Online banks have become increasingly popular thanks to their lower fees, higher interest rates, and 24/7 access. Not only that, you can bank from the comfort of your couch and don’t have to drive anywhere.
They’re ideal for anyone with a busy schedule or who can’t regularly get to a local bank branch. Banks like Chime recognize those benefits and provide account options for anyone who prefers a fully digital banking experience.
But is Chime the best option for you? Let’s take a look at its services and products to help you decide.
What is Chime?
Chime is a mobile-only banking services provider, operating exclusively online and with no physical branches. However, it provides all the features of a traditional bank right from your mobile device. This includes paying bills, viewing your account balance, and transferring money between accounts. Fortunately, the app is intuitive, making it easy to manage your account virtually. And if you have any trouble, Chime’s support team is accessible via phone or the app.
With their mobile banking, you can block debit card transactions if you lose your card or suspect it was stolen, sign up for instant transaction alerts, and deposit checks via the mobile deposits option. You can also withdraw money for free with their in-network ATMs, integrate your Apple Pay™ or Google Pay™, and send checks.
You can download Chime’s mobile app for both iOS and Android phones.
APY Check site for most current rate
Min. Opening Deposit $0.01 to earn APY
Chime is a fee-free online banking service provider offering checking and savings accounts to customers. It has a competitive APY on its savings account and provides a number of other features including second chance banking options.
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- Early access to your paycheck
- Competitive interest rate
- No overdraft or account maintenance fees
- Automatic savings tools
- Large ATM network (38,000 fee-free ATMs)
- Second chance banking options
- More difficult to deposit cash
- Few account options: no loans, credit cards, or retirement planning accounts
- No physical branches
Chime Accounts Options
If you use Chime, you can choose from three different types of banking accounts: checking, savings, and a credit rebuilding account. There are no other options. For instance, you can’t open an IRA, money market account, or take out an auto loan or mortgage. Additionally, you can’t open a joint account with someone else.
To open an account, you’ll need to provide your first and last name, email address, your physical address, and a few other details. You’ll receive a confirmation email and, once you download the app, you’re ready to go. You should receive your debit card in the mail within a few days of opening your account.
Chime checking account
Chime’s checking account, known as Chime Spending Account, works like a normal checking account, making it easy to withdraw cash for free from an in-network ATM or make a purchase with your debit card. There are no foreign transaction fees, no monthly fees, and no overdraft fees; the only fee associated with this account is a $2.50 charge for using an out-of-network ATM. Should you lose or misplace your card, you can disable it right from the app.
Other features of the Spending Account include integration with your mobile wallet, overdraft protection, and there’s no credit check required to open an account. This makes is a good option for customers with a poor banking history.
You can add money to your account via direct deposit, mobile check deposits, and transfers from other banks. In-person deposits are available at locations including Walgreens, CVS, and 7-11 using the Green Dot® network. If you choose to deposit money in person, check with the retailer first to find out what the fees might be. You might find it’s a better choice to do an electronic deposit.
If you prefer to write checks, you can use the free Chime Checkbook. However, rather than writing a physical check, you initiate a check request via the app. After you provide the required information, Chime sends it on your behalf. While there are no limits to the number of checks you can send per day, the maximum you can send per check is $5,000.
Chime does put a limit on how much customers can withdraw per day but they do not limit the number of purchases you can make. However, they do cap your spending at $2,500 per day. Included in that $2,500 are ATM fees and withdrawals, funds withdrawn at a point-of-sale, and any purchases you make.
They offer a schedule for their customers to view the spending and frequency limits for daily transactions:
|Transaction Type||Frequency and/or Dollar Limit|
|ATM withdrawal||$500 per day, no limit to the number of times per day|
|Cash back at point-of-sale||No limit up to $500 per day|
|Over the counter withdrawals||No limit up to $500 per day|
|Card purchases requiring signature and PIN||No limit up to $500 per day|
Although Chime does not charge a fee for these transactions, they are subject to merchant and ATM owner fees.
Gas station transactions
Chime advises customers to avoid paying for gas at the pump. They state that gas stations can hold up to $125 on your account and, although it’s usually released within two hours, it can sometimes take up to two days. To prevent this, Chime suggests paying at the register.
