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If your bank is charging you fees every time you turn around, you need a new bank. Chime Bank is just what you’re looking for. Take a look at our Chime Bank Review and see all the benefits they offer customers.
Fees, Fees, Fees!
In 2016, Americans paid $15 billion in bounced check and overdraft fees. That number doesn’t include all the other fees banks charge like ATM fees, minimum account fees, and a fee for getting a paper statement mailed to you each month.
Part of the reason banks charge so much in fees, apart from greed, is to cover the cost of their branches. Chase alone has more than 5,000 locations in the US, and if you’ve ever visited New York City, you might think 4,000 of them are located there. It seems like there is one on every corner.
All that real estate isn’t cheap, and you’re paying for it. Think about it this. When is the last time you actually went into a bank branch for anything? You’ve probably been in a Blockbuster Video more recently than a bank!
So why should you pay the rent for those banks? You shouldn’t, and with Chime Bank, you don’t have to.
Chime Bank charges almost no fees to its customers, and part of the reason is that Chime has no brick and mortar locations, it is strictly an online bank. Chime offers checking, and savings accounts as a typical bank does and a few extras that they don’t.
You can open a Chime account using your email address. You will enter some information including your address. Chime will verify your information and approve your account. Once approved, your Chime Debit card will be mailed out to you within ten days.
You can activate your Chime card through the App, the website or by calling the toll free number. At the time of activation, Chime will give you the routing and account numbers to your spending account.
If you also choose to open a Chime savings account, you only need to provide your Social Security number.
Your spending account functions as your checking account. Your Chime Debit card is Visa branded and is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted. When you use the card, the funds are drawn from your spending account, the same way your current bank debit card works.
The money in your spending account comes from direct deposit of your paycheck, depositing cash or paper checks, and transfers from any other bank accounts you have.
At the time of this writing, Chime supports transfers from Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, US Bank, USAA, Fidelity, PNC Bank, Capital One 360, TD Bank, Sun Trust, Navy Federal, and Charles Schwab. That should cover most of us.
Once you link the accounts, you can transfer money from one of the above-listed banks to Chime. There is a daily limit of $200 and $1,000 per month. You will have access to the money within five business days.
You can pay bills online through your Chime account.
One of the drawbacks of using a debit card rather than a credit card is that you miss out on cash back rewards. Chime to the rescue! When you make qualifying purchases with your Chime card, you get cash back.
The cash back categories change and include things like entertainment, groceries, and dining out. Sometimes the reward is for a specific retailer and sometimes a general category. The cash back is deposited into your spending account within 24 hours.
Chime also offers a savings account, and you will want to sign up for it so you can take advantage of Chime’s Rewards program. You can transfer money from your spending account into your savings account and vice versa.
You can also opt to have 10% of each direct deposited paycheck transferred from spending to savings. For those of us who struggle to save money, this is a great way to automate savings.
Just like your spending account, your Chime Savings account has rewards too! In order to take advantage, you have to opt-in to the automatic savings program. You’ll find the opt-in under the Settings Screen on the app and website.
Once you opt-in, each time you make a purchase with your Chime debit card, the amount will be rounded up to the nearest dollar. The amount is transferred from your spending account into your savings account.
To be clear, it’s your money; Chime is not giving you the round-up amount. It’s just an excellent way to save a little extra money each time you make a purchase.
Chime does reward you with free money though! Each week, Chime will give you a 10% bonus on the amount of your roundups. If your roundups were equal to $5, Chime would give you $0.50 for free! You can earn up to a maximum of $500 per year through this bonus program.
Chime doesn’t pay much interest on savings accounts at just 0.01%, but that’s about what you’ll get from a lot of other banks too. But because you can earn those round up bonuses and pay nearly no fees, the low-interest rate is a little easier to swallow.
Chime will provide an online monthly statement for each account. They do not mail a paper statement, but you can print the online statement out.
This is going to be a short section! The rewards Chime gives you are great but where Chime really shines is in the amount of money they can save you by charging their customers almost no fees.
All of the fees that your current bank might be charging you, overdraft fees, bounced check fees, minimum balance fees, Chime charges none of those.
Not being charged an overdraft fee when using the Chime debit card can especially make a significant impact.
You charge a small purchase but don’t have the money to cover it and get hit with a fee, and it could be as high as $35 for what might have only been a $5 transaction. If you’re broke enough that you don’t have $5 in your checking account, these fees can really be damaging to your finances.
If you don’t have enough money in your Chime spending account, Chime will move money over from your savings account to cover the purchase you made. If you don’t have the money in your savings account either, the debit card will simply decline.
If your balance remains in the red for over 90 days, Chime will automatically close your account. Chime makes it easy to stay on top of your money though. You can get daily balance updates and instant transaction alerts.
Chime charges just two fees. There is a 3% external debit charge incurred when you load money onto your card via debit rather than using a direct transfer. The other is the $2.50 fee for using an ATM that is not part of Chime’s network.
Because Chime has no physical bank branch locations, they have partnered with the MoneyPass network of ATM’s. MoneyPass has 24,000 ATM locations across the US. Chime’s site and App both have an ATM finder.
