The service previewed Sunday at the Money20/20 payments conference, and it's backed by big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bancorp and Citibank through the financial risk management company Early Warning.
Zelle will allow users to send money online or on their mobile devices. But the service will be entering a tough market.
PayPal-owned Venmo has seen tremendous success. It's now set to process $20 billion in payments per year, according to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.
Zelle's creators hope to top that with speed and support from the nation's biggest banks. It's also going to offer immediate access to funds for free — something other major money-transfer apps don't do.