Chime Review 2023: Checking, Savings, Pros & Cons
- Simple, fee-free online banking
- Automated savings
- Building credit
Digital-first financial services are the wave of the future: all of the money management, none of the getting off the couch.
One of the earliest players and a leading company in the branchless banking game is Chime, a financial technology company founded in 2013 by Chris Britt (current CEO) and Ryan King (current CTO).
Like other online banking options, Chime offers many of the most important features of a traditional deposit account with a much leaner fee schedule — and even has a savings account option that bears a much higher interest rate than a typical savings account.
Chime has become increasingly popular even though a summer 2021 controversy has yet to play out. Nearly 1,000 complaints were lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after Chime abruptly closed hundreds of accounts. Chime said the closures were related to COVID relief fraud but the issue has not been publicly resolved. Pro Publica reported on the situation in July and The Penny Hoarder is watching for resolution.
Chime Review: Accounts
In this review conducted in late 2022, we look at both the Chime’s checking and savings accounts, considering the details you will need to decide if you want to sign up. Chime offers one “checking account” option. Every Chime member starts with this account.
If you open a Chime checking account, you also have access to a Chime Savings Account, an FDIC-insured savings account with automated savings features, high APY and no fees.
Chime Checking Account
- No monthly fees
- Cash deposit via Green Dot
- Fee-free overdraft options
With a Chime Checking Account, you get:
- Visa debit card: Use your Chime debit card for point-of-sale transactions, ATM withdrawals and Green Dot cash deposits.
- Mobile deposit: Deposit any check into your account by snapping a photo with the Chime smartphone app. How easy is that?
- Cash deposits: You can deposit cash into your Chime account at more than 75,000 retail locations with Green Dot, which is a feature many online banks don’t allow.
- Peer to peer transfers: Send money directly from your Chime account to friends and family, whether they use Chime or not.4
- SpotMe® overdraft protection: This fee-free overdraft protection feature is available if you’ve received total monthly direct deposits of $200 or more in the last 34 days. If you spend more than you have in your account, Chime will cover the difference, starting at a limit of $20 and increasing up to $200 or more depending on your account activity. You’ll repay the overdraft amount out of your next deposit.5
- Bill pay: Pay rent and bills directly from your account through ACH transfer by giving companies your Chime routing and account numbers. Or mail a paper check using the Chime Checkbook feature.
Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to earn a cash bonus when you sign up for a new bank account.
Chime Savings Account
- Cash rewards for saving
- Automatic savings features
- No minimum or maximum balance
Anyone with a checking account has the option to add a Savings Account.
Automated savings features include:
- Round ups: Anytime you make a purchase with your Chime debit card, you can automatically round up transactions to the nearest dollar and stick the digital change into your savings account.
- Save When I Get Paid: Automatically transfer 10% of each deposit or payment received (of $500 or more) into your savings account.
Unlike some online accounts, Chime doesn’t make it easy to set specific savings goals or to further personalize your accounts by purpose. You also cannot deposit money directly into your Chime Savings Account; it has to be funneled through your checking account.
The Chime Savings Account is a federally regulated savings account, so it’s subject to any definitions or restrictions set by the Federal Reserve, including potential withdrawal limitations.
Other Chime Products
Aside from a simple checking account and savings account, Chime’s offerings are fairly light. It doesn’t offer any lending, credit cards or investing, so you’ll have to work with different institutions to cover those.
It does offer a fairly unique credit builder account connected to the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card.
You can open an account with no credit check and pay no annual fees. You’ll just make a deposit of any amount (no minimum), which becomes your credit limit. You spend on the card like any other Visa credit card and repay the balance with the money in your Credit Builder account, and your activity is reported to credit bureaus to build your credit history.
Chime goes easy on the fees, which means:
- No monthly fees for account maintenance.
- No minimum balance requirement.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- No opening deposit requirement.
- No fee for SpotMe overdraft protection and no additional overdraft fees.
- No fee to send paper checks with Chime Checkbook.
- No ATM fees when you use in-network ATMs.
