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Zelle for Business

Updated Oct 23, 2023

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Many businesses incorporate digital payment formats because they bring many benefits that traditional paper checks and cash can’t offer. For example, digital payment facilitators like Zelle transfer money from one person’s or business’s bank account to another within minutes.

Instant payments with minimal — or no — fees can be a game changer for small businesses. You can collect and send money 24/7 and provide your customers with a convenient payment method. If you’re new to Zelle, we’ll explain how businesses can use this digital platform to simplify sales and payments. 

What is Zelle?

Zelle is a digital payment platform that makes sending and receiving money easy for people and businesses. While many businesses accept mobile wallet payments and NFC mobile payments, they may not be familiar with Zelle. 

Zelle was founded by Early Warning Services in 2016 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its U.S.-based peer-to-peer (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) mobile services allow users to send and receive money using only the recipient’s mobile phone number or email address.

Zelle helps businesses and individuals reduce paper check usage and cash transactions. Zelle transactions are instant; the service can even automatically remind customers they have a payment due. 

Over 1,800 financial institutions have Zelle partnerships. While anyone can use Zelle’s P2P service via their bank or the Zelle app, not every bank supports Zelle for businesses. Your financial establishment’s business banking services must specifically include Zelle as an option for your business bank account

With steady business and consumer adoption, Zelle transferred hundreds of billions of dollars in 2021 alone.

TipTip

Not all financial institutions with Zelle integration offer P2P and B2B services through their mobile apps. Check with your bank or credit union to see which payment options it offers.

How does Zelle for business work?

When you use Zelle for business, you connect the payment platform to a corporate bank account. You can then send and receive funds almost instantly without racking up credit card transaction fees

Zelle was initially used for P2P transactions only. However, in 2018, the company introduced the Zelle business account function. To use Zelle for business, business owners must have an established checking or savings account at a financial institution that supports Zelle for business. Then, they can send and receive money via their financial institution or its mobile banking app.

Because Zelle payments are tied directly to a bank account, they’re transmitted in minutes, removing the hassle of physical invoices and checks. Businesses don’t have to wait for a payment to arrive by mail — it’s all digital. 

Here’s how to get the most out of using Zelle for business:

  • Evaluate your financial institution’s Zelle policies. Ideally, your bank or credit union will facilitate Zelle business usage without charging transaction fees, which saves you money. Some financial institutions may charge a fee, but it’s uncommon.
  • Check your bank’s transaction limits. Banks and credit unions can set their own Zelle transaction transfer limits for small businesses. Check with your bank before adding Zelle to your payment options.
Did You Know?Did you know

All Zelle transactions come with a detailed digital record, so you can keep your bookkeeping efforts tidy and organized for tax season.

Pros and cons of using Zelle for business

Pros

  • Zelle allows you to receive nearly instant payments to your corporate bank account.
  • Payments are processed faster than PayPal or Venmo, regardless of day or time.
  • Zelle is a convenient method for no-contact payments.
  • Zelle helps you to categorize your digital payments for stress-free accounting.
  • Most banks don’t charge Zelle transaction fees.

Cons

  • Zelle for business requires both the sender and the recipient to enroll in Zelle through their bank.
  • Zelle doesn’t accept debit cards for transactions.
  • Zelle doesn’t offer purchase protection.
  • If a purchase has already gone through and your customer wants to return the item, you must refund the purchase with a different payment method.
  • If your recipient has multiple phone numbers and you send a Zelle payment to the wrong one, it could delay the money transfer for a few days. The recipient must add the mobile number you used to receive the transaction.
  • Zelle is not compatible with international banks.

Which banks and credit unions use Zelle?

The complete list of financial institutions that use Zelle includes hundreds of options. Well-known banks and credit unions that accept Zelle include the following:

  • Ally Bank
  • America First Credit Union
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Citibank
  • Farmers & Merchants
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • PNC Bank
  • People’s Bank
  • USAA
  • Wells Fargo
Key TakeawayKey takeaway

When you’re creating invoices, add Zelle as a payment method by including your Zelle-enrolled business email or phone number.

Is Zelle safe?

Zelle doesn’t rely on paper checks or cash, so payments can transfer immediately from one account to another. It also doesn’t store transaction data on a user’s servers.

However, instant payment isn’t perfect. If you send a payment to the wrong person, you can request a chargeback only if the charge shows as a pending transaction. When a charge is pending — or if the recipient doesn’t have an account with Zelle — immediately contact your bank to cancel the transaction. If you successfully cancel the transaction, you may have to wait up to 14 days (if the recipient doesn’t have a Zelle account) to receive your money back.

If you send money to the wrong account, or if a customer sends a payment to the wrong account, you’re out of luck. 

