Banks have long wanted to facilitate the kind of instant peer-to-peer money transfers that services like Venmo and Square have become known for. Soon they'll be able to.
On Sunday, Early Warning announced a product called Zelle that will allow people to send money to one another directly from their bank account. Zelle will have its own standalone mobile app that will roll out sometime in February 2017. But its technology will also be baked into participating consumer banking apps, like U.S. Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Bank of America. Early Warning, which provides fraud and risk services to banks, thinks that it can surpass the success of incumbents by making payments more instantaneous, portraying the itself as a more secure option, and by reaching out to the scads of people who are not already using a peer-to-peer money transfer app. The folks behind Zelle are also hoping to expand its capabilities beyond banks to facilitate money transfers between governments and companies directly into consumer accounts.
"Whether its my child who's car has broken down, whether its hurricane Matthew and the government needs to get funds out and available, or whether I'm a single mother and I've wrecked my car, I need my insurance claim money," says Lou Ann Alexander, Early Warnings Group President of Payments. "Zelle gives me that immediate ability to manage my finances as well as send receive money very safely."