Editorial Review

Chime Review: Checking and Savings

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

Alice HolbrookSeptember 9, 2019

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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 online-only, so it’s not like your traditional neighborhood bank branch. But it still has FDIC insurance, so it’s a safe place to keep your checking and savings accounts. 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. Scroll down to our review of Chime's Spending Account to find out how Chime is helping some users access their stimulus money early.

Pros

  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees.

  • Large free ATM network.

  • Get your paycheck 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

0.06%

With $0 minimum balance

Chime offers an APY of 0.06%. The national average for a savings account is 0.06%. While Chime's rate is lower than that offered by many other online providers — and lower than Chime has offered in the past — it has no minimum balance requirement, and it will also round up every purchase on your Chime card to the nearest dollar and deposit that difference into your savings account. Or, 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 more 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

COVID-19 stimulus update, April 14, 2020: Chime users who’ve previously received tax refunds into their Chime accounts will get their stimulus funds as soon as Chime gets them from the government — typically faster than those users would at a normal bank, according to Chime’s head of marketing and content, Chris Terschluse. Non-Chime members and non-filers can still open a Chime account and enter their direct deposit information on the IRS website.

Chime also temporarily increased the limit on its “SpotMe” feature for more than 100,000 users. SpotMe is a fee-free, optional overdraft service which ordinarily allows Chime customers who receive at least $500 in direct deposits per month to overdraw up to $20 on debit card purchases. If you received an increase, the limit will reset after stimulus funds are distributed to you, and your outstanding overdraft will be repaid to Chime from your new account balance.

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 lets them receive paychecks up to two days earlier than at a traditional bank with direct deposit. 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. And for those who need checks, Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook. 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.

» 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 4.7 stars out of 5 and given 4.6 stars, also out of 5, for the Android app. 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.

On top of its low fees, Chime doesn’t use some screening tools that can lock people out of bank accounts who’ve had them closed in the past. That can make it a useful tool 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 is suspended during the review. He says Chime is working on a new procedure that won't require suspension that should be operational soon. Chime isn't the only company that will suspend an account as a response to fraud, but some other banks don't necessarily do so during the initial review.

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 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

0.06%

With $0 minimum balance

Chime offers an APY of 0.06%. The national average for a savings account is 0.06%. While Chime's rate is lower than that offered by many other online providers — and lower than Chime has offered in the past — it has no minimum balance requirement, and it will also round up every purchase on your Chime card to the nearest dollar and deposit that difference into your savings account. Or, 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 more 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

COVID-19 stimulus update, April 14, 2020: Chime users who’ve previously received tax refunds into their Chime accounts will get their stimulus funds as soon as Chime gets them from the government — typically faster than those users would at a normal bank, according to Chime’s head of marketing and content, Chris Terschluse. Non-Chime members and non-filers can still open a Chime account and enter their direct deposit information on the IRS website.

Chime also temporarily increased the limit on its “SpotMe” feature for more than 100,000 users. SpotMe is a fee-free, optional overdraft service which ordinarily allows Chime customers who receive at least $500 in direct deposits per month to overdraw up to $20 on debit card purchases. If you received an increase, the limit will reset after stimulus funds are distributed to you, and your outstanding overdraft will be repaid to Chime from your new account balance.

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 lets them receive paychecks up to two days earlier than at a traditional bank with direct deposit. 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. And for those who need checks, Chime doesn't offer a physical checkbook. 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.

» Looking for free checking? Compare accounts here.

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Chime's mobile app excels where it counts — customers have rated the iOS version 4.7 stars out of 5 and given 4.6 stars, also out of 5, for the Android app. 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.

On top of its low fees, Chime doesn’t use some screening tools that can lock people out of bank accounts who’ve had them closed in the past. That can make it a useful tool 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 is suspended during the review. He says Chime is working on a new procedure that won't require suspension that should be operational soon. Chime isn't the only company that will suspend an account as a response to fraud, but some other banks don't necessarily do so during the initial review.

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 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.

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.