Why Has My Zelle Payment Failed? (and How to Make It Work?)

Lindsay Hayes

There are several things that can make a Zelle payment fail. This could include a poor internet connection, entering the wrong details for the recipient's account, either you or the receiver having a flagged or blocked account, and issues with Zelle servers, among others. Fortunately, there are fixes you can turn to, no matter the cause.

Zelle is useful to have when you want to quickly send money to someone. However, there are many instances when your Zelle payment fails and you may not know why. I had a friend who needed to send money to someone but his Zelle payment failed each time. I've been using Zelle for several years and have run into this many times, so I was able to help him out.

If your Zelle payment fails every time you try sending money, don't worry. It can be frustrating, but I've been there. This guide will help you get to the bottom of it. Let's dive right in.


What is Making My Zelle Payment Fail?

So, you tried to transfer money but your Zelle payment failed. This can happen occasionally, but with the right knowledge, you can tackle it right away.

There are a few reasons why a Zelle payment might fail. I'll show you what they are, and the solutions to try.

Two People Transferring Money Through Online Mobile App

1. Your Internet Connection is Poor

The first thing you should look into when your Zelle payment fails is whether you're connected to a fast and stable internet network.

As you know, Zelle has to connect through its servers and the servers of your financial institution to complete a transaction. If your internet wasn't good enough for it to establish this connection, it may be the reason why your Zelle payment failed.

How to Fix?

To fix this issue, you'll need to connect to a more reliable network.

You might find it more helpful to have your device connected to a WiFi network. Being as close as you can to the router will help too.

2. The Recipient's Account Credentials Are Wrong

When transferring money to someone using Zelle, you need to enter the mobile number or email address that they have connected to their Zelle account.

If the account credentials you send the money to are incorrect, and no other user has the incorrect credentials you used, the Zelle payment will fail.

How to Fix?

Before you make a transaction, especially for relatively large amounts, make sure to reach out to the recipient and ensure that you have the correct credentials for their Zelle account.

Also, before you finally send money, make sure that you double-check the payment details you entered. This way, you can make sure it's going to the right person.

3. The Recipient's Zelle Account Has Been Blocked

So, your Zelle payment failed even though you checked the credentials several times. What could be causing this?

Well, if the Zelle account of the person you're trying to send money to has been blocked for whatever reason, it'll show up as a failed payment since it can't be completed successfully.

How to Fix?

Unless the owner of the Zelle account gets it unblocked, they won't be able to receive money.

The best thing you can do here is to advise the person on the other end to contact Zelle support. They should hopefully be able to unblock their account.

However, if they initially enrolled with Zelle through their bank's app, they will need to reach out to their support instead.

Once they get their Zelle account back up, you can attempt your payment again, and it should work this time.

ecommerce Money Transfer Through Online Banking

4. You Have Insufficient Funds

You might not realize it when you don't have enough money in your bank account to complete a transaction on Zelle.

If this is the case, and you try to make a transfer to a recipient's bank account, it will simply fail off the bat.

The good thing is that, when this happens, there's usually an error message explaining why. Most other causes behind a failed payment aren't as explanatory.

How to Fix?

If a payment fails because the sender's bank account doesn't have enough money, there are a couple of ways to resolve this.

First of all, you can go down to your bank the good old-fashioned way to deposit cash. This way, the account connected to your Zelle account will also be funded and you can go ahead with your payment.

However, we all know that it can be a major inconvenience to go down to the bank, especially if you need to make some Zelle payments urgently.

In this case, I recommend reaching out to someone else with the Zelle app and having them loan you the required amount. They can send it to your Zelle profile, which will make it almost immediately available. That way, you can make your urgent payment in a few minutes, without needing to go to the bank.

5. The Recipient's Bank Account Has Not Been Enrolled with Zelle

In some cases, you might make a payment on Zelle, and it could fail. Yet, despite this, the money could be deducted from your account. One of the most common reasons why a Zelle payment fails but money is taken from your bank account could be because the other person hasn't enrolled with Zelle yet.

Since you have to make Zelle payments using a person's email address or phone number, you might use those details and not even know that they haven't enrolled in the Zelle app.

How to Fix?

Here's the thing, even if this happens, you can't say that your Zelle transfer failed yet. In these instances, it counts as a Zelle payment pending, at least for 14 days.

When you enter account details that haven't been enrolled with Zelle services, that email address or phone number will be contacted and notified that a Zelle transfer was made to them.

If they follow the link in the message they receive, they'll be instructed on the process to follow to get enrolled. Once they do this successfully, the payment status of the Zelle transfer will change to "Completed", and the person will receive their cash.

However, if they fail to enroll within 14 days of you sending them cash, it will result in payment failure and the money will be transferred back to you.

Woman looking at smartphone screen while transferring money online

6. There is an Issue With the Zelle Servers

The Zelle app depends on its servers to communicate with the network of banks and customers. However, as is the case with all big tech businesses occasionally, their servers may experience downtime that prevents you from being able to make a Zelle transfer.

If you attempt to make a transfer regardless, it will likely end in payment failure. In some cases, this might cause an issue where a Zelle payment failed but the money is taken anyway.

You can confirm whether Zelle is currently up and running by checking a website like DownDetector.

How to Fix?

In these cases, there's nothing you can do to get things working again. You'll simply need to wait until Zelle fixes the issue on their side.

The good thing is that this doesn't take too long since they know how inconvenient the issue is.

7. There is an Issue With the Bank Servers

Similar to issues with Zelle's servers, when bank servers have downtime, it will also prevent you from making a successful transfer on Zelle.

How to Fix?

Unfortunately, you will also need to wait until your bank's servers are back online.

You can call your specific bank to find out how bad the issue is and when their online service will be active again. This only takes an hour or two, though.

8. There's a Bug in the Zelle Application

If you're using the Zelle app on your mobile device, you may be dealing with the Zelle payment fail issue due to a buggy application.

Like any other app, there could be problems with the Zelle application that messes around with your ability to make a successful payment.

How to Fix?

The good thing is that you can quickly update Zelle from the Google Play Store or App Store depending on the device you use.

On an Android device:

  1. Open "Play Store".
  2. Tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Type in "Zelle" and search.
  4. Open it.
  5. Press the "Update" button and wait for it to complete. If you don't see an "Update" button, it means that you're likely on the latest version of the app already.

To update Zelle on an iOS device:

  1. Launch the "App Store".
  2. Tap your profile picture at the top of the screen to open the "Account" menu.
  3. Scroll down until you get to the "Available Updates" section.
  4. Look for Zelle in this list. Press the "Update" button beside it to start the process.
Online payments and money transfers via smartphone

9. Your Zelle Account Has Been Flagged

When there's some shady activity connected with you on Zelle, such as odd logins or suspicious transaction activity, the sender's bank account might be flagged or suspended.

Typically, when your account gets flagged this way, you won't be able to transfer money, whether it's to send or receive payments until this is sorted out.

How to Fix?

If your Zelle payment fails because of a flagged account, you don't need to worry too much, especially if you think it was wrongfully flagged.

You can contact Zelle support through here and talk to one of the Zelle customer service representatives to explain the situation and get your Zelle profile back up and active.

Once you contact Zelle support and prove that there was no foul play, you can reattempt the failed payment and it should work.

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Final Words

If your Zelle payment fails each time you use it, there could be many reasons for this. You might be using a poor internet connection, you may have entered the incorrect account credentials for the recipient, or there might be server downtimes from Zelle or your bank.

However, if you still have issues getting a payment to go through successfully, you might want to contact the official support channels for Zelle. They might be able to tell you a lot more about what's causing the failure.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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