Nineteen banks, including BofA, Chase, Citi, and Wells, have teamed up to roll-out and support Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment app that will let users send money in same fashion as Venmo. Zelle's advantage maybe the instant transfer to customer's bank accounts given its big bank connections---although Venmo plans to roll out more instantaneous transfers with the help of Visa and Mastercard. A standalone Zelle payment app should be available to anyone with a debit card, regardless of where he or she banks, by the middle of the year.
To launch the new app without disrupting the old systems, Zelle is being rolled out in phases. In the first, under way now, bank payment apps will incorporate Zelle's options and basic design without any Zelle branding. Banks can add these features whenever they're ready. Later, bank apps will tout Zelle branding, and, sometime in the first half of the year, a standalone app will be launched. BofA's person-to-person payments will be free. Although members of the Zelle network will have the option to charge, it's not clear if any banks will even try to do so when Venmo and other payment apps cost nothing.