Chime is a mobile banking app that allows you to bank when and where it’s convenient for you. With Chime, you can easily access your account information, deposit checks, and transfer money.
Traditional banking often requires long lines and inconvenient hours. Plus, if you’re not near a physical branch, you might have to go through the hassle of transferring money electronically.
With Chime, all of your banking needs are just a few taps away. You can use our app to check your account balance, find ATMs near you, and deposit checks without leaving home. And with our Visa Chime debit card, you can use your Chime card anywhere Visa is accepted.
In this Chime review, we will discuss the different services they offer, the Pros and Cons, and if you should consider signing up for their services.
What is Chime?
Chime is a digital financial technology company. It’s not a bank, but it is FDIC-insured so that potential customers can trust that their money will be safe. Chime partners with two banks (Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank) to provide a number of different services to their customers, including checking, savings accounts, and the credit builder secured credit card.
Chime is a good option for people who have had trouble being approved for other financial institution due to poor credit history. Since Chime isn’t technically a bank, it doesn’t have the same criteria as a bank, and customers with low scores are more likely to be approved. Chime also doesn’t require any minimum deposit to open an account.
Since Chime has fewer in-person services than traditional banks, it works best for customers who plan to do most of their banking digitally and don’t need to make a lot of cash deposits. There are ways for Chime customers to make cash deposits, but it may not always be the most convenient.
What Accounts are Offered by Chime?
There are three types of accounts that Chime offers. These are the Chime checking account, savings account, and credit builder account.
A Chime checking account comes with far fewer fees than you might find with a traditional bank. There are no minimum account balances and no monthly fees. In addition, the account comes with a Visa debit card that is accepted everywhere that takes Visa.
Customers have the perk of getting paid two days early if they enroll in direct deposit with their Chime checking account.
This account can be linked with the Chime savings account and makes saving money simple by rounding up every purchase to the nearest dollar and depositing that change into your savings account. This can be an excellent tool for those trying to sharpen their savings skills or put some money away for a rainy day.
Customers can withdraw cash at any Chime-partnered ATM with no fees, and there are over 60,000 of these ATMs nationwide.
In many ways, it’s just like having a checking account from a bank. The only difference is that there is a lower barrier to entry, and cash deposits can be a bit tricky. Cash deposits can be made via Chime partner locations but often come with fees.
The Chime savings account also works much like a savings account from a bank. The money is FDIC-insured, and consumers can trust that their money is safely accounted for.
You first need to open a Chime savings account to open a Chime checking account. Unfortunately, Chime does not allow customers to open up a savings account alone.
Customers have to deposit the funds into their Chime checking account and then make the transfer into their savings account. The transfers are done very quickly, but it is an additional step a customer must take.
However, one of the most significant advantages of the Chime savings account is the very high APY (Annual Percentage Yield). At an APY of 0.50%, Chime has one of the most competitive APY rates you’ll find on a savings account.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Credit Card
Lastly, there is the Chime credit builder account. This is a secured credit card offered by Chime. It has a number of benefits over other secured cards on the market.
For one, there is no annual fee. Most secured cards come with an annual fee, but as with the other accounts Chime offers, they are keeping the unnecessary fees out of it.
It’s also worth noting that the process of using the credit builder account is incredibly streamlined. It works because the money is loaded onto the secured credit card from your Chime checking account. Then at the end of the billing cycle, the secured card is paid in full with money from your checking account. This means that there are no interest charges.
While other secured cards can risk accruing more debt via high-interest rates, that’s not a concern with the Chime secured card.
Chime Pros and Cons
Pros of Chime
- There are very few fees, so customers save money.
- The process of opening an account is fast and easy.
- Chime is FDIC-insured. This gives Chime accounts the same protection as a bank account.
- Customers have a streamlined financial system if they have multiple chime accounts. Money from their checking account can be transferred into their savings account, and the deposit for the credit builder secured credit card account is paid monthly with funds from the Chime checking account.
- Accounts can be opened without a credit check. Even the credit builder secured credit card does not require a credit check.
- There is a very high APY of 0.50% on the Chime Savings Account.
- The Chime checking account has the option for direct deposit, and customers receive their paychecks two days early.
- There is a Spot Me program for those who qualify. This means that customers pay no overdraft fees and can overdraw up to $200, and Chime will cover the difference temporarily. When the next deposit is made into your account, the negative balance will be covered with that. Customers who qualify just need to have at least one direct deposit of $200 or more made into their account each month.
- The secured credit card can help customers to build a positive credit history, as Chime reports to all three credit bureaus.
- Unlike other secured credit cards that come with annual fees and high interest rates, the credit builder card is an inexpensive way to build credit, and you don’t have to rack up any debt, since the credit limit is based on the money that you deposit into the account from your checking account. This makes the card a lot like a checking account, but with the added benefit of building your credit history.
- Chime has a very user-friendly mobile app. Customers can even deposit checks via the app.
- Chime has many in network ATMs where you can withdraw money without incurring any fees.
- There is no minimum balance requirement for accounts.
- Saving is easy by connecting the Chime checking account to a savings account. Every purchase is rounded up to the next dollar and the change is saved automatically.
Cons of Chime
- Places where Chime customers can make cash deposits into their accounts are limited. There is likely to be a fee for third parties that accept Chime cash deposits. Walgreens is the only partner location that takes Chime cash deposits without a fee.
- Savings and checking accounts have to be opened together.
