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Does Zelle charge a fee? Almost every financial solution worth noting does and for a reason. In today’s competitive market, making it easy for consumers to do business with you is imperative. Consumers want streamlined payment processing, and anything less may be the reason for them to take their spending elsewhere. Zelle, first made popular as a peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer service, now also aims to simplify business payments. However, while it may seem like an easy option, many businesses are left wondering: what’s in the fine print? What are the constraints?
As payment apps like Zelle aim to combine all-in-one technologies to gain a competitive edge, business owners should weigh all of their options. Although peer-to-peer apps offer convenient direct-pay options, traditional merchant services may offer better value to certain business models. We’ll uncover Zelle’s business fees and help you evaluate Zelle against other options to find the best solution for your setup.
The Ins and Outs of Zelle Business Account Fees
One of the reasons peer-to-peer apps are so popular is their free transfer structure. Most P2P apps don’t charge for personal transactions via their app. However, when it comes to using these apps for business transactions, the fee structures can add up to a significant charge quite quickly—with one standout exception: Zelle.
As with P2P Zelle transactions, Zelle for Business requires you and your clients to have access to the Zelle app. And since most major US banks are part of the Zelle network, this is rarely a problem.
So, if Zelle doesn’t charge a fee, what’s the catch?
While both P2P and business transactions through Zelle are completely free, it is worth checking with your specific financial institution to see whether they charge separate fees for business-related transfers. In addition, banks supporting Zelle may impose different transfer and transaction limits, so be sure to check your bank-specific policy. You will need a business checking account to use Zelle for business transactions.
Even with these caveats, Zelle’s free, contactless payment service probably still sounds ideal for many merchants. However, there are other drawbacks to consider that make the service inefficient as a standalone payment method.
Many partner banks include Zelle functionality within their own apps, including:
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo
- Bank of the West
- Morgan Stanley
- U.S. Bank
- Investors Bank
For one, Zelle doesn’t support credit card payments, limiting the range of options for customers. This limitation goes further as Zelle is exclusively available within the United States, with no support for international transactions.
Additionally, there is no built-in payment protection service, leaving transactions vulnerable in the event of disputes. This lack of protection is especially worrisome since Zelle payments cannot be reversed or canceled.
Even though most major financial institutions do not charge fees for Zelle, they do impose limits on the size and number of transactions you can run. In general, there is no limit to the amount of money you can receive, but current sending limits track as follows:
|Bank of America||$15,000 limit daily, with an added maximum of 20 transactions a day|
$45,000 limit per seven days
$60,000 every 30 days
120 monthly transactions
|Chase Personal||$2,000 daily|
|Chase Business||$5,000 daily|
|Wells Fargo||$3,500 per day|
$20,000 per month
Receiving limit up to $10,000 per day
|Capital One||$2,500 daily|
|Citizens Bank||$1,000 daily, with an added maximum of 15 transactions a day|
$5,000 per month
As a business, you must be enrolled with Zelle to receive any payments. However, if your customer’s bank or credit union is not a Zelle partner, they can still send you one payment of up to $500 per week.
Assessing Zelle’s Suitability
Choosing the right payment service for your business is key to maximizing sales and remaining competitive. Low (or no) fees will help you maximize profits and timely transfers will help you maximize cash flow. Zelle does not charge a fee, which means it offers both of these—and since payments happen via the app, you also don’t need a checkout terminal.
There is, however, an important consideration that may be a deal-breaker for some businesses. As we touched on earlier, Zelle does not accept credit card payments. Depending on your product, business, and ideal customer demographic, you’ll need to weigh the impact this will have on your sales. In addition, you’ll want to check transaction limits with your bank to ensure they won’t hamper your operations.
Comparing Zelle’s Alternatives
So, does Zelle charge a fee? No. Can Zelle’s limitations potentially cost you business? Yes. Considering the importance of payment protection and the fact that your business may need to offer payment processing, it’s worth exploring alternative options despite Zelle’s seeming cost savings. Let’s look at some of Zelle’s competitors.
1. Venmo for Business
Different from Zelle, Venmo holds funds in your account and makes them available for you to send, spend, or transfer to your bank. With Venmo, you can also use a debit or credit card (for an additional fee) to send money or make cash withdrawals.
Venmo for Business facilitates credit card, debit card, and QR code payments and integrates with eCommerce platforms for online payments. It allows refund processing, tipping, and facilitates crypto transactions. Note, however, that like Zelle, Venmo is only available in the US.
