Zelle Doesn’t Work Internationally (What to Use Instead)

zelle international

Zelle is a popular and convenient way of sending money fast. Ever since it launched in 2017, trillions of dollars have been sent. And in 2021 alone, almost $500 billion in over 1.8 billion transactions. 

So, we know it works great in the US, but can you use it to receive or send money abroad? Does it work internationally?

Zelle doesn’t work internationally and isn’t available abroad. You can only use Zelle when you live in the United States or have a US-based bank account to send money to other US bank accounts. 

zelle international

Can You Send Money with Zelle Abroad?

Zelle’s terms and conditions distinctly say that both the sender’s and recipient’s bank accounts must be based in the US. That means that if you want to send money to someone living outside of the US, they have to have a US bank account and not one from another country. 

Luckily for us, there are plenty of alternatives to Zelle that do the job just as good, if not better, so keep on reading. 

Can I Use Zelle with a VPN?

VPNs are powerful tools that can mask your location and make you appear as if you’re in another country if you wish to. 

However, even if Zelle or your banking app lets you log into your account, both you and the recipient or the sender of the money still need to have a United States bank account. 

That makes even VPNs useless for transferring money to international bank accounts. 

Who Can Use Zelle? 

Zelle was made so you could send money to people you know and trust that have a bank account in the US. At least one person in the transaction has to have access to Zelle through Bank or credit union

So, for instance, if your bank doesn’t support Zelle, the other person who wants to send you money (or receive it from you) has to have an account that supports Zelle. 

Zelle International Alternatives

So, now that we know that Zelle isn’t available internationally, what services can we use to receive or send money to or from abroad? We can always use wire transfers, but they can be costly and slow, and the same goes for Western Union.

Luckily, there are many Zelle alternatives available around the world. Some of them have become ubiquitous outside the US, and many expats and immigrants in America use them on a daily basis as well.

The following services and apps are used by millions of people around the globe each day, and they’re all competent enough to do your day-to-day transactions and international transfers.

Wise

wise
  • Free account
  • International bank details
  • Send money to 80 countries 
  • Always with a low and transparent fee
  • Direct Debits in the UK, Europe, and the US
  • Spend in local currency with your card
  • Receive your salary, pension, and more
  • Pay at the real exchange rate
  • Pay online securely with instant notifications
  • Use your card in 170+ countries and withdraw money from 2.3M ATMs

Wise is one of the most popular money transfer services. You might remember them by TransferWise, although the company changed its name in 2021. 

With Wise, you can send money to 80 countries and just as easily receive it. You can rest assured that you always get the best exchange rate plus a small fee on top. 

The recipient always gets to collect the money for free, and the sender saves on expenses as well because the service is cheaper than most others.

The exact amount and the time it takes to transfer the money are presented to you before sending funds, and you can see the fees upfront. 

But Wise isn’t a simple money-moving service, and instead offers much more. You can open a personal or a business bank account connected to a free debit card. They specifically focus on small and medium businesses and freelancers. 

Their multi-currency account allows you to convert and hold 53 currencies and use the debit card in 170 countries. 

Use the card in conjunction with Apple, Samsung, or Google Pay, and withdraw anywhere. You can even receive payments like a local in 10 currencies and get a UK account number, Euro IBAN, US routing number, and more.

>>> Read our full Wise review

WorldRemit

worldremit
  • Send 90 currencies to 150 countries
  • WorldRemit Wallet
  • Fast transfers
  • Cash pickup

Another excellent Zelle alternative is WorldRemit – an established money-transfer service that’s been on the market successfully for more than 12 years. You can use it from both the WorldRemit app and your desktop. There are no physical branches, but there’s also no need for one.

WorldRemit’s services include Mobile Money, Cash Pickup, Bank Transfer, Airtime Top-up, and Home Delivery.

With their Mobile Money feature, you can store your cash as a balance in an account and use it to send and receive funds. 

The company also supports a wide range of payment systems, including bank transfers, debit and credit cards, Apple and Android pay, and even Trustly.

There’s generally a $4 fee for its money-transfer service. Then there’s also a margin on top of the foreign exchange fee. However, even will these fees, It’s still far cheaper than using a brick-and-mortar bank or post office.

TransferGo

transfergo
  • Transparent
  • Low fees
  • Business money transfers
  • Fast transfers
  • Many countries supported

TransferGo offers fast and safe money transfers. This Zelle alternative includes an app and a website so that it can be easily accessed and navigated. The company is transparent about the fees it charges. That’s why you’ll see them before transmitting your money. 

