Cash App Vs. Zelle (The Apps That Serve Different Purposes)

Written By Adrian Volenik

Cash App and Zelle are some of the most popular financial platforms in the US. While Cash App is an independent app owned by Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc.), Zelle is backed by all the major traditional banks in the US and supported by almost 1,700 banks and credit unions. 

Zelle solely provides a way to transfer money between supported banks and credit unions. Cash App, on the other hand, offers instant mobile payments, a Visa debit card, and stock and crypto investing, as well as free tax filing. 

Let’s see what else is different (or the same) between the two financial apps. 

ZelleCash App
Bank Account RequiredBank Account or Visa/Mastercard debit cardNo
In-App $ Balance NoYes
CardNoYes, Cash App Card
Instant TransfersYes, if the Recipient is registered with Zelle.
If the Recipient isn’t registered with Zelle, it will take him 1-3 days to access the funds.
Yes, from Cash App to Cash App users.
Instant DepositsThe app doesn’t hold customers funds.Standard Deposits will take 1-3 business days.
Instant Deposit fee is 0.5%-1.75% (minimum of $0.25)
Methods to DepositThe app doesn’t hold customers funds.Bank Account
Paper Money Deposits
Credit Card (3% Fee Applicable)
Debit Card
Methods to WithdrawThe app doesn’t hold customers funds.Bank Account
Cash App Card
Additional ServicesNoBuying/Selling Bitcoin
Buying/Selling Shares
Wrong Payment MadeNo Reversal OptionsNo Reversal Options
International TransfersNoYes, Can Send Money To Cash App Users In The U.K.
Business AccountsYesYes

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Let’s take a closer look.

About Cash App 

cash app

Cash App is a payment app that you can download for free for Android and iOS phones and tablets. You can make payments and transfer money from your bank account, debit card, credit card, Google Pay, or Apple Pay wallets. 

All you need to pay another person is their telephone number, email address, or their unique Cash App identifier called $Cashtag. Even if the recipient isn’t a Cash App user, the app will send a link to claim the payment.

Cash App allows you to create a custom Visa debit card, called Cash Card, that you can use to buy goods and withdraw funds from ATMs directly from your Cash App balance without involving your bank account or credit card.

Additionally, Cash App allows for payments to and from your business account. There are some limitations in place regarding monthly limits that can be uplifted by providing more personal information like your ID, SSN, address, etc. More on that below.

How to Open a Cash App Account

Opening a Cash App account is easy and takes a few minutes:

  1. Download the app for Android or iOS
  2. Enter your phone number
  3. Enter the 6-digit code you get
  4. Add the debit card information to link your bank account
  5. Enter your full name
  6. Choose a distinctive $Cashtag
  7. Enter your postcode

To get the most out of Cash App, you’ll have to connect your bank account and verify your identity. 

About Zelle

Zelle is a payment app that you can download for free on iOS or Android. It is also enclosed in many mobile banking apps, ready to be used. 

Zelle directly transfers money from one bank account to another bank account, and there is no escrow or waiting period where Zelle holds on to the funds. It is a direct answer from big banks to Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, and other similar mobile payment apps

All you need from your recipient is their email address or telephone number to make a payment through either your bank’s mobile app, the internet, or the Zelle mobile app. 

If the intended recipient’s bank supports Zelle, they can accept the payment through their banking app. 

If their bank is not integrated with the Zelle app, Zelle will send them a link to accept payment to their debit card, with a clearing period of 1-3 business days. 

Zelle supports payment transactions between users and small businesses as long as the small business account is a registered Zelle partner.

How to Open a Zelle Account

Zelle is available as a standalone app or inside your mobile banking app or online banking. 

To make a Zelle account, you will therefore have to download the app or enroll in your existing mobile banking app, if supported. 

All you have to do is:

  • enter your email address
  • your phone number
  • a US bank account
  • or a Visa or Mastercard debit card

Credit cards and international bank accounts aren’t supported and probably won’t be in the future. 

Just like Cash App, don’t use Zelle to send money to people you don’t know. Only use it to transfer money to people you do know and trust, as the money is sent instantly, and there’s little chance of getting it back if something goes wrong. 

Pros & Cons


Cash AppZelle
No monthly feesFree to use
No transaction feesNo monthly fees
No foreign exchange feesFast transfers
Free debit cardIntegrated into hundreds of banking apps
Stock tradingNo need for recipient’s banking info
Bitcoin trading


Cash AppZelle
Spending limitsOnly for US banks
Bitcoin feesNo international transfers
No free ATM withdrawals (unless $300 direct debits/m)No credit card funds transfers
Withdrawal limitsNo fraud protection
Scams running rampantScammers use it 


Cash App

Cash App is free to use when sending money. However, if you want to withdraw the money and want it to be cleared instantly, you will be charged a fee of 1.5% (minimum fee of $0.25), or you’ll have to wait between 1-3 days for the funds to clear (for free).

Further, sending money via a credit card incurs a 3% charge, while paying via a debit card or bank account is free. If you’re using your Cash App Cash Card, then the following fees will apply:

  • Cash App will charge you for ATM withdrawals, and the ATM may also charge you additional fees
  • You will be charged $2.00 per transaction 

However, direct deposits to your Cash App account that total more than $300 per month will result in a maximum refund amount of $7 per ATM withdrawal (cap of $21 per month).


