What is Chime?
Chime review - overall score 4.4
Chime is a US fintech (financial technology) company founded in 2013. It is growing rapidly with more than 12 million customers as of 2021. It does not have its own banking license but provides its app-based services via FDIC-insured bank partners.
So, is it an online bank? Well, to be precise, it isn't, but modern jargon might apply the term "online bank" for Chime. So while it is not a bank, it provides financial services. It does not have any so-called brick-and-mortar locations, as all business is handled in an online environment.
You will receive a debit card for free when you open your Chime Checking Account. Chime also offers an optional savings account that is available if you have a checking account. With its emphasis on saving money through its high interest paid and its feeless overdraft1, you have a great degree of flexibility.
Also, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card provides a great opportunity for you to start building that credit score (eligibility requirements apply2). Chime is a great choice if you are a US resident and you're looking for a simple, safe and cheap way to handle your checking and savings transactions.
Chime Review 2023
Chime pros and cons
- No monthly fees, overdraft fees or minimum balance required
- Great savings options, pays high interest
- Get paid up to 2 days early3 via direct deposit
- Only available to US residents
- Cannot use a debit card to top up, deposit money to the card
- Customer service is not always helpful
Chime Review 2023
Chime fees - 3.7
Account opening and maintenance fee
At Chime, the account opening is free, and maintaining your account is also free, with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum fees. There is also no minimum balance required. Everything is handled in your online account on the app or website.
Getting a Chime Visa debit card, including delivery, is also free. Even getting a stolen or lost card replaced is free. This isn't the case with online banks. There is no fee for international transactions (limited to certain countries) with your Chime debit card.
Withdrawing money at over 60,000 ATMs in the US in the MoneyPass, Visa Plus Alliance (VPA) and Allpoint networks is free4. However, there is a $2.50 fee for every withdrawal transaction outside these networks in the US and globally.
An out-of-network ATM provider may charge additional fees. Note that there is also a $500 daily limit on ATM withdrawals.
Transferring money from your Chime Checking Account, including Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, is free.
It is not possible to make international wire transfers to or from Chime as it is not a bank.
There are transfer limits when using ACH transfer on Chime:
- $10,000 per calendar day
- $25,000 per calendar month
- No limit to the number of times per day
Chime does not charge a fee when you top up (add money to) your account using direct deposit, bank transfer from within the Chime app, mobile checks5, or cash deposits at Walgreens locations. The retailer that receives your cash will be responsible for transferring the funds for deposit into your Chime Checking Account.
So, monthly direct deposits are also free.
Chime Review 2023
Chime vs. Aspiration
|ATM withdrawal fees||Free3 within the network, $2.50 otherwise||Free within the network, otherwise provider's fee applies|
|International wire transfer fee||NA||$19.50|
|Interest paid on savings (APY)||1.50%6||0% (up to 1% only for premium clients)|
Chime Review 2023
Chime account opening - 4.5
Opening a Chime checking account is a breeze: it takes only a few minutes via your phone or online, and you should have your new Chime debit card in your hands in about a week.
At Chime, you can open an account only in USD. You cannot send money from Chime to a foreign account in another country, as there is no wire transfer service available. Within the app, you can only hold money in one currency as well, which is USD.
Is your money safe at Chime? Yes, it is safe as they have considerable protections over your transactions.
Is Chime a bank?
Even though Chime itself is not a bank and does not hold a banking license, Chime accounts are insured up to $250,000 through its partner banks, Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank, which hold your deposits and are both members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Partner bank locations
Stride Bank is based in Oklahoma, while The Bancorp Bank is based in South Dakota. Chime decides which bank will issue your card and manage your deposits, you cannot choose.
Chime cards overview
What kind of card does Chime provide?
Chime cards are provided by Visa. Therefore there is only one kind of physical card, a Visa debit card. Chime provides EMV chip cards, which cannot be used for making contactless payments.
How long till I get my Chime card?
It takes about a week for your card to arrive at your home address after ordering. Once your debit card arrives, you can activate it through the Chime app.
What happens if my Chime card is lost or stolen?
If your Chime debit card is lost or stolen, you can immediately disallow card transactions within the app, and order a replacement card via the app or by phone. There is no cost for getting a replacement card, which should arrive in about a week.
Can I use my Chime card abroad?
Yes, you can use your Chime card anywhere Visa is accepted, for payments and for withdrawing money from ATMs.
However, you have to turn on International Transactions in your settings within the app. Chime does not charge a fee for international transactions, but there is $2.50 fee for international ATM withdrawals.
How easy is it to get a Chime account?
It is extremely easy! It takes only a few minutes. Another benefit of Chime checking accounts is that they do not have stringent rules for opening an account, with regard to previous credit scores.
Especially the Credit Builder Card is a great opportunity for those who need to start rebuilding their credit scores11.
How can I deposit money in a Chime account?
At Chime, you can use the following methods to top up, i.e. deposit money to your checking account:
- Direct deposit from employer.
- Bank transfer: either directly from your home bank or from within the Chime app after linking it to your bank account (not all banks supported). In the latter case, there is a $10,000 daily and $25,000 monthly limit on transfers.
- Mobile check deposit5 (only if a direct deposit has been enabled).
- Cash (at over 90,000 retail locations in the US): you can deposit a maximum of $1,000 every 24 hours, or $10,000 per month, in cash. There are no cash deposit fees unless the service provider charges something for the transfer.
Chime Review 2023
Chime offers three accounts that can help you manage your money in different ways. The first is the Checking Account, which you need to open first. The second is the optional Savings Account where you can earn returns on your cash (having a Checking Account is required for this). The third is the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card account, which helps you level up your credit score.
