payment purveyors but which one has the most convenient custom payment services for you? Read below to find out how Zelle vs Venmo compared.
Zelle is a free service, with zero fees attached. It is worth with your bank or credit union that there are no hidden fees on their end.
When moving money with Venmo, it is free for a next business day transfer service, with a 1% fee attached to instant transfers.
Venmo also facilitates credit card payments, with a 3% fee.
As an entirely free of charge service, this is an easy win for Zelle.
With an instant delivery service which is free of charge, Zelle’s ability to move money is instantaneous.
Users sending large sums of money via Zelle have been known to experience delays related when security holds are employed to protect both parties. In these situations, the transfer might not be instant.
Venmo offers instant transfers, but they come with a 1% transaction fee. Free Venmo transfers typically take 1 – 3 business days.
Standard Venmo transfers take longer than Zelle transfers, making there a clear winner for this category. As the faster service of Zelle vs Venmo, Zelle instantly moves money, completing a transfer in minutes.
Your bank will need to grant access to Zelle’s payment network. Zelle moves money straight into the recipient’s bank account within minutes. Notifications can be activated to receive alerts.
In terms of transparency, the company has been scrutinised for the terms of their “send money” service. Due to the quick and easy user journey, some customers have highlighted the inability to reverse funds in the event of sending money to the wrong person.
Venmo customers will be prompted to create a profile, linking their chosen “payment method.” Credit cards are accepted as a form of payment but Venmo charges a 3% fee for sending money this way.
Unlike Zelle, when receiving money via Venmo the funds are not automatically deposited into your bank account. Instead, the money remains in the Venmo account unless you make a bank transfer.
You can transfer funds instantly but this incurs a 1% fee. If you opt for the free transfer it will take 1 – 3 days for the funds to reflect in your bank account.
Although Venmo boasts more available payment methods, making it a more accessible application, funds are not immediately available in your bank account and often take 1 – 3 business days to appear there. On the flip side of Venmo vs Zelle is that Zelle grants immediately access to funds, following a money transfer, but you are only able to access Zelle services by connecting your chequing account using your mobile banking. Therefore, when it comes to Venmo vs Zelle, equal scores are awarded for this category.
You will need a smartphone to use Zelle. Compatible with nearly all major US banks, each institution displays Zelle’s features differently.
It is easy to use and can be found in banking apps, by selecting “Send Money with Zelle”. Users are then given the option to “send or receive”.
First time users will be prompted to select from recent recipients as well as phone contacts. New contacts can be added using the email or phone number of the payee.
Venmo ensures user-friendly and fun navigation. When selecting “Pay or Request” users are able to scroll through a list of their contacts who are also connected to the service.
Presented like a social media feed, Venmo users can see who others are making payments to. There is also the option to add GIFs, emojis and messages when sending and receiving money.
It is easy to search for a contact: simply type the name or Venmo username, phone number or email of who you want to pay or request money from.
Venmo is an app which has been specially designed to promote a fun and easy user experience. It has been awarded 4.9/5 stars, with over 10 million ratings, on the App Store, which backs up Venmo’s claims of being easy to use when it comes to comparing Zelle vs Venmo. For more information have a look at our guide on how to send money with Venmo.
Security is provided by authentication and fraud monitoring which are displayed as verification screens during the “send money” process.
Zelle, however, does not take responsibility for resolving any payment disputes users may experience. In the security section of their terms and conditions, Zelle states: “It’s important that you know and trust those you send money to. Because once you authorize a payment to be sent, you can’t cancel it if the recipient is already enrolled in Zelle.”
If the recipient has not enrolled with Zelle and does not claim the money within 14 days, it is returned to the sender.
For this reason, however, Zelle is not in the same league as Venmo and other mobile apps, in terms of secure bank-level data encryption.
With Venmo, the safety and security of customers’ money is paramount. Advanced data encryption is employed across the application to ensure the protection of all financial information.
On their website, Venmo declares: “We use encryption to help protect your account information and monitor your account activity to help identify unauthorized transactions.”
There is the option to enhance the security of your account by adding a PIN code and enabling two-step multi factor authentication in the app.
Users are further protected by a $3,000 daily spending limit.
Venmo implements multiple layers of cybersecurity which includes data encryption, two-step multi factor authentication, account PIN code, security questions and daily spending limit, making this one very secure mobile money app. Zelle simply does not employ the same levels of security as Venmo, plus the company has attracted its fair share of bad press related to security concerns about the “Send Money” refund process.
Customer praise online refers to:
On Trustpilot, 95% of Zelle reviews are criticisms of the company which include:
Venmo customers cite the following pros:
Concerns from customers relate to:
While comparing Venmo vs Zelle, both companies have received some bad comments online, it seems there are less negative reviews of Venmo and in terms of customer reach, Venmo has a more positive and active online community than Zelle.
MoneyTransfers suggests setting payment activity to “Private” if you are uncomfortable with any payment activity being publicised on Venmo’s public social feed. By doing this, payment activity is only shared to your own personal feed and the feed of corresponding payees.
Generally speaking, Venmo is the better quality app due to its elevated security and payment capabilities. As a digital payment provider, Venmo has evolved and continues to dominate the U.S. mobile app market. The company has introduced several alternatives to traditional bank services and recently pioneered their first Mastercard debit card, which lets customers withdraw from their Venmo account.
When it comes to comparing Venmo vs Zelle, another convenient benefit for Venmo users is the introduction of in-store payments, as Venmo becomes accepted anywhere that accepts PayPal. Every Venmo user is assigned a unique QR code which can be scanned when sending or receiving money, as well as by a merchant for in-store purchases.
If you are searching for an instant mobile payment method for more sporadic, casual money transfers, Zelle would be the better fit for you. No new app or account is required for use and as a service, Zelle can instantly move money between linked bank accounts, free of charge. Comparing Zelle ve Venmo, one of Zelle’s biggest downfalls is its limited accessibility; some smaller banks might not be utilising their services and therefore peer-to-peer Zelle payments may not be available for you.
April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.