“Chime is a financial technology company. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.“
In this Chime review, we’ll review Chime’s checking and savings accounts, learn how they work, and look at what sets them apart from the competition.
Chime is an online-only financial app that offers a checking and savings account. Chime is FDIC insured and has no monthly fees or overdraft fees. Saving is easy with a special feature that allows you to round up purchases to the next dollar and put it in your savings. But depositing cash can be difficult.
- No hidden costs or overdraft fees.
- Access to your paycheck two days early.
- Access to a large ATM network.
- No access to a physical institution.
- Possible fees to deposit cash.
What Is Chime?
Chime is a digital-first account equipped to handle essential checking and savings needs for people on the go.
Based in San Francisco, it was founded in 2013 to offer a fee-free mobile experience that’s more modern and connected.
Chime has two distinct accounts: a Spending Account (checking account-inspired) and an optional Savings Accounts.
Despite being a fairly young fintech company, Chime is one of the biggest innovators in the financial space. Chime puts the needs of its members first. It keeps it simple with almost no fees at all. And that’s really where Chime shines.
Online platforms like Chime don’t operate physical branch locations. Still, you can access and track your account balance, savings and transactions at any time provided you have an internet connection.
This allows Chime to pass on the cost savings of operating purely online.
But it doesn’t stop there. Here’s a bit more about Chime and how it works before deciding whether it’s the right fit for you.
Key Features Of Chime
Chime offers all the major checking and savings features you would expect and want plus more.
With a Chime account, you will enjoy perks such as:
- no minimum balance requirements,
- debit card round-ups,
- real-time alerts,
- getting paid two days early with direct deposit,
- zero monthly fees,
- and fee-free overdraft protection.
- They even allow you to use over 38,000 ATMs for free!
As mentioned, Chime keeps its service options simple with only two account choices available:
Spending Account (With Debit Card Access)
Chime’s Spending Account is a basic checking account without an interest rate or traditional check-writing privileges. Opening this account is required before you can open a Chime Savings Account.
There is no minimum for this account, and it comes with a complimentary Visa debit card that makes it easy to access your cash when you need it.
The Chime Visa debit card linked to your spending account makes paying bills online and making purchases a breeze. You can use your debit card anywhere in the United States that accepts Visa.
Chime boasts a large ATM network thanks to the partnership with Visa Plus Alliance and MoneyPass.
Using a traditional bank card while traveling overseas can be a costly affair. While these banks can charge up to 3 percent of the amount of your purchase, there are no foreign transaction fees charged when you use your Chime debit card internationally. The only fee you’ll need to pay is for the local ATM, which is out of Chime’s hands.
The usage of checks in the United States is slowly but surely coming to an end, but some employers still use them as a means to pay their staff.
Just because the account doesn’t offer a typical checkbook does not mean you can’t write checks. Chime allows you to do this virtually.
Use the Chime Checkbook feature if you need to send someone a paper check. This service is free. Simply open the app, go to your account and fill out the on-screen information to pay a bill.
Chime will do the processing and mail a physical check-up to $5000 to your recipient in 3-9 business days. You’re not limited to how many checks you can send per day, but the monthly limit is $10000.
Use the app to analyze your spending, manage your funds, view transactions and transfer money between external and internal accounts.
Keep in mind that Chime does charge $2.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs, and you’ll have to deposit cash at Green Dot locations, which may charge a fee.
Chime markets its app as both a Spending and Savings Account, but you won’t earn much in the form of yield when compared to other savings instruments.
When you sign up for Chime for the first time, you’re signing up for only a Spending Account. You’ll need to sign up a second time to create a Savings Account. This account allows you to save extra money you may not need in the short term and offers interest to help your balance increase.
Most online financial service providers offer better interest rates than traditional banks due to low overheads.
- Unfortunately, Chime is not the best high yield savings on the market (1.00% APY).
The good news is that it has two optional automatic savings programs that will help you reach your savings goals faster:
- Save When I Get Paid
- and Save When You Spend. (We’ll talk more about that below).
To deposit cash into your Chime’s savings account, you can either transfer money from your Chime Spending Account or visit a Green Dot location.
I’ll get more into their features below.
You should ensure that a financial institution is FDIC insured before you decide to do business with them.
But what does being FDIC insured mean?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States’ government independent agency meant to protect you against the loss of your deposits.
