How Zelle Makes Money

Zelle is a digital payments network that allows people to send money to each other at no cost.

The app is solely available to U.S. account holders whose banks are part of its network. Zelle currently works together with 1,000+ financial institutions. 

Zelle was initially launched as clearXchange in 2011 by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase to fend off platforms like PayPal. 

In 2016, after failing to launch a product, the banks sold it to Early Warning Services, which itself is owned by a consortium of 7 banks. 

A year later, in 2017, Zelle was finally unveiled to the public and rolled out in partnership with more than 30 U.S. banks.

By early 2019, Zelle already managed to overtake the Cash App and Venmo to become the nation’s most popular P2P payments platform.

Over 500 million accounts are now registered within the network. In 2021 alone, Zelle processed payments worth $490 billion.

But how does Zelle, which is completely free to use, actually make money?

The simple answer is that it doesn’t generate any money right now. While the likes of Venmo charge fees, Zelle has opted against any form of monetization thus far.

However, it has been speculated that Zelle could eventually charge merchant fees and establish its own Visa-like payment rails.

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