Online banks have become very popular in the United States. In fact, the Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Weekly Consumer Confidence Survey found that 78% of Americans prefer to use online banking via a mobile app or bank website.
What’s more, online banking has even evolved to create banks that are online only. This means there is no physical branch to visit, everything is digital. This has led to benefits like greater access to services, lower fees, and better interest rates.
As online banking has grown in popularity, so have companies that offer these services. This article will look at Chime® and Ally, two completely digital banks, to help you choose between the two.
Chime vs. Ally at a Glance
|Checking Account||Tiered APY, use any amount to open your account.||No minimum deposit to open the account.|
|Savings Account||2.35% APY, no minimum opening deposit.||2.00% APY3, use as little as $0.01 to open your account.|
|Other Accounts||Money market account with daily compounded interest (2.35% APY)Certificate of deposit accounts – high-yield, raise your rate, and no penalty.||Credit builder with a minimum start of $200|
|Fees||Low cost and minimal fees. The most expensive fee is $25/hour for account research. No overdraft fees.||Third-party fees like out-of-network ATMs. No overdraft fees.|
Chime offers online banking services; however, it is technically not a bank. It’s a financial technology company whose banking services are provided by the Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., member FDIC. They offer checking, savings, and credit builder accounts.
The Chime checking account is also fee-free except for those from third parties. Additionally, there is no minimum balance required.
Chime checking accounts come with a debit card and access to fee-free1 ATMs at 60,000+ locations.
To open an account, you will need to sign up using your email address, a valid driver’s license or passport, and Social Security number (SSN). Chime also requires all users to be United States citizens and at least 18 years old.
Chime Savings Account
To open a savings account with Chime, you must have a Chime checking account already set up and at least one penny to deposit into savings. Some perks included with this type of account include encryption, 2.00% variable annual percentage yield (APY), and automatic savings tools.
Additionally, there are no fees associated with Chime savings accounts. However, their website does state that third parties may have their own fees. An out-of-network ATM is an example of a third-party fee.
Chime also offers a way for users to begin building credit for free. Like their other accounts, the credit builder account is low-cost with no annual or interest fees. To apply, you will need a Chime checking account and a minimum deposit of $200.
Their credit builder account works like a secured credit card where your credit limit is the same amount as your deposit. The company does allow customers to use their deposits to make payments on their outstanding credit balance.
- No monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, no minimum balance fees, no overdraft fees
- Early direct deposit2
- Cash deposit at select locations
- Overdraft protection
- Autosave feature, which pulls a select amount from every paycheck
- No physical branch to visit
- No joint bank accounts
- Minimal customer support
- No money management tools
In 1919, Ally began as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), which aimed to help finance car dealerships. In 2009, they rebranded and evolved into what we know today. Now, Ally offers digital banking services through Ally Bank and is an FDIC member and Equal Housing Lender. Their offerings include checking, savings, money market accounts, and more.
The savings account offered by Ally Bank has no minimum deposit fee. It offers features like buckets, and their annual percentage yield (APY) is 2.35%. There are no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft item fees. You can also get online statements and cashier’s checks for free.
Ally Bank does have some fees for things like excessive transactions and expedited delivery. The list of these fees and their costs are available online.
Similar to their savings account, Ally is free from monthly maintenance fees, low daily balance fees, and overdraft item fees. What they do charge for is clearly stated and readily available.
Their checking account offers other benefits beyond minimal charges. The key features included are early access to payday deposits, round-up tools to help you save, and ways to protect you from overdrawing your account.
Like a savings or checking account, a money market account earns interest as long as funds remain in the account. The difference is that interest is compounded daily rather than monthly, and interest rates may fluctuate. Currently, their APY sits at 2.35%.
Ally Bank also provides various certificate of deposit accounts, providing users with a fixed interest rate on deposited funds for a set period. Their terms are as short as three months or as long as five years. They offer three types of certificates of deposit (CDs):
- High-yield CD
- Raise your rate CD
- No penalty CD
The APY and term lengths will vary from type to type.
Pros & Cons of Ally Bank
- No minimum deposit amounts
- Low and minimal fees that are clearly listed
- 24/7 customer support
- Buckets for budget management
- Their savings and money market accounts have transaction limits
- No cash deposits
- No ATM card available for the savings account
- Cannot switch a savings account to a money market account or vice versa
Whether you are choosing between Ally, Chime, or another online bank, there are other considerations to bring your attention to.
The first is security. You should select a banking system with robust security features. Multi-factor authentication, credential confidentiality, and online and mobile security are some examples. These security measures ensure your data is kept safe and secure.
You should also consider what your bank account will be used for. If you are looking to improve your budgeting skills, then you should consider an account with those tools. If you want to build credit, you should consider which service allows you to do so.
Or perhaps your needs extend beyond personal banking, and you need business banking as well. For instance, businesses also have credit scores. A net-30 account can help your business credit because they provide an extended period to pay your bills and report account activity to the major business credit bureaus.
