Chime Review: Mobile Banking Without the Fees

Banking

If you’re looking for a way to eliminate needless monthly expenses, banking fees are a great place to start. They may seem harmless, but these small, monthly charges add up over time to a lot of wasted money.

Chime

In the past, consumers were at the mercy of brick-and-mortar banks and didn’t have much say regarding fees. But increasingly, online banks have become an attractive option for many consumers.

If you’re looking for a way to eliminate fees and switch to mobile/online banking, Chime could be an excellent option for you. In this Chime review, we will provide an overview of Chime so you can decide if it’s the best choice for you.

What is Chime and how does it work?

Chime is not a bank. Instead, it is a financial technology company that works with FDIC-insured banking partners, Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., to offer checking and savings accounts. Chime often appeals to millennial consumers thanks to its simplified approach to banking.

When you sign up with Chime, you receive access to a free checking account, Visa debit card, secured credit card, and savings account. When you add money to your account, it will initially be deposited into your Chime Spending Account, which acts as a checking account. You will likely use this account most often for daily expenses. You can transfer money to your Chime Savings Account as needed.

You can also deposit cash into your Chime Spending Account at over 60,000 retail locations where Green Dot is available. Your cash deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Bancorp Bank.

Users have multiple ways to save their money with Chime. One option is to set up automatic transfers to savings. Chime will automatically transfer a percentage of your paycheck to your savings account every time you get paid. This can be a good option for individuals that have a hard time saving on their own.

What are Chime’s key features and services?

Before you sign up for a Chime account, it’s a good idea to know some of the account features and services you’ll be receiving. Here is an overview of Chime’s services, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Chime Spending Account

There is no minimum deposit required to open a Chime Spending Account (checking account). There is also no minimum balance requirement. When you sign up, you’ll automatically receive access to a Chime debit card, which is tied to your Chime account.

They don’t offer paper checks, so if you need to write someone a check, you can do this through the Chime app. Chime will process the check within three to nine business days. However, you can pay bills with their online bill pay feature.

Chime Savings Account

The Chime Savings Account is a high-yield savings account that you can apply for separately from the Spending Account. However, the interest rate is only 0.50% APY, which is very competitive right now.

Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card

Chime claims that you can increase your credit score by an average of 30 points with their secured credit card. In addition, it comes with no annual fee or interest and no minimum security deposit required. There is also no credit check to apply.

When you move money from your Chime Spending Account to your Credit Builder account, that money acts as your credit limit for the credit card. When you make a purchase using your Chime Visa, it gets paid off with the money you’ve already moved over. Then, Chime reports the payments to the three major credit bureaus, which helps you build your credit history and credit score over time.

Automatic Savings Program

Once you sign up for a savings account, you’ll receive instant access to their automatic savings feature. Whenever you make debit card purchases, Chime will round up the purchase amount to the nearest dollar. Then, Chime will automatically add this money to your savings account.

Small numbers add up to big numbers over time, so this is a great way to slowly start building your savings account. And best of all, it will happen without you even having to think about it.

Early Direct Deposit – Get Paid up to 2 Days Early!

When you set up direct deposit, you’ll automatically be able to get your paycheck up to two days early. As soon as Chime receives the direct deposit from your employer, it will post to your account. 

Mobile Support

Some people get nervous about not having a physical bank they can visit with questions and concerns. But Chime customer service provides quite a bit of support through its mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android devices.

You can keep track of your spending, deposits, and withdrawals entirely through the mobile app. With the Chime mobile app, you can quickly check your account balance even when you’re on the go. You can also deposit paper checks by snapping a photo using the mobile check deposit feature.

Customer Service

Chime’s simplified approach to banking can be a detriment when it comes to customer service. They offer customer service support, but it won’t be as extensive as what you’re used to with a brick-and-mortar bank.

If you think this might be an issue for you, you should probably consider going with a more traditional bank or credit union.

Fee-Free ATM Network Access

There will be times when you need to withdraw cash, which is why Chime provides access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. There is a $2.50 fee if you need to use an out-of-network ATM, which is the only fee Chime charges.

Does Chime charge any fees?

One of the most frustrating aspects of traditional banks is the multitude of fees they seem to stick you with. Chime offers a truly fee-free banking experience:

  • No overdraft fees or overdraft protection fees
  • No monthly account service fees
  • No ACH bank transfer fees
  • No card replacement fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No ATM fees (in-network)

These monthly fees may seem small, but they add up over time. If you pay $9.95 every month in fees, you’re spending over $119 a year just to do business with that bank. And if you regularly pay overdraft fees, the charges get even more ridiculous.

That’s why one of the biggest advantages of banking through Chime is that there are no fees. Chime doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, and you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees either. If a charge is submitted that would overdraw your account, Chime will simply reject the transaction.

Chime also offers optional fee-free overdraft protection through SpotMe. It’s available to customers who make monthly direct deposits of $200 or more in total.

Who is Chime best for?

Chime is a great option for anyone looking for an online-only checking account. If you’re looking for a fee-free banking option and ready to get rid of the hassle of brick-and-mortar banks, then this could be the right choice for you.

Also, Chime is on our list of top banks that don’t use ChexSystems, so if you have a troubled banking history, no worries, you can still get an online bank account.

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before signing up for a Chime bank account. The first thing you should consider is that you won’t have access to in-person support.

For some people, that may not seem like a big deal. But if there’s a problem with your online account, you’re going to have to wait until you can get ahold of a customer service representative. And you’ll have to hope that person can take care of the issue over the phone.

And while direct deposits are simple and straightforward, depositing cash can be more tedious since there isn’t a physical location you can visit.

Chime Reviews

One of the best ways to find a great bank is by reading third-party reviews. You can discover what actual customers are saying about them before you choose to do business with them. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) currently gives Chime an ‘A+.’

You’ll be relieved to know that if you do some research, you will find many 4- and 5-star Chime reviews at several other customer review sites as well.

Summary

When it comes to managing your money, consumers have more options than ever. If you’re looking for an online-only banking solution, Chime might be an excellent option for you. However, it’s important to do your research first and figure out what features are non-negotiable for you.

While you will save a lot of money on fees, Chime doesn’t offer a great interest rate on its savings account. If you’re looking for a more robust APY, check out the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Online.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about a variety of personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.