Editorial Review

Chime Review: Checking and Savings

Chime charges few fees and can be easy to open, even if you've been denied a bank account in the past. But depositing cash may cost you.

Alice HolbrookJune 10, 2020

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Overall bank rating

Chime

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

  • Savings

    Savings

  • Checking

    Checking

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Chime is an online-only company that partners with two banks to offer its checking and savings accounts. It’s not like your traditional neighborhood bank branch, but Chime accounts still have FDIC insurance, so it’s a safe place to keep your money. Chime has no monthly fees or overdraft fees, and it lets you round up purchases to the next dollar and save the remainder. But cash can be difficult to deposit.

Pros

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees.

  • Large free ATM network.

  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit.

Cons

  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you.

Full review

Chime Automatic Savings

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

Chime offers an annual percentage yield of 1.00%, and it has no minimum balance requirement. It will also round up every purchase on your Chime card to the nearest dollar and deposit that difference into your savings account. Or, you can have the company automatically transfer 10% from your paycheck into your savings account. Both features are optional, but handy, and not all savings accounts have them.

Keep in mind that you need to have a Chime spending account before you can open Chime savings.

» For some other high-rate options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts.

Chime Spending Account

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Monthly Fee

$0

Chime’s spending account is free: It has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement. It also gives users access to over 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs. And with direct deposit, customers can receive paychecks up to two days earlier than at a traditional bank. Plus, Chime doesn't charge fees to use your card abroad; other banks typically charge 1% to 3% of the amount of your purchase.

However, Chime does charge $2.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs, and you'll have to deposit cash at Green Dot locations, which may charge a fee. Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook, but you can pay bills by requesting that checks be sent or providing billers with your Chime account number and the bank’s routing number. Users who've had a Chime account for at least 30 days can send a check online through its Checkbook feature. There are limits of $5,000 per payment and $10,000 in a calendar month.

Further limitations to Chime are the daily and monthly transfer limits. When you initiate an online transfer through Chime, the maximum you can send from an external bank is $200 per day and $1,000 per calendar month. There is a workaround, though: You can initiate a transfer from your external bank account, which likely has higher limits.

» Looking for free checking? Compare accounts here.

Banking experience

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Chime's mobile app excels where it counts — customers have rated the iOS version 4.8 stars and the Android app 4.6 stars, both out of 5. What's more, daily balance updates and real-time transaction alerts can help customers stay on top of their spending. And if your card goes missing, you can block transactions using the Chime app.

In addition to having low fees, Chime opts out of using screening tools that most banks use to determine whether a person will be blocked from getting a bank account if they’ve had one closed in the past. This can make Chime a helpful banking solution if you’re trying to restart your financial life.

Complaints to the Better Business Bureau allege that when some consumers have reported suspected fraudulent transactions to Chime, their accounts were closed or locked, leaving them without access to funds. Chris Terschluse, Chime's head of marketing and content, confirms that if Chime identifies suspicious activity in an account, it can be suspended during the review. He says Chime has made recent changes to this process so that the account review teams can request information from a customer without suspending the account. Chime isn't the only company that has suspended accounts as a response to potential fraud.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, and for certain customers who make a debit card purchase that drops their account as low as negative $100, the company will cover it without a fee. You need to receive at least $500 in monthly direct deposits to be eligible for this program, called SpotMe. Outside of that, if you don’t have the funds, transactions will likely be declined.

But unlike many banks, Chime doesn’t offer overdraft protection transfers or a line of credit, so customers who overdraw outside of the SpotMe program or past its limits can’t get transactions covered.

Chime Automatic Savings

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

at Chime,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

Chime offers an annual percentage yield of 1.00%, and it has no minimum balance requirement. It will also round up every purchase on your Chime card to the nearest dollar and deposit that difference into your savings account. Or, you can have the company automatically transfer 10% from your paycheck into your savings account. Both features are optional, but handy, and not all savings accounts have them.

Keep in mind that you need to have a Chime spending account before you can open Chime savings.

» For some other high-rate options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts.

How does Chime compare?

RATING 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, banking 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.