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Chime Bank Review: Checking, Savings

Banking, Banking Basics, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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chime bank review

NerdWallet rating: 4.0/5.0

Where Chime shines:

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees
  • Cash rewards on some bills, purchases
  • Easy ways to save
  • Get your paycheck early with direct deposit

Where Chime falls short:

  • Interest rates so low they’re hardly worth mentioning
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you

Where Chime shines:

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees
  • Cash rewards on some bills, purchases
  • Easy ways to save
  • Get your paycheck early with direct deposit

Where Chime falls short:

  • Interest rates so low they’re hardly worth mentioning
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you

Where Chime shines:

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees
  • Cash rewards on some bills, purchases
  • Easy ways to save
  • Get your paycheck early with direct deposit

Where Chime falls short:

  • Interest rates so low they’re hardly worth mentioning
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you

 

The bottom line

Chime is a mobile-only bank that offers a checking, or “spending,” account and a savings account that grows effortlessly. When you buy something with your bank card, Chime rounds up the amount to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference in savings. Chime has no monthly fees or overdraft fees, but it offers minimal interest rates. And checks and cash can be difficult to deposit.

Best if: You’re looking for free checking and savings that you can set to autopilot.

Learn more at Chime

 


Read on for details on Chime’s checking, savings, app ratings, ATM fees and more.

Checking: 4.5/5.0

Chime’s spending account is free: It has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement.

More upsides:

Instant cash rewards: Chime Rewards gives cash back when you use your Chime debit card to pay for certain kinds of bills or purchases. Reward categories can include groceries, entertainment and cable and phone bills. The categories can change frequently, so check the Chime app for the latest information.

No foreign transaction fees: This fee (typically 1% to 3% at other banks) can add up quickly when shopping or withdrawing money from ATMs while you’re overseas. At Chime, it’s one less fee to worry about when you’re on vacation.

Get a jump on payday: With Chime, you can receive your paycheck up to two days early if you set up direct deposit — Chime processes your employer’s check immediately instead of waiting like other banks may.

Thousands of ATMs: As a customer, you’ll have access to over 24,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs.

Here are some downsides:

Out-of-network ATM fee: Chime charges $2.50 per transaction.

Depositing checks, cash can be a pain: As of the writing of this review, the bank was rolling out mobile check deposit and said most customers had access to its app. Others have to go through third-party app Ingo to deposit a check via a mobile device. And putting cash into your Chime account will require you to go to Green Dot cash deposit locations. Green Dot  — a bank that provides prepaid debit cards and is Chime’s cash deposit partner — may charge you a fee.

No checks: If you need to send a check, Chime will send one on your behalf through its Checkbook feature. There is no limit on how many checks you can send in a day. But you can send only $5,000 per payment and up to $10,000 in a calendar month. Your account must be open for at least 30 days to be able to use the feature.

Savings: 2.5/5.0

Chime’s savings account is one of its top draws, although it suffers in our rating because of one drawback.

First, the upside:

Easy ways to save: Chime rounds up every purchase on your Chime card to the nearest dollar and deposits that difference into your savings account. You can also choose to have the bank automatically transfer 10% from your paycheck into your savings account. Both features are optional.

These features can help people save money effortlessly. Here’s the drawback:

Low rate: The savings account’s star rating is dragged down because of its low interest — an annual percentage rate of 0.01%. (If high rates are a priority, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts.)

Overdraft fees: 4.5/5.0

The upside:

No overdraft fees: Chime doesn’t allow overdrafts. If you don’t have the funds, transactions will likely be declined. Your account might still go into the red in some instances, Chime notes, such as when you leave a tip at a restaurant that makes the transaction exceed your balance or pay for gas at the pump. If that happens and your balance remains below zero for over 15 days, Chime will use funds from your savings account, if available, to bring your checking balance back up to zero. Leaving your account in the negative for 90 days will prompt Chime to close your account.

The downside:

No overdraft line of credit: Sometimes it helps if you can dip a little in the negative and pay the bank back with interest if it means making important payments. Chime currently does not offer this service.

Bank experience: 4.0/5.0

The upsides:

Highly rated apps: Chime’s mobile app excels where it counts — customers have rated the iOS version 4.5 stars out of 5 and given 4.3 stars, also out of 5, for the Android app.

Giving you a heads-up: Daily balance updates and real-time transaction alerts can help customers stay on top of their spending. Chime’s automatic savings feature can be a boon for those who want to save money without thinking.

The downside:

No branches: Chime is a mobile-only bank. Customer service, however, is available via chat in the app, by telephone or via email.

>> Ready to take the next step? No monthly fees, no transaction fees and no overdraft fees make banking with Chime easy (if you can overlook the low interest rate). It’s one of a few mobile-only banks that have cropped up in the last few years. Compare it to similar banks such as Simple (see our review) or Moven (see our review) to find which one fits your needs best, or click below to get more information.

Learn more at Chime

More on Mobile Banks and Free Accounts


Amber Murakami-Fester is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: amufe@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @iamyams.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.