Zelle Logs 100M Transactions in 6 Months, Releases Standalone App

EXCLUSIVE— P2P Venmo challenger Zelle will launch its standalone app this month, allowing customers to use the service directly rather than transacting via a Zelle-enabled mobile banking app.

The move will hopefully help Zelle — which is owned by Early Warning Services, LLC — continue the growth it has been consistently seeing over the past year, Melissa Lowry, vice president of marketing and branding at Early Warning, told Bank Innovation.

“Since June, we’ve seen on average that that banks have grown their enrollments [for Zelle] by 50%,” said Lowry, adding that some banks on the Zelle network, such as U.S. Bank, have seen as much as a 300% increase in this area since June 2017. “It’s a strong validation of that real-time experience.”

Aside from its growth in enrollments, Zelle has also processed 100 million transactions for over 50,000 customers in the first six months of 2017, with the transactions totaling up to $33.6 billion. This is compared to the $55 billion in transactions that the company processed for the whole of 2016, and Zelle “expects the pace” of its 2017 growth to continue, according to Lowry.

Zelle will also be launching its long-awaited standalone app, which will become available on both the App Store and Google Play on Tuesday, September 12th.

There are currently 12 banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, enabling Zelle in their mobile banking apps, with a further 23 banks expected to launch the capability in coming months, said Lowry.

“We think in general, customers will largely go to their banking app [to use Zelle] because they have it on their phone, the bank already has all of their information , but there are definitely instances where the customer might want to use the standalone Zelle app,” said Lowry.

These would be instances where one might be out with friends, headed to dinner, or other events where a customer may not want to flash their bank balances and might just want to make a quick P2P transaction.

The standalone Zelle app will have all of the same P2P functionality as its mobile bank counterpart, with users able to send, receive, and request money. For those users banking with partners already in the Zelle network, the app will also enable the company’s popular “Split” feature “from day one,” said Lowry.

However, that doesn’t mean Split—which allows you to divide an expense among multiple users—is never coming to out-of-network users. “We’ve gotten great feedback on Split, and would love to extend it to all of our customers,” said Lowry.

After the launch of its standalone app, the company will be focused on providing that real-time P2P experience to its customers, and might explore additional features on its app.

While Zelle currently allows for customers to receive disbursements, such as insurance checks, it does not currently allow customers to send payments to those businesses.

“Not yet,” said Lowry, when asked if customers could send such payments. “We are exploring the reverse [of disbursements] — consumers paying businesses, whether it’s e-commerce or the POS. There’s a lot of opportunities in the payments space.”