Zelle is free to use, but since it is linked to your bank’s online banking app, I suggest that you confirm with your bank that you don’t pay withdrawal or transfer fees when using Zelle. 

Zelle doesn’t charge any fees when sending or receiving money, but your bank may charge a fee (but typically doesn’t). 


Zelle is a no-frills way of sending money, and it doesn’t have any other features or services available to its clients. 

Cash App, on the other side, offers a spending account coupled with a free Visa debit card. There’s also the early payday feature that lets you receive your paycheck up to two days early.

The debit card can be personalized with colors and drawings of your choice. It also gives you access to so-called Boosts – instant discounts to some of the most popular brands. 

You can also invest in stocks and bitcoin for as little as $1. It’s an easy way of investing for beginners or advanced traders that love simplicity. 

There are no fees when buying stocks, and you get access to stats, analyst opinions, earnings, alerts on market trends, and set orders. 

Lastly, you can now file your taxes for free and without hidden fees or annoying upsells. You can be done with your taxes in minutes and easily max out what you can get back from the IRS. 


Cash App 

The following limits apply to users using the Cash App:

  • Unverified accounts can send $250 per 7-day period and receive $1,000 per 30-day period
  • Verified accounts can send $7,500 per 7-day period and receive unlimited funds

To change the status from unverified to verified, do the following:

  1. Open Cash App
  2. Attempt to make a payment of more than $250
  3. Enter your full name, date of birth, and your SSN’s last four digits
  4. Complete the remaining steps and finish the process by submitting the verification form

RELATED: How to Increase Limits to Send $10,000+ Through Cash App


Seeing that most traditional US banks and even credit unions back Zelle, the payment limits are usually enforced by each respective bank. 

The daily limit varies from $500 to $5,000 per day, while monthly limits may vary from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on your bank, the type of account you have, and the account’s status. 

There is no limit with regard to receiving money via Zelle. It is recommended that you contact your bank regarding your limits and inquire with them how to change them if you’re not satisfied with the limits you are given.

Credibility & Security

Cash App

Cash App has more than 80 million users and is up there with Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal as one of the most popular mobile payment apps. However, all the apps I just mentioned have their fair share of security issues that are relatively general knowledge. 

Cash App itself is riddled with scammers of all sorts, and thousands upon thousands of people have lost their hard-earned money. In our article, I list 13 types of scams that happen every day on social media and involve Cash App. 

Unfortunately, Cash App isn’t doing much to help its clients and has no responsibility to refund the money. You see, most people voluntarily transfer money to scammers because they are obviously not aware that they’re being scammed. 

That is why the company isn’t refunding the money to clients. 

On the other side, all your funds up to $250,000 are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and you will get your money back in case the company goes bust. 

All that being said, there are still tens of millions of people that are satisfied with Cash App and use it daily without any hiccups. 

READ NEXT: Can Cash App Be Traced? (Need to Know)


Zelle is convenient, free, and, best of all, it’s fast. The latter is also the reason why fraudsters and scammers love the app so much. 

While most bank transfers take a day or more to clear, Zelle transfers are nearly instant, which gives the thieves the ability to disappear with the money in literally seconds. 

The thing is, the banks are aware of the widespread fraud on their money transfer app. However, they’re claiming it’s not their responsibility as most of the time, the customers transfer the money “willingly.”

It is often only when news reporters get involved that the victims get their money refunded. That means that only a handful of clients are lucky enough to get their funds returned to them. 

Some people that got scammed have never used Zelle or had it installed on their phones, yet they lost their money in elaborate scams involving Zelle and their bank account. 

As is the case with Cash App, all that being said, 99.9% of transactions made with Zelle are completed without any reports of scams or fraud. 

Since 2017, $1.5 trillion from 5+ billion transactions has been moved across the network. 

Customer Reviews

Cash App 

cash app

Cash App has a 4.8/5 star rating on the App Store from almost 3.5 million reviews. On the Google Play Store, the score is 4.7/5 from almost 2 million reviews. 

On the other side, the app has only a 1.2/5 star rating on Trustpilot from 3,500 reviews and had more than 9,000 complaints closed in the last three years on Better Business Bureau. 



Zelle has a 4.8/5 star rating on the App Store from almost 430k reviews. On the Google Play Store, the score is 4.1/5 from almost 115k reviews. 

On the other side, the app has only a 1.1/5 star rating on Trustpilot from 630 reviews and had more than 453 complaints closed in the last three years on Better Business Bureau.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Cash App Can Close Your Account


The Zelle app’s primary focus is to allow for fast payments between bank accounts (Zelle-backed banks) free of charge. 

Cash App offers instant mobile payments, even without a banking account, with almost no fees. It’s also good for novice investors that want to trade stocks and/or bitcoin. 

About the Author

Chief Editor at TopMobileBanks

Adrian is a fintech expert who has tested hundreds of financial apps, cards, and accounts. His love for testing digital banks, payment apps, and financial products, in general, is unmatched.

How many digital banking accounts can one man have?

Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.

On the plus side, they have enabled him to create awesome How-To Guides that you can read on our site.

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