One of the most popular money apps today is Zelle, which allows people to send and receive cash. Zelle’s no-fee instant access to money has made it a very popular option.
Zelle is owned by Early Warning Systems LLC, a financial services consortium owned by a cabal of banks, including Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PNC Bank, BBT, Navy Federal Credit Union and others.
Complaints: Zelle money app has a big problem with consumer protections
The major banks have been trying to come up with a PayPal/Venmo competitor for some time now. Years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on the banks’ budding initiative saying this: “At stake are billions of dollars in credit-card, overdraft and checking fees each year.”
But people are beginning to complain about Zelle’s inability to retract payments if you send money to the wrong person. Internet commenters also say that the customer service is lacking. One user said, “I’ve been contacting Zelle customer representatives for the past 2 weeks because I changed my bank account. These representatives do not know what they are talking about.”
If you choose to use Zelle, one thing to know is that its terms of service explicitly say that you’re on your own if you send money to someone accidentally:
Before you send money to someone, a screen appears that says: “Once you send this payment it can’t be canceled.”
Most of us have 100 or more contacts in our phones, which makes the possibility of pressing the wrong button and sending someone some mistaken cash a real possibility.
Another thing that makes this no-money-back policy so significant for Zelle is that scammers are asking for money from people and not delivering on goods and services. When people complain, they find out that Zelle’s fraud protections are close to zero, according to TechCrunch.
2 ways to avoid payment app scams
- Only use money apps with friends & family: If you don’t know the person, please don’t assume they will send you money via payment app. Additionally, people who pay strangers have reported that scammers deny they’ve received the money and ask them to double up.
- Link your money app to a credit card: Instead of linking your digital wallet to a bank account, connect it to a credit card. They have more protections if things go awry.