You can also get cash back at over 30,000 locations in the US including stores including Walmart, CVS, Bed Bath, and Beyond, Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Safeway.
This is one area where Chime is a bit of a letdown. Currently, there is no mobile check depositing feature on Chime’s App. If you have a check to deposit, you have to go through a third party App like Ingo Money.
And beware, the whole point of using Chime is to avoid fees, and some of these third-party Apps will charge you a fee. Chime plans to introduce mobile check deposit capability soon though so keep checking.
If you need to deposit cash, you can do so at Green Dot locations. There are more than 60,000 of them nationwide. There are limits to depositing cash into your Chime account, $1,000 per 24 hour period or $10,000 per 30 day period.
If you need to send a paper check, Chime can do that for you, and there is no cost. You can do it right from the App. The money will not be taken out of your account when you make the transaction but rather when the check is cashed.
This is a nice perk but be careful. If you don’t keep track of your transactions, you might forget about the check and overdraft your account once the check is cashed. You won’t be charged a fee of course, but overdrafting is still something you want to avoid.
Please be aware that it can take 3-9 business days for Chime to actually send the check once you request it so if what you are paying is time sensitive, be sure to account for that.
There is a limit to the dollar amount of checks you can have Chime send. You can’t write a check for more than $5,000 and can’t send more than $10,000 in checks per month.
Chime’s App has a Split the Bill feature which allows you to split expenses like dinner checks with friends or utilities with a roommate. Chime sends a text message to the person who owes you money with a link to Venmo, or they can pay you back through their own Chime account.
Don’t Wait For Payday
When you arrange to have your paycheck direct deposited into your Chime account, it will post up to two days early. I have never had a bank that did not make my direct deposit paycheck immediately available, but if you do, this is reason enough to switch to Chime!
Your Chime accounts are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 just as your current bank’s accounts are. Visa provides fraud protection for Chime debit cards. If there is an unauthorized charge on your card, you will not be held responsible for it.
For a long time, Chime Debit cards were not chipped which seemed strange to me since chipped cards and not exactly new technology and provide an added layer of security against fraud.
I was frankly surprised that Visa allowed Chime to issue cards without a chip since Visa is the company that reimburses Chime customers for charges they did not authorize.
Good news! Chime is now offering chipped cards. All new customers will receive chipped cards, and existing customers can contact Chime customer service to request one.
If your Chime card is lost or stolen, you can lock it through the App so no charges can be made on it.
Chime Customer Service
If you are having a problem or have a question, you can speak to a Chime customer service representative via live chat on the App, by email or phone.
No Fees, No Profit?
Chime is a bank, not a charity so how are they making money if not from its customers? Visa pays Chime a small transaction fee each time a customer uses their Chime debit card. Let a big credit card company pay instead of us!
Pros of Chime
Of course, the biggest reason to recommend Chime is that they charge customers so few fees. You shouldn’t be paying banks for the privilege of holding your money while they loan it out and rake in money through interest.
I was worried about finding an in-network MoneyPass ATM, but with more than 24,000 in the US, they have a lot more locations than some of the big name banks. Between the MoneyPass locations and being able to get cash back at so many common, retailers, you should never have to use an out of network ATM and pay a fee.
Chime’s rewards are pretty great too. It’s nice to be able to get some of the same perks a credit card gives you with the Chime Debit card. The 10% rewards bonus on your weekly roundups is particularly nice.
Cons of Chime
The biggest drawback for me is Chime’s lack of mobile deposit. I don’t get many paper checks that I need to deposit, and most of you probably don’t either. But occasionally I do, and I don’t want to pay a fee to a third party App to deposit it with Chime.
Mobile deposit is hardly a new technology, and Chime was founded in 2013, plenty of time for them to have added this feature already.
Chime currently does not offer joint accounts or even a second card for an authorized user. If you and your spouse prefer to combine your finances, Chime is not going to work for you. The company may offer the feature eventually though so check back.
If you deposit cash, Chime or any online bank may not be for you. I have deposited cash into ATM’s before and never had a problem, but if you’re squeamish about it, you’ll have to stick with an old-fashioned brick and mortar bank. If you did have a problem, I was unable to find out which company, Chime or Green Dot, you should contact or which would reimburse you if that is even possible.
Is Chime Worth It?
If you are currently using a bank that charges you a lot of fees, then yes. Chime is a great alternative. If you avoid credit cards for whatever reason but hate missing out on rewards, Chime is great for that too.
Chime has some shortcomings made doubly annoying because it seems like they could be easily fixed; the lack of a mobile deposit feature and joint accounts. For those who choose to have a joint bank account with their partner, Chime will not be an option as they only offer individual accounts.
I have been using Chime for several months, and I do like them. That said, I hedged my bets and still have a checking account with Chase for the rare occasion I need to deposit a check. Because I keep a minimum balance, I don’t pay any fees to have my account at Chase.
Hopefully, Chime is listening to the customer feedback they are getting and will address their few shortcomings soon. I don’t use a joint account, so I don’t need that feature. I do want and need a mobile deposit feature. Once Chime adds that I will close my Chase account and do all of my banking with Chime.