Does Zelle work internationally?

zelle international

The answer to this popular query is no – Zelle isn’t available abroad; it doesn’t work internationally. You can only use Zelle’s services when you live in the USA and/or have a US-based bank account. You could probably use it while traveling, though. 

Can you send money with Zelle abroad?

Zelle’s T&Cs clearly state that both the sender and recipient’s bank accounts must be based in the US. That means that if you want to send money to someone abroad, they have to have a US bank account and not an international one. 

Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives, so keep reading. 

Zelle international

Can I use Zelle with a VPN?

Even if the Zelle or your banking app lets you log into your account, both you and the recipient or the sender of the money have to have a US-based bank account. 

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. 

About Zelle 

In 2017, the Zelle service was launched when the biggest banks in the country joined their forces together. It quickly gained popularity and is now on par with PayPal and PayPal’s Venmo

Today, consumers of nearly 8,000 financial institutions participate in the Zelle Network, and 392 million transactions were made during Q1 2021 alone. 

Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator behind Zelle, is a fintech company owned by seven of the country’s largest banks – JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Capital One, BB&T, and PNC.

Why is Zelle so popular?

Zelle is popular with both users and banks. Users, because they don’t have to wait a few days to get their money into the account, and banks, because they’re saving money on processing paper checks.

You can see money appear instantly in your account and the app is already conveniently attached to many banking apps. This makes it easy to use without downloading their dedicated app. 

And, did I mention it’s free?

Zelle vs. Venmo

Although pretty similar, these two apps do have some key differences. For one, Venmo is more popular than Zelle, and the word itself – Venmo, is a part of the dictionary by now. But that might change soon as Zelle is breathing behind Venmo’s neck. 

Then there’s the cost of sending money. You can transfer money through Venmo instantly with Venmo’s “instant transfer” feature, but Venmo charges a fee of 1% of the transfer amount. On the other hand, the money sent through Zelle is automatically and instantly transferred for free to your bank account.

Is Zelle safe?

Zelle is far from a safe service. Its track record of keeping its customer’s money safe is less than stellar. There are numerous testimonies online of people being scammed of their money that counts in hundreds and even thousands of dollars. 

Each of these cases has one thing in common – Zelle didn’t offer any help, and almost all of the customers lost their money forever. 

You see, Zelle, just like Venmo, states that their service is meant for sending money only to people you know and trust, i.e., no buying stuff from Craigslist and similar transactions.

So, why do people use Zelle to send strangers their money? Well, people think that Zelle has buyer protection similar to that of PayPal, but they don’t. Not even PayPal’s own Venmo has that protection. And the thing is, even though the average Joe doesn’t know that, the scammers do, and all too well.

Zelle is also connected to many major banks, and there’s a good chance that your banking app is already linked to Zelle. That makes people trust the service. 

The bottom line is, don’t send money to people you don’t know through Venmo or Zelle, as you won’t get any protection from them or even from your own bank, as you were the one who authorized the transaction. 

Zelle pros and cons

Pros

  • Money is transferred instantly
  • Integrated with banking apps
  • The recipient doesn’t need to be a Zelle user
  • Free to use

Cons

  • Doesn’t work internationally
  • Doesn’t protect from scammers (at all)
  • Initially, a small weekly limit
  • Sells your info to marketing companies

Zelle fees

  • No fees or costs

Zelle international alternatives

Zelle isn’t available internationally, and for that reason, you can’t receive or send money to or from abroad. Luckily, there are many Zelle international alternatives available around the world.

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.

WorldRemit

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

Another Zelle alternative is WorldRemit. WorldRemit is an established money-transfer service that’s been with us for more than ten years. Their service is accessible from both the WorldRemit app and desktop. They have no physical locations, but there’s also no need for one.

WorldRemit has services that include:

  • Mobile Money 
  • Cash Pickup
  • Bank Transfer
  • Airtime Top-up
  • Home Delivery

With their Mobile Money, you get to store your cash or send and receive out of it. WorldRemit also supports a wide range of payment systems, including bank transfers, debit and credit, Trustly, and even Apple and Android pay.

WorldRemit charges a $4 fee, give or take, for its money transferring service. And they have a margin on top of the foreign exchange fee. It’s still far cheaper than using a brick and mortar bank.

>>> Read our full WorldRemit review

TransferGo

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

TransferGo is an excellent choice for quick and secure money transfers. This Zelle alternative has an app and a website, and they’re both easy to navigate. The company has transparent fees that you’ll see before sending your hard-earned money. 

TransferGo has over 60 countries on its money transfer list with popular choices such as Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, India, and the USA, to name a few.

The fees are based on competitive currency rates and how quickly you want the money you send to arrive at its destination. The standard transfer will get your money delivered the next day in most countries, and it will cost you 0.99 Euro, Pounds, or equivalent depending on the currency. The exchange rate margin will be from 0-2.2%.

The fastest delivery option that can arrive as fast as 30 minutes has the same conversion rate of 0-2.2%, but the delivery fee depends on your sending actual amount. 

>>> Read our full TransferGo review

Revolut 

revolut
  • Instant international money transfers
  • Great for traveling and sending money abroad
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Connect all your bank accounts with Revolut
  • Daily discounts and cashback
  • No need for a card
  • Great security features
  • Virtual cards
  • Invest and trade with stocks, crypto, and commodities

Revolut is a financial super-app that gives you a bank account in 60+ currencies and has easy money transfers, plus the ability to invest in crypto, stocks, and commodities, among many other things. 