Venmo has several important fees to be aware of:
- Seller transaction flat fee: 1.9% plus $0.10 per transaction
- Credit card transaction fees: 3%
- Instant transfer fee: 1.75% (free transfers take one to three business days)
- Online transaction fees: 3.49% plus $0.49 per transaction
- ATM withdrawals: $2.50 per transaction
- Over-the-counter cash withdrawals: $3
- Non-payroll or non-government check deposits: 5% (minimum fee of $5)
In addition, Venmo sets transaction limits for different tiers of business accounts. Unverified Venmo business accounts have a $2,499 weekly payment limit and a $999 weekly bank transfer limit. After verification, that changes to a $24,999 weekly payment limit and a $49,999 weekly bank transfer limit.
2. Paypal for Business
PayPal offers international payment processing for individuals and businesses. With a PayPal Business account, you can invoice clients with a unique payment link, use a card reader, or enable PayPal as an online payment option on your website.
Before deciding on Paypal for Business, you probably want to familiarize yourself with its fees:
- Standard Plan (no chargeback protection) seller transaction flat fee: 2.99% plus $0.49 per transaction
- Advanced Plan (chargeback protection) seller transaction flat fee: 2.59% plus $0.49 per transaction
- Card-present transactions with PayPal hardware: 2.29% plus $0.09 per transaction (Once-off hardware fee of $29)
- Instant transfer fee: 1.5% (free transfers take three to five business days)
- American Express transactions incur a flat fee of 3.5% per transaction
- Currency conversion fees for international payments are 3%; this fee will also be dependent on your personal bank
As with the previously mentioned options, PayPal also sets transfer limits. Verified accounts can transfer up to $60,000 per transaction, though instant digital transfers may be capped at $25,000 per transaction. Instant transfers for cards are capped at $50,000 per transaction, with a further $100,000 daily, $250,000 weekly, and $500,000 monthly limit.
3. Cash App
Cash App’s business account (known as Cash for Business) allows you to accept all major debit and credit card payments directly from the P2P app. You can also create unique QR codes or shareable URLs for customers to make quick and easy payments. Unlike other similar services, Cash for Business does not charge for instant deposits—however, do be aware there is a seller transaction flat fee of 2.75%.
Cash App does not set any receiving limits for business accounts, and verified business accounts can send up to $7,500 weekly.
Paysley is a browser-based payment service that does not require an app. As a business, you can offer QR code scan-and-pay or generate an invoice with a unique link to a secure online payment page. Paysley allows you to send text payment requests, receive credit card payments through the browser, and perform batch processing through the merchant site. The key fees to understand are:
- Monthly fee: graded pricing tiers range from $15 to $99
- Seller transaction flat fee: $0.20
- $0.03 per SMS payment request
- $0.05 per MMS payment request
- $0.02 per email
Paysley does not set any limits on how many transactions you may conduct.
Wise is an international money transfer service that allows you to receive, manage, and send multiple currencies from one account. With Wise, you can make international payments to employees and suppliers and send payment requests to clients with a unique URL; in some countries, you can also register for a Wise debit card for online payments, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. You can also make two ATM cash withdrawals monthly of up to $100 each for free—anything over that sum incurs an ATM fee of 2% plus $1.50.
The fee for sending money starts at 0.43% but varies significantly depending on the currency and transfer method. For instance, if you’re sending US$1000 to Mexico using a Wise account transfer, it may cost you $6.98. But if the transfer method is a debit card, the cost will go up to $19.50—and for a credit card transfer, it can jump to $46.19. You will be able to choose the method, compare the fee, and see the exchange rate before proceeding with any transaction. Here are a few additional fees to consider:
- Account registration: $31 once-off
- Debit card application: $5 once-off
Wise, like many of the services listed here, also sets certain transaction limits. Debit ACH transactions are capped at $15,000 daily, while debit or credit card transactions cannot exceed $8,000 within seven days (and no more than $2,000 every 24 hours). Local bank transfers can go up to $1 million, and international wire transfers through the SWIFT network can go up to $1.6 million.
Zero Cost Processing: Offset the Cost of Processing Payments
Zelle, much like its competitors, does not charge a fee to accommodate businesses that need its features. However, like many of its competitors, they were never intended for commercial use, as they lack several business-specific features and capabilities.
Since Zelle is not specifically designed for running a business, it lacks business and financial management features you may get with other payment service providers; such as inventory management, payroll integrations, and chargeback and payment protection services. Zelle does not have fully optimized payment method offerings.
Merchant service providers understand that each business is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all payment processing solution. To maximize your profits while offering convenience to customers, you need a zero-cost payment solution designed with your exclusive business needs in mind.