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 HolbrookNov 25, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Overall bank rating

Chime

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

  • Checking

  • Savings

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Chime is an online-only financial 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 they’re safe places 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.

 

Best for: Customers who want to maximize savings account interest in an online account, are paid via direct deposit and have access to other bank accounts to make transfers.

Pros

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees.
  • Large free ATM network.
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit (see below for more information from Chime).

Cons

  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you.
  • Consumers who've reported fraud in their Chime accounts note that their accounts may be frozen during the investigation.
  • Mobile check deposit is only available if you’re also signed up for direct deposit.
  • Online transfers initiated through Chime are limited to $200 per day.

Full review

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 60,000 fee-free 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. See below for more information from Chime.

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. Mobile check deposit is available via the app, but your spending account must be enrolled in direct deposit. Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook, but you can pay bills by sending a check online through the Chime Checkbook feature. There are limits of $5,000 per payment and $10,000 in a calendar month. You can also provide billers with your Chime account number and the routing number.

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. Wire transfers are not available.

Chime doesn’t offer joint accounts, so it’s not ideal if you’re looking to share an account with someone.

» Looking for free checking? Compare accounts here.

Chime says: "Early Access to direct deposit funds depends on payer."

"Out-of-Network cash withdrawal fees apply. Third-party and cash deposit fees may apply."

Best Savings Account

Chime High Yield Savings

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

APY

0.50%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Chime offers an annual percentage yield of 0.50%, 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. Chime also offers an unlimited number of transfers from your savings account into your spending account. See below for more information from Chime.

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

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

Chime says: "Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Spending Account to into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Spending Account into your savings account."

Banking experience

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

What to know about neobanks: Neobanks can be solid options for consumers who prefer online-only banking. Funds deposited in these accounts are usually FDIC-insured through partner banks, which will also typically receive customers’ money if a neobank closes, so customer funds are safe. 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.) Consider these details before opening an account.

Chime customer experience: 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. See below for more information from Chime.

Customer service is available by phone Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST, and on the weekends from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST. Customers can also get help via the app or email.

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. Kendra Boccelli, Chime's head of public relations and communications, confirmed that if Chime identifies suspicious activity in an account, it can be suspended during the review. Boccelli also says 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.

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

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 $200, the company will cover it without a fee. Your next deposit will be applied to the negative balance. 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. See below for more information from Chime.

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. See below for more information from Chime.

Chime says: "SpotMe® won't cover non-debit card purchases, including ATM withdrawals, ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions."

"Eligibility requirements and overdraft limits apply."

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 60,000 fee-free 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. See below for more information from Chime.

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. Mobile check deposit is available via the app, but your spending account must be enrolled in direct deposit. Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook, but you can pay bills by sending a check online through the Chime Checkbook feature. There are limits of $5,000 per payment and $10,000 in a calendar month. You can also provide billers with your Chime account number and the routing number.

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. Wire transfers are not available.

Chime doesn’t offer joint accounts, so it’s not ideal if you’re looking to share an account with someone.

» Looking for free checking? Compare accounts here.

Chime says: "Early Access to direct deposit funds depends on payer."

"Out-of-Network cash withdrawal fees apply. Third-party and cash deposit fees may apply."

How does Chime compare?

Deposits are FDIC Insured

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0.01 minimum balance

APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

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.

Frequently asked questions