Alternative Banks to Chime and Ally
Current is a financial services company providing three different products for customers online. Signing up for a Current account is quick and easy. This forward-focused online bank offers a checking account that is geared towards cashback rewards, quick peer-to-peer transfers and even an earlier payday with monthly direct deposits. You also won’t pay any monthly fee with a Current account.
With Current, you can seamlessly build your credit just by using your debit card for regular purchases, eliminating the need for borrowing or credit checks.
Current also offers their take on traditional savings accounts, with what they call Savings Pods. With the possibility of earning up to 4.00% annual percentage yield on your savings (up to $6,000) this makes Current a potential option for those looking to earn on their savings as well as benefit from a no-fuss digital checking account.
Axos is an online bank which offers several types of checking accounts for new customers. There are also a range of savings and investing accounts available from Axos.
Axos Bank is also low on fees, like most internet banks, and offers unlimited reimbursements for ATM withdrawals. There is no minimum balance requirement and you can earn up to 3.30% APY once you meet the criteria for rewards. You can also get a $100 sign up bonus for opening an account.
Similarly to Chime bank, Varo is a digital banking platform which focuses on convenience and low fees. Varo checking accounts have no credit check, no monthly fee, and no overdraft fees. They also 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 t0 5%, according to their website.
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 the most common routes people use to fund their Varo accounts.
Chime vs. Ally FAQs
Is Chime better than Ally Bank?
The answer to this question really comes down to personal preference. It depends on what you’re looking for in an online bank. The standout difference between Chime and Ally bank is that the interest rates available on a Chime savings account are much lower compared to Ally Bank.
If a strong savings account is high on your list of priorities, then Ally Bank might be the right choice for you. Otherwise, both can be considered excellent choices for online banking.
Is Chime a real bank?
Chime is a financial technology company which offers banking services to customers online. While not a traditional bank, Chime is a legitimate financial institution partnered with conventional banks.
This partnership allows Chime to offer legitimate banking services to their customers.
Is Ally Bank a trusted bank?
Ally Bank is a reliable and trusted online bank. As a FDIC insured institution and Equal Housing Lender, Ally has a strong reputation as a leading online bank. In particular, the Ally Money Market Account is one of the most popular online savings accounts available today.
What do I need to open a Chime account?
To open an account with Chime, you need to be at least 18 years old with legal residence or citizenship in the US. You’ll also have to provide your Social Security Number.
What is required to open an account with Ally Bank?
The basic requirements for opening an Ally account are the same as those for Chime. If you’re over 18 and a resident or citizen of the U.S. with a Social Security Number, you can open an account with either bank.
How much credit does Chime Credit Builder give you?
The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card comes with an adjustable credit limit. It works by allocating funds from your Chime Checking Account and depositing those funds to your Credit Builder account. This deposit acts as your credit limit.
Depending on your creditworthiness you could qualify for a credit limit of $200 with a deposit that is half of that amount, or lower. But because this is a secured credit card, Chime doesn’t ‘give you’ credit, rather your credit is determined by how much you deposit into your credit builder secured account.
How long does the Chime Credit Builder Visa take to work?
According to Chime, the amount of time it takes for their Credit Builder secured account to show results depends on your situation. If you’re building credit from scratch, Chime says it could only take a month or so for you to start seeing improvements in your credit score.
On the other hand, rebuilding damaged credit can take much longer. Getting your credit score to reflect a genuine change in spending habits, in particular on-time monthly payments, could a bit longer.
Ultimately, it depends on your financial situation, the damage to your credit, and the effectiveness of your credit building efforts.
Can you deposit cash into Ally Bank?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to deposit cash into an Ally bank account. However, there are different options for funding an Ally account. Wire transfers, online transfers and direct deposit, as well as remote check deposit are all available.
Does Ally give you a debit card?
Yes. When you open an account with Ally, you will receive a physical debit card. Ally provides a separate debit card for each Interest Checking or Money Market account you open. There’s also the possibility of converting your physical debit cards to virtual cards via the app.
Ally and Chime both provide different experiences for online banking. If you are just getting started and want to begin building credit, then Chime could be the correct choice for you. Unfortunately, their APY is significantly lower than Ally’s, and there are only three different account types.
Ally has a much higher APY for their savings account and offers several more features and account types than Chime. That said, there are a few downsides to Ally. There is no way to deposit cash into any of your Ally accounts. They also only allow a limited number of monthly transactions with your money market and savings accounts.
Both online banks are solid options, so you’ll have to choose which features outweigh the cons for each.
Still unsure about which online bank to choose? Check out some of our other articles for a deeper dive into Ally and Chime:
Maybe you have decided Ally is not for you, but you are still unsure about Chime. Check out some of our other comparisons.
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.
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
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 May, 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
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.