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.
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 want to eliminate fees and switch to 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® often appeals to millennial consumers thanks to its simplified approach to banking.
When you sign up with Chime, you get access to a free Chime checking account, Visa debit card, secured credit card, and savings account. When you add money to your account, Chime will initially deposit it into your Chime Checking Account. You will likely use this checking account most often for daily expenses. You can transfer money to your Chime Savings Account as needed.
Your Chime checking accounts can be funded at over 60,000 retail locations. 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 Chime savings account every time you get paid. This can be a suitable option for individuals who have a hard time saving on their own.
Before you sign up for a Chime checking account, let’s have a look at its features and benefits. Here is an overview of Chime’s services and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Chime Checking Account
No minimum deposit is required to open a Chime Checking Account. There is also no minimum balance requirement. With your Chime checking account, you will automatically receive a Chime debit card.
They don’t offer paper checks. However, 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
Chime’s Savings Account is a high-yield savings account that you can apply for separately from the Chime Checking Account. However, the interest rate is 2.00%3 APY, which is very competitive right now.
Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
Chime claims that you can increase your credit score by an average of 30 points4 with their Chime Credit Builder secured credit card. In addition, it comes with no annual fee or interest1 and no minimum security deposit required6. There is also no credit check to apply.
When you move money from a Chime Checking Account into a Credit Builder account that money acts as your credit limit for the credit card. When you make a purchase using your Chime Credit Builder card, it gets paid off with the money you’ve already moved over. Then, Chime reports the payments to the three major credit bureaus. This helps you build your credit history and credit score over time7.
Automatic Savings Program
Once you sign up for an online 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 Two Days Early!
When you set up direct deposit, you’ll automatically be able to get your paycheck up to two days early2. As soon as Chime receives the direct deposit from your employer, it will post to your account.
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.
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
Chime provides access to over 60,000 fee-free1 MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs nationwide. There is a $2.50 fee if you need to use your Chime debit card at an out-of-network ATM. This is the only fee Chime charges.
Alternatives to Chime Bank
If you’re considering opening a bank account with Chime, chances are you’ll also be interested in checking out some of Chime’s competitors. That kind of research can take a lot of time, but we’ve got you covered.
Current is a financial services company providing three different products for customers online. This forward-looking online bank offers a checking account geared towards cashback rewards, peer-to-peer transfers, and even an earlier payday with direct deposits. You also won’t pay any monthly fee with a Current account.
Current also offers their take on traditional savings accounts, with what they call Savings Pods. Current offers 4.00% annual percentage yield on savings (up to $6,000). This makes it a great option for those looking to earn and benefit from no-fuss digital checking.
Varo is a digital banking platform which focuses on convenience and low fees. Varo accounts don’t require a credit check. They also have no monthly fee or overdraft fees. Plus, they provide customers with a 55,000+ network of no-fee ATMs. You can even open a savings account with Varo and save at an APY of up to 0.5%.
With Varo you can’t make or receive wires to or from your account, so to add funds, you’ll need an alternative. Direct deposits from an existing bank account or digital check deposits are two of most common routes people use to fund their Varo accounts.
If you’re looking for a traditional bank similar to Chime, Discover might suit you.
In addition to checking and savings accounts, Discover Bank offers CDs, competitive savings accounts, and a large network of no-fee ATMs. One of Discover’s biggest draws is that they offer a lot of different cards, including secured credit cards and travel cards. Discover can be a viable option for people looking for a specific kind of credit card.
Discover also offers relatively low fees across the board for a traditional checking account. However, keep in mind that fees will ramp up for things like wire transfers, which can incur a cost of $30.
Ally is another competitor that could be worth a look. There are no checking account fees or minimum balance requirements with Ally Bank. They also provide pretty good money management via the Ally app. There you can easily check your account balance.
You also get access to a whole range of products including checking and saving accounts, loans, investments, and a useful savings calculator.
If foreign payments are a priority for you when you bank, then Ally may not be the right fit for you, however. Ally doesn’t offer the ability to send international wire transfers, although you can receive them to your account.
Wise is another potential alternative. There are no fees required to open an account, low transaction costs and extremely competitive international transfer rates.
Wise is another fintech company which aims to significantly reduce the fees associated with regular banking. There’s no minimum balance requirement, and no monthly fee for maintenance of your account.
Wise excels in foreign transactions and is a great option for frequent travelers and expats. With a regular free account, you can hold 54 different currencies. You can also send payments to over 80 countries, and even get local bank details so you can get paid fee free from 30 countries.
Wise also offers international business bank accounts. They claim to be around six times cheaper than old-school banks when you send, spend, or withdraw money around the world.
Is Chime legit?
Yes. Chime is a legitimate financial technology company, partnered with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, which are both FDIC-insured.
What is required to open a Chime account?
Opening an account with Chime is easy. Once you’re a citizen or legal resident of the US, you can apply with just your Social Security Number and home address. You also must be at least 18 years old.
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 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. For example, 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®5. It’s available to customers who make monthly direct deposits of $200 or more in total.
Where can I load my Chime card?