If your FDIC insured savings association fails, the FDIC insurance will cover the principal plus any accrued interest of at least $250k per person.
Chime insures your funds through its partners, Stride Bank, N.A. (FDIC# 4091) and The Bancorp Bank (FDIC# 35444).
So you still enjoy the security of a traditional financial app without the inconvenience and fees.
If you want to overdraw your account to make a debit card purchase, Chime will let you overdraft up to $200 without charging you a dime (SpotMe).
Rather than penalize you for overspending your account, they will apply your next deposit to your negative balance.
You’re eligible for this service if your monthly direct deposits total $500 or more. Overdrafts through SpotMe are initially limited to $20, but based on account history and activity, they may be increased up to $200.
Split the Bill
Split the bill is another helpful Chime feature. This feature allows you to split the bill on a dinner date, go halfsies on movie night or split utility bills with roommates using your mobile app.
Chime will message the recipient a link for them to pay you back via their Chime account (if they have one) or Venmo.
Round-Ups and Smart Savings
While automatic savings is not a new feature, Chime allows you to save both when you get paid and when you spend. This lets you reach your financial goals faster.
So how does it work?
Save When I Get Paid
The “Save When I Get Paid” feature allows you to set up direct deposits. Chime will automatically cut a pre-set percentage of every paycheck and deposit it into your savings account. This is good news, especially if your paycheck fluctuates.
Putting your savings on autopilot will take the pressure off you and allow you to build your savings effortlessly.
Members who use this automatic savings program save $104 more than members who are not enrolled.
Save When You Spend
“Save When You Spend” is another way to save easily. If you enable the feature, Chime will round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and add that extra amount to your savings account.
They will do this when you pay bills or make purchases with your Chime Visa debit card.
For example, Chime would round up a $4.56 purchase to $5, then transfer $0.46 to your savings account. Those small amounts add up quickly, especially if you make multiple purchases throughout the month.
This feature is, to a certain extent, psychological, in the sense that all you are really doing is transferring money from one Chime account to another. Round-ups can also be damaging as they can make people justify bad spending habits.
Mobile Payments and Paper Checks
Chime supports mobile payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Set up direct debit payments with your Chime account and routing number to pay your bills.
While you won’t get physical checkbooks as a member, Chime will send paper checks on your behalf at no cost. Use the app to access this feature.
The Chime app has an ATM Finder feature that lets you find your nearest ATM. You shouldn’t have problems getting your hands on some cash when you need it.
You won’t be charged anything by Chime to use an out-of-network ATM, but the ATM owner might charge you a fee.
Pay Friends is Chime’s version of Venmo. With this peer-to-peer mobile payments feature, you can instantly send and receive money to and from your friends and family for free.
To enable transfers between Chime Members, your friends have to open a Chime Spending Account.
Tap Pay Friends, insert your friend’s phone number or email and select the amount of money you wish to transfer.
The daily limit to send money is $2000.
Chime is committed to “empowering people to lead healthier financial lives.” Its business model does not revolve around profiting off your mistakes.
- Minimum Initial Deposit – $0
- Maintenance Fee – $0
- Overdraft or Insufficient Funds Fee – $0
- Foreign Transaction Fee – $0
- Opening, Closing, or Inactivity Fee – $0
- Bounced Check Fees – $0
- Out-Of-Network ATM Fee – $2.5
As you see, Chime is as close to a fee-free account as you can get.
So how do they make money? Chime is transparent about how they make profits.
According to their website, they get paid when you use the Chime Visa debit card. This payment comes from Visa, not you. That’s it!
How Chime Works
If you have ever tried to open a new traditional checking or savings account, you’re probably familiar with how tedious it can be.
How Do I Open A Chime Account?
Chime makes the process stress-free. Opening an account is free and takes under 2 minutes either through the website or mobile apps. Thanks to advanced technology, Chime verifies identities automatically.
To open an account with Chime, you should be a U.S. citizen or resident aged at least 18 years. You will be required to provide your personal information, including name, email address, physical address and social security number.
While having bad credit can ruin your application’s acceptance at some financial institutions, Chime calls themselves a “second chance option.” They don’t ask for or check your credit reports to make you an account holder.
To get started, you’ll create a password, and you’ll receive a Visa debit card 7-10 days after completing your application.
