Friday , August 12, 2022

Zelle Volumes Climb Quickly for BofA, Surpassing Checks for the First Time

Five years after its launch, the Zelle person-to-person payments service continues to boost payment volumes for one of its founders, Bank of America Corp. BofA reported Monday that its second-quarter P2P Zelle transaction volume hit 239 million, up 26% from 189 million payments a year earlier.

The value of the sent and received payments through email or mobile-phone identification was $73 billion, a 29% year-over-year increase. The Charlotte, N.C.-based banking giant says it now has 17 million active Zelle users versus 14.3 million a year ago, up nearly 19%.

Sent transactions using Zelle have surpassed checks, BofA said in its latest financial report. In 2021’s second quarter, the bank’s customers wrote 133 million checks and sent 125 million Zelle payments. In 2022’s quarter ending June 30, however, customers sent 156 million Zelle transactions but wrote only 123 million checks.

BofA noted in the report that Zelle’s 17 million active users are “now including small businesses.” A spokesperson tells Digital Transactions News that BofA in the second quarter had more than 1.2 million small-business owners send and receive more than 24 million Zelle transactions for a total of $15 billion.

In related news, BofA reported combined second-quarter spending of $221 billion on its credit and debit cards, up 10% year-over-year.

Some big banks reportedly are interested in expanding Zelle’s reach in retail payments. Zelle operator Early Warning Services LLC, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based technology company owned by some of the nation’s largest banks, told Digital Transactions News in April that it introduced Zelle for Small Business in 2020. Payments received by small businesses grew 162% year-over-year in 2020, Early Warning said without releasing actual data.

Meanwhile, fraud on P2P networks such as Zelle continues to generate controversy. Last week eight Democratic U.S. Senators sent letters to the seven banks that own Zelle asking them to answer by Aug. 8 a series of questions about their handling of P2P fraud.

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