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Are ACH and Zelle the same?
No, ACH and Zelle are not technically the same thing, although Zelle utilizes the ACH network. Basically, all Zelle payments are (instant) ACH payments but not all ACH payments are Zelle payments.
The primary difference between Zelle and regular ACH payments is related to speed—whereas a standard ACH payment can take 2-5 days to clear, Zelle payments tend to clear in minutes.
Other differences center around availability, security, and convenience.
2-5 business days
Most US banks offer ACH
Zelle is not available at all banks but transfers can be made in the Zelle app
The ability to return/reverse ACH payments boosts security
A rising number of Zelle users have been victims of fraud and reversals are rare
First-time ACH transfers require account and routing numbers
Zelle transfers require email or phone number
ACH (Automated Clearing House) is a payment processing network that’s used to send money electronically between banks in the United States. It allows for automated, electronic debiting and crediting of both checking and savings accounts.
Most US banks and other FIs (financial institutions) including credit unions allow ACH transfers. To send and receive ACH payments, an FI must be part of the ACH (Automated Clearing House) network, which is governed by Nacha.
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