Chime Bank Review - Everything You Need to Know
No-hassle banking aimed at people with simple banking needs
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Chime Bank operates solely online. The bank is best known for a technology-driven banking experience and in our review, we found that its no-frills offerings are easy to understand regardless of your level of financial literacy.
Who is Chime Bank For?
Chime Bank will appeal to customers looking for an online-only bank. It’s perfect for people who:
- Like a modern, app-driven banking experience
- Don’t carry a high balance and appreciate having access to their paycheck the day it enters their bank account
- Have simple banking needs
- Need help with budgeting and saving
Only offers simple checking and savings accounts
Low interest rate on savings accounts
Can’t send paper checks and the maximum online check size is $5,000
Types of Accounts
Chime Bank offers the following types of accounts:
- Checking Account
- Savings Account
See below to learn more about each type of account.
Chime calls it’s checking account a spending account. It’s free and easy to apply for. You will get a decision in two minutes or less.
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance requirement
- Access to 38,000 ATMs in the United States free from fees
- No foreign transaction fees
Because Chime doesn’t hold your paycheck as other banks do, you get instant access to your direct deposited paycheck up to two days earlier than some other banks.
Your spending account comes with a Visa Debit card accepted by any merchant that accepts Visa—so pretty much everywhere. Your Chime debit card also works with mobile payment providers such as ApplePay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
The Chime app allows you to instantly block your card if you suspect fraud and order a replacement card. No need to check your account daily or wait for a call to learn of possible fraudulent transactions. You’ll receive an instant notification anytime your card is used, daily balance notifications, and other helpful push notifications.
However, Chime’s simplicity can sometimes work against you. Setting up direct deposit with Chime is easy but depositing cash requires you to visit a Green Dot cash deposit location. You may have to pay a fee for the service.
Although you can send checks through Chime’s checkbook feature, you can’t write paper checks. Checks through the Checkbook feature are limited to $5,000 per payment and a maximum of $10,000 per calendar month. Your account must be open 30 days before the checkbook feature is available to you.
With Chime, you never have to worry about overdraft fees because there’s no way to spend more than you have. Chime simply rejects the transaction. That’s good news for most but if you’re used to using your bank’s overdraft protection for a short-term safety net, Chime doesn’t offer it. Whether that counts as a downside to Chime is debatable. Most financial gurus would give the Chime leadership team a high-five for such a policy.
Although you have access to 38,000 ATMS free of charge, the out of network ATM fee is a hefty $2.50.
Chime’s company vision is to make money when its customers make money instead of capitalizing on their misfortune. To that end, Chime offers a simple savings account along with the checking account to encourage saving over discretionary spending.
Anytime you make a purchase, Chime will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and deposit the extra into your savings account. Did you spend $8.55 at lunch today? Chime rounds it to $9 and the extra $0.45 goes into your savings account. Of course, this is an optional feature that you can turn on or off as you would like.
Also, you can have Chime automatically transfer 10 percent of your paycheck into your savings account to accelerate your savings.
The downside to the Chime savings account is the interest rate—or lack of. You’ll earn a pretty-close-to-useless 0.01 percent APY. Earning $1 per year on every $100 you save means that you’re not remotely close to keeping up with inflation, so the value of your long-term savings is going backward.
That doesn’t mean that your savings account is useless. Consider using it to collect a certain amount and then transfer it into an investment product at another financial institution that earns you more.
By all metrics, Chime shines. Their mobile app for iOS has 4.7 out of 5 stores and the Android app holds an impressive 4.5 out of 5 rating. Its commitment to being a no-frills, easy-to-understand bank works well for people who don’t need all the offerings that cost a traditional bank money that they will pass along to you, and the website and app are well laid out and easy to navigate.
Their lack of overdraft fees is commendable given the fact that banks make billions of dollars per year on overdraft products, and their network of 38,000 ATMs allow you to do all of your basic banking needs and not miss having the branch experience.
However, there’s a concerning red flag with Chime—the customer reviews. A quick online search finds a disturbing pattern of negative reviews, including many customers saying that they waited a long time to get their debit card or never received it, as well as people mentioning the inability to reach live agents in the customer service department and once they do, the service is sub-par. Finally, for customers living in areas with spotty cell reception, some of chime’s features aren’t useful.
Of course, customer reviews tend to lean toward the negative because people experiencing quality services are sometimes less motivated to post. Use the questionable reviews as another data point rather than a singular reason to discount the bank.
About Chime Bank
Chime Bank is an online-only bank started in 2013 as an alternative to the traditional bank experience that people had grown tired of, especially since mega-banks were largely blamed for many of the missteps that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
Chime is FDIC-insured, meaning that customers don’t have to worry about losing their funds if the bank were to go out of business. Debit cards from Chime are backed by Visa, meaning that they are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy, so cardholders aren’t responsible for unauthorized charges providing they notify Chime immediately.
Additionally, the bank uses the most up-to-date encryption standards and cybersecurity practices for keeping your online account safe.
The Bottom Line
Benefits: Unlike other banks that have an online experience that feels a little antiquated, Chime Bank has a chic, modern feel that makes the banking experience more fun and less stuffy. Their mission of making financial health a reality for everyone is admirable and evident in their offerings.
The practice of rounding up expenses to encourage saving is hardly new but making it a part of the banking experience instead of having to use a separate app has benefits. It’s a much better way to get people who don’t have a lot of monthly surplus to start saving because it happens automatically at the bank level.
Drawbacks: If the idea of a bank without a physical location is a little too futuristic for you, Chime probably isn’t the best fit for you. Also, if you’re looking to earn interest on your deposits, other Internet banks have far better savings account rates than Chime.
Your money is one of those areas where talking to a human gives you a sense of trust. The fact that Chime’s customer service receives so many negative reviews might be a reason to steer clear if you’re the type that worries about the safety of your money in a world where data breaches have become commonplace.
Finally, if you’re looking for CDs, business accounts, investment services, and other more advanced banking products, look elsewhere or use Chime for a specific purpose like an account for your children. Chime’s account services are perfect for the customer with simple and straightforward banking needs.