GO2bank Review: Checking and Savings
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- Banking experience
- Overdraft fees
Overall institution rating
GO2bank is a neobank by Green Dot, a financial technology company with the rare benefit of having a banking license to provide federal deposit insurance. Like the firm’s first banking enterprise, GoBank, GO2bank has a checking account with separate savings subaccounts called vaults. The mobile-focused bank’s biggest perks are the high savings rate (on up to $5,000) and the ability to deposit cash at certain retailers. However, there are other neobanks where accounts earn interest on higher savings balances, allow cash deposits and have no monthly fee.
In addition to the monthly fee, GO2bank has some costs and limits that may be deal breakers, including the inability to transfer money out of the account, which is a standard feature at many banks.
You can pick up a GO2bank Visa debit card at retailers such as Walmart and activate it online, or open an account directly on the bank’s website. Most services are online. The bank also provides a secured credit card to build credit, with no credit check.
Best for: Digital banking customers who plan to deposit cash, receive direct deposits from an employer or as government benefits, and save up to $5,000 — all without needing to transfer money out of the account.
- Solid rate of 4.50% APY across all savings vaults.
- Ability to create up to five vaults, which can divide up savings goals.
- About 90,000 retail locations for cash deposits and 19,000 fee-free ATMs.
- $5 monthly fee if you don’t receive direct deposits through GO2bank.
- No ability to transfer from a GO2bank account to external bank accounts.
- The 4.50% rate applies only to the first $5,000 across all savings vaults, making the maximum you can earn $125 a year.
4.0/5 NerdWallet rating
Upsides: Free ATM network. You can take out cash at 19,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, or pay a $3 fee at out-of-network ATMs.
Big retail network for cash deposits. GO2bank lets you deposit cash at about 90,000 locations of big-brand retailers such as Walmart and CVS, for a fee of up to $4.95. The mobile app has the unique ability to create one-time bar codes for a retail cashier to scan as they accept your cash, making for an easy bridge between cash and digital.
Early direct deposits and gift card program. You can receive direct deposits up to two days early (or four days early, in the case of government checks) compared with traditional banks. There's also a limited cash-back program for purchasing online gift cards.
Downsides: Monthly fee unless you have direct deposits. GO2bank’s main account charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee unless you receive at least one direct deposit per month. Many neobanks with similar accounts don’t have monthly fees. There’s no minimum balance to open the account online. If you get the debit card at a store instead, it’ll cost you up to $2.95 to buy the plastic, and $20 is the minimum initial deposit.
No way to transfer money out of GO2bank. Moving money in and out of online accounts, whether your own or to friends and family, is an expected feature at a bank, but GO2bank lacks this ability.
Mobile check deposit is either free or fast, but not both. Customers can either have a check deposit that’s free but takes 10 days to receive funds, or pay a fee of 1% to 5% of the check amount to receive funds within minutes. Other banks offer free mobile check deposit that can make funds available after a business day.
External account transfers to GO2bank are either free or fast, but not both. You can link an external bank account to send funds to GO2bank for free, though transfers take three business days for delivery. Or you can link an external debit card to transfer within a half-hour, for a steep fee of 3% of the transfer amount or $2, whichever is greater. Many other banks allow free and faster transfers through Zelle.
» COMPARE: Best online checking
5.0/5 NerdWallet rating
Upsides (with one caveat): Solid rate for up to $5,000. GO2bank’s savings subaccounts, or vaults, earn 4.50% annual percentage yield, which by itself would be a competitive rate among online banks. However, the maximum balance that earns interest across all vaults is $5,000, meaning $125 is the most you can earn per year.
» Saving beyond $5,000? Consider a high-yield savings account instead
Up to five savings vaults. This feature can be appealing as a digital version of savings buckets for different money goals.
No minimum opening or ongoing balance required.
Downsides: Some limits to accessing funds. You must have the GO2bank primary bank account to open one or more vaults, and the only way to move money in or out is through transfers between the primary account and a vault.
Interest paid quarterly. Many online savings accounts pay interest monthly, which helps you compound and earn more money off your balance. Instead, GO2bank pays interest every three months.
Upsides: Mobile-focused banking with high ratings. GO2bank is an all-digital bank, so there are no branches. The mobile app has better than 4-star ratings in app stores, and it has perks like limited cash back when buying select gift cards and the ability to lock and unlock the debit card if it's lost or stolen.
24/7 GO2bank customer support. Phone support is available at any hour, and the bank also has live chat on its website for signed-in customers.
Downside: More fees than usual for a neobank. There are up to a dozen types of fees a person can be charged by GO2bank, including a monthly fee and an opt-in overdraft program’s fee. Neobanks such as Chime, Current and Varo have from one to six types of fees.
General information about neobanks:
How they work: Neobanks can be solid options for consumers who prefer online-only banking. Funds deposited in these accounts are usually federally insured through partner banks, which will also typically receive customers’ money if a neobank closes, so customer funds are safe. In rare cases, including GO2bank's, the neobank is officially a bank.
Common pros: Neobank accounts often have low monthly fees and earn strong rates.
Common cons: They may 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.
» Shop around: See the best banks and credit unions for mobile banking
Upsides: No overdraft fees for most types of transactions. Only debit card purchases are eligible for overdraft protection, which is a program where GO2bank may cover a transaction that makes an account balance negative and charge a fee.
No fee for being overdrawn by $10 (for customers in the overdraft protection program). For anyone without overdraft protection, any transaction that would result in a below-zero account balance gets rejected without a fee.
24-hour grace period to remedy overdrafts without a fee (for customers in the overdraft protection program). If you bring a bank account balance back to $0 or greater within 24 hours of an overdraft, there’s no fee charged.
Downsides: Limited scope for coverage. Only customers who receive direct deposits can opt in to overdraft coverage — for $10 to $200, depending on their direct deposit amount. When a purchase would result in a negative balance, the bank can cover up to that amount to let the transaction go through.
Overdraft fees can add up: $15 per instance, up to 10 per quarter. For overdraft protection customers who have a negative balance beyond the grace period and it’s more than $10, GO2bank charges $15 for each debit card purchase that makes or keeps an account negative, up to 10 times per three-month period.
No standard alternative overdraft programs. Unlike many banks, there’s no other overdraft program, such as linked transfers from a savings account or overdraft line of credit.
» COMPARE: Best banks for avoiding overdrafts
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.