- Zelle for business reduces the number of paper checks and cash payments for P2P and B2B transactions.
- Zelle can provide instant payments, so you don’t have to wait to receive your money.
- Zelle for business has low transaction fees compared to more popular competitors.
- This article is for business owners and merchants interested in using Zelle for instant digital B2B transactions.
With businesses moving to contactless forms of paying, digital payment poses many benefits over traditional paper checks and cash. Mobile payment processors like Zelle transfer money from one person’s or business’s bank account to another within minutes.
Transferring money instantly with little to no fees can be a game-changer for small businesses. You can offer convenience to your customers with little effort on your part. Plus, digital payments allow you to collect and send money 24/7, whether you own an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar store.
While you’re probably familiar with NFC mobile payment providers Apple Pay and PayPal, you may still be learning the ins and outs of Zelle. So let’s take a look at the basics of Zelle and answer your questions about this up-and-coming digital payment platform.
What is Zelle?
Zelle was founded by Early Warning Services in 2016, with headquarters 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.
Over 500 financial institutions have partnerships with Zelle. However, your financial establishment must offer Zelle as an option for your business account type for your company to use it. (Everyone is eligible to use the Zelle individual P2P service, either through their bank or the Zelle app.)
Tip: Not all financial institutions that feature the Zelle integration offer P2P and B2B services through their apps. Check with your bank or credit union to see which payment options it currently offers.
Zelle helps businesses and individuals reduce the number of paper checks and cash transactions. Mobile transactions through Zelle provide instant payment, and Zelle can automatically remind customers who haven’t paid. With the steady adoption by small businesses and increased consumer use, Zelle transferred hundreds of billions of dollars in 2021 alone.
How does Zelle for business work?
Before 2018, Zelle was used for P2P transactions only. Currently, Zelle is available for both P2P and B2B transactions. The expansion to B2B makes it easy for business owners with an established checking or savings account to use Zelle through their financial institution or the app itself.
If you are working with your bank directly, be sure to read through the information it provides for Zelle B2B. Unfortunately, not all financial institutions offer B2B payment services, and some banks have business account restrictions.
Pros and cons of using Zelle for business
- You receive instant payment, with no routing number necessary.
- Payment reaches your bank account sooner than it would with PayPal or Venmo, regardless of day or time.
- There are no fees if you use a checking account.
- It’s a convenient method for no-contact payments.
- You can categorize your digital payments for stress-free accounting.
Did you know? While Zelle doesn’t charge fees, your financial institution may charge you a fee for Zelle transactions (though this is uncommon). Zelle allows banks to set up their own transaction transfer limits for small businesses. Ask your bank about this before you add Zelle to your payment options.
- Zelle for business requires both the sender and the recipient to enroll in Zelle through their bank’s mobile app.
- 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 will have to 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, as the recipient has to 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. These are some well-known banks and credit unions that accept it:
- Ally Bank
- America First Credit Union
- BMO Harris Bank
- Farmers & Merchants
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- PNC Bank
- People’s Bank
- Wells Fargo
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, by immediately contacting your bank or if the recipient doesn’t have an account with Zelle. If you successfully cancel the transaction, you may have to wait up to 14 days (in the case of the recipient not having a Zelle account) to receive your money back.
Tip: When you send money via Zelle to a new recipient, it is ideal to send $1 for the first transaction. Once the initial transaction is complete, you can instantly verify that it was successful. This extra step prevents you from sending a large sum of money to the wrong contact.
How much does Zelle cost?
Currently, Zelle does not charge any fees for its service. However, since banks can set transaction limits, they may charge fees for using Zelle. Contact your bank to see if any fees apply.
How to set up a Zelle business account
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 will need to download the Zelle app directly (on either iOS or Android).
Choose an email address and 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. [Related: How to Get a Business Phone Number]
To create or receive a transaction, you will need the customer’s email address or phone number. Similar to PayPal and Venmo for Business, transactions are automatic, with no need for a routing number. You can then use Zelle to send and receive money, and split bills conveniently through your bank’s or Zelle’s app.
Does Zelle integrate with accounting software?
Currently, Zelle for business does not integrate with accounting software. However, the best accounting software does have options for recording Zelle transactions manually. Use your bank account associated with Zelle to find a list of business-related transactions.
Follow these steps to enter the expense manually through QuickBooks Online:
- On the left pane, select “Expenses.”
- Click the Vendors tab.
- Click the vendor’s name.
- Find the bill and click “Make payment.”
- Click “Save and close.”
- Do the same for the other bills.
To learn more about this accounting software, read our review of QuickBooks Online.
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.
Are there any transfer restrictions with Zelle?
Zelle does not currently limit transactions when using a small business account. However, your bank can limit both the number of transactions and the amount of money transferred regularly. Contact the bank you are interested in linking to Zelle 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. Let’s look at 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||15.1 million||Checking account Debit card||Web, iOS, Android|
|Apple Pay||500 million||iOS|
|Cash App||30 million||Web, iOS, Android|
|Google Pay||100 million||Web, iOS, Android|
|PayPal||300 million||Web, iOS, Android|
|Venmo||70 million||Web, iOS, Android|