Level Banking Review
Is the Level Bank Account a good deal?
Level is a new, mobile-centric service that provides only one product: a high-yield banking account. With the Level Bank Account, you earn a relatively good interest rate, plus you can earn rewards when using your debit card. On top of that, Level charges no fees to customers.
Deposits are FDIC insured through Evolve Bank & Trust, which holds your money and issues the Level debit card. Level is an innovative service created by venture-capital-backed Zero Financial, a fintech firm that also has a credit card called Zero. Level addresses some of the biggest challenges consumers face: high bank fees, paltry interest earnings, and complicated account offerings.
What We Like
No minimum balance required
Decent APY on your balance with no limit on your number of withdrawals
What We Don't Like
No withdrawals or deposits by check
No other types of products besides the Level Bank Account
No physical locations for in-person service
Some features still in development (online bill pay, for example)
Who Is Level Best For?
Level Bank should appeal to people who are drawn to new financial technology tools and services. The offering may be most interesting to those who want:
- A debit card that lets you earn cash back on purchases
- Interest earnings from a liquid account
- A banking relationship designed for mobile devices
- 24/7 customer support
- No banking fees charged by Level
To take full advantage of Level’s cash-back rewards, you need to have direct deposits of at least $1,000 per month into your account.
What Does Level Offer?
Level provides an interest-bearing payment account, the Level Bank Account, that is only accessible through Level’s mobile app.
Level Bank Account
- Pays 0.50% APY (as of April 17, 2020)
- FDIC insured
- Requires no minimum deposit to open
- Charges no monthly fees or overdraft fees
- Comes with a Visa debit card for spending online and in person
- No foreign ATM fees from Level (the ATM owner may charge fees)
- ATM fee reimbursement up to three times per month ($4 per fee maximum)
- Earn 1% cash back on qualifying spending with your debit card
- Receive direct deposit up to two days early
Many credit cards offer generous cash-back rewards, but The Level Debit Card stands out as one of the rare debit cards that does. Just note that in order to earn rewards when you use the card in stores, you’ll need to choose “credit” rather than “debit” at the point of sale. Transactions like ATM withdrawals or “manufactured spending” strategies—like buying gift cards—do not qualify for cash back. Rewards post to your account almost immediately, and there is no cap on the amount you earn.
While the Level Bank Account might be able to replace a checking account for some people, it lacks features that others may find essential. As of this writing, there is no online bill payment feature, although you can use your Level Bank Account with apps like Venmo and Square Cash. Also, the service does not yet offer remote check deposit, but those improvements are in development.
Level Customer Service
As a new banking service, its customer service has hardly any track record. But Level is well-funded by venture capital and offers U.S.-based phone support 24/7. At the moment, there is no chat or secure in-app messaging for customer service.
How to Bank With Level
To open an account, visit levelbank.com or get the app for your iPhone (through the App Store) or Android device (through Google Play). You must have a mobile device to use this service. Be prepared to provide basic personal information, as you would need to do when opening any bank account.
The Level Bank Account offers features that people want, like fee-free banking and interest earnings on balances without withdrawal limits. For now, the Level Bank Account excels at paying a higher-than-average interest on idle cash, and providing rewards for debit card spending.
Even though some features aren’t yet available, it appears that the Level Bank account will be full of customer-friendly features. For example, you’re not tied to a particular branch or ATM network, and you can already complete tasks like locking your debit card from the app.
While the Level Bank Account is promising, some essential banking features are still missing. That might not be a dealbreaker, especially if you’re a tech-savvy consumer pursuing high-interest earnings and debit card rewards. But if you’re looking for an everyday checking account, you might need to wait before switching your banking to Level. Several online banks (as well as local banks and credit unions) offer free checking with online bill pay, remote deposit, and other features that help you manage your money.