TransferGo has over 160 countries on its list, with popular choices such as Nigeria, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and the USA, to name the most popular ones.

The fees are based on how quickly you want the money to arrive at its destination and on competitive currency rates. The standard transfer, which costs 0.99 Euro, Pounds, or equivalent, will get your money delivered the next day to most countries. The exchange rate margin for that is from 0 to 2.2%.

The fastest delivery option, the one that transfers your funds as fast as 30 minutes, has the same conversion rate of 0-2.2%, but the delivery fee depends on your actual payment. 

Revolut 

revolut
  • Digital bank account
  • Instant international money transfers
  • Great for traveling and sending money abroad
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Connect all your bank accounts to the same app
  • No need for a card
  • Invest in stocks, crypto, and commodities

Revolut is a so-called financial super-app that offers digital bank accounts in dozens of currencies and has easy remittances, and even the capability to invest in crypto, stocks, and commodities, among many other things. 

Revolut is an international Zelle alternative with more than 20 million users worldwide, with additional 1M businesses onboard. The company recently expanded to the US and Japan and is now a truly global financial app and company.

Just like others on this list, Revolut lets you send funds across borders with no hidden fees and at the so-called real exchange rate. 

>>> Read our full Revolut review

Remitly

remitly
  • First-time transfer discount
  • Delivered by a specified time, or the fees are refunded
  • Easy to understand and send money
  • Delivery promise
  • Many delivery options

Remitly is a money transfer platform that’s been around for more than ten years and has helped millions of customers. 

The company is Seattle-based and places emphasis on immigrants and provides them a way to mail back their hard-earned money to their families with fewer costs. 

Remitly has a transparent fee structure that lets you calculate just how much the receiver will get and how much you’re paying for fees. You can choose from faster or slower transfers and pay according to that. 

Remitly supports money transfers from 28 sending countries to more than 130 receiving ones worldwide. The countries were chosen to reflect where immigrants usually live and where they’re from and send money to. 

PayPal

paypal
  • Most popular payments platform
  • No fees when shopping or transferring unless there’s a currency conversion
  • Buyer Protection
  • Check out quickly with just an email and password

Most people already use or have used PayPal, so there’s a big chance that you’re already familiar with PayPal for online payments, money transfers, or both.

PayPal notably acquired Venmo, who’s Zelle’s main competitor, and now they’re growing it to new heights to be just as big as PayPal but on a local, domestic scale, as the app isn’t available outside of the country as well. 

Unfortunately, PayPal is known for its lousy currency conversion rates, which stand at 3% above the base exchange rate and might even be the worst on the market. Still, it’s convenient to use, and you probably already have an account. 

The Bottom Line

Zelle not only isn’t available anywhere outside the United States, but it probably won’t ever be. That means you can’t transfer money abroad using Zelle or receive it from someone living outside the States. 

Below you can find excellent alternatives to Zelle depending on the country you or the recipient live in. 

Zelle Alternatives in Europe

In Europe, EEA, or EU countries, Revolut and Wise are the most popular digital banks, and money-transferring services like WorldRemit, Remitly, Paysend, TransferGo, and others are outstanding choices.  

Zelle Alternatives in the UK

Although Zelle isn’t available in the UK, there are many other, even better alternatives. There is the Starling digital bank that has free accounts. Then there are also Monese, Monzo, Wise, Curve, Wirex, and of course, Revolut

Not to mention all the dedicated money transfer services already on our list that are also available in the UK.

Zelle Alternatives in Australia

Unfortunately, there’s no Zelle in Australia, but there is Beem it, an app you can use to send and request money. All the other apps from our list are also available, of course. 

Zelle Alternatives in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, there are many other apps on the market that you can use to transmit money, including Revolut, Wise, ZA Bank, and others on our list. 

Zelle Alternatives in Brazil

Zelle isn’t available in Brazil yet, but the biggest digital bank in the world, Nubank, is. There are also other extremely popular digital banks such as Inter, C6, or Original. 

Zelle Alternatives in Argentina

There’s no Zelle in Argentina, but you can use Uala, Revolut, and other apps to send money internationally without the need for Zelle. 

Zelle Alternatives in India

Zelle isn’t available in India, but even in India, there are plenty of other options on the market. Some of them we noted in this article as well. Those are Wise, WorldRemit, TransferGo, Currencyfair, and Remitly. 

Zelle Alternatives in Canada

Even in Canada, which is a US neighbor, there’s no Zelle. There are plenty of other Zelle alternatives, though, and one of them is the appealing digital bank called Koho. 

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