Chime Bank Review: Fee-Free Checking and Savings Accounts
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It’s no secret that online banking is changing how we manage money. Of course, picking the right bank isn’t always that easy. With so many online banking options available, how do you know which to choose?
Chime Bank provides fee-free access to their checking and savings accounts. Even better, they offer an automated savings option that can help you grow your stash without lifting a finger. They’re also FDIC-insured, so your money is as safe as it would be in a traditional institution.
Chime was founded in the era of smartphones, which means their mobile banking app is beyond compare. The modern interface streamlines your finances for an intuitive experience. Plus, you get access to your paycheck up to two days earlier when you set up direct deposit.
Where Chime really shines is their commitment to no hidden fees. Few things in life are free, but you won’t pay any fees with Chime Bank. It’s a pretty impressive approach to banking.
Keep reading to see how an online account with Chime Bank can make it easier to manage your money and hit your savings goals.
Chime at a Glance
- More than 4 million banking customers
- Internet banking to residents of the U.S.
- No hidden fees, service fees, or overdraft fees
- Automatic Savings program can grow your money
- Earn 2.00% APY1 (with auto pay) from Chime’s Savings Account
Chime Bank Products
- Spending Account
- Savings Account
- Visa Debit Card
Pros and Cons
|Chime’s Best Features||Where Chime Falls Short|
|Award-winning mobile banking app||Cannot deposit paper checks or money orders by mail|
|Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit||As an online bank, it’s difficult to deposit cash|
|No hidden fees|
|Access to a large fee-free ATM network|
|Automatic Savings program helps you reach your goals|
|FDIC-insured up to $250,000|
|Pay bills and send money to your friends instantly|
Who Is Chime Bank?
Chime is an online-only bank for people unhappy with the high fees and poor customer service they’ve received using traditional banking options.
The company was founded in 2013 by Chris Britt and Ryan King and hit the scene the same time smartphones were flying off the shelves and into the hands of consumers.
Seeing an opportunity to reach a new generation of tech-enabled consumers, the co-founders created an online and mobile banking experience that rivals many of the larger financial institutions.
New customers are signing up with Chime all the time, and they added 10,000 new accounts in just 24 hours during a debit card outage at Wells Fargo that frustrated customers in February 2019.
Since then, growth has continued to speed up, quadrupling its customer base to over 4 million in one years’ time.
Online Spending and Savings Accounts
Chime is taking the world of online banking by storm. Its success results from finding a sweet spot in the banking industry by offering fee-free checking and savings accounts. Every customer gets a Spending Account, Chime Visa Debit Card, and the choice to set up a Savings Account.
Chime Spending Account
A checking account is necessary to manage your finances, but many banks charge fees for their checking accounts that can range from $6 to $15 a month.
But Chime is different. Their Spending Account is free to use. There are no monthly fees, statement fees, service fees, overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees.
Some mobile apps restrict your activity to viewing transactions or simple transfers from one account to another. Chime targets customers who are on-the-go, however, so their mobile banking app gives you complete control over your money. You can pay bills electronically, send money to friends and family, set up automatic savings, keep tabs on your balance, take a quick photo to deposit checks, and even snail-mail a paper check – all from the mobile app.
Mobile banking is great, but one of the best features of a Chime Spending Account is the ability to get paid up to two days before everyone else when you use direct deposit. This way, you have the flexibility to make weekend plans and do more with your paycheck.
Your Spending Account also comes with access to over 38,000 fee-free ATMs as part of the MoneyPass network, making withdrawing cash a painless (and free!) process.
For comparison, Chase has 16,000 ATMs and Wells Fargo has 13,000. So yeah, Chime has a lot of ATMs.
Chime Savings Account
Let’s face it: Saving money can be one hard. Luckily, a Chime Savings Account has built-in options to automate your savings to help grow your money and reach your goals faster.
Opening a savings account with Chime is optional. But stashing away some of your cash in a savings account can help you get ahead financially.
Here’s the best part: Chime recently approved a massive increase to their savings account’s interest rate. You can now earn 2.00% APY1 when using auto pay, which is now very competitive with other savings accounts (like the CIT Savings Builder). Additionally, there are some advantages for a Chime Savings account that other banks don’t offer – like their automatic savings program.
Automatic Savings from Chime provides two choices for streamlining your savings, making it super easy for you to hit your goals:
- Round up transactions to the nearest dollar and save the change
- Save a percentage of your income each time you get paid
When you round up your transactions, Chime transfers the “spare change” to your savings. So, if you spend $3.29 at Starbucks, $0.71 is moved from your Spending Account to your Savings.
