The short answer is that you can’t create a Zelle account without a bank. That said, there are a few ways to fix this little problem. At its core, Zelle is a service used by bank customers to transfer their money between accounts in the US. It’s supported by banks, but there are ways to use the Zelle app without having a bank account.
Why is a bank account important?
Zelle is primarily used to transfer money between banks in the US. In fact, in many cases, you can use your own bank’s online services to send money using Zelle. Then, to compete with the likes of PayPal, Zelle came out with its own app. Again, the main idea was for bank users to be able to download the app and transfer their money between accounts via their smartphones, rather than having to go online and use their bank’s website.
What if I don’t have a bank account?
For starters, you can try something like a Transferwise borderless account. It’s a strange type of bank account rooted in the Transferwise system. It gives you an online account, but you can put in any old currency (except crypto), and it doesn’t charge you extra or blow your accounts.
When you sign up for Zelle through the Zelle app, you can add something like your Transferwise debit card. Works with MasterCard and is acceptable for use with the Zelle app. In fact, this is the only MasterCard that has international flavors that can 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. However, you can use your credit union debit card to sign up for the Zelle app. The process is simple. You sign in as usual, and then you pull out your debit card and use its details when you add your “Bank” information in the app. There is a strong possibility that the Zelle app will accept your debit card as long as it is from a US credit union and as long as your debit card was issued in the US.
What about MasterCard and Visa?
You may have heard stories about how old MasterCard and Visa cards can be added to the Zelle app. This is not the case. There are many times when the Zelle app does not accept Visa and MasterCard debit cards. However, one can encourage you to give it a try.
For example, Zelle doesn’t accept most prepaid and credit builder cards, but many people say they accept PayPal Access MasterCard. There are also insurance organizations and unions that use Visa or MasterCard, and Zelle also accepts their cards.
Can I access Zelle without a smartphone?
If you have a bank account that uses Zelle and you have online banking, you can access Zelle without a smartphone. All you have to do is log in to your online banking account and initiate a transfer. If your bank uses Zelle, the Zelle feature will appear and allow you to send a transfer.
If you don’t have a smartphone or mobile device, you won’t be able to download the app. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the app, you’ll be forced to use a bank to make Zelle transfers. Things like adding your Transferwise card or PayPal card to Zelle are impossible unless you do it through your Zelle app.
Are there other ways to transfer money?
Let’s say you don’t have an online banking account with a bank that Zelle uses, and let’s also say your debit card was declined by the Zelle app. Does that mean you have no options? Not in most cases, as there are other options for people who want to send money from one place to another in the United States. Here are some that don’t directly require you to have a bank account (although it’s easier to sign up and get verified if you have a bank account).
- Venmo (US domestic only)
- Facebook Messenger payments (US only)
- PayPal (US domestic and international)
- Snapchat Snapcash (solo en EE. UU.)
- Square Cash (solo en EE. UU.)
Also, even if your bank doesn’t use Zelle, it must have its own transfer system. Maybe you send quick transfers over your own network, or maybe you use one of Zelle’s competitors like the PopMoney service. If your bank has no or low fees for domestic transfers, then it may be worth using your bank instead of a third-party service or app like Zelle.
Take away food: there is always another way
The moral of the story? There is always another solution to your problem. Maybe it’s an online-only service that acts like a bank account, like 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 trick the Zelle app by adding Visas or MasterCards that don’t come from bank accounts. However, there’s no harm in trying to see if Zelle accepts one of your cards, 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 to Zelle? Did you find another way to use Zelle without a bank account? Let us know in the comments section.