Citi will join Early Warning's clearXchange, giving the bank-operated digital transfer network a boost as it takes on apps like PayPal’s Venmo.

Like Venmo, clearXchange lets customers of participating banks send money to each other with minimal navigation, requiring only the email address or mobile phone number of the intended recipient. Citi aims to implement this function in early 2017, it said in a Sept. 28 news release.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo founded clearXchange to attract consumers to user-friendly bank-base money transfer systems, such as Chase QuickPay or Wells Fargo SurePay (although clearXchange has never been promoted as a consumer brand). The three cover more than half of the online banking market. U.S. Bank, Capital One, Frost Bank and FirstBank have since joined.

In 2015, Early Warning, a bank-led risk management initiative, acquired clearXchange, which has since become a part of the banks' faster payments strategy, and clearXchange is considered a launch point for uses beyond P-to-P transfers, such as government payouts and insurance claims disbursements.  

ClearXchange is also developing a dedicated money transfer smartphone app called Zelle that would be in direct competition with with PayPal, Square and Circle for an October launch.

“We are pleased to join the clearXchange network, enabling millions of Citi clients to make real-time person-to-person payments to anyone with a U.S. bank account,” Barry Rodrigues, head of global digital payments for Citi’s global consumer bank, said in the release. “As the payments landscape continues to rapidly evolve, Citi is committed to making it easier for our customers to move their money quickly, safely and seamlessly.”

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