How to Make a Zelle Account Without a Bank

The short answer is that you can’t make a Zelle account without a bank. That said, there are a few ways around this little problem. In essence, Zelle is a service used by bank customers to transfer their money between accounts in the USA. It’s supported by banks, but there are ways to use the Zelle app without having a bank account.

Why Does a Bank Account Matter?

Primarily, Zelle is used to transfer money between banks in the USA. In fact, in many cases, you can use your own bank’s online services to send money using Zelle. Then, in order to compete with entities like PayPal, Zelle brought out its own app. Again, primarily, the idea was that bank users could download the app and transfer their money between accounts via their Smartphones, rather than having to go online and use their bank’s website.

How to Make Zelle Account Without a Bank

What If I Don’t Have a Bank Account?

To start with, you can try something like a Transferwise borderless account. It’s a weird type of bank account rooted in the Transferwise system. It gives you an online account, but you can put any old currency into it (except cryptocurrency), and it doesn’t charge you extra or mess up your accounts.

When you sign up for Zelle via the Zelle app, you may add something like your Transferwise debit card. It’s powered by MasterCard, and acceptable for use with the Zelle app. In fact, this is the only MasterCard that has international flavors that may be used with the Zelle app. All other cards must be US-based only.

What About Credit Unions?

Is a credit union a bank? No, it’s not. Yet you can use your credit union debit card to sign up with the Zelle app. The process is simple. You sign up as usual, and then take out your debit card and use its details when adding your “Bank” information into the app. There’s a very good chance that the Zelle app will accept your debit card so long as it’s from a US credit union, and so long as your debit card was issued in the USA.

What About MasterCard and Visa?

You may have heard stories about how any old MasterCard and Visa may be added to the Zelle app. This isn’t the case. There are many occasions where Visa and MasterCard debit cards aren’t accepted by the Zelle app. However, one may encourage you to give it a try.

For example, most pre-paid and credit-building cards won’t be accepted by Zelle, but many people say that the PayPal Access MasterCard is accepted by them. There are also insurance and union organizations that use Visa or MasterCard, and Zelle accepts their cards too.

Can I Access Zelle Without a Smartphone?

If you have a bank account that uses Zelle, and if you have online banking, then you’re able to access Zelle without a Smartphone. All you have to do is sign in to your online banking account and start a transfer. If your bank uses Zelle, then the Zelle feature will pop up and allow you to send a transfer.

If you don’t have a Smartphone or mobile device, then you won’t be able to download the app. Sadly, if you don’t have the app, then you’ll be forced to use a bank to conduct Zelle transfers. Things like adding your Transferwise card or PayPal card to Zelle is impossible unless you do it through your Zelle app.

smartphone picture

Are There Other Ways to Transfer Money?

Let’s say that you don’t have an online banking account with a bank that uses Zelle, and let’s also say that your debit card was rejected by the Zelle app. Does that mean you’re out of options? Not in most cases, since there are other options for people wishing to send money from one place in the USA to another. Here are just a few that don’t directly demand that you have a bank account, (although it’s easier to sign up and become verified if you do have a bank account).

  1. Venmo (US domestic only)
  2. Facebook Messenger Payments (US domestic only)
  3. PayPal (US domestic and international)
  4. Snapchat Snapcash (US domestic only)
  5. Square Cash (US domestic only)

Plus, even if your bank doesn’t use Zelle, it should have its own transfer system. Maybe it sends quick transfers through its own network, or maybe it uses one of Zelle’s competitors like the PopMoney service. If your bank has no fees, or low fees for domestic transfers, then it may be worth using your bank rather than a third-party service or an app like Zelle.

Takeaway – There’s Always Another Way

The moral of the story? There’s always another solution to your problem. Maybe it’s an online-only service that acts like a bank account, such as Transferwise Borderless, or maybe it’s something like a credit union.

There are times when using online banking is your best bet, and there are other times when you can cheat the Zelle app by adding Visas or MasterCards that didn’t come from bank accounts. Nevertheless, there’s no harm in giving it a try to see if one of your cards will be accepted by Zelle, especially if you don’t have a High Street bank account that you can add to the Zelle app.

Were you able to add your Visa or MasterCard into Zelle? Did you find another way to use Zelle without a bank account? Let us know in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Zelle Account Without a Bank”

Avatar Susan Crum says:
Can you use Net Spend CARD with Zelle
Avatar Reebe Mayer says:
I’ve got a transferwise borderless account but the debit mastercard they issued to me has my international address registered with them.

As this has an international address associated with it zelle won’t recognise it.

And if it were possible to get a US based address then it would also be possible to open a regular US bank account and there would be no need for transferwise borderless.

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