5 Possible Reasons Why Your Zelle Transfer Failed (Resolved)

Written By Branson Knowles

Zelle is a popular P2P money transferring service that can usually send funds instantaneously. But it isn’t perfect, and transfers do fail from time to time. 

There are five possible reasons your Zelle transfer failed:

  1. There’s an issue with contact information (wrong email or phone number)
  2. There’s an issue with the bank’s information (wrong routing or account number)
  3. Your recipient’s account has been blocked (either by their bank or Zelle itself)
  4. There’s a technological issue (problems with Zelle’s servers, problems with your bank’s servers, or someone has an older version of the Zelle app)
  5. Your recipients Zelle account is linked to an inactive or closed bank account (they may not have switched over their Zelle to their new account)

1. Why Did Your Zelle Transfer Fail? (Contact Information)

zelle contact information

Zelle uses either an email address or phone number as a sort of username or contact through their app. When someone wants to send you money, they’ll essentially be sending it to your email address or phone number, unless they have the wrong one.

Zelle customers can only have one email address or phone number connected to their accounts, so anything other than the correct contact will result in a failure. Before making a transfer on Zelle, be sure to confirm this information with your recipient. If they’re sending their money to you, same deal.

Head into your Zelle app or into the Zelle portion of your banking app to confirm your account details. You should also be able to switch between using your phone number or email address in their as well, along with the ability to add in a new phone number or email as needed. 

2. Why Did My Zelle Transfer Not Go Through? (Bank Information)

bank details

There are two main ways to set up an account through Zelle:

  • Through Zelle’s mobile app
  • Through a bank’s mobile app that supports Zelle

If you or your recipient have created your account through your bank’s mobile app, you shouldn’t have this problem as your bank will automatically give the correct information to Zelle when the account is opened.

This problem may occur if you or your recipient has created an account with Zelle on the Zelle app itself. When you create an account manually, the Zelle app will ask you to input your own banking information.

That includes:

  • The name of the bank
  • Your name as it appears on your account,
  • Your unique account number
  • The bank’s public routing number

The transfer may not have gone through because the account or routing information are incorrect. To fix this, simply head into the Zelle app and verify your routing and account number. You can find these numbers either on a bank statement or through your bank’s app, separately.

3. Why Did My Zelle Transfer Fail? (Blocked Account)


Both Zelle and banks alike can block you from transacting on Zelle. This is a common reason as to why your Zelle transfer can fail or not go through. As an up-and-coming fintech company, Zelle is strict about their security measures.

Zelle may block your account if they believe there to be suspicious activity on it. The fintech company and your bank may review your transaction history whenever they want, and if they find something suspicious they will feel free to act.

If you believe this to be incorrect, contact either your bank or Zelle, whoever is stopping you from conducting transactions. They are usually willing to listen to your side of the story, even after blocking or banning your account.

If you can appeal to them and they can see that it was a problem on their end, they should have your account unblocked and reopened in no time.  

4. Are The Servers Stopping My Zelle Transfers?

server room

Bad servers are another common reason as to why your Zelle transfer won’t go through. Online banks and fintech companies alike are heavily reliant on servers to store and use their data. When their servers are down, there’s not much you can do about it.

Luckily, this usually means you don’t have a problem on your end. Unfortunately, it means your only solution is to sit and wait for the servers to come back up. To check if the servers are indeed down, start with your bank. First, give them a call and see if the problem resides on their end.

If it doesn’t, call Zelle customer service at (844) 428-8542 for your next step. They should be able to give you up-to-date information on the current status of their servers. 

Some users have reported slower speeds during server downtimes. Zelle payments are normally instant, but when servers go down speed does too. If your payment does leave your account but hasn’t arrived into your recipients instantly, like normal, go ahead and wait a few hours. When the servers come back up, or when the transferring finishes processing, the funds should end up right where they belong.    

5. If A Zelle Account Is Linked To An Inactive Bank Account, Will Transfers Go Through?

checking mobile

Finally, the last reason why your Zelle transfer might not be going through is the account status. To be able to both send and receive funds through Zelle, your bank account must be active and opened. This means that any account in any other status may have a difficult time transacting through Zelle.

If your Zelle transfers are failing, check the status of your account.

If it’s:

  • Open
  • In good standing with no negative balance
  • Doesn’t have a legal hold on it

then it could be a problem with whoever you’re trying to do a transfer with. 

Have them do the same, tell whoever you’re trying to Zelle to check the status of their bank accounts. Sometimes, people link their Zelle to a checking and then close the checking without remembering its tied to the fintech company too. 

Don’t worry though, the solution is simple. You can fix your incorrectly linked account either through Zelle or your bank’s mobile app. In Zelle, you can manually enter in your account information and update it whenever you need to.

Your bank might be a little different, depending on how they do things. Some banks will allow you to re-link your accounts from their app or website. Others may require you to sit with a banker in person. Check with them if this is an issue you’re running into. 

How To Get Money Back When Zelle Transfer Already Went Through

This one is a little tough. One of Zelle’s greatest benefits may be a hindrance in some cases. Zelle sends money fast — like, really fast. That means if you accidentally sent funds to the wrong account, or if your recipient’s account is inactive, or any other problem that might arise during the transfer, your money may already be gone. 

While we all may feel like we’re better than them, scams can happen to the best of us. Zelle scams too, someone may impersonate someone you know in order for you to get them funds! 

Let me tell you about a real-life Zelle scam that I almost fell for myself. I was moving out of my apartment and wanted to sell my belongings quickly, I mean who likes moving with a lot of stuff?

