The Chime Spending Account is an excellent choice if you’re hoping to get a mostly fee-free checking account with access to a long list of valuable features including early direct deposit, a Visa debit card, FDIC insurance and account management through the mobile app.
In addition to the Chime Spending Account, the company also offers a high-yield savings account and credit builder card that doesn’t require a credit check to get approved.
In this Chime review, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the company, the accounts it offers and their perks.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
APY: Up to 0.20%
Monthly Fees: None
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Zero Fees: No monthly fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees or fees of any kind
Early direct deposit
Secure online and mobile banking
Access to 38,000 ATMs in the MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance networks for free
Chime isn’t like other banks because it isn’t actually a bank. Chime is a financial technology company that offers banking products through its partners, Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank.
As such, while some online Chime reviews give the company the name Chime Bank, it’s not technically correct. For the sake of simplicity, though, we may refer to the company as Chime Bank.
That said, Chime has been offering banking products since 2013, making it one of the pioneers of online banking. For example, it’s one of the first financial institutions to get rid of overdraft fees and offer concrete features to make it easier to save.
Recently, Chime moved into the credit space, offering a secured credit card that can help you build credit from scratch or rebuild credit after you’ve made some missteps.
If you’re thinking of getting a Chime account, here’s what you need to know.
Chime Spending Account Review
Chime functions like an online bank in that it offers low fees, high savings yields and some innovative features. If you’re interested in a spending account with Chime, here’s what you can expect.
Features and Benefits
The Chime Spending Account functions the same way as a regular checking account. You’ll get a Visa debit card, a checkbook, direct deposit and account management through the mobile app. But here are some other features you’ll enjoy if you have a Chime account.
No Hidden Fees
Chime not only doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but it was also one of the first finance companies to offer no overdraft fees, which is becoming more popular.
The company offers fee-free overdrafts on your Chime debit card when you overdraw up to $100. This feature is called SpotMe, and you’ll be eligible for it if you have $500 in monthly direct deposits.
With SpotMe, your negative balance will be repaid once you make your next deposit, and you’ll have the option to pay a tip. It’s important to note that you’re not obligated to, and tipping for the SpotMe feature won’t impact your eligibility for the program.
Chime also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or any other type of maintenance fee, and you can make withdrawals at any of Chime’s 38,000+ ATMs in the MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance networks for free.
That said, it’s important to note that when a bank or credit union says they have no hidden fees, that doesn’t mean there are no fees at all.
The only fee the company does charge is a $2.50 fee for out-of-network ATM and over-the-counter withdrawals.
Early Direct Deposit
Chime Bank also offers the possibility of getting your paycheck up to two business days earlier than traditional banks. This works because most employers process their payroll several days in advance of your payday.
In fact, Chime received a lot of praise on social media after the American Rescue Plan Act was passed because its customers received their $1,400 stimulus checks faster than most other Americans.
Of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll happen, but getting your paycheck a day or two early can make a huge difference.
If you lose your Visa debit card, you can disable it with just one swipe from your Chime Bank mobile app. You’ll also be able to shut off international transactions if you happen o lose your card while you’re abroad.
The Chime app will also ping you every time there’s a transaction from your debit card, so you can watch out for unauthorized transactions that way.
Easy-to-Use Mobile App
Because Chime accounts are online-only, the company has invested a lot into its app, making it easy to use. You’ll be able to view account transactions and history, make changes to your features and send money to friends and family members who have Chime for free.
The transfers are faster than Venmo and similar peer-to-peer apps because the money is deposited directly in their Chime account.
If you receive a paper check, you’ll also have the option to deposit it via your mobile app. The app is available for iOS and Android.
Because Chime holds your funds with one of its third-party partner banks, your funds are insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The government agency offers up to $250,000 in insurance in the event that the bank holding your money fails.
That’s $250,000 per bank, per depositor, per ownership category — which means if you have a joint account with your partner, you’ll be insured up to $500,000.
Because Chime offers an online-only banking experience, there are no brick-and-mortar locations where you can get help. If you prefer in-person service, Chime may not be the best option for you.
For the most part, this is the only major drawback to using Chime Bank over other options.
Chime Bank provides a wealth of resources on its website to help with any question you have. However, if you have a question, you can reach out 24/7 through your mobile app, via email or by phone.
Some banks only offer customer service over the phone, which can be frustrating, especially if there’s a long wait time. Having multiple channels to reach Chime’s customer service team is an excellent benefit.
Other Products and Services
Chime also offers a couple of other financial products, including a Savings Account and a Credit Builder secured credit card. Here’s what you need to know about each one.
Chime Savings Account
Chime offers a high-yield savings account with a 0.50% APY, which is much higher than the 0.04% national average, according to the FDIC. There are no minimum balance requirements to earn that rate, and you also won’t be capped on how much you can earn.
In addition to a higher interest rate on your savings deposits, the Chime account also makes it easier to save with two of its features:
- Save When I Get Paid: You’ll have the option to automatically transfer a portion of your paycheck from checking to savings every time you get paid.
- Save When You Spend: Every time you make debit card purchases, Chime will round up your transaction to the nearest dollar and transfer the round-up amount to your savings account.
With both of these features, which you can decide whether or not to use, you may be able to boost your savings and work toward your financial goals.
Chime Credit Builder
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card is the company’s first foray into the credit space. The card is incredibly unique in that it doesn’t charge interest — that’s right, there is no interest rate. There’s also no annual fee or any other fees for that matter.
What’s more, the card’s issuer, which may be Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, doesn’t run a credit check when you apply.
Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you transfer from your Chime account to your credit card. As you use the card and pay off what you owe, Chime will report those payments to all three national credit bureaus, which can help you increase your credit score.
That said, Chime doesn’t report your credit utilization, which is significant. One of the problems with secured credit cards (and other cards for bad credit) as a whole is that they typically have very low credit limits. That means it’s easy to use up a large percentage of your available credit, even if you’re not spending a lot.
Your credit utilization rate is the second-most influential factor in your FICO credit score, so the fact that Chime doesn’t report your credit utilization is a huge win.
The bad news is that the card doesn’t offer cash back or other types of rewards. But the prospect of having a fee-free Chime card and not having to pay your bill in full every month to avoid interest can be worth missing out on rewards.
Chime Bank Review: Is it Right for You?
It’s difficult to tell by looking at just one bank account to determine if it’s the best fit for you. If you have already, take the chance to compare what Chime accounts have to offer to other online banks and their products.
If you like to have in-person service, you may also want to include traditional banks and credit unions in your search.
As you shop around, it’s important to consider all the features each account has to offer, not just a few.
For example, some other online bank accounts offer cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursements and even checking accounts that offer interest in addition to their savings accounts.
Take your time to research the best checking accounts to make sure you get the best one for you.
The Bottom Line
The Chime Spending Account is a legit way to do your banking. While the financial technology company doesn’t offer some of the same perks that some other online banks provide, it does give you some solid features that will make your life easier and your savings more effective.
Before you apply for an account, though, make sure you compare Chime with other banks to ensure you’re getting the best deal for you. Chime isn’t the only bank that won’t charge overdraft fees, for instance. And while the company’s savings APY is high, it is definitely possible to find a bank with an even higher interest rate.
Take your time to compare your banking options, and don’t be afraid to make changes down the road if you need to. The good news is that you won’t lose much by trying Chime out. If you decide you want to stick with your current bank, you can make that decision knowing you thoroughly investigated Chime.
Alternatively, you may choose to use a Chime account in conjunction with your other bank accounts. In some circumstances, this can make it possible to maximize the value you get from each account’s features.