Zelle for Business: How It Works, Which Banks Offer It

Zelle lets businesses accept customer payments, but you may need additional payment solutions, too.
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Zelle is a peer-to-peer, or P2P, money transfer service and digital payment network. While it’s designed for consumer banking, you can use Zelle for business purposes to accept customer payments with a linked business bank account.

If your business bank supports Zelle — Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank do, among others — it’s a great option for fee-free, contactless payments. But since Zelle lacks features your business will likely want (like accepting credit card payments), it probably won’t be the only payment processing company you need.

Who can use Zelle for business?

Though thousands of financial institutions offer Zelle, they don’t all support business account use. For your business to use Zelle to accept payments, you’ll need to open a business bank account with a financial institution that does.

The following banks support Zelle for business use. Choose each name to read NerdWallet’s review of that bank’s business checking account.

Using a different small-business bank? You can find out if it offers Zelle through your mobile banking app. If it does, you can enroll using a mobile number and email address. If you already have a personal Zelle account, you may need to use different contact information for your business.

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NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Payment processing fees 

0.40% + 8¢

plus interchange, in-person; 0.50% + 25¢ plus interchange, online.

Payment processing fees 

2.6% + 10¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Payment processing fees 

2.7% + 5¢

in-person; 2.9% + 30¢ online.

Monthly fee 

$0

Monthly fee 

$0

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Monthly fee 

$0

How Zelle for business works

To use Zelle for your business, both you and your customers must set up Zelle on your mobile phone or via online banking. Your customers don’t need to belong to the same bank as you, just another participating U.S.-based bank in the Zelle network. Customers also have the option to download the standalone Zelle app and link a debit card.

After that, the customer can pay following these steps:

  • Provide your Zelle business info. The business provides the customer with its Zelle contact information, typically a phone number or email address linked to the account. You may also be able to show your customer a Zelle QR code.

  • Inputs those details. The customer will use your contact information and payment amount to send the payment. Zelle often sends a security code via text message or phone call for first-time recipients to verify the transaction.

  • Receive confirmation. The recipient — the business owner or employee — will get a notification from Zelle, typically via text message, that the payment has been received.

How much does Zelle cost businesses?

Zelle does not directly charge fees for business and personal transactions. Transaction limits and fees are determined by each user’s bank, not Zelle, and can vary.

In general, most business banks don’t charge fees for Zelle, but they do place limits on transactions. For example:

  • Bank of America caps how much small businesses can send at $15,000 per 24 hours, $45,000 in a seven-day span and $60,000 every 30 days. You’re limited to 20 transactions per day and 120 per month.

  • Chase users can send up to $7,500 per Zelle business transaction.

  • Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank limits vary by user and by recipient.

Consumers whose bank or credit union doesn’t offer Zelle can send up to $500 per week in the Zelle app, via a linked debit card. Businesses must be enrolled with a Zelle network bank to receive payments.

Benefits of using Zelle for business

No fees

Zelle doesn’t charge fees to send or receive money, for businesses or customers. Very few banks charge fees to use Zelle either, but it’s best to check with your bank about potential fees and transaction limits before receiving payments.

Contactless payments

With Zelle and other P2P apps, customers can pay without cash, cards or even using a checkout terminal. That means they don't have to share sensitive account details either, like credit card numbers. If you're a cash-only business or taking one-off, in-person payments (like at a public fair or market), using Zelle can give you an extra way to accept payments without needing a point-of-sale system.

Fast transfers

Unlike payment processors and other P2P apps, Zelle facilitates direct transfers between bank accounts. Zelle payments typically arrive within minutes.

Drawbacks of using Zelle for business

Doesn’t support credit cards

Since Zelle is a direct bank account transfer service, credit cards can’t be connected to make payments. Other P2P apps like Venmo and PayPal will link credit cards for a fee. Your customers may want the option to pay with credit cards; most businesses eventually need to turn to a payment processor to support them.

No purchase protection

Zelle doesn’t protect payments made within the network, and payments can’t be canceled if sent to the wrong person. The platform recommends only sending payments to people you know and trust, making sure you're using the correct email address.and proceeding with caution before using Zelle for purchases. Because of this, customers may prefer a more secure payment method that can guarantee refunds.

Purchases you make for your business with Zelle generally aren’t protected either, so don’t transfer funds until you’re certain they’re going to the right place.

Only available in the U.S.

Zelle can’t be used with international bank accounts; both parties need to bank with U.S.-based financial institutions within the Zelle network. Because of this, the service isn’t a good fit for businesses operating abroad.

Alternatives to Zelle for business

Venmo

Venmo is a peer-to-peer money transfer app that has features for small-business use. Businesses can register for the platform with a business account and incorporate payments with Venmo’s parent company, PayPal. Venmo also facilitates returns and sends business users receiving over $600 per year a 1099-K tax form, unlike Zelle.

Unlike Zelle, the service charges a merchant fee — 1.9% plus 10 cents per transaction — and doesn’t transfer directly to your bank account. Instant transfers cost 1.5% of the amount transferred, with a minimum fee of 25 cents and a maximum fee of $15. You can avoid an additional transfer fee if you opt to get your money in one to three business days.

Cash App

Cash App is a peer-to-peer app that integrates with Square, a popular POS system for many small businesses (both services are owned by Block). The platforms can share data, and Square checkout devices can display Cash App QR codes for direct payment.

There are no platform-specific fees, just Square’s standard processing rate of 2.6% plus 10 cents for card-present transactions or 2.9% plus 30 cents for card-not-present transactions. Instant bank transfers are free for business accounts. Cash App does offer chargeback protection and does not add on chargeback fees.

Chase QuickAccept

If you do your business banking with Chase, you can use the bank’s built-in payment processing service to accept credit and debit card payments directly into your bank account. Like using Zelle for business, these payments will generally appear in your account on the same business day (or the next business day if you took the payment during evening or weekend hours).

This service isn’t free, though — you’ll pay 2.6% plus 10 cents for each tap-to-pay transaction and 3.5% plus 10 cents for manual transactions and payments via links you’ve sent. If you want hardware that lets you swipe a credit card, you’ll have to buy that separately.

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Helcim

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