Chime is an online financial technology company that offers banking services through a mobile app. With no monthly fees, overdraft fees, or minimum balance requirements, Chime aims to provide a convenient, digital banking experience on your terms. This comprehensive Chime Bank review covers everything you need to know about their services, features, pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right online bank for your needs.
Introduction to Chime Bank
Founded in 2013 in San Francisco, Chime provides FDIC insured bank accounts without physical branch locations. As an online-only bank, account opening, transactions, payments and account management are all handled through Chime’s mobile app and website.
Chime offers two account types:
- Chime Spending Account – Functions like a checking account with a Chime Visa Debit Card
- Chime Savings Account – Acts as a savings account with a 0.50% APY interest rate
With emphasis on simplicity, transparency and no hidden fees, Chime aims to help members avoid bank penalties and save money. Read on for a detailed look at Chime’s account features, interest rates, overdraft protection, security, customer support and more.
Chime Bank Account Features
Chime’s two account types come with the following notable features:
Chime Spending Account
- No monthly service fee
- No minimum balance requirement
- Free Visa debit card
- Over 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs
- Instant notifications for card transactions
- Direct deposit paychecks up to 2 days early with qualifying employers
- Send money instantly to other Chime members
- No overdraft fees – accounts won’t be charged for insufficient funds
- FDIC insured up to $250,000 through partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank
Chime Savings Account
- No monthly service fee
- No minimum opening deposit or balance
- 0.50% APY interest rate as of October 2022
- FDIC insured up to $250,000 through partner banks
- Automatically save your spare change from debit card purchases
- Set up automatic recurring transfers from Spending to Savings
- Send money instantly to other Chime members
Chime Banking Features
Mobile Banking App
Chime’s mobile app allows you to manage all banking needs on-the-go from your smartphone. Available for both iOS and Android, the app makes it easy to:
- Check balances
- Review transaction history
- Transfer money
- Pay friends
- Deposit checks
- Manage account settings
- Contact customer support
Chime offers early direct deposit for paychecks and government benefits payments. Depending on the payer, funds are available up to 2 days early when you set up qualifying direct deposits of $500 or more per month. Early direct deposit helps members get access to their money faster.
Sending money to friends and family who also have Chime accounts takes just seconds. Money transfers between Chime members are fee-free and completed instantly.
Through Chime’s Pay Anyone feature, you can transfer money from your Chime Spending Account to any other bank account. Though not instant, these transfers are fee-free using your account and routing number or debit card number.
Chime’s Auto-Save feature rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the change into your Savings Account. This “digital change jar” makes saving seamless.
Chime does not authorize debit card transactions or ATM withdrawals that would overdraw your account. This helps members avoid expensive overdraft fees charged by traditional banks. However, they do offer optional overdraft protection through SpotMe.
SpotMe Overdraft Protection
Accepting SpotMe overdraft protection allows your debit card and ATM transactions to go through, up to your approved limit, when you have insufficient funds. Instead of expensive overdraft fees, Chime charges flat $1 SpotMe fees when this service is used. Members start with a $20 limit that can increase to $100 based on account activity.
For members enrolled in direct deposit, Chime offers Paycheck Protection. This safeguards access to your money if Chime ever has an outage when paychecks are deposited. If early direct deposit doesn’t come through due to a Chime issue, they’ll refund any fees you’re charged by missing bills or payments up to $100.
At this time, Chime does not offer joint checking or savings accounts. Each member needs their own separate Chime account.
Interest Rates and Fees
Chime offers relatively competitive interest rates on savings with no monthly fees.
Chime Savings Account Interest Rate
- 0.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of October 2022
This rate may change at any time since Chime offers a variable interest rate on savings. The national average APY for savings accounts is just 0.13% in comparison, according to the FDIC.
- No monthly service fees
- No minimum balance fees
- No overdraft fees
- Free transfers between Chime accounts
- Free transfers to external accounts using your account details
- $2.50 fee per transfer to external accounts using your debit card
- $1 SpotMe overdraft fee (optional protection service)
- No foreign transaction fee
- Cash withdrawal fees may apply at some ATMs
By avoiding monthly fees and overdraft penalties, Chime helps members reduce traditional bank account costs.
Chime Bank Security
Chime prioritizes security to keep your information and money safe. Security features include:
- Biometric login (face ID, touch ID or fingerprint)
- Instant transaction notifications
- Activity alerts for account changes
- Encrypted banking technology
- Zero liability protection from unauthorized transactions
- 24/7 fraud monitoring with alerts
- Direct Deposit Account Verification
Additionally, accounts are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through Chime’s two partner banks. This protects against losses in the rare case of bank failure.
Chime Bank Customer Service
As an online bank, Chime does not have local branches for in-person support. However, they offer 24/7 customer service through the following channels:
You can send secure messages to Chime Member Services 24/7 through the mobile app. They aim to respond ASAP, though wait times may vary. This is best for general questions and account management.
Chime Member Services can be reached any time at 1-888-925-4639. They have Spanish language support available. Wait times are usually brief during business hours, around 5-10 minutes. This option is recommended for urgent issues.
You can email Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Expect a 12-48 hour response time for most non-urgent queries.
The @Chime Twitter account provides customer service from 9am – 5pm PT Monday through Friday. Tweeting questions usually gets a response within an hour during those times.
