The announcement was made by Early Warning’s president and CEO Paul Finch as he strode onto the Money20/20 stage wearing a polo with the brand–Zelle–proudly embroidered in white.
The Zelle network will offer its customers real-time payments “without [them] ever having to giving their details to a third party,” Finch declared to the audience in the ballroom of the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, where over 10,000 fintech professionals and other attendees have descended for the annual conference.
“From a consumer perspective you just need options,” says Andrew Tilbury, senior marketing strategist for Early Warning. “People need speed, and they need to have confidence that their money is going where it is supposed to go.”
To that end, Zelle is also planning to launch an appropriately simple mobile app early next year. Upon opening the app, users will see three options in the company’s signature purple, to either send, receive, or split a bill with another user.
The split money function should “take away some of the awkwardness,” according to Tilbury, that consumers currently have to deal with in daily life whenever they have to pay with others for something like dinner or rent.
At its launch, according to Tilbury, around 76 million mobile banking users will already have access to the app, a number expected to grow.
Like Zelle’s current platform, the app’s design may be one reason its users won’t have to route their details through a third party, but also Zelle has partnered with most of the people the details would be routed through anyway–including card providers Mastercard and Visa, banks like Chase and USAA, and other fintech providers like FIS and Fiserv.
“The goal of those partnerships is for us to reach more financial institutions,” says Tilbury, adding that this collaborative approach allows Zelle to provide its goal of ubiquitous service in the myriad of options consumers today require.
Here at Money 20/20, the collaboration vs competition debate seems to be leaning in favor of collaboration; as Esther Pigg, the senior vice president of product strategy for FIS, one of the companies Zelle is currently partnered with, said, the goal of collaboration “is really about expanding the customer experience.”
“We have to maintain flexibility,” says Bob Legters, senior vice president of product for FIS, which is one of the leading providers of financial service technology. “[Businesses] need to provide integration, scalability, security. If you couldn’t collaborate, you would have to be the genius of the universe.”
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