Those looking for a simple mobile- and web-based bank will likely find Chime appealing. The bank has two distinct accounts: the checking account-inspired Spending Account and the optional Automatic Savings Account. The Spending Account is essentially fee-less, as you won’t encounter any overdraft, monthly service, transfer or foreign transaction charges.
Although the Automatic Savings Account has a weak 0.01% annual percentage yield (APY), you can take advantage of two automated saving features that will slowly but surely increase your balance. On top of this, you can get your paychecks as much as two days early when you set up direct deposit through your Chime accounts.
Because Chime is available only via online and mobile devices, the services on these platforms are as plentiful as what any traditional bank can offer. In fact, account holders can utilize mobile check deposit, Chime’s free “Pay Friends” peer-to-peer mobile payments feature, an ATM locator and more. Between the Apple and Android app stores, Chime’s app holds an average rating of 4.65 stars out of 5.
All Chime account holders are handed a Chime Visa® debit card free of charge. You can use this to withdraw money from any one of the 38,000 fee-free ATMs that Chime is partnered with through the MoneyPass® and Visa Plus Alliance ATM networks. You can also make cash deposits at retail stores within the Green Dot® network, like CVS and 7-Eleven.
|Chime Spending Account|| |
|Chime Automatic Savings Account|| |
Chime Bank Overview
Chime is a fairly young financial institution, as co-founders Chris Britt and Ryan King established the company in 2013. The bank is based out of San Francisco, California, but it does not operate any physical banking branches. In turn, all of its services are available through its website and mobile apps for both Apple and Android phones.
Chime’s banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, a financial services business that offers “private label banking and technology solutions,” according to its website. The Bancorp Bank works with a number of reputable financial companies, including PayPal and Card.com.
Chime Spending Account
|Access to Your Account||Online, mobile and ATMs|
|Security||FDIC insurance up to $250,000|
|Current Terms and Rates||Not interest-bearing|
The Chime Spending Account is for just that: spending. This is basically a normal checking account, as it comes with the Chime Visa® debit card and access to a wide range of ATMs. Customers can visit any of MoneyPass®’ and Visa Plus Alliance’s 38,000 fee-free ATMs across the country. If you don’t know where to find an eligible ATM, Chime’s mobile apps have an ATM locator. Beware, though, that any time you use an out-of-network ATM or make an over-the-counter cash withdrawal at a bank or credit union, you’ll be on the hook for a $2.50 fee. Chime is part of the Green Dot® network as well, through which you can make cash deposits at stores like CVS and Walgreens.
Aside from the aforementioned out-of-network fee, Chime does not institute any other fees. To be specific, there are no monthly fees or charges for overdrafts, bank transfers, debit card replacements or foreign transactions. There’s also no minimum initial deposit or interest-earning capabilities for this account.
Perhaps the most practical advantage of the Chime Spending Account is its early direct deposit benefit. If you sign up for direct deposit with Chime, you’ll receive your paychecks as much as two days ahead of time. It’s not guaranteed that the deposit will arrive two days earlier, though, as there are many factors that contribute to this. Chime will provide you with a pre-filled direct deposit form that it recommends you give to your employer to hopefully expedite the process.
Compare Chime to Other Competitive Offers
Chime Automatic Savings Account
|Access to Your Account||Online, mobile and ATMs|
|Security||FDIC insurance up to $250,000|
|Current Terms and Rates||0.01% APY|
The Chime Automatic Savings Account comes with an abysmal 0.01% APY, which pales in comparison to the savings options at other online/mobile banks like Ally and Marcus. In an effort to boost your possible savings, Chime has put into effect two automatic savings features. The “Save When You Spend” perk will round up your debit transactions to the nearest dollar and send it to your savings account. If you want to save more, accounts holders who sign up for direct deposit can have 10% of their paychecks moved into their savings account.
Just because you’re a customer of Chime doesn’t mean you need to have an Automatic Savings Account, as they’re strictly optional. If you do decide to open one, though, the bank will let you transfer funds between it and your Chime Spending Account whenever you want, for free.
Where Can I Find Chime Bank?