TipTip

When sending money to a new recipient via Zelle, send $1 for the first transaction. Once the initial transaction is complete, you can instantly verify its success. This extra step prevents you from sending a large sum of money to the wrong contact.

How much does Zelle cost?

Zelle does not charge fees for its service. However, banks can set transaction limits and may charge fees when you use Zelle. Contact your bank to see if any fees apply.

How to set up a Zelle business account

Here’s how to start using Zelle for business:

  • Verify that you have an eligible bank account. You will need, at minimum, a qualified business checking account and credit card (a debit card is not accepted). If your bank doesn’t have Zelle as a payment option on its mobile app or website, you can’t use Zelle for business. However, consumers can send money via the Zelle app directly (for iOS or Android) if their bank doesn’t support Zelle.
  • Link an email and phone number. Choose an email address and business phone number to link to your Zelle business account. This email address and phone number can’t be the same as those associated with your personal account. While this will give you another login to remember, Zelle is doing you a favor by keeping your personal and business transactions separate. 
  • Get your customers’ information. To create or receive a transaction, you’ll need the customer’s email address or phone number. Similar to PayPal and Venmo, transactions are automatic; you don’t need a routing number. You can then use Zelle to send and receive money using your bank’s mobile app. 

Zelle FAQs

Does Zelle integrate with accounting software?

Currently, Zelle for business does not integrate with accounting software. However, the best accounting software provides options for recording Zelle transactions manually. Use your Zelle-associated bank account to find a list of business-related transactions.

Here’s how to manually enter Zelle transactions in popular accounting software: 

QuickBooks Online

  1. On the left pane, select Expenses.
  2. Click the Vendors
  3. Click the vendor’s name.
  4. Find the bill and click Make payment.
  5. Click Save and close.
  6. Do the same for the other bills.

To learn more about this accounting software, read our review of QuickBooks Online.

Oracle NetSuite

Check out this helpful video tutorial to learn how to enter expenses manually. Read our Oracle NetSuite review if you’re interested in learning more about this solution.

Zoho Books

While Zoho doesn’t provide specific instructions for Zelle, it has tutorials for popular payment gateways, such as Stripe, PayPal, Square, ACH and WePay. Learn more about this software in our Zoho Books review.

Do I need a business bank account to receive money through Zelle?

Yes. A business bank account is required to use Zelle for your company. However, your customers can use Zelle with any bank account or use the Zelle mobile app. 

Does Zelle send any financial information to the IRS?

Zelle uses direct bank-to-bank transactions, so IRS 1099-K reporting rules don’t apply. Accurate financial reporting to the IRS is the business owner’s responsibility; however, Zelle provides transaction records for easy archival.

Are there any transfer restrictions with Zelle?

Zelle does not limit transactions when you are using a small business bank account. However, your bank can limit transaction numbers and amounts. Contact your bank to confirm specific transaction restrictions.

How does Zelle compare to other digital wallets?

Zelle is one of many B2B payment options vying for your attention. Here’s how Zelle compares to popular competitors in the B2B digital payment space:

B2B digital payment company Number of users Accepted payment types Compatibility Transaction fees

Zelle

67.8 million

(U.S. only)

  • Business bank account
  • Credit card

Web, iOS, Android

None. However, your bank may charge a fee or set transaction limits.

Apple Pay

500 million

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Apple Cash

iOS

  • Free for debit card and bank transfers
  • Regular credit card processing fees apply

Cash App

50 million

  • Bank account
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Prepaid cards

Web, iOS, Android

  • 2.75 percent processing fee per transaction

Google Pay

150 million

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank transfer

Web, iOS, Android

  • No transaction fees

PayPal

435 million

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank transfer

Web, iOS, Android

  • 1.9 to 3.49 percent per transaction, based on transaction type
  • Free for bank transfers

Venmo

85 million

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank transfer

Web, iOS, Android

  • 1.9 percent + $0.10 for payments sent from another Venmo account
  • 2.29 percent + $0.10 for contactless payments
  • Free for debit card transactions and bank transfers

Zelle simplifies sales and payments

Zelle is a convenient and versatile payment solution for many businesses. However, because it’s completely dependent on individual banks to implement, it offers a bit less flexibility. 

If you need a frill-free payment platform to help enhance and grow your business, Zelle is an excellent solution that simplifies transactions for customers and business owners. It’s also a strong addition to your payment options that offers customers more convenience. However, if you need a more comprehensive payment solution that tracks tax information, you’ll likely need to include other options like PayPal and Venmo for Business in addition to accepting credit cards and other digital options via one of the best credit card processors.

Eduardo Vasconcellos contributed to this article. 

Julie Thompson
Contributing Writer
Julie Thompson is a professional content writer who has worked with a diverse group of professional clients, including online agencies, tech startups and global entrepreneurs. Julie has also written articles covering current business trends, compliance, and finance.
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