Zelle Is Ready to Challenge Venmo

smartphones transfer money using p2p like zelle and venmo
By Bill Prichard

2 minutes

Partnering with this fintech contender positions CO-OP Financial Services to better serve CUs.

Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services

Will a new real-time, person-to-person payments network give Venmo a run for its money? Though Early Warning’s new Zelle network isn’t the first to try to unseat Venmo, backing from the nation’s largest banks and multiple payment networksincluding CO-OP Financial Services–make Zelle a contender to watch.

What sets Zelle apart from its millennially-driven rival, Venmo? Here are a few features:

  • Because financial institutions are behind Zelle, movement of money directly from one account to another is direct, instead of flowing into a third-party account like Venmo.
  • Zelle may be able to capitalize on the trust factor: Because it “belongs” to a consumer’s financial institution, users might be quicker to deploy it for larger transactions and a broader range of uses.
  • Zelle lacks the social component of Venmo, whose users sometimes log into the app just to see what friends have been “up to.” For those who don’t want their financial transactions documented socially, though, this could be a plus.

A Great Fit for CO-OP’s Digital Payments Strategy
Zelle fits nicely into CO-OP Financial Services’ digital payments strategy, bringing new scale to our real-time P2P offering, RealPay. “We had been looking for partnerships to enhance the out-of-network capabilities of RealPay,” says Tom Brennan, senior product manager. By utilizing current infrastructure and connectivity, CO-OP Financial Services clients are in a unique position to offer Zelle to their members more quickly and inexpensively.

In the current payments environment, scale is critical: “If you look around in the market there are a lot of fintech companies and pseudo-fintech companies that have created payment platforms,” says Brennan. “But barriers to entry are becoming much higher to achieve competitive scale, and new entrants are starting to decline.”

Partnering with Zelle helps ensure that CO-OP Financial Services can offer credit unions a range of solutions, including in payments. “The development team for Zelle has been doing a lot of work upgrading the user interface and all the logic that underpins the programming,” says Brennan. This offers high hopes for what’s to come.

Bill Prichard is senior manager/public relations and corporate communications for CUES Supplier member CO-OP Financial Services, a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based payments and financial technology CUSO serving credit unions.

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