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GoBank Review: Online Checking

Feb. 24, 2020
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts
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NerdWallet rating: 3.5/5.0

Where GoBank shines:

  • Overdrafts are not generally allowed, and there are no expensive overdraft fees.
  • Doesn’t use ChexSystems or check credit history to determine eligibility.
  • Large free ATM network.

Where GoBank falls short:

  • No traditional savings account.
  • No interest earned.
  • Cash deposits can cost up to $4.95.

Where GoBank shines:

  • Overdrafts are not generally allowed, and there are no expensive overdraft fees.
  • Doesn’t use ChexSystems or check credit history to determine eligibility.
  • Large free ATM network.

Where GoBank falls short:

  • No traditional savings account.
  • No interest earned.
  • Cash deposits can cost up to $4.95.

The bottom line

GoBank

at GoBank,

Member, FDIC

GoBank’s checking account is easy to open but doesn’t earn interest. The banking service doesn’t typically allow overdrafts, and you can avoid its monthly fee with a $500 direct deposit. With no branches, you won’t get any in-person service, but GoBank has a full deck of standard online features, including bill pay and a mobile app. You may also receive your paycheck a few days early.

Best if: You’ve had trouble opening a checking account at other banks due to your ChexSystems record or credit score and need an account that’s accessible online.


» For other options, look at NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

CHECKING: 4.0/5.0

The upsides:

  • Wide ATM network: Free access to 42,000 ATMs in the GoBank network.
  • Monthly fee is avoidable: Avoid the $8.95 monthly fee by having direct deposits that total at least $500 each month.
  • A Money Vault account can separate savings from spending: Though it’s not quite a savings account — and it doesn’t earn any interest — a Money Vault account can separate some money from your regular spending account to encourage good saving habits.
  • No ChexSystems or credit score check: If you’ve been denied a bank account because of a less-than-perfect ChexSystems report or credit report, GoBank might be a good option for you, since they allow most customers who pass identity verification to open an account.
  • Get paid before payday: You can get your paycheck up to two days earlier than your normal payday, and a government-issued check as many as four days earlier.

The downsides:

  • Small hurdles to opening at a retail store: There’s a $2.95 fee and minimum opening deposit of $20 if you open your account at a retail location. Avoid both by opening your account online.
  • Out-of-network ATM fees: If you use an ATM outside of the GoBank network, you’ll pay $3, plus any fees the ATM owner might charge.
  • Paper checks carry a cost: If you need paper checks, you’ll pay $5.95 for a pack of 12.
  • Cash deposits will cost you: You can deposit cash at participating retailers like 7-Eleven or Walmart, but it’ll cost you up to $4.95.
  • No interest: You won’t earn any interest on your checking account or your Money Vault account.

» Need a place to stash your savings? Check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

BANK EXPERIENCE: 4.0/5.0

The upsides:

  • Multiple ways to access help: Reach customer service by phone 24/7, or via Twitter or snail mail.
  • Good app store ratings: Users give good ratings to GoBank’s mobile apps on both iOS and Android platforms.

The downsides:

  • No chat support: Many online and mobile-accessible banks have chat support. GoBank doesn’t.

» See how GoBank compares to other second-chance checking options

OVERDRAFT FEES: 4.0/5.0

The upside:

  • No overdrafts: If you spend more than you have in your account, your card will simply be declined. That means you won’t get charged for overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees.

The downside:

  • No overdraft protection: Sometimes being able to dip into the negative is helpful in emergencies, and some banks have lenient policies where overdraft protection transfers from linked accounts are free. Because overdrafts aren’t possible, GoBank gets dinged here.

» Learn about your options with NerdWallet’s guide to overdraft fees

GoBank

at GoBank,

Member, FDIC

» Ready to take the next step? The mobile GoBank account can function as a basic checking account, providing a debit card and a way to receive paychecks and make payments. The mobile tools facilitate budgeting on your smartphone. But this no-frills approach might not work for consumers who prefer in-person banking or want to earn interest on their money. Compare GoBank with other options on NerdWallet’s lists of best banks and credit unions.


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.