Early Warning, a provider of real-time payments, authentication and risk mitigation services, is preparing to raise the profile of its P2P payments platform clearXchange, upping the competition with Venmo, arguably the king of the hill in P2P payments. Competing with Venmo might seem daunting, considering its parent company is PayPal and its student-popular P2P service is currently free for people on both ends of the transaction.
According to a source working with Early Warning who asked to not be identified, Early Warning does not set pricing for P2P payments. Charges are determined by each participating financial institution. But, she said, most FIs have elected not to charge for the service.
Early Warning is backed by a joint venture comprised of Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Other competitors in the P2P payments field include Square and Facebook.
The clearXchange service has been operating since 2011, but Early Warning never promoted it as a corporate brand, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company is renaming clearXchange to Zelle, and plans to launch to consumers next year, according to Early Warning. Zelle currently has a “Coming Soon” Website, which states: “Zelle is a revolutionary new service that lets you send and receive money in minutes. We are working with innovative financial institutions to create an easier way to move money.”
So, what about the name? Though Early Warning declined to comment on it, a Wall Street Journal story said “it is intended to make users think of the speedy gazelle.” Andrew Tilbury, a branding consultant hired by Early Warning, didn’t explain what Zelle means, but said it was chosen because it “feels more personal than product-like” and it “will help financial institutions create and build relationships,” according to Reuters.
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