Big banks take on Apple Pay and Venmo with the launch of their own peer-to-peer network

Venmo used to be revolutionary. Now, the PayPal-owned mobile app is just one of many peer-to-peer payment options, alongside Apple Pay, Facebook Messenger—and Zelle. 

Uh, Zelle? Yes, you read that right. In a rare bout of big bank collaboration, players including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo teamed up to enable instant money transfers. Today they are going live, making Zelle available through the apps of more than 30 banking institutions. If they succeed in winning converts, “Send money with Zelle” could become the new “Venmo me.” 

Zelle arrives just in time; digital-first competitors are beginning to pose a real threat to banks’ relationship with customers. In addition, banks expect Zelle to reduce the costs associated with managing cash and checks.

So which service should you use? Over at Co.Design, Mark Wilson highlights a key difference between Zelle and Apple Pay: While Zelle will transfer funds directly into your checking or savings account, Apple Pay, like Venmo, will keep funds within its own ecosystem unless you take further action. 

[Screenshot: Zelle]AH