You can withdraw cash from more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs in the U.S. through MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs.
You’ll pay the provider’s fee if you use an out-of-network ATM. And you’ll pay a fee to deposit or withdraw cash over the counter at Green Dot locations — Chime charges $2.50 for withdrawals, and you may pay a Green Dot fee, which could be up to $4.95 per transaction.
Chime Customer Experience
As with all online bank accounts, Chime’s convenience factor is relative: If you’re looking for the brick-and-mortar banking experience, you’re barking up the wrong (money) tree.
Because Chime is a technology company, its mobile app is easy to use and lets you manage your money on the go 24/7. If that’s what you’re looking for, Chime makes the grade for online checking accounts and savings accounts.
It also includes some features you won’t see from many of its online-banking competitors, including cash deposits, free overdraft protection, and early paycheck deposit.
Chime enjoys high ratings on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store — 4.7 and 4.8 stars out of five, respectively.
The app makes it easy to access and interact with all of Chime’s banking features, including SpotMe overdraft protection, automatic savings options and easy mobile payments, which are made particularly simple for transactions between Chime users.
Through the app, you can:
- See your Chime checking and savings account balances and transaction history.
- Transfer money between checking and savings.
- Deposit checks with mobile check deposit.
- Locate in-network, fee-free ATMs.
- Contact customer support.
- Set up automatic savings and Round Ups for debit card purchases. A survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reported that Americans made an average of 68 payments or purchases a month in 2020, and 23 of those were debit card payments.
- Transfer money to other Chime members with Pay Friends. The money transfers immediately.
The app doesn’t carry the wealth of extra features some other digital-first banks offer. Budgeting tools, for example, are a helpful way to reframe your finances, and banks of all types are increasingly working them into their suite of digital tools.
Chime, on the other hand, remains simplistic — which you might take as a positive or negative, depending on what you’re looking for.
Is Chime Right for You?
Chime’s suite of offerings and in-app tools are pretty lean, but could be a fit for you if you have relatively simple banking needs. Here’s our take on the best things and the not-so-best things about opening a Chime account.
Pros and Cons of Chime
We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of Chime to help you decide if this is the right option for you.
- Fee-free money services
- No overdraft fees, plus flexible protection
- Get paid early
- Cash deposits
- No interest on checking
- No small business banking options
- No budgeting tools or financial services
- No joint accounts
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Chime
Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions about Chime.
First off, Chime is not technically a bank but rather an online money management system. What makes a good financial platform or institution is different for everyone. Chime offers a fee-free checking account and savings account, higher-than-average APY, a credit builder card, a free ATM network and fee-free overdraft protection. Its features could be attractive to anyone, but may fall short if you want more comprehensive services, like lending, credit cards, investing or small business banking.
Chime’s deposit accounts are held and FDIC-insured by its partner banks, Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank, both chartered and federally regulated banks in the U.S.
Your money is safe with a Chime account. Chime uses a secure mobile banking platform that includes two-factor authentication, fingerprint authentication, transaction alerts, easy debit card freeze and Visa Zero Liability protection against fraudulent charges to your Chime Visa debit card. Its accounts are backed by partner banks, Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank, which offer FDIC insurance for your balances up to $250,000.
Chime’s mobile banking platform is secured with encrypted data, two-factor authentication and fingerprint authentication to keep strangers from accessing your account. And the platform gives you access to real-time transaction alerts and instant debit card freeze.
Chime is a financial tech company that has partnered with Bankcorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank N.A. Chime offers accounts and cards, but is not a bank itself. It has an app and may seem like a bank, but its partners conduct the actual bank processes.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media. Information from former Penny Hoarder contributor Jamie Cattanach is included in this report. Freelancer Michele Becker contributed to this report.
*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
¹ The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of October, 25th, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.17% is determined by FDIC as of September 19, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.
² Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
³ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the
submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
4 Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. Once you are approved for a Chime Checking Account, see your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Anyone Transfers details. Please see the back of your Chime debit card for your issuing bank. See Terms and Conditions.
5 Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.