What is Chime Banking?
Chime is a mobile bank account that offers a Spending Account, a Savings Account, and a Visa debit card along with a very user-friendly mobile app. The goal of Chime is to eliminate the high banking fees and impersonal approaches most people have experienced with their banking relationships.
From Chime: “Most bank accounts cost you money. We designed Chime differently, with a business model that doesn’t rely on fees to profit. Chime earns a small sum from Visa on Chime card transactions. So the more members spend, the more money we make. We share some of those earnings with our members so that the more you use your card, the more money you save.”
Chime is partnered with The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.
How Chime Banking Works
Joining Chime takes a few minutes (2 minutes when we did our review) and is done completely online. After you finish joining, Chime will send you a Visa debit card in the mail, but you’ll have access to the mobile app features right away. Through the mobile app, you’ll get instructions on how to fund your account. With Chime, you’ll get two accounts: Spending Account (checking account) and a Savings Account. Chime accounts are FDIC insured.
Spending (checking) Account
Chime calls their checking account a “Spending Account” and is completely free. There is no minimum balance requirement. No monthly fees, transfer fees, or overdraft fees. The main feature of the spending account is the Visa debit card for your purchases. In fact, the goal is for you to use your Visa debit card every time you make a purchase because that is how Chime makes its money. Visa pays Chime for every swipe.
Every time you use your debit card to pay for something, Chime will round up the purchase to the nearest dollar and transfer the difference from your Spending Account into your Savings Account. This essentially can help you save money while you spend.
The Savings Account has no minimum balance requirements. Transfering between your Spending and Savings accounts is done through the mobile app or online. Your money in the Savings Account also earns a very small interest rate.
You can set up automatic savings every time you get paid. For instance, Chime can automatically transfer 10% of your paycheck each payday into your Savings Account as soon it arrives in your Spending Account.
Currently, Chime does not offer joint accounts or accounts for anyone under the age of 18 years old. If you’re partnered, you’ll each have your own separate accounts.
Features and Benefits
- Early Direct Deposit – get access to your direct deposited paycheck from your employer or benefits provider up to 2 days earlier. For some, that means payday comes Wednesday, not Friday.
- Connected Accounts – connect your accounts with external financial institutions so you can view and easily transfer between Chime and other financial institutions.
- Real-time Notifications – get alerts about spending activity and balances to keep you on track.
- Absolutely No Fees – no monthly fees, transaction fees, statement fees, debit card fees, foreign transaction fees, or overdraft fees.
- ATM Access – access to 24,000 ATMs nationwide through MoneyPass Network. Find the nearest ATM using the app. Using an out-of-network ATM? Chime will charge you $2.50 per transaction.
- Instant Cash Rewards – spend with their partners and earn dollars back that’s deposited into your savings account.
- App Security Features – block access to your Visa debit card if you lost or stolen.
- Pay Friends – send money to your friends easily through the app.
- Bill Pay – similar to other billy pay services you can set up automatic bill payments through Chime.
- No Checks – you don’t get a checkbook with Chime, but if you need to send a paper check they’ll do it for you through their Checkbook feature.
Depositing Money into Chime
The easiest way to get money into Chime is through direct deposit. You can also transfer money from an existing banking relationship. Chime has also partnered with Green Dot locations where you can deposit cash into your accounts but you’ll end up paying a fee.
How to Get Started
- Complete the application (takes 2 minutes)
- You must be at least 18 years old to open an account
- A US Citizen or permanent resident
- Provide personal information such as your Social Security number to comply with Federal laws
- There are no credit checks and Chime does not report information to any credit bureau
- Use our link and get $10 for signing up with our partner.
Jason Vitug’s Smile Summary
Chime is the first online banking provider I give the Smile Recommendation. You can’t go wrong with an app that’s beautifully made and banking services that don’t profit off mistakes. Most banks depend on consumers making financial mistakes to profit from fees. What I like about Chime is its mission statement and the values for which it was founded. It sounds like a credit union to me but one that understands this generation.
I love how they’ve split accounts into spending and savings. Their focus on helping members save with rounding up purchases and auto-transfers can really help many people break the non-savings habit. The drawback is the hassle of depositing checks and cash. However, all the features and benefits outweigh this pain. If you’ve been unhappy with your banking provider, consider looking into Chime.