Chime has numerous deposit partners that accept cash deposits:
- Circle K Stores
- Cumberland Farms Corp
- Dollar General
- Duane Reade
- Family Dollar
- GPM Investments
- Holiday Station Stores
- Krause Gentle (Kum & Go)
- Kwik Trip Inc
- Pilot Travel Centers
- Rite Aid
- Royal Farms
- Sheetz Incorp
- TA Operating LLC (TravelCenters of America)
How much does it cost to load a Chime card?
Retailers will typically charge you less than $5 to load your card. However, Walgreens offers free cash deposits to your Chime checking account.
Is Chime a prepaid card?
No, Chime is not a prepaid card. Chime offers a full-featured checking account, a Visa debit card, and an optional savings account. Chime’s debit card is linked to your bank account whereas a prepaid card is not.
How long does Chime take to deposit a check?
Chime typically deposits most checks into your account within 3 to 5 business days. If your check is not deposited within that time frame, you should contact Chime support.
Can someone send me money to my Chime account?
Yes, you can send a request for money using Chime. The recipient will receive either an email or SMS message from Chime which will contain a link to their Chime mobile app. They can use it to make a payment to your Chime account.
Who is Chime best for?
Chime is an excellent option for anyone looking for an online-only checking account. If you’re looking for a fee-free banking option, this could be the right choice for you.
Furthermore, 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 a hold of a customer service representative. And you’ll have to hope that person can take care of the issue over the phone.
Direct deposits are simple and straightforward. However, depositing cash can be more tedious since there isn’t a physical location you can visit.
Chime also doesn’t offer loans or products such as CDs and money market accounts, which is not a big deal for most.
Does Chime offer free ATM withdrawals?
Yes. One of the benefits of having a Chime account is that you can avail of a network of around 60,000 fee-free ATMs. Although ATM fees might be seen as negligible, customers who like to withdraw cash regularly will notice the difference when using fee-free ATMs.
Does Chime have a downside?
One of the major downsides to Chime are the fees that come with using out-of-network ATMs. While in-network ATM transactions are free, using an ATM that isn’t in the Chime network can get quite costly at $2.50 per transaction.
Chime also doesn’t allow joint accounts, so this is a feature that its users will have to go without.
What credit score do you need for Chime?
There is no minimum credit score required to qualify for a Chime account. If you’ve got a Chime Spending Account then the Chime Credit Builder Card is available to you, and this is designed specifically to help build or repair bad credit.
Chime doesn’t run credit checks, and so your credit limit is determined by how much money you deposit in to your account, and this can be changed at any time as often as you like. This is what makes Chime such a great option for those with thin or damaged credit.
Does Chime have any hidden fees?
Chime has built a great reputation as a company with no hidden fees. However, their fee conditions are subject to certain conditions, such as out-of-network ATM fees.
These fees are stated upfront by Chime, so it wouldn’t be fair to call them hidden fees. In addition, Chime’s overdraft protection is only automatically applicable once you’ve got at least $200 in direct deposits per month.
Understanding these finer details is important to avoid getting stung by unexpected fees and charges.
Will Chime refund stolen money?
Chime offers great protection against fraudulent transactions. In most cases, they will be able to return any stolen funds from your account. Chime debit cards are also protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy. It’s designed to protect consumers from taking responsibility for unauthorized charges.
It’s also easy to quickly block transactions on your card via Chime’s app. You can act quickly to protect your existing funds if you detect any suspicious activity on your account. On top of that, you can turn on transaction notifications. So, if you do ever fall victim to fraud, you can act quickly to protect your account from further theft.
Is Chime Credit Builder Visa a real credit card?
Yes. The Chime Credit Builder Card is a secured credit card. It’s a particular type of credit card marketed towards consumers who want to build their credit. This card is secured by the deposit amount on your Chime Spending Account. So, you can’t overspend as you could with a traditional credit card.
What is the Chime Credit Builder Visa limit?
There is no minimum security deposit on the Chime Credit Build Card. The limit is entirely determined by how much you can deposit into your credit builder account. This limit is also adjustable. You can even set up automatic transfers between your accounts to send money to your card when you get paid.
How much does it cost to open a Chime Credit Builder Credit Card?
You can open a Chime account free of charge. Additionally, credit cards have no monthly or yearly maintenance costs, overdraft fees, interest charges, or other penalties.
What is the minimum security deposit for the Chime Credit Builder Card?
There is no minimum deposit required. You establish the credit limit by transferring funds from your Chime Spending Account to your Credit Builder protected account. Whatever funds you transfer are available for spending.
Does Chime Credit Builder Card have a withdrawal limit?
Chime allows you to withdraw the balance you have available or up to $500 every day. The daily limit for purchases is $7,500.
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+.’
If you do some research, you’ll find many 4- and 5-star Chime reviews at other customer review sites as well.
When it comes to managing your money, consumers have more options than ever. If you’re looking for an online-only banking solution and want to save big on fees, Chime may be an excellent option for you.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment ﬁle from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment ﬁle is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
3. The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of October, 25th, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
4. Based on a representative study conducted by Experian®, members who made their ﬁrst purchase with Credit Builder between June 2020 and October 2020 observed an average FICO® Score 8 increase of 30 points after approximately 8 months. On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.
5. Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
6. Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.
7. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or beneﬁts payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, veriﬁcation or trial deposits from ﬁnancial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.