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Varo Bank Review

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Varo Bank Varo Savings Account
2.12% APY

The services of Varo Bank are based entirely out of the brand’s mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. Varo has an extraordinary fee schedule that’s completely devoid of any monthly maintenance, foreign transaction, transfer or debit card replacement charges. The bank institutes a no-minimum policy as well, so you can open an account regardless of how much money you can deposit.

High interest rates are a major draw for any bank, and Varo certainly isn’t lacking in that department. The Varo Savings Account comes with a starting annual percentage yield (APY) of 2.12%, with an opportunity to boost that to 2.80% if you meet three prerequisites. These include maintaining a balance of $50,000 or less, using your Varo Visa® debit card to complete a purchase at least five times over a month and receiving payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 a month.

You might be wondering how you can take out cash from a mobile-only bank like Varo. To solve this problem, the bank has joined the Allpoint® ATM network that operates about 55,000 fee-free ATMs around the country. If you’re unsure where to find an Allpoint ATM, Varo’s apps provide an ATM locator.

As an extra perk, Varo lets customers link all of their bank accounts to the Varo app. This makes for easy financial management, as you’ll be able to view the balances of each of your accounts under a single roof. You can even group together your checking and savings accounts for better insights.

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Varo Bank Account
  • No monthly maintenance, foreign transaction, transfer or debit card replacement fees
  • No minimums
  • Access to more than 55,000 Allpoint® ATMs
  • No interest rate
  • $50 referral bonuses
Varo Savings Account
  • Get a base APY of 2.12%
  • Earn a higher APY of 2.80% by meeting three stipulations
  • Two automatic savings features
  • No fees or minimum balance requirements

Varo Bank Overview

Varo was founded in 2015 as a mobile-based bank. In turn, it doesn’t operate any bank branches. To use Varo’s services, you must download and log in to your account on the bank’s Apple and Android mobile apps.

The Bancorp Bank provides all of Varo’s banking services. This massive financial company partners with businesses like Varo to offer banking and technology services. Varo is not alone in its relationship with The Bancorp Bank, as it also works with brands like Chime Bank and PayPal.

Varo Bank Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit None
Access to Your Account Mobile and ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to $250,000
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates Not interest-bearing

At its core, the Varo Bank Account is basically a checking account. In fact, it’s an extremely no-frills account, as there are no fees whatsoever. This includes a lack of monthly fees, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, ATM fees, incoming and outgoing transfer fees and more. Better yet, there’s no minimum balances at Varo, so anyone, regardless of their initial deposit, can open an account.

Your Varo Bank Account will come with a Varo Visa® debit card that features an EMV chip for security. If you’re in need of cash, though, Varo has partnered with the Allpoint® ATM network, which owns 55,000 fee-free ATMs throughout the U.S. Even if you can’t get to an Allpoint® ATM, Varo does not charge any out-of-network ATM fees. You may, however, encounter a fee from the ATM operator. Additionally, you can take your Varo debit card to a bank or credit union and request an over-the-counter withdrawal (max of $500 per day). Customers can also make cash deposits at retail locations like CVS and 7-Eleven through the Green Dot® Network.

Varo offers customers many perks, and early direct deposit is one of the best. When you open a Varo Bank Account and set up the direct deposit of your paychecks to it, you may receive them up to two days ahead of schedule. This could help immensely with budgeting, as you’ll be able to spend your money earlier than normal.

You and a family member or friend can each earn a $50 bonus by using Varo’s referral link at sign-up. The person referred must make a $250 qualifying direct deposit during his or her first 45 days as an account holder to maintain eligibility for this program, though. Referral bonuses are capped at $500 per lifetime.

Compare Varo Bank to Other Competitive Offers

Varo Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit None
Access to Your Account Mobile and ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to $250,000
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • Base rate: 2.12% APY
  • Get up to a 2.80% APY when you maintain a balance of $50,000 or less and:
    • Receive monthly payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000
    • Use your Varo Visa® debit card for at least five purchases a month (excludes ATM/cash back withdrawals and direct money transfers)

The Varo Savings Account has some great elements that should help you accrue savings fairly quickly. Right off the bat, your APY will stand at a 2.12% rate, which already places way above the standard savings accounts at traditional banks like Bank of America and Chase. You can quickly boost your account up to a 2.80% APY if you satisfy the following three conditions:

  • Maintain an account balance of $50,000 or less
  • Receive at least $1,000 in payroll or government direct deposits every month
  • Use your Varo Visa® debit card for five or more purchases per month

There are two additional ways to take advantage of Varo’s savings benefits. First, you can choose to round up every transaction to the nearest dollar and have that money deposited into your savings account with “Save Your Change.” Moreover, “Save Your Pay” lets you preselect a percentage of each paycheck to be added to your savings balance.

