On Wednesday morning, Bank of America customers began reporting issues with payments processed through the money transfer service Zelle, which led to money disappearing from their accounts.
Many customers took to Twitter to express their outrage as they began to notice the missing funds.
One user tweeted, “I almost lost my mind when I saw $2,000 was missing from my account.”
Another said, “So cool how @BankofAmerica magically disappeared a large Zelle transaction that HAD ALREADY POSTED and I had used to pay bills. Now I’m extremely in debt in my checking and I can’t get ahold of them. Unbelievable.”
Zelle is a money transfer service that works with U.S. banks to move funds directly from one bank account to another. Zelle transfers are quick and free––making the service a popular alternative to credit card transactions that can take a few days to hit users’ accounts and often require fees and bank transfers. However, the service has been under fire by government officials for being an easy facilitator for fraud and theft.
The website downdetector.com reported over 1,000 outage reports for Bank of America by 10:30 a.m. EST, coupled with a similar spike in Zelle outage reports.
If you have Bank of America, Zelle is having an outage issue that’s caused transfers over the last few days to disappear. They’re working on it and it should be fixed today.
Hopefully this helps you find out earlier than I did and without the heart attack it gave me first-thing.
— Zaximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill (@YepItsZak) January 18, 2023
Over a customer support social media account, Zelle redirected users to Bank of America, saying, “The Zelle App & Network are up & running. We are aware of an issue that is impacting Bank Of America customers when sending & receiving payments. We recommend contacting Bank of America’s customer support team for additional updates.”
Zelle does not offer any protection for payments made through their services—which means that there’s no safeguard for customers if a transaction goes wrong.
Bank of America told TIME that, as of 3:00 p.m. EST, the issue has been resolved and customers are receiving their funds back.
The Charlotte Observer reported that customers received a notice when they logged into their online bank accounts on Wednesday, saying that transactions were not missing, but delayed.
“Zelle transactions made between January 14th and January 17th may be delayed in occurring and posting to accounts as requested,” the notice said. “Transfers will be completed and will appear in your account activity and balances as soon as possible.”
So, I woke up to find hella Zelle deposits missing from my Bank of America account. When I called customer service they said “due to extenuating circumstances we cannot take your call” and the phone hung up.
— GNCordova (@GNCordova) January 18, 2023
In 2020, Bank of America customers reported another major glitch, with accounts showing inaccurate balances of as little as $0. The company acknowledged the issue, saying at the time that any inaccuracies did not impact their actual funds. “Some clients may currently see an inaccurate account balance in online or mobile banking. There is no impact to their accounts and their information remains secure,” Bank of America said.
Global payment service ACI Worldwide reported last year that fraud loss in the United States from Authorized Push Payments—scams that trick victims into willingly making large bank transfers to fraudsters—is expected to rise to $3 billion in 2026.
WHAT THE HECK? @BofA_Help @BankofAmerica I want my money back ASAP! I don’t have money for gas! Stuck at home. Your customer service phone doesn’t work! WHATS WRONG? pic.twitter.com/MB0U0VcQHG
— Jeepeto Cuarentón (@JaimeSeija) January 18, 2023
In a report issued last fall, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said four banks provided data reporting over 190,000 cases of fraudulent transactions on Zelle involving over $213 million of payments in 2021 and the first half of 2022. In the majority of the cases, the report noted, individuals were not repaid the amount they were defrauded. Zelle did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
Warren called out both services on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, writing “@BankofAmerica and @Zelle are apparently failing customers again, with money somehow disappearing from accounts. This should be fixed immediately and customers should be compensated. I’ve called out serious fraud issues on Zelle and this is their latest failure.”