Chime is one of several new Fintech companies trying to change the way we bank. It offers a highly rated mobile app, low fees, and a competitive interest rate.
I embraced online banking when it first became a thing more than a decade ago. It started with ING Direct and the Orange Account. Since then I’ve held accounts at many online banks, including CIT Bank, Ally Bank, American Express Bank, and Capital One. Chime is different.
For starters, it’s not a bank. It’s an app that offers bank accounts through partner FDIC-insured banks. The idea is to take great technology, pair it with traditional banking, and then take over the financial industry. Let’s dig into the details to see what it offers, how much it costs, and whether it’s right for you.
- Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
- Track your account balances and daily transactions with the Chime mobile app
- Get daily balance notifications and instant transaction alerts
- Send money instantly to friends
- Chime Visa® Debit Card
- 0.50% APY
- No monthly fees.
- No minimum balance requirements.
- 38,000+ fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs.
Pros & Cons
What we like
- Excellent mobile app
- Competitive interest rate
- No fees
- Free ATMs
- Get paid up to 2 days early
What could be better
- No physical branches
- Past outages have prevented account access for brief periods of time
Chime comes with two account types: a Spending Account and a Savings Account. The Spending Account includes a Visa debit card that also serves as your ATM card.
The Spending Account is your checking account. There are no overdraft fees, monthly fees or minimums with this account. There are also no foreign transaction fees.
How do you deposit money into your Chime account?
There are several ways you can add money to your Spending Account:
- Direct Deposit: (see above)
- Transfers: Using your routing number and account number, you can transfer funds from another bank into your Chime Spending Account.
- Deposit Cash: You can deposit cash to your Spending Account at over 90,000 retail locations via Green Dot. You can deposit up to $1,000 in cash every 24 hours or $10,000 per month. There will be a fee for this service, which can vary by location.
- Mobile Check Deposit: If you are enrolled in direct deposit of $200 or more a month, you can deposit a check via the mobile app. Once you meet the direct deposit requirement, mobile check depositing will be automatically added in your Chime app in 30 days.
How do you spend or withdrawal money from your Chime account?
There are several ways to use the money in your Chime account:
- Visa Debit Card: You can use the debit card anywhere that accepts Visa, including online.
- ATM: With your Visa debit card, you can withdrawal cash at an ATM.
- Bill Pay: You can set up direct pay to a creditor using your routing and account number.
- Chime Checkbook: While checks aren’t as common as they once were, sometimes you need them. You can log into your account and request that Chime send a check anywhere in the U.S. for up to $5,000.
The Spending Account works with mobile payment platroms including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
With the Savings Account you earn 0.50% APY. That’s a competitive rate as compared to the best online savings accounts. There are no fees on this account and no minimum balance. The APY is also not capped at a certain balance.
Chime offers several ways to automate your savings:
- Round Ups: Chime will roundup transactions on the Chime debit card to the nearest dollar and transfer this amount from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.
- Save When I Get Paid: You can set up a recurring automatic transfer of a percentage of your paycheck from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.
Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card
Chime has recently introduced its first credit card. It’s a secured card designed to help Chime members build their credit. Because it’s a secured card, there is no credit check to apply. Unlike most secured cards, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Card has no annual fees and no interest charges.
Chime reports your credit activities from the card to the three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. There’s no minimum security deposit required. You decide how much to transfer from your Spending Account to your secured account as collateral for the card. That becomes your limit. You can then use this money to pay for your charges at the end of the month.
With the Chime mobile app, you can track your spending and savings. You can also send or receive money from friends. It works on both iPhone and Android devices. The app enables you to deposit checks and pay bills. Alerts are built into the app. It can send you daily bank account balance notifications and instant transaction alerts when you use your debit card.
Chime’s mobile app is one of the highest rated among bank challengers. It has a 4.5 out of 5.0 star rating on Google Play and a 4.8 star rating in Apple’s App Store.
Visa Debit Card: The Chime Spending Account comes with a Visa debit card. The card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa, including online. It also serves as your ATM card.
Free ATM Withdrawals: Chime has over 38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. They work with both MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance networks. You can withdrawal from either network for free. Keep in mind that free ATMs are located only in the United States. If you travel outside the country, you will be charged for using an ATM.
If you use an ATM outside of these networks, the cost is $2.50 plus anything the ATM owner charges. Also keep in mind that there is a $500 a day limit on ATM withdrawals. Also keep in mind that there is a daily limit on card usage (whether purchases, ATM withdrawals, over-the-counter withdrawals) of $2,500.
Get Paid 2 Days Early: If you set up direct deposit, you can get paid up to two days early. Here’s how Chime describes this feature.
¹ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on timing of payer’s submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.
SpotMe: SpotMe is Chime’s fee-free overdraft protection. To qualify, you must set up direct deposit of at least $500 a month. Chime determines the limits of SpotMe per customer based on account activity and history. The limit starts at $20 but can go up to $200 or more. If a transaction would overdraw your account above this limit, it will be declined.
Any SpotMe overdrafts are repaid automatically with your next direct deposit. Here’s how Chime describes the SpotMe feature
*Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires you receive $500 in direct deposits a month to qualify to overdraw your account up to $20 on debit card purchases. Chime, in its sole discretion, may allow you to overdraw your account up to $200 or more based on your Chime Account history, direct deposit history 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 be increased or lowered at any time by Chime.
Security: You can instantly disable your debit card via the mobile app. You can also allow or disallow international transactions.
Who Chime is Best For
Chime is designed for those wanted a no-fee checking and savings account and an excellent online and mobile app experience. It’s also ideal for those wanting to earn a competitive interest rate on savings.
Who Should Consider a Different Bank Alternative
Those who need a physical branch should either open an account at a traditional bank or consider two accounts–one online and one traditional.
How to Get Started with Chime
Opening an Account
You can open an account online using this link. You’ll need to provide the typical information you would for opening any bank account. This information includes your address, mobile telephone number, and your social security number. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old.
The process takes just a few minutes. Once approved, you then decide what types of accounts you want. It’s pretty simple since there are only two:
- Spending Account—What most people think of as a checking account. If you set up direct deposit, see below, your paycheck will go into this account.
- Savings Account—It currently pays 0.50% APY in interest.
Setup Direct Deposit
Next you’ll want to setup direct deposit of your paycheck or government assistance check. To do so you’ll need two numbers—the routing number and your account number. The routing number is a unique number that identifies the bank where the direct deposit should be made. The account number is the unique number that identifies your specific Spending Account.
Finding the routing number and your account number is easy:
- Log into your account online or via the Chime mobile app;
- Go to the “Move Money” section of your account and select “Direct Deposit;”
- There you’ll find both the routing number and your Spending Account Number.
Chime offers low fee Checking and Savings accounts, with competitive interest rates.
No. It is a debit ATM card. If you are interest in a prepaid card, you can check out our list of the best options here.
Yes, at more than 38,000 ATM locations nationwide.
Several ways, including direct deposit, mobile check deposit, bank transfer, and cash deposits at certain retailers using Green Dot.
No, but deposits are held at one of two FDIC-insured partner banks.
Compare Chime Alternatives
There are other options to consider for those looking for a low cost online banking experience. There are other Fintech options, such as Aspiration, Simple and Varo. Think of these as digital bank apps. You could also consider online banks, most of which charge little in fees and offer competitive interest rates. If a checking account is your primary goal, however, it’s hard to beat Chime.
Chime earned our best in class award in the following categories: