Chime Review: The Account That Helps You Save

June 1, 2021

Chime is an ultra-modern, customer-centric account that always puts its users' financial interests first. It’s an excellent option for anyone seeking an easy-to-use online bank, and its three account types offer a range of features and benefits that will help you work toward financial freedom.

The Spending Account, like all Chime accounts, doesn’t charge any fees for overdraft, foreign transactions, or monthly/annual fees. The Credit Builder Account is a great way to boost your credit score by 30 points or more, lowering the cost of financial transactions like loans and mortgages for years to come. And the Savings Account, with its unique automatic savings features, will help you save more money without even noticing. We highly suggest opening a Chime account today.

Chime is a financial technology company that prides itself on its transparent fee structure. It eliminates the fees that many of the big banks charge, and has developed a reputation as an account that's generous with interest rates and attentive toward its users.

Chime also calls itself a “second chance banking option,” and for good reason. It doesn’t perform credit checks when customers open a new account, making it a great option if you have a poor credit score or are trying to restart your financial life. This is important, since about 6% of Americans are still “unbanked” due to structural barriers like a low credit score, according to recent numbers from the Federal Reserve.

In this review, we’ll break down many of the features and benefits of Chime, its three different account types, its mobile app, who Chime is best suited for, and more.

Features & Benefits Of Chime

Here are just four of the major benefits of banking with Chime:

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#1 Zero Hidden Fees˜

Chime’s core philosophy is that everyone deserves financial peace of mind. Banking should earn you money, not cost you money, so in line with that, Chime has eliminated these fees:

  • No monthly/annual fees
  • No ATM withdrawal fees at 38,000+ MoneyPass® and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200*
  • No card replacement fees
  • No minimum balance
  • No foreign transaction fees

If this doesn't sound like a big deal, just look at how Chime stacks up against Chase and Bank of America:

ChimeChaseBank of America
Overdraft Fee$0$34$35
Minimum Balance Requirements$0$25$100
Monthly Account Service Fee$0$25$25

Clearly, these are some big differences, and when you account for them month after month, you can save a lot of money by switching to Chime. We’ll talk more about these and other fees later when we break down Chime’s three account types.

#2 Automatically Grow Your Savings

Another one of our favorite features of Chime is how easy it makes saving money. Every time you buy something with your debit card, Chime will automatically round up to the nearest dollar and transfer the round-up from your Spending Account to your Savings Account.

Round-ups tend to average out to about 50 cents apiece, so if you make 100 purchases over the course of a month, you can expect to have about $50 moved into your Savings Account automatically.

The best part about automatic saving like this is that you never even notice the money leaving of your Spending Account. When you look at your Savings Account, though, there will be a lot more in there than you expected.

#3 Fee-free Overdraft up to $200* With SpotMe

There’s nothing worse than getting dinged by your bank for dipping into overdraft. But the big banks love overdraft because it's a massive moneymaker for them: in 2019 alone, traditional banks charged customers $11 billion in overdraft fees.

That’s why Chime's SpotMe feature offers Fee-free Overdraft up to $200* on debit card purchases with zero fees. SpotMe is available to Chime members with total monthly qualifying direct deposits of $500 or more.

#4 Get Paid Early

Many of us have been in a situation where we're actively waiting for a money transfer to arrive. With Chime, direct deposits arrive up to 2 days early^ (as soon as your employer deposits it), ensuring you have all the funds you need to pay your bills on time and keep financial stress to a minimum.

This early direct deposit feature is easy to activate. Chime will email you a pre-filled direct deposit form, which you can pass on to your employer to get everything set up.

Chime’s Account Types

Chime has three accounts to choose from, each with unique benefits and capabilities. Here's a quick look at each of them.

#1 Chime Spending Account

The Chime Spending Account comes with a Visa® debit card and no monthly or maintenance fees. It works everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, and unlike some traditional banks, there's no minimum balance required.

You’ll need a Spending Account to apply for either of Chime’s other two accounts, so this is the account you should start with. It’s completely free, and because there’s no credit check when you apply, it's risk-free, too.

#2 Chime High-Yield Savings Account

The Chime High-Yield Savings Account gives you 0.5% APY (10x the national average) on every dollar in your account. This means you’ll earn substantially more than you would at other banks, all within a convenient, mobile-friendly package. There is no cap on the amount of interest you can earn, and because there's no minimum deposit, you'll still earn interest even if you only have a few dollars in the account.

I mentioned in feature #2 above that Chime will round up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the round-up in your Savings Account. On top of that, Chime also offers Save When I Get Paid, which allows you to set up automatic transfers to your Savings Account every time you receive a salary payment or direct deposit. This makes working toward savings goals like a vacation or wedding easy, and ensures you pay yourself first before spending what's left over.

With high interest rates and such valuable savings features, the Chime High-Yield Savings Account is a great way to save more money to get you several steps closer to your financial goals.

