How to Cancel a Zelle Payment

Zelle makes it easy to send and receive payments. But read on to learn if they make it just as easy to cancel before they end up in the wrong hands.

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Adam Moelis
Feb 28, 2022
4 Min Read

You used to have to send people a letter with cash in it if you wanted to transfer money. But thanks to services like Venmo, Cash App, and Zelle, you can instantly send and receive money from people all around the world with just a few taps on your smart device.

Most of us have used peer-to-peer money platforms to send cash to friends and family before. In fact, nearly 70% of smartphone users prefer using these types of apps to send money than their mobile banking sites or other websites.

One of the major platforms for sending money and receiving money is Zelle. This platform makes it easy for you to pay friends and family members back for dinners, rent, and other small amounts.

However, if you've ever sent a Zelle payment to the wrong person, you've got to figure out how to stop it before it's too late! 

Sometimes, we might get trigger-happy and send that split bill to the wrong person. If you’re using Zelle, is there a way to cancel that payment before the money gets into the wrong hands? If you're in this boat, keep reading to learn how to cancel a Zelle payment.

What Is Zelle?

Zelle, like Cash App or Venmo, is a peer-to-peer money transfer platform and mobile payment application. It's a way of simplifying how you pay for things. And, it's a way of making it easier to pay back friends and family members without having to have cash on hand.

More than thirty different U.S banks banded together to create the platform, and many of those banks integrate it into their banking platforms. However, you can also log into the independent Zelle smartphone app to send and receive money.

Most customers who already have their bank app downloaded on their phones can begin using Zelle. As long as the bank participates in the program, they'll automatically be enrolled in the payment platform.

How Does Zelle Work?

Zelle works by transferring money straight from one bank account to another. Unlike traditional bank transfers, Zelle doesn't require users to enter their account numbers to initiate transfers. And, it takes place in just a couple of minutes.

To send a Zelle payment, you need either the phone number or email address of your recipient. Then, the payment platform will send a text or an email to the user to let them know that you've sent a payment. The email or text always includes a link to accept the money.

When the recipient clicks on the link, they'll be prompted to create a Zelle account. The first transaction takes three days to receive, but after that, all transfers take place in just a few minutes.

Things get even easier if your recipient already has an account with a participating bank's mobile app. That way, all they have to do is register for Zelle through their banking platform to receive the deposit.

What To Know About Canceling Zelle Payments

Most of the time, it's possible to cancel a Zelle payment. However, not everyone is able to cancel Zelle payments.

For one, you can only cancel Zelle payments if your recipient hasn't enrolled in the Zelle platform yet. As long as the recipient hasn’t yet enrolled with Zelle, you will be able to go to the activity page in the Zelle app. You can then choose the payment you want to cancel and select “Cancel This Payment.”

If the recipient has already enrolled in Zelle, you won't be able to cancel the payment.

The reason why you can't cancel Zelle payments if the recipient is enrolled in Zelle is that the platform sends the money right away. As soon as you press "send," your money leaves your account and arrives in your friend or family member's account. In other words, if you send your money over to someone who already has a Zelle account, that money will be transferred directly into their bank account and you will not be able to cancel it. 

Since the funds are sent immediately, it's extra important to double-check all the payment details before sending the cash. Verify the recipient's information and double-check with them before you complete the transaction.

If you have already sent the cash and it does leave your account, you can always try contacting the person you accidentally sent the cash to. Sometimes you'll be able to get in touch with them and send a request to get your money back.

Regardless of how you cancel the payment, you'll be happy to know that there are no fees involved with canceling the payment. That way, you at least know you're not losing any more money by submitting a cancellation.

How To Cancel a Zelle Payment

When using Zelle, it is important to make sure you’re only sending and receiving money among people you trust. If you send money to the wrong person, you might not be able to get it back. Think of Zelle like using cash — you should only send money to people whose numbers and emails you’ve verified.

Zelle does not offer a protection program for authorized payments made through the app. That means if you are a victim of a scam or a mistake, you will likely not be able to get your money back.

You might be able to dispute the charges with your bank. But again, many banks will only offer protection from “unauthorized payments” made on your account. Since you technically transferred money in the app, you “authorized” it – even if it went to the wrong place. For that reason, they might not be too helpful either.

It’s imperative to only send money to people that you trust. 

Now, let's talk about what to do if you ever accidentally send a Zelle payment by mistake. After all, you want to make sure you recover your cash before it gets into the wrong hands! Here's what to do to cancel the payment.  

Step One: Open Your Bank's App

The first step to take to cancel a Zelle payment is to navigate to your bank's website or your app. You'll need to input your personal details so that you can log into your account and navigate to your dashboard.

Step Two: Check Your Activity

Once you've logged into your banking account, you'll need to navigate to your bank's activity tab. Scroll down until you find the Zelle payment that you just sent.

Step Three: Stop the Payment

After you identify the Zelle payment in your activity, you'll want to click on that activity item. If your recipient doesn't have a Zelle account, you'll see a button that reads "Stop the Payment".

Click on that button to cancel your payment. If the recipient is already enrolled, you won't have the option to cancel your payment and will need to contact them directly.

Note that if you send a future-dated payment, you'll be able to cancel it even if the recipient has a Zelle account. In this case, there will be a small "cancel" button next to the transaction, which you can tap to stop the payment.

How Can You Avoid Zelle Scams?

A successful Zelle scam starts when you send a payment to another account for a good or service that the recipient never follows through with. There’s no way to get that money back, but you can protect yourself from scams like these if you know what to look for.

Tactics that scammers use often include excitement, compassion, or fear. They’ll use these emotions to swindle you into sending money because they make you think there’s a time sensitivity or urgency that requires your attention right away.

Additionally, if someone ever pressures you into sending money, or if you’ve never spoken to an individual asking you for money, you should be very cautious of giving into any of their demands.

Get Started Managing Your Money

Now that you know how to cancel a Zelle payment, you're in a better position for managing your finances. It suddenly becomes easy to pay (or unpay) friends and family members. Zelle makes it easy to send and receive money, but if that money falls in the wrong hands, you may not always be able to get it back. Be sure to double-check who you’re sending money to before you do.

Speaking of managing your finances, you've got to join Yotta to start saving money today. If you’re ready to start being more responsible with your earnings, while also having a little bit of fun, Yotta is like a no-lose lottery that pays out prizes just by saving. Sign up now and start managing your finances and making your money work for you!

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