- Deposits can not be made directly into a Chime savings account. It’s a two-step process wherein customers have to first deposit the money into their checking account and then transfer it into their savings account.
- There are some spending limits. There is a daily spending limit of $2,500. You may have trouble buying gas with the card. Many customers have had holds placed on their funds when they pay for gas. This hold may not be released for several days, so you may not want to use the Chime to make debit card purchases when filling up your vehicle. There’s also a daily ATM withdrawal limit of $500 and a daily cashback limit of $500.
- Using an ATM outside of the Chime network incurs a cost of at least $2.50 every time. Sometimes these fees can be higher, depending on the fees the third party charges.
Chime Rates and Fees
While Chime has far fewer fees than many other financial services, there are still some rates and fees to be aware of.
Let’s start with a positive rate. We’ve already talked about the 0.50% APY on the Chime savings account. This can add up over time to a not-insignificant amount of money, so it’s worth considering when weighing the Chime savings account against other savings accounts on the market.
Now let’s cover the fees that generally don’t work in the customer’s favor.
- Withdrawing from an out-of-network ATM incurs a fee of at least $2.50 and sometimes more, depending on the third-party fees.
- Cash deposits will almost always incur a fee, even if made at Chime partner location. The only exception is Walgreens, which will take Chime cash deposits without any fee. These fees vary by location and policies of the third parties.
Fees that Chime Doesn’t Have
- There are no overdraft fees with the Spot Me program.
- There are no monthly maintenance fees on the Chime checking or savings account.
- There is no annual fee on the credit builder secured credit card.
- There are no fees on international transactions. Most checking accounts charge an international fee of between 1 and 3 percent.
- There are no interest charges on the credit builder secured credit card. Payments are made directly from the associated Chime checking account at the end of the billing cycle, so customers never have to worry about interest.
Is Chime Right For You?
Chime is a versatile financial service with three different account types to choose from. Since Chime is so versatile, there are many kinds of people who might benefit from Chime. For example, if you want to avoid fees, don’t make many cash deposits that need some overdraft protection and automated additions to your savings, then you might benefit from Chime.
Since Chime is a digital financial service, anyone who wants in-person customer service would be better off sticking with a traditional bank.
Chime doesn’t have any physical branches you can walk into. However, Chime does have a very responsive customer service department. They can be reached via phone, email, or the Chime app. Their customer service consistently receives positive reviews, and Chime has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Chime also may not be the best fit if you plan to make a lot of cash deposits. Cash deposits into Chime checking accounts can be inconvenient or costly. That being said, Walgreens is a Chime partner that accepts deposits without any fees, so if you have a Walgreens near you, then the process of making cash deposits may not be a hassle.
All in all, there aren’t too many drawbacks to Chime’s financial services. Customers can save a lot of money since there are very few fees, and almost anything, including check deposits, can be done via the online portal or mobile app.
Chime is an excellent option for customers with poor credit history trying to rebuild their credit. There’s no credit check done when you open an account, and the credit builder secured credit card reports to all three credit bureaus, so those automatic payments from your checking account will be reported as on-time payments.
Over time, this increases your credit score. With a higher credit score, you’ll have access to better interest rates on loans and more financing options on everything from cars to housing.
Are there any monthly maintenance fees on the Chime checking or savings account?
No, there are no monthly maintenance fees on the Chime checking or savings account.
How much do I need to have in my Chime checking account to avoid overdraft fees?
You need to have at least $1 in your Chime checking account to avoid overdraft fees.
Are there any annual fees on the credit builder secured credit card?
No, there are no annual fees on the credit builder secured credit card.
How often do I need to make a payment on my Chime secured credit card?
Payments are made directly from the associated Chime checking account at the end of the billing cycle, so customers never have to worry about interest.
How long will it take to rebuild my credit with a Chime Credit Builder secured credit card?
It typically takes around 18 months of on-time payments to rebuild your credit score. However, this varies depending on your credit history.
Does Chime have any physical branches I can walk into?
No, Chime is a digital-only financial service and does not have any physical branches. However, they do have very responsive customer service department that can be reached via phone, email, or the Chime app. Their customer service consistently receives positive reviews.
Are my funds FDIC insured?
Yes, your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor.
How do I make a cash deposit into my Chime checking account?
You can make a cash deposit into your Chime checking account at many retail locations such as Walgreens. Just look for the green Chime logo in the store. There is no fee to make a cash deposit into your Chime checking account.
Additional locations that may have a fee include but are not limited to:
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
- Rite Aid
- Pilot Travel Centers (Pilot Flying J)
- Holiday Station Stores
- Circle K Stores
Wrapping It Up
Overall, Chime has a lot of perks and, taken altogether, is a comprehensive financial package, offering customers checking accounts, savings accounts, and a secured credit card that builds a positive credit history without any of the risks that usually come with secured cards.
Since the secured card is attached to your Chime checking account, there is no interest or risk of late payments.
Chime has very few fees. The few fees that customers may incur are fees for cash deposits or cash withdrawals from ATMs outside the Chime network.
The savings account has a competitive APY. The checking account has the option for overdraft protection of up to $200. There are no monthly or annual maintenance fees. In a myriad of different ways, Chime protects their customers’ bottom line.
This is a financial service that makes sense for many people, but as with any financial product, you should always do your own research, consider your own financial goals, and compare the product you’re considering alongside others on the market.