#3 Chime Credit Builder Account

Credit Builder is a secured credit card that increases users’ credit scores by an average of 30 points. It carries no monthly or annual fees, doesn’t charge interest, carries no minimum security deposit, and there’s no credit check when you apply.

To use Credit Builder, simply move money from your Spending Account to your Credit Builder Account, spend it however you want, pay off the balance, and watch your credit score rise

When you turn on Safer Credit Building, Chime will automatically pay your balance on time, every month. Chime will also keep the major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—updated so that they know your score should keep going up.

Who Is Chime For?

The Chime Spending Account is for anyone looking for a smooth, simple way to transact both online and offline. Chime’s clean user interface and advanced security make banking with the Spending Account both easy and totally safe. And because you need to open a Spending Account in order to open either of Chime’s other accounts, this is definitely the place to start.

The Chime High-Yield Savings Account is great for anyone looking to increase their savings rate on their path to financial freedom. If you know you could be saving more but just haven’t gotten around to doing it, the savings account is for you.

The Chime Credit Builder Account is ideal for anyone looking to improve their credit score quickly and safely. If you plan to take out a business loan or buy a house in the next several years, you’ll want your credit score to be as high as possible, since that will help you get a lower the interest rate on your loans. With that in mind, a Credit Builder Account can save you thousands of dollars over the long run, so it's a smart move for anyone with large financial ambition.

The Chime App

The Chime app, quite simply, is beautiful. Rather than approaching its design from the perspective of a traditional bank, Chime built its app from the ground up, leveraging its team’s background in technology to make it happen.

The Chime app has received more than 400,000 5-star reviews between the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, and currently holds an average rating of 4.7/5 stars between the two.

Here are just some of the features of the Chime app:

#1 Real-Time Transaction Notifications

When you turn on transaction notifications, you’ll be notified every time money moves in or out of your account. If you’ve got any lingering subscriptions lying around, these notifications are a great way to proactively eliminate them.

#2 Transfer Money to Friends

Sending money to friends and family just takes a couple of taps in the Chime app. It’s ideal for splitting rent or a bar tab, and of course, it’s completely free.

#3 Send & Deposit Checks

Still receiving physical checks in the mail? No problem. Deposit them direct into your account just by taking a photo of the check in the Chime app—no ATM or physical bank branch required.

#4 Pay Bills

Paying bills is as easy as paying friends: with a couple of taps, you’re done. Chime’s Checkbook feature even allows you to pay bills that require physical checks—like rent or student loans—all from inside the app. When you create a check in the app, Chime will send it in the mail for you.

#5 Apple Pay™ and Google Pay™

As a mobile-first account, Chime takes its integrations seriously, which is why it has offered both Apple Pay™ and Google Pay™ for years.

#6 Find ATMs Nearby

Looking for an ATM? Just pop open the app and pull up a map of all of the fee-free ATMs near you.

4 More Reasons We Love Chime

#1 Top-Level Security

All deposits held in Chime accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Chime also uses encryption and various other security measures to ensure your money is always safe and secure.

Here are a few more security features that make Chime extra safe:

  • Instantly block all transactions (including purchases and ATM transactions) and/or international transactions directly from the app
  • Chime debit cards are protected by the Visa Zero Liability Policy, which means you aren’t responsible for any unauthorized charges to your account
  • Chime supports two-factor authentication
  • Chime supports fingerprint authentication

#2 No Credit Checks

One of the under-appreciated benefits of Chime is that it never runs credit checks. This helps to keep your credit score high, all part of Chime’s commitment to grow your savings—and your credit score—together.

#3 Free Debit Card Replacement

In keeping with Chime’s aversion to fees, it also doesn’t charge anything to ship you a new debit card. So if you lose your card, don't panic: Chime will send you a new one completely free.

#4 Cash Deposits

Depositing cash into your account is often a problem with online banks, but not with Chime. You can deposit cash into your Chime Spending Account at over 90,000 retail locations, including Walmart, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Speedway.

To find a cash deposit location near you, go to the Chime app, tap Move Money, select Deposit Cash, and tap See locations near me.

Chime Customer Support

If you need to reach Chime customer support about your account, you can do so via email, phone, or in-app chat. 

Email[email protected]

In Summary

Chime firmly delivers on its commitment to saving its customers money. With zero hidden fees˜ and a powerful mobile app, it’s an excellent choice for anyone who cares both about great value and great design.

We're also impressed with Chime's unique features, including SpotMe (for Fee-free Overdraft up to $200*), Save When I Get Paid (for saving automatically every time you receive a direct deposit), and Safer Credit Building (for paying off your balance automatically to keep your credit score going up). It's features like these that put Chime's technological prowess on display, and also demonstrate that they understand their customers' needs and financial desires.

If you’re looking to boost your savings and take control of your financial life, we highly suggest opening a Chime Spending Account today.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

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