U.S. bank group to launch Zelle instant payments brand in 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A consortium of banks holding the majority of U.S. consumer accounts plans to launch its instant, person-to-person payments brand Zelle in the first half of 2017, a spokesman said on Thursday.

The group has posted its logo - which includes a vertical line bisecting the letter “Z” like a backwards dollar sign - on (, said Andrew Tilbury, a branding consultant and spokesman hired by the bank consortium, Early Warning Services.

Early Warning operates clearXchange, which earlier this year began connecting banks to allow individuals to send money by email and text message to people with accounts at other banks for their immediate use. In the meantime, the group has been working on its marketing plan.

Zelle is the consortium’s response to challenges from Silicon Valley, such as Venmo, a payments app run by PayPal Holdings Inc. Venmo has become popular with young adults making payments to one another for shared expenses, such as rent and lunch tabs.

Banks that are part of clearXchange include Bank of America Corp, Capital One Financial Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Tilbury said the brand name Zelle was chosen after considering several names. The banks selected it because it “feels more personal than product-like.” He said it has an “approachable personality” that “will help financial institutions create and build relationships.”

The choice of the name Zelle was first reported on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

Editing by Matthew Lewis