With Zelle projected to overtake Venmo, eMarketer expects the payment service to grow more than 73 percent this year. The firm is projecting that Zelle will reach 27.4 million users in the U.S. — more than Venmo’s 22.9 million users, TechCrunch reported.
“One of the main hurdles new apps face is building trust and a sizable audience,” said eMarketer Forecasting Analyst Cindy Liu. “But Zelle has leapfrogged the early stages of adoption by having the benefit of being embedded into the already existing apps of participating banks.”
Overall, eMarketer says that users of peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment products will rise 30 percent in 2018 to encompass 82.5 million people — or just about 40 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. Furthermore, eMarketer forecasts that the transaction volume of P2P payments will increase by 37 percent in 2018 to reach just over $167 billion this year.
The news comes a few months after Zelle said that close to 100,000 customers sign up for the payment app on average each day. According to news from TechCrunch, Zelle said it processed more than 247 million payments last year, which marks a 45 percent jump from 2016. It handled a total of $75 billion in P2P payments in 2017. That marks a significant increase from the $55 billion it garnered the year before.
Zelle is built directly into member banks’ existing mobile apps, which is theoretically an advantage, since some 80 percent of Americans have downloaded their bank’s mobile app — though it’s not clear how often average consumers actually use them on a day-to-day basis. Though some studies show that well over half of all consumers regularly use their mobile banking app to do things like check balances, other less optimistic studies indicate that only about 20 percent of consumers use those bank-affiliated mobile apps. Additionally, Zelle has a name recognition issue to overcome, as its competitor in the P2P payments space, Venmo, is well-known and well-loved by its user base.