Those looking to start saving for the first time don’t need to worry about minimum balances with the Varo Savings Account. Everything you save will stay in your savings account too, as the nonexistent fee schedule used by the Varo Bank Account applies to this account as well.

Where Can I Find Varo Bank?

Varo is completely mobile-centric, so there are no physical locations to visit. Rather than frequent a branch to take out cash, Varo allows its customers fee-free access to the Allpoint® ATM network that's 55,000 machines strong. You can even stop by a bank or credit union with your Varo debit card and request an over-the-counter withdrawal.

What Can You Do Online With Varo Bank?

Varo Bank’s entire suite of banking services is only available through its Apple and Android mobile apps. Between the two app stores, customers have rated Varo’s app at a very solid 4.65 stars out of 5. These platforms give you the ability to check both your transaction history and account balances 24/7. You can sign up for automatic balance and transaction notifications as well.

Depositing money into your account is as easy as taking a picture of your check via Varo’s mobile check deposit feature (not available on Android phones yet). The bank also offers free money transfers to and from your Varo accounts. If you want to see all of your bank account balances in a single place, Varo lets you connect external accounts within its app.

How Do I Access My Money?

Every Varo Bank customer is handed a Varo Visa® debit card that can be used exactly like a credit card. Varo will supply you with a PIN code so you can safely use your card for any type of purchase. If you so desire, these debit cards can be added to Apple Pay™, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay™ virtual wallets. Should you lose your Varo Visa®, don’t fret, as you can lock it from the app and Varo will replace your card free of charge.

Allpoint®’s extensive network of 55,000 ATMs lets Varo customers get their hands on cash whenever they need it, for free. The ATM locator in Varo’s mobile app will help you find machines in your area. You can request paper checks right through your app as well. Simply enter the recipient’s name and address and it’ll arrive in the next three to nine business days.

How Can I Save More Money With a Varo Bank Account?

Mobile banks often have strong savings rates due to their low costs of operation, and Varo is no exception. The bank offers a top-tier 2.12% savings APY along with minimal steps needed to reach a fantastic 2.80% APY. Beyond this, you can structure your account to automatically save money for you with Varo’s Save Your Pay and Save Your Change features.

Even responsible banking customers can run into the occasional fee, but Varo’s fee schedule eliminates that possibility. The only time you may encounter a fee is when you deposit cash at a Green Dot® retail location, such as CVS or Walgreens. In this scenario, a fee of up to $5.95 could be charged, not by Varo, but by a third-party like Green Dot®. The benefits of this system are clear, as it essentially ensures that your money will stay in your pocket for good.

What’s the Process For Opening an Account With Varo Bank?

To open an account with Varo, download the Apple or Android version of its mobile app. You don’t have to transfer funds into your account immediately, but if you want to use it soon after opening, you’ll have to. Money transfers from outside financial institutions can be initiated either via the external source or through Varo’s app directly. The bank states on its website that transfers typically take between one and four business days.

What’s the Catch?

The biggest, and most obvious, drawback of Varo Bank is its mobile-only nature. Further contributing to Varo’s nontraditional approach is the inherent absence of certificates of deposit (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and money market accounts (MMAs). This level of account choice and management is altogether not for everyone, and it likely crosses Varo off of many people’s lists. But if you can stomach this branchless style of doing things, Varo offers major benefits.

Bottom Line

Varo is a no-fee, minimum-less bank that has a competitive 2.12% base APY for its Varo Savings Account. The bank boasts multiple ways to save even more automatically through its “Save Your Change” and “Save Your Pay” perks. The Varo Bank Account is the perfect checking account pairing for this solid savings environment, with its expansive no-fee ATM network, free debit card and highly-rated Apple and Android mobile apps. So if you’re on the prowl for a new bank, there’s virtually no reason not to check out Varo.

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