Chime Checking Account Review

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What if I told you there was an award winning mobile checking account and debit card that combines the features of a high yield online savings account with the automatic savings of a micro-savings app?

That’s Chime. If you were building an account from the ground up, these are the features people care about.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.

Table of Contents
  1. Who is Chime?
  2. What does Chime offer?
  3. Pros and Cons
  4. Who is Chime for?
  5. Chime Alternatives

Who is Chime?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get the basics out of the way first.

Chime white-labels the banking services of The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, N.A., Bancorp is the same company that runs the banking services for a litany of private label banks. The Bancorp Bank is FDIC #35444 and has been actively insured by the FDIC since July 2000.

By “white-label” what I mean is that all the legal aspects of running a bank are handled by Bancorp Bank (NASDAQ: TBBK), Chime layers their services, their app, etc. on top of what Bancorp Bank offers. While it uses the banking services of The Bancorp Bank, Chime builds its features and perks on top of the engine they provide.

The Bancorp Bank powers 100+ private-label non-bank partners and processes $232 billion annually. They’re a publicly-traded company and you’ve probably never heard of them because they run behind the scenes of other banks. They’ve been around since 1999, are FDIC insured, but have zero branches. They’re entirely private label.

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What does Chime offer?

Chime offers a checking account and an optional savings account, as well as a Chime Visa® Debit Card. A Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account. There are no monthly minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and fee-free overdraft up to $2001, as well as a fee-free ATM2 network that includes over 60,000 locations.

When they first launched, the Savings Account didn’t offer much in terms of interest but that has changed. As of July 2022, the annual percentage yield on the Chime Savings Account is 2.00% APY.3

One other nice feature – early access to your paycheck.  Some banks hold it a couple of days, for “processing,” but with Chime, when you set up a direct deposit, you can get your paycheck 2 days early.4

If you enable the Automatic Savings features, they round up every debit card transaction and transfer that money from your Checking Account into your Savings Account.5 You can also enable automatic transfers of 10% of every paycheck into your Savings Account.5

Finally, if you’re looking to build credit history, the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is an option for those who have received a qualifying direct deposit to their Checking Account6 and want or need to build up their credit  history.

Chime offers a mobile check deposits feature that you can unlock if you have direct deposit setup via their app.7 All other banking features you’d expect are in there (including bill pay electronically as well as the mailing of a check since they don’t provide checkbooks to their members).

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Pros and Cons

Chime used to offer $5 to open an account but no more, it’s not as nice of an incentive anyway compared to the hundreds of dollars some banks will give you. Getting your paycheck up to two days early4 with direct deposit and fee-free overdrafts up to $2001 are good perks.

They also don’t offer some familiar deposit products like Certificates of Deposit or loan products like a mortgage or car loans. No biggie though.

They have a network of 60,000+ fee-free ATMs2 that you can use… but go outside of it and you may be charged an out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee.

Who is Chime for?

If you want a simple, straight-forward account with automatic savings, no account fees, and a debit card – Chime does this.

They get good marks on their app and their user experience.

Considering they don’t charge you monthly fees, they’re an attractive option if you like automatic savings but don’t want to pay $5/mo to the likes of Digit (depending on how much you save, you could be surrendering that in interest).

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Chime Alternatives

Once you take away the rewards, Chime becomes an online checking account that deposits your paycheck up to two days earlier4 with direct deposit.

If I needed to pick a primary checking account, I’d rather open an account at Ally Bank, get 2.75% APY on my savings account, and just get my paycheck as normal. Ally Bank has no minimums, no maintenance fees, and has an app that lets you do everything you need (like deposit checks through the mobile app).

If you really want a microsavings app, you could give Acorns a try. They play more on the investing side and they have fees, but they’re worth a look.

Here are a few other alternatives to Chime in case those don’t attract you.

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Disclosures:

1 Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

2 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

3The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of <date w/in 3 months>. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

4Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

5Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Checking Account to into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.

6To be eligible to apply for Credit Builder, you need to have received a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account within 365 days of your Credit Builder application. The qualifying direct deposit must have been made by your employer, payroll provider, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit. Bank ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits are not qualifying direct deposits.

7Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member’s direct deposit enrollment status.

Chime Bank

7.5

Overall

7.5/10

Strengths

  • Automatic rounded up savings transfers
  • No fees
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200
  • No minimum balance
  • 60,000+ fee-free ATMs

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Comments

About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Desiree says

    I am not happy with my experience with this company. I’ve only had them for 2 weeks and am not satisfied with it. I set up direct deposit hoping that I would get my funds deposited sooner than Friday. The first deposit took place on Thursday. And the second has yet to arrive and it is now Thursday, two weeks later from the first deposit, and no money on my card.