This is the only type of transaction they caution against.
Chime Savings Account
If you’re looking for an online savings account with no fees, no minimum opening balance, and no maximums on interest earned, you might want to consider Chime’s savings account.
Their current 0.50% APY on savings is more robust than what you’ll find at brick-and-mortar banks and is in line with what other online savings banks offer. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
Understanding that many people struggle with saving money, Chime offers a couple of ways to automate your savings goals:
- Save When I Get Paid. Using this feature means that Chime will automatically transfer 10% of your paycheck (of paychecks $500 or more) into your savings account on payday. For instance, if you earn $800 each payday, $80 is moved into your savings account. This is the simplest way for most people to save, and you can make a new budget to account for your adjusted net pay.
- Round Ups. When you make a purchase using your Chime debit card, the cost of the purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is transferred into your Savings account. For example, if you’re buying lunch for $8.46, Chime will charge your account $9 and the remaining $0.54 is put into savings. It’s an easy way to save money if you make a lot of debit card purchases, but try to avoid making purchases just for the round ups. You can find other ways to save.
You must earn a minimum of $500 each payday in order to use the Save When I Get Paid option. If you are a lower-wage earner or earn the majority of your wages in cash, this might not be the best savings account for you.
What Else You Need to Know About Chime
Here are some other features you can choose from when banking with Chime. Most of them are standard, but understanding what you’re getting with your accounts is important when selecting a bank.
Get paid early
Signing up for direct deposit with your Chime Spending Account means you can access your paycheck as soon as your employer deposits it. That can be up to two days earlier than your normal payday.
Chime makes it easy to register for direct deposit, and it can be done entirely via their app. You will need to submit a pre-filled form (provided by Chime) to your employer, but that’s it. There is nothing else you need to do to get paid early.
There is no extra fee for this feature, and it comes standard with all Spending Accounts.
SpotMe overdraft protection
As long as you have a total of $500 in monthly direct deposits, you can use the free SpotMe overdraft protection. With this feature, if you make a purchase that causes you to overdraft, Chime will spot you the overage up to your limit (not to exceed $100). The next time you’re paid, they apply it to the negative balance.
Limits are set based on account history and can’t be manually overridden by Chime staff.
Note, however, that SpotMe only applies to debit card transactions. According to their site, it does not cover ATM withdrawals, PayFriends transfers, ACH transfers (including direct debits and services like Venmo or Square Cash), or Chime Checkbook transactions.
This is Chime’s version of Cash App, Venmo, and other peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps. It’s free to use and there are no fees for transferring money. PayFriends connects directly with your Spending Account to transfer to (and accept transfers from) other Chime users.
You can use this on both iOS and Android phones and can send money to friends and family regardless of the platform they use, even if it’s different from yours.
However, you can only use this to move money between Chime accounts. If you want to send money to a roommate, for example, who does not bank with Chime, you will need to use another P2P app.
To encourage users to refer their friends and family, Chime offers a referral bonus. Each time someone you refer signs up and receives one qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 with 45 days of opening their account, you both get an extra $50.
Your referral link is provided within the app, and they encourage users to share it on social media. They also encourage users to follow them on social media to learn about new offers.
Chime claims that they will occasionally send new incentives via the app, and asks users to be on the lookout for those as well.
Historical technology issues
Chime has previously had problems with the app or account features crashing or not working. The largest outage, in October 2019, lasted over 24 hours. Customers were left without access to their money, and some found their debit cards deactivated as well. While they were not the only online bank that experienced the outage, its issues lasted the longest.
During outages, Chime communicates with users via Twitter, utilizes its status updates page, and phone lines are open for questions.
Chime Review Summary
With an online bank, you can run into security and technological issues that you wouldn’t with in-person banking. Overall, with a 4.5-star rating on Trustpilot, customers are happy with Chime.
Seldomly, users voice complaints revolving around poor customer service, issues with mobile checking deposits, security issues including login problems and accounts being hacked, and Chime slow response time to reports of fraudulent charges.
If you’re looking for an exclusively online bank with low to no fees, a competitive interest rate, and easy ways to save money, Chime is a good choice. It’s also a solid option for those without the best banking history.