This international Zelle alternative already has more than 15 million customers worldwide, with additional 500,000 businesses onboard. The expansion to the US and Japan in 2020 will only make them more popular and a truly global financial app and company.

Revolut lets you transfer money internationally with no hidden fees and at the real “exchange rate,” so you’ll know upfront how much you’ll be paying for the transfer. 

You can track your subscriptions, direct debits, or recurring payments in one place and stay on top of scheduled payments. There’s even an option for group bills that will make sharing costs or splitting bills a breeze — no more awkward conversations at the dinner table.

>>> Read our full Revolut review

Remitly

remitly
  • First-time transfer promotions
  • 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 company that’s been around for more than ten years and has served millions of customers. This Seattle-based fintech places emphasis on immigrants and gives them a way to send their hard-earned money to their home countries with fewer costs. 

Remitly’s fee structure is transparent, and you can calculate just how much precisely the receiver will get and how much you’re paying for expenses. Choose from faster or slower transfers and pay correspondingly. 

Remitly supports money transfers from 17 sending countries to more than 100 receiving countries worldwide. The sending and receiving countries reflect where immigrants usually currently live and where they’re from. 

>>> Read our full Remitly review

Wise

wise
  • Free account
  • International bank details
  • Send money to more than 70 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 more than 200 countries and withdraw money from 2.3 million ATMs

Wise is a juggernaut in the money-sending space. You might know them by TransferWise, but they recently changed their name. 

With Wise, you’ll get the best exchange rate and a small fee on top. Recipients always get their money for free, and you – the sender, save on expenses.

As with our other international Zelle alternatives, you can see the fees upfront. The exact amount and the time it takes to transfer the money are also presented to you. 

Wise moves around $6 billion each month in over 50 different currencies and have had over 10 million customers worldwide. 

Wise offers much more. You can open a personal or a business bank account, coupled with a debit card. They specifically focus on small and medium businesses and freelancers. 

With their multi-currency account, you can convert and hold 56 currencies and use their card in 200 countries. Spend with Apple and 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

PayPal

paypal
  • The most well-known payment system
  • No fees when shopping or transferring, unless there’s a currency conversion
  • Buyer Protection
  • Check out quickly with just an email and password

There’s a big chance that you’re already using PayPal for online payments or money transfers.

PayPal acquired Venmo, Zelle’s main competitor, years ago, and now they’re growing it to new heights just as they’re growing PayPal on a global scale. They keep adding more features for customers like money pools for shared savings, for example.

PayPal’s currency conversion rates stand at 3% above the base exchange rate and are not the best out there; in fact, they might even be the worst. Still, it’s convenient to use, and you probably already have an account. 

Love it or hate it, PayPal is here to stay.

The bottom line

So, to conclude, Zelle isn’t available anywhere outside of United States, and you can’t transfer money abroad or receive it from someone internationally. 

There’s no reason to despair, as many alternatives worldwide are used by tens or even hundreds of millions of people every week to send their hard-earned money to friends, family, or business purposes. 

We mentioned quite a few Zelle alternatives above that should definitely satisfy your needs.

Related questions

Is Zelle available in Europe?

Zelle is not available in Europe, EEA, or EU countries. Revolut and Wise are the most popular digital banks there, and money transferring services like WorldRemit, Remitly, Paysend, TransferGo, and others are an excellent choice.  

Is Zelle available in Mexico?

Zelle isn’t available internationally, and it isn’t available in Mexico for the same reason. It might work if you already have a Zelle account and you traveled to Mexico. If not, it won’t work as it’s only available to the folks that have bank accounts in the US.

Is Zelle available in the UK?

Unfortunately, Zelle isn’t available in the UK. But there are many other, even better alternatives. For example, there is the Starling digital bank that has free accounts. Then there are Moneze, 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.

Is Zelle available in Australia?

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

Is Zelle available in Japan?

Unfortunately, Zelle isn’t available internationally, and so it’s not available in Japan as well. There are other money transfer apps that are on our list that you can use in Japan. 

Is Zelle available in Hong Kong?

Zelle isn’t available in Hong Kong as it’s only available in the United States for now. There are many other apps that you can use to send money, including Revolut, Wise, ZA Bank, and others on our list. 

Is Zelle available in Brazil?

Zelle isn’t available in Brazil yet, but the biggest digital bank in the world, Nubank, is. The Brazil-based Nubank was founded in 2013 by Colombian David Vélez, Brazilian Cristina Junqueira, and American Edward Wible.

The biggest neobank in the world rolled out its first product, a credit card, in 2014. It was the only financial product they could launch as they couldn’t acquire a banking license in Brazil because the law was barring foreign bank ownership.

Is Zelle available in Argentina?

There isn’t Zelle in Argentina, but you can use Uala, Revolut, and other apps to send money internationally without the need for Zelle. 

Is Zelle available in Russia?

Zelle is only available in the USA, so there’s no option to send money in or out of Russia with Zelle as it doesn’t support international money transfers. 

Is Zelle available in Nigeria?

Zelle is still not open for business in Nigeria and probably won’t ever be available. There are some other options, probably.

Is Zelle available in India?

Zelle isn’t available in India. It’s only available in the United States. There’s plenty of other options on the market, though. Some of them we mentioned in this Zelle international review. Those are Wise, WorldRemit, TransferGo, Currencyfair, and Remitly. 

Is Zelle available in Canada?

Although Canada is a US neighbor, there’s no Zelle there as it’s only available in the United States to people with a US-based bank account. There are plenty of other Zelle alternatives, and one of them is the attractive digital bank called Koho