Chime Review

Is Chime a good choice for online banking?

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Chime Bank Logo

Chime provides online-only spending and savings accounts. The company launched in 2013 as an alternative to traditional banks. Chime doesn’t have any branches or ATMs of its own. As of February 2021, Chime is reported to have 12 million customers. This in-depth review of the mobile-based banking service can help you decide if Chime is right for you.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Earlier access to direct deposits

  • Minimal fees

  • Automatic savings options

  • Leniency for people with previous checking account problems

Cons
  • Fees on out-of-network ATM transactions

  • There are limited banking services

  • Moderate interest rate on the savings account

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.chime.com/
  • Bank Product Offerings Spending account with Visa debit card, optional savings account
  • Customer Service Customers can send a message to customer service through the mobile app or via email (support@chime.com) or by calling 844-244-6363 Monday through Sunday from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central Time.
  • Year Founded 2013
Warning

There are recent reports that Chime has been closing and freezing accounts without notifying its customers. We are monitoring the situation and will update this review as facts develop.

Who Is Chime Best For?

Chime should appeal to consumers who want a simple, no-fuss deposit account with minimal fees and mobile-friendly features. It may be a good fit for you if you want to:

  • Get access to direct deposit funds earlier
  • Open a savings account with no minimum balance requirement
  • Open a checking account with a debit card and no overdraft fees
  • Instantly send money to Chime account holders with no additional fee
  • Have a poor banking history but want to open an account

What Does Chime Offer?

Chime's offerings are limited to three basic services:

Checking Account

Spending Account

Chime’s Spending Account, the equivalent of a checking account, gives you access to your direct deposits as early as two days sooner than traditional banks.

You may not always get your paycheck early, though, as Chime's fine print says early delivery is based on the payer’s support of the feature and timing of the payer’s funding.

While a bank may leave you struggling to figure out how to maneuver around the monthly account, Chime keeps it simple with almost no fees at all. There’s no opening deposit requirement, no minimum balance requirement, and no monthly fee. The only fee listed is an out-of-network ATM fee that Chime charges you when you use an ATM outside the Chime’s ATM network.

You can write checks to pay bills via Chime’s Checkbook feature. Tell Chime the bill you need to pay and how much you’ll pay. Then, it will write and mail the check on your behalf, provided the recipient’s address is in the 50 states or the District of Columbia. The check takes three to nine business days to arrive.

A total monthly direct deposit of $200 or more qualifies you for enrollment in SpotMe, an optional feature that lets you overdraft $20 to $200 without paying an overdraft fee. Rather than penalize you for overspending your account, Chime simply uses your next deposit to cover the negative balance. Chime calculates your SpotMe limit based on your: 

  • Account history
  • Direct deposits
  • Spending pattern
  • "Other risk-based factors"

Chime uses your direct deposit amount from the previous 34 days to determine whether you qualify for its overdraft protection service. You’ll start out with a $20 overdraft limit and could receive an increase as Chime reviews your account activity.

Savings Account

Chime offers a low-yield savings account option that links to your spending account and provides two automatic savings options.

For starters, you can enable Save When You Spend, a tool that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the extra amount to your savings account. For example, Chime would round up a $10.62 purchase to $11, then transfer 38 cents to your savings account. Those small amounts add up, especially if you make numerous transactions throughout the month.

Only those with Chime Spending accounts can open a Chime savings account.

Chime’s Save When You Get Paid feature automatically saves a pre-set percentage of your direct deposit and transfers the amount into your savings account. The automatic savings take the pressure off you and helps you build your savings effortlessly.

Otherwise, the only way to fund the account is to transfer money from your Spending Account.

Unfortunately, Chime doesn’t offer the best annual percentage yield (APY) compared with the top high-interest savings accounts. (It was 0.50% as of August 16, 2021, according to its website.) You could be getting more interest with some other high-yield savings accounts at an online bank. Depositing cash can also be a hassle, but they have 90,000 deposit locations, including Walmart, Walgreens, and 7-Eleven.

You can link your savings and spending accounts together, but in keeping with Regulation D, you’re only allowed six withdrawals. Otherwise, you could face additional fees, or your account could be reclassified as a checking account.

Credit Builder Credit Card

Chime's Credit Builder credit card is a secured card aimed at those with no or bad credit. Although it's a credit card, it functions much like a debit card. Cardholders must move money from their Spending Account into the card's account, creating the card's credit limit. The money spent on the card then gets paid off with the money moved over from the Spending Account, and Chime reports the balance as paid in full to the credit bureaus.

The Credit Builder card gives users the overspending protection of debit cards and the credit-building benefits of credit cards. Chime doesn't perform credit checks to apply for the card, and there's no minimum security deposit, annual fee, or interest.

Chime Customer Service

Chime’s mobile app was designed for banking from a smartphone. It allows you to:

  • Check your account
  • Pay bills
  • Transfer funds between accounts
  • Freeze your account after losing your card
  • Receive transaction notifications 
  • Send money to friends and family who also have Chime accounts

Chime partners with the Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., both members of the FDIC, to provide banking services. Both banks’ FDIC membership means your deposits are federally insured up to $250,000.

The customer service offering is pretty standard. Customers can send a message to customer service through the mobile app or via email (support@chime.com) or by calling 844-244-6363 Monday through Sunday from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central Time.

How to Bank With Chime

Opening an account with Chime is pretty easy. To get started, visit member.chime.com/enroll and provide some basic personal information.

While you can deposit money into your account via direct and mobile check deposits, Chime currently does not allow wire transfers.

The Final Verdict

Benefits

We found that Chime is a consumer-friendly option for anyone who wants free, app-focused online banking. You’ll have access to several features that make banking simple and hassle-free. Early access to your direct deposit gives you more flexibility in managing your money, with no extra fees. Automatic savings options help you boost your savings. And, if you have a blemished bank record, Chime is forgiving. The banking platform doesn’t review your ChexSystems history, so this is a great option if banks have turned you down.

Drawbacks

Chime only offers two types of accounts—a spending account and a savings account—and you can’t open a standalone savings account. While the automatic savings options allow you to grow your savings account steadily over time, you'll only earn at the current APY of 0.50%. And if you’re looking for more functionality—the option to deposit cash, open a certificate of deposit, or apply for a loan—Chime isn’t the best choice for you.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Forbes. "Challenger Bank Chime Reaches The 12 Million Customer Mark". Accessed August 16, 2021.