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 SarrealNov 10, 2021

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

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Chime is an online-only financial technology company that partners with two banks to offer checking and savings accounts. It doesn’t work like a traditional neighborhood bank, but its accounts still have FDIC insurance, 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 outsize 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, 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 monthly fees, no overdraft fees.
  • 60,000-plus free ATMs.
  • Paycheck arrives up to two days early with direct deposit (see below for more information from Chime).

Cons

  • Cash deposit is offered only through third-party retailers.
  • Mobile check deposit is available only if you’re also signed up for direct deposit.

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 early. 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 the only way to deposit cash is at cash deposit partner locations (including retail stores such as Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and Walmart). Cash deposits at Walgreens are free, but other retailers may charge a fee of up to $4.95. 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 in the past 30 days. 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.

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

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."

Chime High Yield Savings

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

5.0

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 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. Chime also offers an unlimited number of transfers from your savings account into your spending account, which not all banks allow. See below for more information from Chime.

Be aware that you need to have a Chime spending account before you can open a savings account with the company.

» 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 November 1, 2021. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest."

Chime says: "Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Spending Account 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 and what they offer.) 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 version 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 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.

Customer service is available by phone every day from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. CST. Customers can also get help through the customer support tab in the app, by email and on Twitter.

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, 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. All qualifying customers can overdraw their account by up to $20 without penalty and could later be eligible to make a debit card purchase that drops their account as low as negative $200. The company will cover the overdraft without a fee, and your next deposit will be applied to the negative balance. You need to receive one monthly direct deposit of at least $200 to gain access to this program, called SpotMe®, and a minimum of $200 total in monthly direct deposits to stay in the program.

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® 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 early. 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 the only way to deposit cash is at cash deposit partner locations (including retail stores such as Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and Walmart). Cash deposits at Walgreens are free, but other retailers may charge a fee of up to $4.95. 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 in the past 30 days. 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.

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

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

$100

Requirements to qualify

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

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.

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

Frequently asked questions