You can make a cash deposit to fund your account, set up a direct deposit or link an external account.
How Do I Withdraw Money From My Chime Account?
Chime Visa debit card is the easiest way to withdraw money from your deposit account. The card works both domestically and internationally. It comes with an EMV security chip.
There are over 38k fee-free Visa Plus Alliance (VPA), and MoneyPass ATMs spread across the United States. So you should be able to avoid ATM fees in most cases. There is a $500 daily limit on ATM withdrawals.
You can add your card to your Samsung Pay, Google Pay, or Apple Pay virtual wallets or request a cash withdrawal at any credit union or bank.
How Do I Deposit Money Into My Chime Account?
There are four ways you can deposit money into your Chime Account: mobile check deposit, cash deposit, direct deposit from your employer and external bank transfers.
Mobile Check Deposit
Chime allows you to snap a picture and deposit checks into your account.
Need to deposit cash? No problem! Make cash deposits of up to $1000 per day or $10,000 per month at any of the 60,000 Green Dot retail locations nationwide.
Just give the cash and your Chime account details to the retail agent, and they’ll take care of the rest. Retail stores such as 7-eleven and CVS are part of the Green Dot network.
If you want your salary to be paid into your account when you register, you’ll receive a direct deposit form meant for your payroll provider. Simply hand over the form to your employer to enjoy getting paid up to 2 days early.
External Bank Transfers
You can also connect an external bank account with Chime. External bank transfers allow up to $200 a day or $1000 a month. The limits are put in place to ensure that Chime remains fully compliant with anti-money laundering laws.
Funds are available in 5 business days, but not all banks are supported, check with Chime first.
With its partnership with large bank corporations and membership with the FDIC, your money is secure. So technically speaking, the only risk you face with Chime is if you deposit more than $250,000.
Besides the FDIC protection, Chime has also put innovative security features in place to keep your account safe. To protect sensitive personal information from potential fraud, Chime supports both fingerprint and 2-factor authentication as additional safeguards.
2-factor authentication means that before you can log in, you need to confirm a PIN number that is sent to your mobile phone. This will help you block unauthorized logins.
Thanks to Visa Zero Liability Policy, you’re spared from unauthorized transactions done using your Visa Debit card.
You get real-time alerts with every transaction. You can instantly block your card if you suspect fraudulent activity and order a replacement card. This will help unauthorized people from accessing your account.
There is no cost for getting a replacement card.
Chime Customer Service
There are no branches to visit when you need help, but Chime tries to capitalize on this shortfall. They hold an ‘Excellent’ overall star rating of 4.5/5 on TrustPilot, which is across an impressive 6000+ individual reviews.
Chime offers a different way to contact customer service when the need arises. Chime’s Member Services Team is available via telephone, email at [email protected], or customer support tab in the app.
Before contacting customer care, try browsing the Chime FAQ page to get answers to commonly asked questions.
Use the built-in robo-chat function for simple queries.
If you need a comprehensive answer, you can send them an email or give them a direct call to speak to a specialist.
Phone support is available on their number (844) 244-6363 Monday through Saturday 7 am-7 pm and on Sunday 9-am-5pm Central Time.
Pros And Cons Of Chime
You’ll want to know the merits and demerits before deciding whether or not Chime is the perfect choice for your checking and savings needs.
Here are some benefits you’ll enjoy when you use Chime:
The Chime App
This APP is designed for use from a phone. It lets you pay bills, check your account, receive transaction notifications, transfer funds between accounts, send money to friends, and freeze your card if stolen or lost.
View My Card
Chime lets you view your debit card information whenever, wherever you are.
Chime categorizes your spending by the type of transactions, (restaurants, shopping, gas station, etc.)
Get cashback at over 30,000 participating locations like Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and more.
Fee-Free Overdraft Protection
Traditional institutions charge up to $35 for overdraft fees. Chime’s SpotMe allows you to make debit card purchases that may overdraw your Spending Account without charging you overdraft fees.
Leniency for Individuals with Previous Checking Account Problems
One benefit of Chime is that both of its accounts are open to almost anyone. Most banks use tools like ChexSystems to scrutinize people’s financial history. If, for instance, you’ve previously shut an account with a negative balance, some financial institutions won’t allow you to open a new account for up to 5 years.
