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Bank-backed P2P payments app Zelle reports strong take-up


US bank-backed P2P payments app Zelle gathered momentum in 2018, with users making 433 million transactions worth $119 billion.

Launched in 2016, Zelle is the banks’ answer to Venmo, enabling Americans to send money to each other using just an email address or mobile phone number.

In addition to a standalone app, the service is being made available through participating banks’ own apps. There are now 60 financial institutions live and processing transactions and, with giants such as Bank of America onboard, the service has quickly blasted by market leader Venmo.

In the fourth quarter, Zelle saw a record $35 billion in payments on 135 million transactions. Year-on-year payment value soared 61%, while transaction volume shot up by 81%.

In its latest quarterly earnings report, Bank of America reported strong take-up of Zelle, recording 52 million P2P payments amounting to about $14 billion in Q4.

While the big banks dominate usage, Zelle operator Early Warning Services stresses that 85% of participants in its network are regional and community banks and credit unions with assets of $10 billion or less.

Paul Finch, CEO, Early Warning, says: “Our strategic processor partners are helping move Zelle closer to its goal of nationwide ubiquity – signing more than a hundred banks and credit unions in Q4 alone.”

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