Chime Checking Account
There are a few things to know about the Chime Checking Account. First, you can only use USD.
You receive a notification every time money is spent, ensuring the safety of your bank account. If you suspect something is off with your spending account, you can instantly deactivate it through the Chime app.
If you have enabled Automatic Savings, the money spent with your debit card is used to automatically deposit money in your savings account, by rounding up each transaction to the nearest dollar7.
Remember, when you use this account you can spend up to $200 more than your balance, with no overdraft fee1. Just be sure to use Chime's SpotMe service, which allows you to have a negative balance until you deposit more money or receive your monthly salary.
Chime Savings Account
Chime offers a savings account that is considered among the best on the market. Let's see why, and how it differs from the traditional bank services. You need to have a Chime Checking Account in order to open a savings account.
You can easily set up an efficient savings plan. If you set up the Automatic Savings program, everything gets deposited here. Let's see how it works.
The system automatically rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and directly deposits the remainder in your savings account. Say you spend $10.75. This is rounded up to $11, meaning that 25 cents get deposited straight into your savings.
What's nice about this is that if you save more than you wanted to in one month, it's quite easy to draw money back into your checking account.
You might be wondering, 'what does the Chime savings account offer me that traditional banks don't in terms of return?' The primary point in their favor is the high interest paid on your savings. Unlike most offline or online banks, Chime gives 1.5%6 Annual Percentage Yield (APY) (as of August 25, 2022).
In comparison, normal financial institutions had an APY of 0.13%8 at the same time. While these are subject to change regularly, that is a startling difference in the Annual Percentage Yield provided by the Chime savings account.
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card
The last option, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card, is highly important to anyone looking to help increase their credit score.11
What does building your credit score using Chime Credit Builder look like? Well, once you have a checking account set up, you can apply for a Chime Credit Builder credit card. To apply, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer, by either Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit or Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Once you are approved, all you have to do is move any amount of money into this separate account. The amount of money you move into your secured account becomes the credit limit on your Credit Builder Card. There is no minimum security deposit required.9
When you spend with your Chime Credit Builder card, it shows up as if you are using credit. However, you already have the money in your secured account. Once the month is over, you will be charged no fees. However, you will still need to make your payment on time at the end of the month. Chime immediately lets all relevant authorities know, and your credit score increases.
Chime Premium accounts
Chime has no premium accounts.
Chime Review 2023
Here is a list of all the important features Chime provides.
List of Chime features
- You can see your spending categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants).
- You can send money to anyone instantly10 and for free, up to a $2,000 per month limit.
- Smart savings are also available as an option, where Chime will round up the amounts you spend on your debit card to the nearest dollar. This excess is then stored in your Savings Account.
- These savings are stored separately in your Savings Account (if you have one set up) for easier overview and management.
- You can earn interest on your savings (1.50% as of August 25, 2022).
- You can also save money when you get paid, whereby 10% of your paycheck (if it is more than $500) automatically goes directly to your savings account (if you have set one up).
- Setting up or canceling direct debits is possible with Chime.
- Fee-free overdrafts are possible.1 If you receive at least $200 per month in direct deposits, the SpotMe feature allows you to overdraw your account for up to $200 (depending on your account activity and history) with no overdraft fees.
- You can set up Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
- Credit Builder option to help build up your credit scores.
What is missing?
Chime lacks features that some other traditional banks offer:
- You cannot set monthly budgets or spending goals.
- You cannot send money requests to friends or contacts, or use the app to split bills.
- Joint accounts are not available.
- 3D Secure online payments are not supported.
- Contactless payment features are not available with the physical card.
Chime Review 2023
Chime additional features
- You can use Chime services through a mobile app or on a computer through the Chime website.
- One of the main features advertised by Chime is that it lets you get paid up to 2 days early3 through direct deposits sent by your employer. This is compared to traditional banking policies and paper check deposits made by employers or government agencies that send you money, such as your paycheck or monthly benefits.
- You can set up direct deposits by giving your bank routing number and your Chime account number to your payroll or benefits provider. You can find this information in the Chime app. Naturally, you can set up charges to your account to pay bills.
- Chime does not have features like a Premium account, virtual cards, or cryptocurrency trading.
- Loans, investments, or insurance available at traditional banks are also not directly available via the app. There is only an 'Offers' section for such services by third parties, which are practically advertisements that take you to the providers' website.
Chime Review 2023
Chime customer service - 2.9
You can contact Chime customer service via:
- Chat: The app has a built-in robo-chat function, but if your question is more complicated you have to send an email or call them on the phone to get an answer.
- Phone: You have to get past several automated menu choices before you can select to talk to a personal advisor. Once there, we connected within a few minutes and got mostly useful answers.
- Email: Your best bet is to send an email if you have a specific question that is not answered in the FAQ. We received responses usually within a few hours. Some of the answers were not helpful. However in other cases, we received comprehensive and useful answers.
Customer service is available 24/7.
Chime Review 2023
Should you bank through Chime?
Before you bank through Chime, you should consider what your goals are. If you live in the US, want to save some money that earns a decent annual percentage yield, and helps build good credit scores11, Chime might be a good option. If none of these interest you, then another financial institution might be more suited to you.
Remember, Chime is a neobank, a financial institution that exists solely online. If you are interested in taking to the fintech world, Chime has been at the forefront of making innovations.
Chime Review 2023
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Chime Visa® Credit Builder Card is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.
1Chime 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 Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
2To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
3Early 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.
4Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
5Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member's direct deposit enrollment status.
6The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of August 25, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
7Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Checking Account to into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
8The average national savings account interest rate of 0.13% is determined by FDIC as of August 15, 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.
9Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.
10Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Friends Transfers details.
11On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.