If you want to open an account but have a poor banking history, Chime is forgiving. They won’t hold your ChexSystems report against you. This makes Chime a great option if banks have turned you down.
No Hidden Fees
When signing up for a typical checking account, you’ll be required to pay certain fees. On average, Americans pay $290 annually in banking fees. This may be a result of you not making enough debits as stipulated by the account or because your average daily balance falls below the minimum.
With all these fees, it becomes even more challenging to break out from the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle that traps many people.
This is one pain-point Chime wishes to solve. No minimum balance requirements. No monthly maintenance/service fees. No foreign transaction fees. No overdraft fees. This leaves you free to focus on your money.
Get Paid Early
Payday is always a good day, but it’s even better with Chime. Who wouldn’t want to get paid early?
Emergencies happen all the time. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for your money in such situations. Chime has you covered with its early payment plan. This new feature allows you to get your hands on your paycheck up to 2 days early when using direct deposit with your Spending Account.
When opening an account, Chime will email you a pre-filled direct form meant for your employer. You will get your money in full as soon as your employer deposits the funds. To make this possible, Chime immediately processes your employer’s check.
Early access to your direct deposit provides greater flexibility in managing your money.
Real-Time Mobile Alerts and Notifications
You will (if you want to) receive a daily balance notification every morning and an alert every time you complete a transaction with your Chime debit card. This is one of the most exciting features of using an app-only account like Chime.
This feature lets you track your spending and alerts you when your card is being used by someone else. Chime lets you instantly disable your card in settings and then unfreeze when you manage to find it. You can also block international transactions.
Every financial experience has downsides, and Chime is no exception.
Chime lacks features such as credit cards, personal loan options, certificates of deposit (CDs), joint accounts, and money market accounts.
They only offer individual checking and savings accounts.
If your intention is growing your savings through interest, Chime may not be the best for you.
With a 1.00% annual percentage yield (APY), it’s almost not worth saving money with Chime. Chime is more tailored for convenience.
Difficulty Depositing cash
While Chime allows you to deposit cash, you’ll need to go to a Green Dot location, and you may have to pay some fees.
You may also be charged for out-of-network ATM transactions.
No Physical Branches
Sometimes, you just want to walk into your local branch and get one-on-one advice. Unfortunately, Chime is purely online, and you can’t enjoy in-person meetings.
How Does Chime Compare
Chime’s competition comes from 3 types of financial services:
Traditional Brick-and-Mortar banks have physical branches, something that Chime lacks.
Online banks offer the best interest rates on deposit accounts. The .50% APY Chime offers on the Savings account is on the lower side.
Chime doesn’t offer additional financial services such as budgeting tools, like some of its competitors do. They don’t make it easy to set specific savings goals. Budgeting tools will help you to reframe your finances.
Radius is another online-focused service that offers fee-free checking. While there’s a $100 minimum deposit required to open an account, there is no minimum monthly balance requirement after that. You’ll get both interest and rewards from your account.
Every dollar you have in your Radius account will work for you. Radius will give you a 1 percent cash back on every dollar spent using the debit card. You can also earn as much as 0.15% APY on your balance.
For withdrawals, Radius covers both over the counter and their own ATM fees.
You can’t deposit money directly into your Chime Savings account; you have to funnel it through your Spending Account. The Savings Account is also federally regulated, meaning it’s subject to any withdrawal limits set by the Federal Reserve.
There are other mobile apps like Aspiration, a spend and save combo account offering up to 1.00% annual percentage yield (APY). Aspiration gives you free access to unlimited withdrawals at over 55,000 Allpoint network ATMs.
You also enjoy unlimited deposits, cashback, and extra rewards for shopping at mission-focused merchants (stores that do better for People and the Planet).
Is Chime Right For You?
If you’ve read this review all of the way through, you should now know whether or not Chime is right for you.
If you can’t remember the last time you went into a bank, hate paying random fees, often get paid through direct deposit, or want to grow your savings automatically, Chime would be a good addition to improving your personal finances.
Is Chime for everyone? Maybe not. Some clients may find Chime’s services lacking. If you prefer traditional perks, such as joint accounts, personalized advice and physical checks, then Chime is not the ideal choice for you.
You should diversify your checking and savings accounts, just like you diversify your investments. Use Chime as a secondary or low-cost alternative, and have a traditional financial institution for full-service checking and savings needs.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you a good insight into Chime and its features.