Zelle now reaches half of U.S. banked adults via bank partners

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The bank-supported Zelle person-to-person payment network is starting to hit numbers its developers envisioned when entering the market more than two years ago.

Early Warning Services LLC, the network operator behind Zelle, is reporting that $49 billion was sent through the Zelle network on 196 million transactions during the third quarter of 2019.

Those figures represent a year-over-year payment values increase of 58%, and a transaction volume increase of 73%.

Currently, more than 600 financial institutions are contracted to participate on the Zelle network, including 254 that are online and currently processing transactions.

“Today, one in two adults with a U.S. bank account have access to Zelle in their mobile banking app,” said Lou Anne Alexander, group president of payments solutions at Early Warning, in a Wednesday press release.

“Consumers are turning to Zelle through their financial institution’s bank app, as a convenient way to pay each other without needing to download another app," Alexander added. "By connecting financial institutions of all sizes, we have enabled consumers to send fast payments to friends and family."

The Zelle app provides an option for consumers who don’t bank with a Zelle participant to send and receive funds from those that do. In addition to the 254 financial institutions currently processing transactions, an additional 5,516 banks are represented in the Zelle network through their customers' use of the Zelle app.

To reach this scale, Zelle had to overcome early fraud prevention bumps. Those issues mostly centered on the Zelle enrollment process, leaving some early adopters confused about consumer protections when applying for the service.

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