Work & Money

Still Writing Checks? There’s a Fast, Safe and Easy Way to Send and Receive Money in 2020

I have friends who refuse to bank or pay bills by computer or phone apps. They write checks, find envelopes, address them, stamp them and mail them. However, as digital transformation has changed the way we live, shop and interact with our banks, checks seem to be losing relevance due to lack of security and speed, as well as inconvenience.

What has now increased in relevance is digital payments and P2P. P2P (person-to-person, or peer-to-peer) payments are a fast, safe and easy way to send money digitally from your bank account to someone else’s and the growth of usage has been unprecedented.

Aite Group reported that U.S. consumer adoption of mobile P2P payment methods is beginning to gain steam, and U.S. consumer use of mobile P2P payment methods has grown by 111% since 2014. In 2017, 57% of, or 144 million, U.S. consumers made at least one P2P payment, and 67.7 million U.S. consumers made at least one mobile P2P payment.

What is Zelle®?

Zelle was launched in 2017 and is available in the mobile banking apps of over 110 million consumers in the United States. When you log into your mobile banking app or online banking website, Zelle allows you to send and receive money directly from one bank account in the U.S. to another using only a recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number. Zelle is a great alternative to cash and checks because:

  • Zelle does not charge fees to send or receive money[1]
  • You can use Android or iOS devices, and some banks and credit unions have an online banking site you can use
  • The money is available typically within minutes[2]
  • Money goes directly into the recipient’s bank account enrolled with Zelle

How can Zelle work for you?

Here’s an example. Carol told her two brothers that she found the best set of golf clubs for their dad’s birthday, but the sale ends tomorrow. She’s an artist between gigs, so she can’t fund the purchase on her own. Her brothers are glad she found the perfect gift, but sending a check in the mail, and waiting for the check to be deposited and processed, would take too long. They decide to send the money with Zelle. Though the siblings live in various parts of the United States, Zelle is available in all three of their banks’ mobile apps. Thanks to Zelle, Carol receives the money in her account within minutes2, and buys the golf clubs at the sale price. Even loyal check writers might value how Zelle can handle an urgent issue like sending money for a last-minute gift.

Ready to send money with Zelle? Follow these steps:

  1. Ask your bank or credit union if it offers Zelle, or go to, select “Get Started with Zelle” and search for your financial institution.
  2. If your financial institution offers Zelle — You’ll see an option to send money with Zelle when you’re online with your bank or credit union. Just follow the quick and easy instructions for enrolling with Zelle with your financial institution.
  3. If your financial institution does not yet offer Zelle — Download the Zelle app from the App Store or Google Play to your smartphone, and enroll your contact information, an email address and U.S. mobile number, and a MasterCard® or Visa® debit card from a U.S.-based bank or credit union account.
  4. To send money with Zelle, just type in the email address or the U.S. mobile phone number of your trusted recipient, state the dollar amount, add an optional memo and send. The money will go directly to that person’s enrolled account at their financial institution.
  5. If the recipient is not yet enrolled with Zelle, they will receive a notification that you sent them money with Zelle, along with instructions on how to enroll with Zelle in order to receive the money you sent.

Take your time

Payments sent with Zelle are fast, so you should be slow and deliberate in typing in the U.S. mobile phone number or email address of the recipient. Check it twice. And when in doubt, contact your recipient to confirm what email or U.S. mobile number they’ve enrolled with Zelle. Once you hit “send,” that is your authorization to send money to the intended recipient.

Consider your options

Different payment options have their merits and drawbacks. Credit and debit cards may have fraud and purchase protections, but also fees. Checks are slow transfers. Cash is what’s in your wallet, and if you need more, you’ll need to make a trip to the ATM. Zelle is a fast, safe and easy way to send and receive money with those you know and trust – simply using your smartphone or banking website.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Senior Planet and Wealthy Choices® are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial.

Penelope S. Tzougros, PhD, ChFC, CLU. Financial Planner, Author, National Speaker. Wealthy 781 577 2311. [email protected]. In all 50 states, Penelope S. Tzougros is registered with, and securities and advisory services are offered through, LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Honoree, Your Home Sweet Home: How to Decide Whether You Should Stay or Move in Retirement. 2014-2020 Five Star Wealth Manager (Award based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credential, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2014-2020 Five Star Wealth Managers.)

[1] Zelle does not charge fees to send and receive money, but recommends checking with your bank or credit union about whether they charge any fees to send or receive money with Zelle.

[2] Must have a bank account in the U.S. to use Zelle. Transactions typically occur in minutes when the recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number is already enrolled with Zelle.

This post was sponsored by Zelle, a service we genuinely love!


8 responses to “Still Writing Checks? There’s a Fast, Safe and Easy Way to Send and Receive Money in 2020

  1. Hello, I am trying to find out if AARP offers some technical training for those seniors trying to get back to work. Most position is asking for up to date Microsoft knowledge. I am fairly up to date however, if you haven’t used in last 3 years or so that is an issue.
    I know you offer suggestions as to who might hire but again they still want current users.
    Do you or are you going to do any Zoom training for Excel, Word, or others?
    For the most part these skill are taught at some community colleges but with a fee that most who are not working can not afford. Seniors may have a better chance of getting hired if they had those up to date skill.
    I have found the biggest discrimination in the job market is that of age discrimination, at least in my part of the country.
    Maybe there is some technical savvy individuals who might offer up there time free or maybe a small fee to cover any cost.
    You would be doing a great service for the members of this wonderful organization AARP.
    Much appreciate and thanks!

    1. Hi Diana,
      If you are looking for a refresher or what is new in Microsoft and many other software and internet applications, explore GCFglobal They also have many lessons presented in other languages also.
      I also recommend asking your local public library if they offer classes or tutoring. I’m a tech literacy librarian for a public library in Michigan.

  2. I thought I’d learn about the several alternatives out there, not read a puff piece on zelle. I used paypal in the past, was ok, I use zelle now and pretty much like it.
    You can only use 1 account with zelle. I like to keep some things separate in 2 checking accounts. I found I can have the phone number on 1 and the email on the other so I can give out the 1 I want, depending.

    Zelle deposits are usually very fast.

    On the other hand, people have sent money to the wrong place because zelle or the bank changed something and it’s tough to get either to be responsible. No, not mistyping, a woman would send money to her brother and put in the same info, which the bank shows the recipient name, but they sent it to someone else. This doesn’t seem to happen often, but often enough to make me, and others, check to see if the money made it there.

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