    I contacted the support and they gave me the rundown about the process it takes for the funds to be available on the account. I didn’t ask for that. I asked where is my money. And they tried to brighten the situation up with, “you will be notified when your funds are available.” (I am paraphrasing.) The fact is that I would have liked to have received a notification a day ago! That’s what they advertise.

    But now I have to wait until my actual payday to get my money. This is the second issue I’ve had with this company. The first issue I’ve had with this company was waiting on my second card to arrive after it was delivered to the wrong address.

    So, yeah. My trust is shot with this company. Don’t trust it at all.

  2. Brittany Wilson says

    Same thing fraudulent charges. Claim denied. If u google chime lawsuit there is actually alot of this going on with chime bank. There are lawyers who will take your case for free. I did it yesterday

  3. Kathy says

    How can I can a replacement card, my card got replace when I was at shopping at Wal-mart today

  4. Jennifer says

    This bank was great for what I needed…at first. Then October 2019 there was a HUGE breech and my account has fraudulent charges. I found a Reddit post of tons of others with charges from the exact same company on the same day. My money was refunded.

    Then in January 2020, someone hacked all of the safeguards for changing my password and completely drained my account. They told me it would be a month before they got back to me on whether or not they believed I was telling the truth. This was a student loan bank account so obviously there was a lot of stress. I did get my money back though.

    Do NOT trust them.

  5. Regina says

    I’m upset because I did not receive the $50 when my work check was directed deposited.

      • Donna Ely says

        It was also a scam. Hidden in fine print. There was a cut off time to arrange direct deposit. They got over 1 million new accounts with this scam…. Majority of the new account holders were unaware of this. Several referral fees unpaid.

  6. Ciarra says

    I don’t know who to go to about this situation. I have an account with Chime online banking and I have them for almost 2 years now. I just started receiving survivors benefits for my son. So I got a payment on March 31, 2020 and on April 1, 2020 they suspended my account for no reason. So I call them they said to send in a picture of my Identification card so I send it they say I have to wait 24 to 48 hours. So I wait and then call them back then they say I have to send it with me holding it and my social security card and prof of address. So I do it and have to wait and mother 24 to 48 hours. So them I call they say I need to verify my phone by sending my phone bill. At this point I’m concerned but I do it anyway so they can release my account and money. Now it’s been 3 weeks and they are still not giving me my money or even opened my account. They say I need to send all that information again. So I do but I’m concerned and what to talk to a lawyer about it. Can you point my in the right direction please as to a lawyer that can help me get my money from Chime bank?

  7. Toni says

    This must be an old Post because I’m a new chime member just beginning in this month and I receive .06APY, mobile check deposit, fingerprint security and more! I’ll give them a 10 🙂

  8. Donna Ely says

    I feel like Ive been robbed. I used chime for direct deposit to receive my stimulus and my EIDL. Big mistake. My stimulus is being held hostage and my EIDL loan was reversed and returned to sender. The explanation was because it included a business name. Contacted SBA to change the name and keep the banking information because they have already been verified. This is also the account the IRS will be using for a second stimulus. I explained the importance of this account remaining open. The more I try to fix the problem the more difficult it becomes. In fact the response from support was to close to my account. It as if they like to see you suffer or need your money for collateral and or interest.
    My night started when my Chime was locked because of a reversed ACH from Bluebird; another story. 🤦🏽‍♀️. Chime requested my DL, a PDF bank statement with my account number/name from Bluebird and a written statement if available from Bluebird. I got straight to work. Spending 2 hours each call before the calls were interrupted. Finally got thru and gained access to Bluebird. I sent Chime all the things they requested, less a written statement which again was optinal.
    Nothing I sent was acceptable. So somehow, I was able to get both parties on separate phones. Bluebird was extremely impatient,🤦🏽‍♀️ ironically and hung up before a Manager from Chime could answer.
    Before leaving the rep. referred me to their terms and conditions and explained that they are not a checking account nor can they provide a letter. I sent a copy of terms and conditions to Chime explaining why ACH are not allowed with Bluebird. Unfortunately, the chime rep called dropped before a Manager could answer the call.
    noone called me back. Repeat cylce 😷 I will update you guys when I check my email. It’s my money and I want it nowwww 🤦🏽‍♀️

  9. michelle buckley says

    I been with Chime bank since 2018 never had a any problems that I just read in a few of yall comments , or issues that I read on here.
    my new card was issued in a 5-7 business days
    Customer Services was availble when I need to.
    Never had funds that were deposited into spending account ever not available for me when its suppose to . only time it wasnt was if it my payday date fell on a weekend or holiday . other wise chime bank has been good for me .

  10. Latricia Cawvey says

    Chime is a joke I had a dispute with there accounting procedures so carlos a person apart of the dispute team decided that my grocery store and nail salon activity was against chime policy. I have a 72.12 credit from sally beauty supply and the 18.24 error they made floating in cyber space while we’re still in a financial burden from the pandemic. But that’s what happens when you put to much power in the wrong hands.

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