Does Zelle Work Internationally In 2023? [Top 3 Alternatives]

Updated On: 09/21/2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Does Zelle work internationally?" Perhaps you're hoping to transfer money to a loved one in a foreign country, or maybe you intend to study abroad and need an easy way to handle your finances.

In an increasingly connected world, it's not uncommon for people like you to require practical solutions for international money transfers. With various digital apps claiming global reach, scrutiny of these platforms becomes necessary.

Zelle, the quick and convenient peer-to-peer payments service known for its seamless domestic transactions, is one such platform. While it has revolutionized how we transfer money within the US borders, its scope on the global stage remains unclear to many.

In this discussion, we aim to clarify this issue and give you valuable insights on whether using Zelle beyond US borders is viable.

Does Zelle Work Internationally?

No, Zelle does not work internationally. It is only available for transactions within the United States. Both the sender and the recipient must have US bank accounts. It does not support transfers to or from foreign bank accounts. The recipient's mobile number or email address must be a U.S.-based contact.

Can I Send Money to an International Recipient Using Zelle?

Can I Send Money to an International Recipient Using Zelle?

The short answer is - no, not directly. You see, Zelle is designed explicitly for U.S. customers with a valid U.S. mobile number, a bank account in the U.S., and email addresses. Also, both sender and receiver must have access to the Zelle app through their bank or credit union.

Even with an internationally accessible U.S. bank account and a registered mobile number, sending money to someone overseas is not possible if the recipient doesn't fall under the same criteria.

Therefore, while Zelle offers a fantastic service domestically, it falls short of its international transaction capacity.

Also Read: Ally Bank And Zelle 2023 [Zelle Integration And Daily Limits]

What is Zelle?

Zelle is a widely-used digital service that allows swift and secure money transfers in the United States. Rather than waiting for traditional bank transfers, Zelle users can send or receive money almost instantly, right from their smartphones.

The service collaborates with numerous U.S. banks and credit unions, making it a trusted choice for domestic money transfers.

To use Zelle, all you need is your email address or U.S. mobile phone number and a bank account in the U.S. Expenses like splitting a dinner check or sending a birthday gift to your niece become hassle-free, thanks to Zelle.

However, while this service is fantastic for local transactions, it's essential to know that it isn't designed for international use.

How Does Zelle Work?

Zelle works through mobile and online banking apps from participating U.S. banks and credit unions. To use Zelle, you need to have an account with a U.S. bank that offers Zelle services.

You don't have to enter any bank account details when making a transaction, which is excellent for security. Instead, recipients are chosen by entering their email address or mobile number associated with their Zelle account.

When you hit 'send', the money is transferred almost instantaneously from your account to theirs - no waiting periods or processing delays.

To get started with Zelle:

  • Find your bank - Most major U.S. banks are in partnership with Zelle.
  • Enroll - Enroll using your online banking applications (on mobile or desktop).
  • Start Sending or Receiving Payments - Use your recipient's email address or mobile number to send them money or receive it using the same process.

If your bank doesn't offer Zelle, you may download the standalone 'Zelle' application after checking eligible cards on their website (also note that the app is limited compared to having a partner bank).

What is the Best Way to Transfer Money Internationally?

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) might be just the solution you need when making international money transfers.

Wise is a top-rated digital cash transfer service in over 60 countries. Unlike traditional remittance services, Wise uses a peer-to-peer mechanism to save your money from excessive bank fees.

There are no smoke and mirrors here; with Wise, you get real exchange rates - no hidden charges nor markup fees. Plus, it guarantees safety and speed for your cross-border transactions.

And remarkably user-friendly! Just set up an account using your email or social media profile, and choose the amount you need to transfer and where it needs to go. After reviewing your details, pay in your local currency through a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer. It’s that simple.

With over 16 million customers worldwide and billions in monthly transactions, Wise has proven itself as one of the most trustworthy platforms for international money transfers.

