Chime Review: Checking and Savings

Chime charges few fees, and it can be easy to open an account, even if you've been denied a bank account in the past. But depositing cash can cost money.
Ruth Sarreal
By Ruth Sarreal 
Edited by Tim Manni

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Chime®
Learn more

at Chime®, Deposits are FDIC Insured

  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Customer experience
  • Overdraft fees

Overall institution rating

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

Chime is an online-only financial technology company that partners with two banks to offer checking and savings accounts. As a neobank, it doesn’t work like a traditional neighborhood bank, but its accounts do have FDIC insurance through Chime’s partner banks, so they’re safe places to keep your money. Chime has no monthly or overdraft fees, and it lets you round up purchases to the next dollar and save the remainder. But it can be expensive to deposit cash.

Penalty for outsized CFPB complaints: NerdWallet deducted 0.5 star from Chime’s overall rating due to the volume of complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database relative to the asset sizes of its partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank. For more information about this penalty, see our methodology page. For more context surrounding complaints in previous years, learn about a ProPublica report on how Chime closed accounts involuntarily.

Best for: Customers who want to maximize savings account interest, are paid by direct deposit and don't deposit cash often.

Pros

  • No overdraft fees.
  • No monthly fees.
  • Large, free, nationwide ATM network.
  • No minimum opening deposits.
  • Early direct deposit.

Cons

  • No branch access.
  • Fees for cash deposits.

Full review

Checking

Chime Checking Account

Checking

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Monthly fee
$0
Learn more

at Chime®

Upsides:

Free ATM access and no monthly fee: Chime’s checking account is free: It has no monthly fee, no minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirement. It also gives users access to make fee-free withdrawals at over 60,000 ATMs.

Early direct deposits and no foreign transaction fees: With direct deposit, customers can receive paychecks up to two days early. Plus, Chime doesn't charge fees to use your card abroad; some banks charge 1% to 3% of the amount of your purchase. See below for more information from Chime.

Cash deposit available at thousands of locations: Customers can deposit cash at more than 90,000 partner locations including retail stores such as 7-Eleven and Walmart. Cash deposits are free only at Duane Reade and Walgreens, though.

Downsides:

Fees for cash deposits and out-of-network ATM usage: Chime charges $2.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs, and the only way to deposit cash is at cash deposit partner locations. Cash deposits at Duane Reade and Walgreens are free, but other retailers may charge a fee.

Limits on mobile check services and no physical checks: Mobile check deposit is available via the app, but to access this feature, your account must have received a minimum of one qualifying direct deposit of at least $1. Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook, but you can pay bills by sending a check through the Chime Checkbook feature on its website or in the app.

No joint accounts: Chime also doesn’t offer joint accounts, so it’s not ideal if you’re looking to share an account with someone.

» Comparison shop: Check out our list of the best free checking accounts

Chime says: "Early 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."

"Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM."

"Once the retailer accepts your cash, the funds will be transferred to your selected Chime Account. Barcode and debit card cash deposits land in the Checking Account. Credit Builder card cash deposits first go through your Card Account and then land in your Secured Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens and Duane Reade."

Savings

Chime High Yield Savings
Chime High Yield Savings

Savings

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
2.00%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

Upsides:

No monthly fees and no minimum balance: Chime has no minimum balance requirements to open or maintain the account.

Two automated savings programs: It will also round up every purchase on your Chime debit 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.

No limit on outbound savings transfers: Chime also offers an unlimited number of transfers from your savings account into your checking account, which not all banks allow. See below for more information from Chime.

» Want to check out your options? See NerdWallet's view on Varo vs. Chime

Downsides:

Checking account required: Be aware that you need to have a Chime checking account before you can open a savings account with the company.

Not a competitive rate. Chime’s rate is above the national average, but it’s far below what many online savings accounts have.

» For more high rates, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts.

Chime says: "The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest."

"Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to 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."

Customer experience

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

What to know about neobanks: Neobanks can be solid options for consumers who prefer online-only banking. They do have differences to banks:

  • Funds deposited in neobanks' accounts are usually FDIC-insured through partner banks, which will also typically receive customers’ money if a neobank closes, so customer funds are safe. (Learn about what can happen if a neobank closes.)

  • Neobank accounts often have low monthly fees and earn strong rates. However, they may also lack traditional banking features, including in-person customer service and access to personal or cashier’s checks (often required for large purchases, such as buying a home) or wire transfers. (Learn more about neobanks and what they offer.) Consider these details before opening an account.

Chime's high mobile app ratings, solid features: Chime's mobile app excels where it counts — customers have given high ratings to both the iOS version and the Android version. And if your card goes missing, you can block transactions using the Chime app.

Second-chance checking option: In addition to having low fees, Chime doesn’t use screening tools that most banks do to determine whether a person will be blocked from getting a bank account if they’ve had one closed in the past. So Chime can be a helpful banking solution if you’re trying to restart your financial life. See below for more information from Chime.

» Had banking issues in the past? Consider more second-chance checking accounts

Multiple support options: Customer service is available 24/7 by phone. Customers can also get help through the chat option in the app and on X (Twitter).

Past history of involuntary account closures: Be aware that some Chime customers have had troubling issues with their accounts. ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, reported in July 2021 that Chime customers have had their accounts closed without notice, leaving them with no way to access their money. These reports are similar to complaints that customers have made to the Better Business Bureau. (Find out what to do if Chime or another neobank closes your account.)

Chime says: “Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.”

Overdraft fees

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

No overdraft fees: Like more and more financial institutions, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees.

Free overdraft program for those eligible: Qualifying customers can overdraw up to $20 without penalty (and that buffer can increase to $200, but there are eligibility requirements and restrictions). The company will cover the overdraft without a fee, and your next deposit or transfer will be applied to the negative balance.

Program requirements: To gain access to this program called SpotMe® requires your checking account to have received (and to continue to receive, for continued eligibility) one qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 in the 34 days before the overdraft occurs.

No traditional overdraft alternatives: 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; instead, those transactions will likely be declined. See below for more information from Chime.

Chime says: "SpotMe® on Debit is an optional, no fee overdraft service attached to your Chime Checking Account. To qualify for the SpotMe on Debit service, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account each month and have activated your physical Chime Visa® Debit Card or secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card.

Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account for up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially but may later be eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe on Debit limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime's sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe on Debit, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe on Debit will not cover any non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. SpotMe on Debit Terms and Conditions: https://www.chime.com/policies."

How does Chime® compare?

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5

APY 

4.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

APY 

5.05%

With $5,000 min. balance for APY

Bonus 

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Bonus 

N/A

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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. How we rate banks, credit unions and other financial service providers.

Frequently asked questions