New Zelle app could mean the end of the bank ATM

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 12:09 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 05:37:48-04

Brett Ramsey was using the ATM for the umpteenth time this week, saying it sure would be nice to be able to use his smartphone instead.

"I think so, I don't see why not," the downtown restaurant manager said. "We use our phone for everything else. Home security, cable, watching television, everything." 

Good news to Brett and others tired with that three-times a week to the ATM for cash: that day is finally here.

Zelle debuts this month

Some of the country's biggest banks are teaming up to launch Zelle, a person-to-person money transfer system, via your smartphone, that almost eliminates the need for ATM visits.

Melissa Stevens, chief digital officer of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, explained "you can transfer money from your own debit account, your own checking account, to another friend, maybe someone whose doing a service for you."

Zelle is the banking industry's answer to Venmo, a similar peer-to-peer money transferring service used by college students and millennials.

It hopes their parents will now sign up for peer-to-peer money transfers, with the comfort and security of their own bank's app. (Venmo is independent, and not bank-owned.)

Zelle's advantages

Why would you want an app like Zelle? 

Just think of the number of times you need to give a friend or co-worker 20 bucks, but you open your wallet and you don't have it.

Stevens says it's perfect for splitting a restaurant tab with friends, chipping in to an office pool or baby gift or paying a plumber.

Just type in their phone number or email address, and send money instantly from your debit card.

"It's much faster to just log on and send a payment to your colleague, than to have to write a check, wait for it to clear and make sure they got the money in their account," Stevens said.

Zelle will be available through your bank's app, and customers we spoke with said they are looking forward to trying it. "That would be good, that would be a very good thing," another ATM customer told us.

Interested? Zelle will be offered by the end of June by 30 banks, including Bank of America, Chase, Citi, US Bank, Fifth Third, and PNC.

It's free for bank customers, so you don't waste your money.


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