Troubleshooting: Sending money through apps

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The I-Team investigates a fast cash complaint. Sending money to a friend in a flash through an app.The technology is convenient, but what if there's a problem?

Sometimes it could be user error- entering the wrong amount or sending money to the wrong person. But what if you did everything right - and the money was missing?

One woman called the I-Team because that happened to her.

"I felt like there has been no customer service," said Heather Vardis.

Heather Vardis blames new technology for a $400 scare.

"I was expecting a payment. A friend was transferring some money to me and I looked online to make sure it was received," she said.

But she says the initial deposit went missing from her account and she worried she'd never end up seeing the money. Her friend sent the cash to her Citibank account using Zelle.

Zelle is technology used by Citibank, Chase and several other banks so you can quickly send cash to your friends.

"So I called the bank and explained 'Hey, I just noticed this' and they said 'Oh, this has been a system problem with Zelle. It's a system wide problem, we know about it, it should be fixed by tomorrow and your account will be credited tomorrow.' I was like 'Great, thanks'. I looked at my account two days later and sure enough it wasn't credited," Vardis said.

Vardis called the I-Team when she says she couldn't get answers.

"Still nothing in my account. I called Citibank again. They said 'Oh, yea it's closed' and I said 'but I don't have a credit,'" she said.

Zelle told the I-Team it was an: "... internal error on Citi and not relevant to the overall Zelle Network."

Then Citibank told us: "Due to an internal error, there was a delay processing the client's transaction. We apologize for the inconvenience and are pleased the matter has been resolved. The satisfaction of our customers is extremely important to us."

Vardis verified that her money was eventually recovered but...

"It makes me feel really uncomfortable," she said.

If you have a problem with Zelle or any of these types of services you can also turn to the Federal Reserve Board which overseas electronic payment systems. In a 2017 report it said that 141 complaints were filed on all types of companies connected to "Electronic Funds Transfers."

Vardis says she's skeptical about using peer-to-peer payments again.

"It may have to be the old fashioned checks," she said.

Zelle says you should only use the technology to pay people you know and trust- don't use it for strangers and online classifieds.

If you send money to the wrong person you should call your bank immediately.

If you have a problem with a payment, you can file a complaint with the Federal Reserve Board HERE.

Below are tips from the Federal Trade Commission and Zelle regarding peer-to-peer electronic payments.

Tips From the Federal trade Commission FTC:

Tips from Zelle:
Zelle has an FAQ HERE which includes how to avoid user errors.

Zelle also offers the following tips for consumers:
- Use #Zelle to pay only people you trust. Don't use Zelle to buy goods or services from strangers, auctions or online classifieds.
- It's important to only send money with #Zelle to people you know and trust
- Use your phone's contacts to easily send money or requests to your friends and family. Using your contacts saves time and helps prevent typos in email addresses or mobile numbers
-Want to use Zelle with accounts at more than one bank or credit union? Use your mobile number at one and your email address at the other bank or credit union.
- Save time! Enroll all of your email and/or mobile numbers to receive payments with Zelle!
- If the payment is sent to an unenrolled email or mobile number, the consumer can cancel it or it will expire after 14 days and it will only expire if the recipient does not enroll in response to the payment notification. If it is sent to a consumer who is enrolled but not the intended recipient the consumer would need to work with their bank.
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