How to Use Zelle — The Complete Guide

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • A DOS Case ID is assigned to individuals who have attended an immigration interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy.
  • It is a unique identification number consisting of letters and numbers.
  • You can find your DOS Case ID on your Immigrant Data Summary, USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout, or your Immigrant Visa Stamp.
  • It is necessary to pay immigration fees online using the DOS Case ID through the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS).

Nowadays, sending and receiving money is a piece of cake thanks to the numerous online apps that facilitate instant money transfers. One of these apps is Zelle, allowing you to send and receive cash within seconds. But what exactly is Zelle, how does it work, and how do you use the app? ****Let’s find out!

What Is Zelle?

Zelle is a widely-used mobile payment service enabling swift transfers between U.S. bank accounts using just an email or mobile number. Notably, transfers surged to $187 billion in 2019, marking a 57% rise from 2018. Developed collaboratively by over 30 prominent U.S. banks, Zelle is integrated within many bank apps, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, streamlining the money transfer process for users. If you have a partnered bank’s app, you’re Zelle-ready!

Using Zelle: A Quick Guide

There are two main ways to use Zelle — the send money and to receive money. We’ll look at how to do both of these actions below.

Setting Up Zelle:

Start by linking Zelle to your bank account. Access Zelle either via your bank’s mobile app/website or directly through the Zelle platform. Register using your email or phone – this is the detail others will use to send you money. If your bank isn’t partnered with Zelle yet, you’ll need to register on Zelle, specifying the debit card you want for transactions.

Sending Money via Zelle:

To send money using Zelle:

  1. Recipient Details: Input the recipient’s phone number or email linked to their Zelle. Always ensure the recipient is trustworthy to avoid scams, as reversing a payment can be challenging.
  2. Specify Amount: Input the desired amount, ensuring it adheres to your bank’s transaction limits.
  3. Finalize Transaction: Double-check the details and confirm. Remember, if the recipient is already on Zelle, reversing the transaction is not possible. If they aren’t registered, you can cancel the payment.

Receiving Money with Zelle:

For Zelle users, incoming funds are directly deposited into your linked bank account. If you aren’t a Zelle user, click on the link in the payment notification, select your bank, and follow the on-screen instructions. If your bank isn’t associated with Zelle, use the Zelle app to claim the funds.

Is There a Fee for Zelle?

The great thing about Zelle is that it is completely free of charge. You can send and receive money without worrying about any potential fee. This is different from apps like Cashapp or Venmo, which charge you fees when you use a credit card to send money. Fees also apply when you want the money deposited into your bank account immediately with Venmo or Cashapp, and the fees can be anywhere between 1.5% to 3%.

How Other Money Transfer Apps Compare to Zelle

In today’s digital age, there are a plethora of money transfer apps that offer a variety of features to cater to different needs. One of the notable names in this domain is Zelle, known for its quick and convenient bank-to-bank transfers. But how does it stack up against other major players in the industry? Let’s delve into a comparative analysis.


Zelle is heralded for its seamless transactions between bank accounts. There’s no cost to use it, and its primary advantage is that transfers are almost immediate. However, it’s limited in scope: international transfers aren’t supported, and you can’t link a credit card.


Remitly is another significant contender, especially for those who frequently make international transfers. It offers varied transfer speeds with a cost structure based on the recipient country. Though its express transfers can get expensive, it boasts a high user rating and provides several convenient delivery options.


Venmo has become ubiquitous, especially among younger demographics. Beyond its basic money transfer capabilities, its social features are a standout, allowing users to share and comment on payments. While it’s free to send money using a linked bank account or Venmo balance, there’s a fee when using a credit card.

Cash App

Cash ****App, developed by Square, brings added functionalities like the ability to invest in individual stocks and trade bitcoin. While its basic services are free, instant cash-outs come with a fee. It’s worth noting that Cash App isn’t FDIC-insured, despite these advanced features.


Lastly, PayPal is an industry giant, recognized globally. It supports transactions in over 200 countries and regions. One of its unique features is “PayPal Credit,” which allows users to finance large purchases over six months without interest. However, its fee structure can be more intricate compared to other apps, especially for international transactions.

While Zelle offers simplicity and instant bank-to-bank transfers, other apps like Remitly, Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal bring unique features to the table. Your choice will depend on your specific needs, whether it’s international transfers, social integrations, investment options, or credit facilities. Always ensure to review the fee structures and terms of use before settling on an app.

How to Use Zelle FAQ

Do you still have questions about using Zelle? Well, here are some frequently asked questions and their respective answers:

Is a bank account mandatory to use Zelle?

To utilize Zelle for sending or receiving funds, you must possess an active checking or savings account with a bank or credit union.

Is it necessary to have a bank account to accept Zelle payments?

Yes, to facilitate transactions through Zelle, you must be equipped with a valid checking or savings account linked to a participating bank or credit union. This ensures that when you receive money via Zelle, the funds are directly deposited into your linked account without requiring any additional steps on your part.

Which banks support Zelle?

Zelle collaborates with over 1,700 banking applications. Major banks offering Zelle include:

  • Ally Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Citi Bank
  • Discover Bank*
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • PNC Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo

To determine if your bank is Zelle-compatible, consult Zelle’s database.

** Currently not enrolling new Cashback Debit customers. Future applicants can request email notifications.*

How do I receive money?

In order to receive money, you must be enrolled with Zelle, and the sender must have your email address or your U.S. phone number.

How much money can I send and receive with Zelle?

Zelle restricts the amount of money that can be sent every week, but it depends on the situation. If you have a credit union or bank that doesn’t offer Zelle just yet, you will have a weekly limit of $500. Also, you cannot decrease or increase the sending limit.

If you have a bank or credit union that offers Zelle, though, you will have to contact them and ask them about their sending limits with Zelle.

What are Zelle’s transfer limits?

Receiving funds via Zelle usually has no caps. Sending limits, however, are determined by individual banks. For instance:

Bank of America:

  • $3,500 within 24 hours
  • $10,000 within a week
  • $20,000 monthly
  • Transfer numbers are capped, with distinct limits for small businesses and Merrill Lynch/Private Bank clients.


  • $2,000 per transaction
  • Daily limit: $2,000
  • Monthly limit: $16,000


  • Daily limit: $600 (subject to change based on various factors)

When will my payment arrive with Zelle?

Usually, it takes a few minutes for the money to be received by the sender. Payments are only delayed in special situations.

How do I request money with Zelle?

You can request money from someone by going to your app, selecting the person you want the money from, and entering the amount you wish to request. Then, you tap “Send” and the person will receive it. Of course, you also need to be enrolled with Zelle to make the request.

How secure is Zelle?

Zelle employs data encryption to safeguard your information, ensuring that sensitive financial details remain confidential. When using Zelle, only your phone number or email is visible to other users. However, due to its quick and non-reversible transfers, it’s vital to transact only with trusted individuals or entities. Zelle doesn’t offer fraud protection for approved transactions.

Read More

The Bottom Line

As you can see, it’s easy to use Zelle, no matter if you use the Zelle app or you use Zelle through your bank’s application. Just enroll with it and you will be able to transfer money instantly.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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