Chime is a branchless bank, meaning the entirety of its services are obtainable solely through its Apple and Android mobile apps and its website. While this lack of physical locations might be undesirable for some prospective customers, Chime subscribes to the MoneyPass® and Visa Plus Alliance ATM networks. Between these brands, Chime account holders will be able to use more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs. In other words, you should have no problem getting your hands on some cash when you need it.
What Can You Do Online With Chime Bank?
Chime does have branches, but you can easily make deposits by using mobile check deposit and taking a picture of your check. Customers can view their account balance and transaction history at any time. The bank even offers daily balance notifications and instant alerts for individual transactions. If your card is stolen or lost, you can go to the Chime app and deactivate it immediately.
The Chime mobile app allows customers to take care of their mortgage, credit card and other payments via direct debits. The Pay Friends app from Chime lets customers quickly pay back their friends and family. The app works similar to the Venmo and PayPal. Chime does not charge extra fees for instant transfers and there’s a daily limit of $2,000, giving you plenty of room to work within.
Everything you can do on your phone with Chime can be done on the bank’s website too. This is somewhat of a rarity for a mobile-centric bank, as some of Chime’s top competitors have avoided online banking altogether. The same login information that you’d use on your phone will apply to your Chime web account as well.
How Do I Access My Money?
Like many modern-day banks, the Chime Visa® debit card is the most hassle-free way to spend the money in your deposit accounts. If you need to withdraw money, swipe your Chime debit card at an in- or out-of-network ATM or request a cash withdrawal at any bank or credit union. The card comes with an EMV chip on it for security, and it works both domestically and internationally. Customers can also add the Chime debit card to their Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay virtual wallets.
Paper checks are becoming less and less common, though they’re still used in some instances. Despite Chime’s online nature, it offers a paper check service. Simply request a check in the Chime mobile app and the bank will send it wherever you need it, for free, with an expected arrival date in the next three to nine days.
How Can I Save More Money With a Chime Bank Account?
The main draw of Chime is the simplicity and convenience of its accounts. On the other hand, the bank’s interest rates are nearly nonexistent, as the Automatic Savings Account is paired with a meager 0.01% APY. To help you save, Chime extends the following features:
- Round up every debit transaction to the nearest dollar and transfer it to your savings account
- Automatically transfer 10% of every paycheck into your savings account
Chime boasts an extraordinarily low-cost fee schedule. Besides the obvious benefits of such a setup, cheap fees mean more of your hard-earned money stays in your pocket. The only exception to this rule: making an ATM withdrawal from a machine outside of the MoneyPass® and Visa Plus Alliance networks.
What’s the Process For Opening an Account With Chime Bank?
Chime claims it takes less than two minutes to open an account. The bank’s application process can be found either on its website or mobile apps. To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen who is at least 18, live in the U.S. and have a valid Social Security number. You will also need to provide your birthdate and mailing address.
Having bad credit can adversely affect your application’s chances of acceptance at many major banks, but Chime markets itself online as a “second chance banking option.” More specifically, it’s referring to the fact that it doesn’t check your credit reports prior to making you an account holder. This policy could be a major lifeline for certain customers, and it is one of the hidden advantages of Chime.
What’s the Catch?
Out-of-network ATM fees aren’t uncommon, but Chime’s inclusion of a $2.50 fee for using one of these machines is something to keep an eye on. Because most customers will be fully dependent on ATMs to withdraw funds, the prospect of not having one in your area could be a dealbreaker.
In some ways Chime is a glorified checking account with a couple savings options. This is evidenced by the bank’s meager 0.01% savings APY, though it attempts to combat this with a duo of savings features. Even with these, Chime is still missing the sizable savings prospects that some its counterparts have.
Although this should be fairly obvious by now, Chime is completely void of all bank branches. Unlike traditional banks, Chime doesn’t offer certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts (MMAs) or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) either. If this doesn’t sit well with you, avoid Chime at all costs.
Anyone who’s tired of paying fees and wants a straightforward banking experience will probably find Chime to his or her liking. The bank has little to no account choice, but its checking account (Chime Spending Account) and savings account (Chime Automatic Savings Account) should cover the needs of most. Furthermore, Chime’s savings capabilities are great for those that have difficulty consistently setting money aside for the future. Chime’s large fee-free ATM network and well-developed online banking site and mobile apps are well worth looking into.