Early Warning Services, the bank-owned company behind peer-to-peer payments service Zelle, is on a path to position the brand as part of a solution to financial health challenges, particularly among Gen Z users.
Its latest move is a partnership with education company EVERFI, announced Thursday. Through the tie-up, more than 50,000 high school students in the U.S. will be offered free financial education courses in the upcoming school year. Zelle’s emphasis on a younger user base helps push a financial health message to these consumers as they establish their primary financial relationships.
“As much as there are so many great stories that we can tell you about when people receive money instantly, there are also things that can go wrong, so from our perspective, we want to make sure that we are educating people as early as possible,” explained Rose Corvo, chief marketing officer at Early Warning Services. “Zelle has always positioned itself as a halo brand for financial services — we wanted to play the part of being a consumer advocate.”
The course, which focuses on opportunities and risks relating to digital banking, aligns Zelle with a financial literacy movement, and consequently, raises the brand’s profile early on in users’ lives.
Washington, D.C.-based EVERFI will design the training program, which won’t specifically reference Zelle. Through Zelle’s participation in the program, it becomes part of EVERFI’s ecosystem of organizations focused on financial wellness.” We welcome Zelle to our community of organizations, institutions, and educators to revolutionize the way education is developed and delivered,” said EVERFI president of financial education Ray Martinez, in a statement.
Over the course of the past year, Zelle has embarked on a partnership strategy to position the brand as an advocate for financial empowerment among its user base. In March, it worked with personal finance influencer and podcast host Farnoosh Torabi on Stacks House, an educational popup exhibition focused on women and closing the gender pay gap. It also rolled out an ad campaign last month called “Pay it Safe” which focused on safe money movement and ways to avoid scams and fraud.
Corvo emphasized the focus on young consumers — beyond Zelle’s original target of users aged 18 to 34 — is important because they are in the process of establishing their financial habits and behaviors. “Those entering into the banking system are really a great target for us to get to early and make sure that they get all the facts,” she said.
According to Early Warning data, Zelle users sent $49 billion through the peer-to-peer payments network during the third quarter of 2019, a 58% year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, users made 196 million transactions during the quarter, representing 73% year-over-year growth.
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