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On 3 July 2020, Friday (while the US was on 4th weekend holiday) I sold a bicycle on Craigslist for $850 - a Zelle 'transfer' to my registered account with Chase bank. Today, 6 July, Monday - it still shows as 'Pending'.

I checked with Chase and reviewed previous posts about Zelle whether Zelle payments can be invalidated while a payment is in banking system limbo. The normal thread and Chase's comment was 'You are fine'. But the info is ambiguous. For instance in the previous post on this site it said:

" As long as both parties are previously enrolled, it is instant and irreversible. This can now be confirmed with direct cites: Can I Cancel a Payment and User Service Agreement (section 11 last paragraph) However If you have not properly registered your email or phone number ahead of time, you run the risk that they cancel the transfer before you complete enrollment. --emkman "**

This is clearly false - my sale, after 3 days is still 'Pending' - not 'Instant'.

Further the Chase rep said 'The Federal Reserve is closed over the weekend'. This implies to me that in the future Zelle payments would potentially be 'pending' anytime we sell over the weekend (or holidays).

Now it may be that, as far as the Zelle 'leg' is concerned, the money is irreversibly out of the senders account and on its way; but nowhere have I been able to verify that a Zelle payment showing has 'pending' in one's bank account, can't be, post sale, invalidated by the sender.

Does anyone have knowledge from Zelle about the this issue and security of Zelle transfers 'when the Federal Reserve' is closed ??? I certainly won't trust accepting payment from Zelle that might be 'pending' until this is resolved.

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  • "Instant" probably means it shows up immediately, not that the money always clears immediately (although it may, depending on the banks involved). Zelle still uses the ACH network, which clears transfers overnight when the Federal Reserve is open. I suspect you'll see the transfer finalized by Tuesday morning.
    – Craig W
    Jul 6, 2020 at 17:22

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Generally, banks process transactions in batch daily during business days. Any transaction happening in between batch processes will be shown as "pending" until processed. That means the bank is aware of it and it is in the list of the transactions to be processed, but hasn't been processed yet. This is similar to credit cards, but different, because credit cards know of transactions before they even happen (due to pre-authorizations), but banks don't.

So for long weekends, you can have multiple days until the next batch processing and transactions happening in-between will all be shown as pending. Including Zelle transactions.

They will post during the night of the first business day after the holiday ends.

In the US, Zelle transactions are irreversible if both of you were enrolled (which seems like you were). See Zelle FAQ:

Can I cancel a payment?

You can only cancel a payment if the recipient hasn’t yet enrolled with Zelle®. You can go to your activity page within the Zelle® experience, either within your mobile banking app or the Zelle® app, choose the payment you want to cancel, and then select “Cancel This Payment.”

If your recipient has already enrolled with Zelle®, the money is sent directly to your recipient’s bank account and cannot be canceled.

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