International Zelle Alternatives

International Zelle Alternatives

Finding a suitable alternative to Zelle for international money transfers needs careful evaluation. The service should provide safety, speed, seamless user experience, and reasonable rates. One such reliable option is Wise (formerly known as TransferWise).


Wise offers an extensive network that lets you spend in 174 countries and supports multi-currency direct debits.

In addition to this broad reach, they boast a transparent fee structure with no hidden charges – a breath of fresh air if you're tired of unexpected deductions from various banks or transaction service providers.

Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate for conversion - the rate you'd find on independent sources like Google or Reuters. This practice ensures that you get a fair exchange rate instead of inflated rates often offered by banks.

What further distinguishes Wise is its Borderless Account feature. This multi-currency account lets you hold and manage money in over 40 currencies and convert them whenever it suits your needs. It even allows you to make direct debits in foreign currency—a relatively uncommon facility in similar platforms.

For added convenience, Wise also provides multi-currency accounts that let you simultaneously hold and manage money in multiple currencies - pretty handy for globe trotters or multinational businesses.

Also Read: Wise Vs PayPal 2023 [Fees, Mid-market Exchange Rate & Speed]


Here's a name you'll likely recognize: PayPal, one of the oldest players in the money transfer game. Whether shopping online or sending money abroad, PayPal has been making transactions easier for decades.

So, what's the scoop with PayPal and international transfers?

PayPal ticks the box in reach, operating in over 130 countries. But remember that broad reach often comes accompanied by fees. When sending money outside of the U.S., PayPal charges a fee ranging from 0.5% to 2% if you transfer to a PayPal account.

If not, the transfer can cost as much as 5% of the total and an additional fixed fee based on currency. This fixed fee could be anything from $0.99 to $4.99 per transaction.

Moreover, watch for their 3%-4% currency conversion fee if you're dealing with foreign currency because these little add-ons can add up over time.


Ever heard of WorldRemit? It's another excellent alternative for worldwide money transfers that boasts a reach of over 130 countries.

What makes WorldRemit unique is its speed– it’s an excellent choice if you want your money transferred instantly across borders.

WorldRemit’s charges are reasonable, too! For instance, when transferring $1000 internationally, WorldRemit would charge you a flat fee of only $2.99.

And let's not forget about their exchange rates - they offer mid-market exchange rates - which means no sneaky margins added; what you see is what you get.

FAQs About Zelle International's availability

Q: Can I send money through Zelle internationally?

A: No, Zelle is not an international money transfer service. It is designed only for sending and receiving money between bank accounts within the U.S.

Q: Can I receive money from abroad using Zelle?

A: Unfortunately, no. Zelle is not equipped to process international transactions. The service is available only among U.S-based banks.

Can foreign nationals in the U.S. with a bank account use Zelle?

Yes, as long as they have a bank account with a participating U.S bank or credit union that offers Zelle.

Does Zelle work in Canada?

No, Zelle does not work in Canada. It is an American-based digital payments network and only works in the United States.

Does Zelle work in Mexico?

No, Zelle is not operational in Mexico. It only supports money transfers within the United States.


Going through the digital labyrinth of money transfer services can be challenging, particularly when dealing with international transactions.

But with a clear understanding of how services like Zelle, PayPal, Wise, and WorldRemit operate, you are now armed to make an informed decision.

While Zelle may not facilitate international transfers, knowing that reliable alternatives are available is comforting. Therefore, Wise, PayPal, or WorldRemit could be the best choice for your cross-border financial needs based on your speed, convenience, and affordability requirements.

Michael Restiano

I lead product content strategy for SaltMoney. Additionally, I’m helping our broader team of 4 evolve into a mature content strategy practice with the right documentation and processes to deliver quality work. Prior to Instacart, I was a content strategy lead at Uber Eats and Facebook. Before that, I was a content strategist at SapientNitro, helping major Fortune 500 brands create better, more useful digital content.