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 Chime Savings Account. The Spending Account is essentially fee-less, as you won’t encounter any overdraft, monthly service, transfer or foreign transaction charges. On top of this, you can get your paychecks and tax refunds as much as two days early when you set up direct deposit through your Chime accounts.
Not only that, but Chime account holders received their federal stimulus money, provided by the American Rescue Plan, long before others. By March 13, 2021, millions of Chime members had received over $3 billion in stimulus payments, which is up to five days earlier than customers of most traditional banks, Chime said. The official payment date for distribution of the stimulus money to banks was March 17, according to the IRS.
Chime's savings option, the Chime Savings Account, offers a solid 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY), although Chime reserves the right to change that at any time. While some online banks institute a maximum balance for their APYs, Chime does not, nor does it call for a minimum balance to earn that rate. Accounts holders can also take advantage of two automated savings features called "Round Ups" and "Save When I Get Paid" to help increase their savings balance.
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 60,000 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.
|Spending Account|| |
|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 60,000 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 Savings Account
|Access to Your Account||Online, mobile and ATMs|
|Security||FDIC insurance up to $250,000|
|Current Terms and Rates||0.50% APY|
The Chime Savings Account comes with a 0.50% APY, which is just about in line with the top savings rates on the market, such as those available through Ally and Marcus. In an effort to boost your savings potential, Chime has put into effect two automatic savings features. The “Round Ups” perk will round up your debit transactions to the nearest dollar and send it to your savings account. If you want to save even more, account holders who receive direct deposits of at least $500 can have 10% of them transferred into their savings account.
Just because you’re a customer of Chime doesn’t mean you need to have a Chime 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 60,000 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 doesn't have branches, but you can easily make deposits by taking a picture of your check through mobile check deposit. 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 feature from Chime lets customers quickly pay back their friends and family. For reference, it works similar to 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 with.
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 following 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. However, with the introduction of the Chime Savings Account, you can begin accruing some savings, though you'll find much higher interest rates at other online banks. To maximize your growth, be sure to take advantage of Chime's two automatic savings 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 accessed either through 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, this refers 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.
Although this should be fairly obvious by now, Chime is completely void of any and all bank branches. Unlike traditional banks, Chime also doesn’t offer certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts (MMAs) or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). If this doesn’t sit well with you, it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Anyone who’s tired of paying fees and wants a straightforward banking experience will probably find Chime to their liking. The bank has little to no account choice, but the checking-based Chime Spending Account and Chime Savings Account will cover the needs of most. Furthermore, Chime’s automatic 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 website and mobile apps are well worth looking into.