I used the Facebook Marketplace for the first time; I had heard it was a reliable means of selling personal items quickly and wanted to do just that.

Within an hour of posting pictures of my bed to sell online, I had someone reach out asking a bunch of questions, questions that made me think they were very interested. They weren’t. They chatted me up for about two hours before offering to come pick up the bed in person.

But like all scams, there was a catch. The catch was that I had to accept a payment on Zelle before they even arrived to buy the bed, fishy for sure. While that sounds innocent enough, giving away your information like that is dangerous online.

If I were to have sent those scammers any money, or accepted funds from them from an account that might not have belonged to them, my Zelle account may have been blocked permanently and I would’ve lost any and all money I sent.  

Luckily, I never sent any information and reported each scammer to Zelle, something they ask their customers to do. Zelle takes scammers seriously. They’re a fintech company that operates almost entirely online, so it makes sense that they would want to reassure their customers that they’re focused on cybersecurity.

Zelle’s website also tells customers to report scammers to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

Can I Cancel A Payment?

You can cancel a payment made through Zelle, but only during specific circumstances. The person you’re sending money to can’t already be enrolled with Zelle. If they are, the funds will be deposited automatically into their account. 

If the person you were originally sending funds to isn’t enrolled with Zelle, you still have a chance to cancel your transfer. To do so, you must first log into Zelle, either through your mobile bank’s app or through the Zelle App, whatever you use. 

Find the specific transfer you want to cancel. It should be in its own section, under a “Pending” status. From there, all you need to do is click Cancel Transfer. 

Can A Zelle Payment Be Rejected?

Like I mentioned before, Zelle’s transfers work instantly. This means that if you send someone funds, they leave your account right when you hit the send button if they’re enrolled with the fintech company. That goes both ways, meaning if someone wants to send you money it’ll appear automatically in your account.

Some customers may not like this feature, as not everyone is willing to accept a stranger’s money. Even further, there are even some not-so-strangers we’d all rather not take money from. Unfortunately, there is no way for personal account holders to decline or reject Zelle payments before they arrive. If a not-so-special someone has your Zelle information and is sending you money you don’t want, you may be forced to change your Zelle contact information so they can no longer reach you.

The only thing you can reject through Zelle is when someone sends a request for money. You can either approve the request — sending funds over — decline the request, or wait for it to expire. Waiting for it to expire and declining will ultimately lead to the same thing, no funds being sent over.

How Long Will It Take My Zelle Transfer To Go Through?

So long as the servers are up and running, your account information is correct, and the person you’d like to Zelle also has their account information correct, the funds should be transferred instantly. 

That’s one of Zelle’s best features. While apps like Venmo charge a fee to move funds immediately, Zelle charges none. This plus the fact that they’re partnered with all of America’s biggest banks makes them a very useful fintech P2P funds transferring company.

Everything You Need To Know Before And After Using Zelle

Zelle is one of the fastest, most secure and most reliable P2P funds transferring platforms on the market. Funds are often transferred instantly, so when they’re not customers may raise a few eyebrows. 

Trusted Contacts

Before questioning where your money is, first ensure that you’re only conducting transactions on Zelle with people you know and trust. I’ve already detailed just how quickly Zelle can move your money and that it’s impossible to get it back once it’s gone. For these very reasons, make sure you’re more than familiar with everyone in your Zelle contact list. 

Correct Information

Next, make sure you have the correct information of whoever you want to send money to. You’ll need their name as it appears on their bank and Zelle accounts and either their phone number or email address, whatever they use as a point of contact.

Again, you can’t cancel a payment on Zelle and millions of payments are sent everyday. With millions of users on Zelle, you can be sure that someone either has an email address or phone number one or two digits away from the one you intend to use. Make sure your funds are going where they need to before you send them. 

Know That In Rare Cases There May Be a Servers Downtime

After you’ve confirmed their information on your end, check the servers. Both your bank and Zelle itself need to have their systems up-and-running if you want your money to get to where it needs to be on time. 

Active Bank Accounts

Servers aren’t the only thing that need to be in the right status, as your account and your recipient’s account need to be active and in good-standing with both Zelle and your financial institution. If they are, make sure your Zelle account is linked to the correct checking account.

Too often do people switch accounts, close accounts, or change banks entirely without updating their Zelle information. If they don’t update where their current bank is, Zelle funds may be trapped in a semi-closed account or be returned to where they came from. 

If you take the time to go over each of these occurrences before they happen, you can do your part in making sure your Zelle transfers don’t fail or get rejected. With Zelle’s speed you can expect your funds to be where you want them on time as well. 

About the Author

Lead Researcher, Digital Banking in the U.S. at TopMobileBanks

Branson Knowles is a former banker and current writer at TopMobileBanks.com.

During his years banking, he helped his clients discover their financial freedom through smart savings and spending goals. He started as a teller before becoming a banker and obtaining his federal licenses, furthering his clients' on their financial journeys.

After becoming one of the top producing bankers in the state, Branson decided it was time to pursue his own financial freedom. He started writing freelance finance articles before joining TopMobileBanks.com, breaking down banking like only an ex-banker could.

2 Responses

  1. Not very helpful. Nothing to aid you in SOLVING the problem, just a list of reasons why your payment didn’t go through. Also not clear as to which kind of transfer is a problem.

    1. Hi J Marra,

      Knowing the possible reason helps to resolve the issue.

      Please, tell me more about the transfer you are trying to do and your issue, and I’ll try to help with it.

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