Cash App vs Zelle - Detailed Review 2021

Vivien Thuri
07.01.21
6 minute read

Online peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer services are making quick work of traditional payment methods. But with so many new options, you may be feeling lost as to which one is best suited for you. If that’s the case, then continue reading as Cash App and Zelle are compared - two of the most popular P2P apps.

In addition, you can also read about Wise - another competitive P2P payment service which is available in more than 70 countries to help with your finances.

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Table of Contents 📝

Zelle vs Cash App - Overview

Here’s a brief overview of the main features and differences between Zelle and Cash App.

FeatureZelleCash App
Sending money
  • Able to send money within the US
  • Able to send money within the US and to the UK
Receiving money
  • Money goes straight into your bank account
  • Money goes into your Cash App balance
Limits
  • If Zelle is offered by your bank, they determine the sending limit
  • If your bank does not support Zelle, sending limits are capped at $500 per week
  • Sending limits can be different depending on whether you have a verified or unverified account
Fees
  • No fees
  • Fees are charged for instant bank transfers and ATM withdrawals
Card
  • No card offered
  • Option to get a free, customizable “Cash Card”
Safety
  • Your money is never held in a third party location
  • No guarantee of refunds if you’re scammed or send money to the wrong person
  • No guarantee of refunds if you’re scammed or send money to the wrong person
Investing
  • No investing platform offered
  • Investing platform offered

Zelle vs Cash App - Review in detail

The basic idea of Cash App and Zelle is the same - an app that you can send and receive money with, by just a few taps and swipes of the thumb! But, there are some differences between the two, which may make one of them the better choice for you.

Zelle is a straightforward app that allows you to send, receive and request money. Your funds will be deposited directly in your bank account, and there are no fees involved during any part of the process.

Cash App also allows for sending, receiving and requesting money, but it does have some other things too. One of the main differences is that Cash App has its own balance, where you can receive and load funds onto. Cash App also offers a Visa debit card called a “Cash Card”, which allows you to withdraw directly from your Cash App balance at ATMs, as well as pay for things in-store and online. On top of this, Cash App also has its very own investing platform, which is the perfect tool for beginner investors.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between Cash App vs Zelle.


Send and Receive money

money-sent-and-received-via-phone

Both Cash App and Zelle allow you to send and receive money, and the processes to do so are very similar.

To send money on either of the apps, all you need is your recipient’s phone number, email address or - if using Cash App - their $Cashtag. You then enter the amount you want to send and complete the remaining steps to confirm the transaction.¹ ²

If it’s your first time using either of the apps, then you’ll have to manually accept your first payment to receive it. After that, payments will automatically appear in your bank account if using Zelle, or your Cash App balance if using Cash App. This means that your money is never held in a third party location when using Zelle, which some users may prefer. But, on the other hand, Cash App’s balance feature allows you to store funds on it and withdraw from it at ATMs using your Cash Card.

Another difference to note between the two apps is that with Zelle you are restricted to sending money only within the US.³ This is because your recipient must have a US bank account. On the other hand, Cash App allows you to send money to your friends in the UK, as well as within the US.⁴


Cash App vs Zelle: Limits

Both Cash App and Zelle have limits on the amount you can send to someone.

With Zelle, the limit is different depending on whether or not your bank supports it. If your bank supports Zelle, then your sending limit will be capped at your bank’s limit. But if they don’t support it, then you’ll be restricted by Zelle’s weekly limit, allowing you to send a maximum of $500.⁵

Here are just a few examples of the different Zelle daily and monthly sending limits of some banks.

Daily Sending Limit (USD)Monthly Sending Limit (USD)
Bank of America⁶$3,500$20,000
Citizens Bank⁷$1,000$5,000
Wells Fargo Bank⁸$2,500$20,000

For Cash App, the sending and receiving limits vary depending on whether or not your account is verified. It lets you send and receive up to $1,000 per 30 days with an unverified account. To send or receive more than this, you’ll need to verify your account.⁹ ¹⁰


Cash App vs Zelle: Fees

One of the major benefits with Zelle is its lack of fees. It’s free to download, enroll, and also to send and receive money with. That’s right - you won’t lose any money in fees when using Zelle. But you should always double check with your bank, as they may charge fees for certain types of transactions.

With Cash App, there is also a general lack of fees for most situations. But, you may end up being charged fees depending on what you want to do with Cash App. If you’re looking to make an instant deposit, for example, then you’ll be charged a fee of 1.5%.¹¹ On top of this, if you have a Cash Card and want to withdraw your money from an ATM, then you’ll be charged a fee of $2.¹²


Card

Zelle is a strictly online service. On the other hand, Cash App offers its users the option of getting a Visa debit card for ATM withdrawals and in-store and online purchases, called a “Cash Card”.

You can use Cash App's unique Cash Card anywhere, where Visa debit cards are accepted. Withdrawing directly from your Cash App balance at an ATM is not a problem either. The fun part of the card is that it's customizable with your signature, emojis and color of your choice.¹³ ¹⁴

So if this sounds like something you’re looking for, then Cash App may be the way to go.


Safety

moneybag-with-shield

When it comes to matters of safety, Cash App and Zelle are similar. The unofficial slogan of both should be: know who you’re sending to!

When sending money using Cash App or Zelle, making sure you know and trust your recipient is key for keeping your money safe. On top of this, it’s important to always double check that you’ve entered the details of your recipient correctly. The speed of the transaction doesn’t matter when it ends up in the wrong person’s bank account!

It’s crucial to take these precautions as neither Cash App nor Zelle offer a guarantee on refunding your money. While it may be straightforward to request a refund, actually getting one is dependent on the goodwill of your recipient. So if you get scammed, it's possible that you won't see your money again.

That being said, both Cash App and Zelle are perfectly safe to use, as long as you understand and follow these precautions. To learn more, check out Zelle’s guide to fraudsters and scammers.


Investing

Zelle is a straightforward P2P transfer service allowing you to send and receive money. In contrast, Cash App has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

A stand-out feature of Cash App is its investing platform. It’s the perfect investing app for beginners, as it makes buying and selling stocks a simple, quick and convenient process, holding your hand along the way. On top of this, it also allows for “fractional share investing”, which simply allows you to buy a share of any stock for as little as $1. This means you can immediately start investing without being put off by high entry costs.¹⁵

This being said, its simplicity can make it restrictive for experienced investors. You’re limited to the types of accounts you can open as well as the types of things you can invest in.

Alternative solution for international transfers: Wise

With Zelle, you’re restricted to only sending money within the US - with Cash App, you can send within the US and to the UK. But if you’re someone who regularly sends money abroad to countries other than the UK, then you might want to consider signing up with Wise.

With the help of Wise, you can send money to over 70 countries, and your money will be exchanged at the mid-market rate.

Join Wise, the world's most international account and be without borders!

Open your account for free 🏆

wise-international-account-illustration

Sources:

  1. Zelle - How it works
  2. Cash App - Sending a payment
  3. Zelle - How to send money
  4. Cash App - International payments
  5. Zelle - Limits
  6. Bank of America - Zelle transfer limits
  7. Citizens Bank - Zelle limits
  8. Wells Fargo Bank - Zelle transfer service
  9. Cash App - Terms of services
  10. Cash App - Increase limits
  11. Cash App - Cash out speed options
  12. Cash App - ATM fees
  13. Cash App - Re-design your Cash Card
  14. Cash App - Cash Card
  15. Cash App - Investing house rules

All sources checked 29 June 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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