Chime’s corporate mailing address for formal concerns is:
Attn: Member Support
PO Box 417
San Francisco, CA 94104
Overall, Chime offers solid digital banking customer support through modern channels appropriate for a mobile-first online bank.
How To Open a Chime Bank Account
Opening a Chime Spending and/or Savings Account can be done easily online in minutes. Follow these steps:
- Visit Chime’s website or download the mobile app
- Click “Open Your Account”
- Enter your personal details (name, DOB, SSN, address etc.)
- Accept Chime’s terms and conditions
- Verify your identity
- Fund your account via direct deposit for fastest verification
- Start enjoying your new Chime accounts!
Chime will ask for your Social Security Number to open accounts since they are FDIC insured financial products. Funding your account with an initial direct deposit of $200 or more allows faster identity verification for immediate use of your accounts.
Pros and Cons of Chime Banking
Here’s an overview of the key advantages and potential drawbacks of using Chime for your banking:
- No monthly fees or minimum balances
- No overdraft fees with optional SpotMe protection
- Early direct deposit up to 2 days faster
- Higher interest rates than national average
- Robust mobile app and digital experience
- Strong security and fraud protection
- Good customer service reputation
- FDIC insured funds up to $250,000
- No option for joint accounts
- No cash deposits – checks only
- No physical branches for in-person support
- Debit card limits capped at $5,000 per day
- No wire transfer capabilities
- No option to earn rewards or cash back
For most individuals and families looking for a convenient primary or secondary checking and savings account, Chime offers a compelling range of features without monthly costs. The lack of physical branches and ATM deposit limitations are the main drawbacks to weigh.
Who Is Chime Best Suited For?
Based on its features and capabilities, Chime’s digital banking accounts tend to best serve:
- Technologically savvy users who prefer mobile and online banking
- Those who want to avoid monthly fees and overdraft charges
- Anyone needing early access to direct deposits
- People seeking a secondary “side” account in addition to a traditional bank
- Those looking for savings accounts with higher interest rates
- Individuals and families vs business banking needs
The convenience and cost benefits of Chime accounts make them a great choice for many personal banking consumers. They can serve as feature-rich primary accounts or complementary secondary accounts.
Top Chime Bank Competitors
Chime competes with other disruptive online banks taking aim at major national brick and mortar institutions. Top Chime competitors include:
Many new challenger banks rival Chime in offering digital experiences, lack of monthly fees, early wage access and overdraft protection alternatives. They all aim to compete through unique features and appeals to digitally savvy consumers.
Is Chime Right For You?
Chime can be a great banking choice thanks to its transparent fee structure, robust mobile experience and early direct deposit access to funds. Consider if Chime meets your needs and preferences in areas like:
- Account costs – Chime has no monthly fees or minimums
- Overdraft protection – SpotMe covers overdrafts for $1 flat fees
- Mobile experience – Chime offers top-rated apps for banking on-the-go
- Branches and ATMs – You’ll need to be comfortable without physical locations
- Interest rates – Chime offers above average APY on savings
- Joint accounts – Chime only allows individual accounts currently
- Deposits – Chime offers mobile check deposit, but not cash
- Customer service – Chime gets good reviews for digital support
Assess your banking priorities and needs to determine if Chime’s features and capabilities match what you’re looking for in a digital banking relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chime
Still evaluating if Chime meets your banking needs? Below we answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Does Chime have monthly fees or minimum balances?
No, Chime does not charge any monthly maintenance fees or require you to maintain minimum account balances. This helps reduce the cost of banking.
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Is Chime FDIC insured?
Yes, up to the $250,000 FDIC insurance limit per account holder. Chime partners with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank N.A., both FDIC members, to provide this protection on accounts.
Can I deposit cash with Chime?
Unfortunately Chime does not currently accept cash deposits. You can mobile deposit checks 24/7 and qualify for direct deposit. Some workarounds include depositing cash at a partner retail store like Walgreens and then initiating a mobile check deposit.
How quickly does Chime post direct deposits?
Chime releases direct deposit funds up to 2 days early depending on when your employer sends the money. Members can receive qualifying paychecks and benefits on Wednesday or Thursday instead of Friday.
Does Chime offer joint accounts?
At this time joint accounts are not available with Chime. Each person must open their own individual Chime Spending and Savings account instead.
Can I use my Chime card internationally?
Yes, Chime cards support international transactions with no foreign transaction fees. Be aware regular rates and limits apply, plus exchange rates if transactions are in foreign currencies. Alert Chime before traveling internationally.
Are there risks using an online-only bank?
There are reasonable concerns like lack of physical branches and cash deposit options. However, Chime accounts offer the same FDIC protection against losses as traditional banks up to $250,000. Overall, Chime provides a robust, user-friendly digital banking experience.
The Bottom Line: Is Chime Bank Right for You?
Chime offers a compelling suite of banking products through an intuitive mobile interface that helps people bank on their terms. For digitally savvy users who value simplicity and convenience, Chime provides fee-free accounts with early direct deposit capabilities that traditional banks can’t match.
The lack of physical branches and ATM cash deposits may make Chime imperfect as a sole banking provider for some. But their unique features and seamless user experience still make them an attractive complement to existing accounts.
Overall, Chime’s focus on eliminating frustrating bank fees while providing financial empowerment through early access to money should earn them a close look for your personal banking needs. Their accounts can serve well for those looking for digital primary checking and savings accounts along with the security of FDIC protection.