You can build your stash even faster by saving a percentage of your income. If you’re new to saving money, start with 1% to 5%. You’ll be surprised to see you don’t miss the money, and by how fast your savings grow.
If something comes up and you need money, Chime lets you transfer from your Savings to your Spending Account instantly.
Chime Visa Debit Card
The Chime Visa Debit Card comes free with your Spending Account and is perfect for making purchases online or in-store. It works at any location that accepts Visa and has an EMV chip for more secure transactions.
The company’s commitment to no hidden fees extends to their debit cards, too. If you lose or damage your debit card, Chime will replace it for free. You can even stop all transactions in their app. The card also works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
Keep in mind that you must stick with ATMs on the MoneyPass network to avoid paying fees for withdrawing money. Using your Chime Visa Debit Card at any other ATM can cost you $2.50 per transaction.
How to Use Chime’s Spending and Savings Accounts
Everyday Spending – Paying for coffee, groceries, restaurants, and everyday expenses should be easy. Combine the Chime Spending Account with the Visa Debit Card to pay anywhere Visa is accepted and get instant transaction alerts and balance updates.
Savings Goals – Set up Automatic Savings with Chime to put saving money on autopilot. Instead of worrying about how you’ll fund your next vacation or a down payment on your dream home, Chime Bank can help you reach your financial milestones with ease.
Pay Friends – Splitting the bill or dividing up rent payments used to be tough, but Chime lets you send money to friends and family easily. It’s free to use and easy to access straight from the mobile app.
Benefits of Using Chime Bank
- Full-Service Banking – Every customer gets a Chime Spending Account, a Visa debit card, and an optional Savings Account.
- Competitive Interest Rate – Now, you can earn 2.00% APY1 (with auto pay) using a Chime Savings Account. That is a massive increase which makes this account very competitive with other high-yield savings accounts.
- Robust Mobile Banking – Chime is built around mobile banking, and the app is full of features to make managing money a breeze. Everything you need – including paying bills, sending money to friends, depositing checks, and transferring money – is at your fingertips.
- Get Paid Faster – Instead of waiting until Friday to access your paycheck, Chime can deliver your money on Wednesday. That means you can get paid up to two days earlier, giving you more time and flexibility.
- Automatic Savings – Saving money can make all the difference, and Chime has two ways to make it easy for you – automatic round-ups or transferring a percentage to your Savings Account.
- No Fees – Chime takes a fee-free approach to offer a free banking experience. There’s no minimum balance requirement and you won’t pay fees for overdrafts, monthly service, transfers, card replacement, or foreign transactions.
- FDIC-insured – All the money in your Chime accounts are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000, just like the brick-and-mortar banks in your hometown.
Where They Fall Short
Chime has a lot of perks you rarely find in banks. Still, no one is perfect and there are two areas where Chime Bank falls short.
For years, our biggest issue with Chime was the low interest rate. As of July 2020, that has changed. The acocunt now offers a 2.00% APY1 when you choose auto pay. While we’d love to see a higher rate, in the current environment, the account is now very competitive with the best high-yield savings accounts on the market.
The second issue deals with depositing cash. With a brick-and-mortar bank, you visit a branch in person or deposit cash using an ATM. Since Chime doesn’t have physical buildings, depositing cash is a bit more difficult.
However, any of the 90,000+ Green Dot locations across the U.S. will let you add cash to your Chime account. Keep in mind, though, that you may incur a fee from Green Dot retailers for this service.
Chime Bank Review: The Bottom Line
If you have relatively straightforward banking needs, Chime can help. They take the fees out of banking so you can keep more money in your pocket. Their automatic savings programs are also a good way to help you hit your financial goals. These are particularly useful if you’re new to saving money or have had trouble in the past. Plus, the fee-free banking and automatic savings programs are hard to beat.
The robust set of tools in Chime’s mobile banking app take the hard work out of banking. If you’re looking for a new approach to your money, it’s an excellent way to manage everyday spending and build your savings.
Overall, Chime Bank is a solid option for your online banking needs.
Do you have Chime accounts? Give us your thoughts below.
1The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Chime Bank Accounts Review
Commissions and Fees - 100
Mobile App - 95
Ease of Use - 85
Products Offered - 70
Interest Rate - 55
Customer Service - 75
Chime Bank offers fee-free online banking, including both spending and savings accounts. These accounts come with a Visa debit card and access to thousands of ATMs. They recently incresased the interest rate on their savings account in a massive way, and Chime’s mobile app is second to none.
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