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🥇 Chime Review – Unbiased Pros & Cons

 

A review about Chime Bank

 

Chime is a digital-only bank, otherwise known as a neobank or challenger bank. A neobank is a type of direct bank that operates exclusively online without a network of physical branches. Digital-only banks like Chime challenge the status quo of traditional banking by offering a faster, more convenient and cheaper banking solution.

You apply online via the app that you download off the Internet and a Spending account is opened within 2 to 5 minutes without a credit check. Chime has opted to exclude screening which prevents a person opening a bank account if they have had one closed in the past. This makes Chime ideal for those re-starting their financial life after past problems.

 

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Founded in 2013 by Chris Britt and Ryan King, the digital bank has its headquarters in San Francisco, California in the United States. Accounts are owned and managed by Stride Bank (previously The Bancorp) and insured up the standard maximum deposit insurance amount of $250 000 through its partners.

Chime offers two types of accounts:

  • a Spending account with no minimum balance and no monthly fee that comes with a VISA debit card
  • an automated Savings account with an annual percentage yield of 0.50% and has no minimum balance requirement

Attractive features include SpotMe, a fee-free overdraft service up to $100; Credit Builder, a credit card designed to help customers build their credit history; and Get Paid Early which allows customers to draw on their monthly direct-debit salary up to two days early.

 

CHIME FAST FACTS

Founded

2013

 

Founders

Chris Britt

Ryan King

 

Headquarters

San Francisco, California, United States

 

Available to

Citizens of the United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years and older and have a valid SSN

 

Registered customers

2020 : Approximately 5 million

 

Chime products

Spending account – with a VISA debit card; no monthly fees or maintenance fees

Savings account – automated savings feature with no minimum balance requirement, no maximums on interest earned and no fees; 0.50% variable APY¹ (10x the national average)

Credit Builder – funds transferred from Spending account to secured VISA credit card that helps you build your credit history; no monthly fee or interest charged

 

Chime is best digital bank for

Chime is ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses and the self-employed, freelancers and entrepreneurs as well as individuals who are digitally-savvy and happy to bank using only a mobile app in exchange for faster, cheaper and more convenient banking.

 

Customer support

Customer support via mobile app, phone and email

 

Company funding

September 2020: New US$ 485 million round values Chime at US$ 14.5 billion

 

Is Chime a bank?

Chime is an fintech company that offers a digital-only banking solution.

Chime partners with two licensed banks in the US to offer its Spending and Savings accounts.

Chime accounts are FDIC insured so funds deposited in the accounts are protected.

 

Regulated associations

Chime accounts are insured up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount of $250 000 through its partner banks, Stride Bank and US Bancorp. Both Stride Bank and US Bancorp are licensed members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

 

What you need to open an account with Chime

  • must be 18 years and older
  • must be a citizen of the United States or District of Columbia
  • sign up for a Spending Account by downloading the Chime mobile app for iPhone or Android
  • provide your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • provide an email address

 

What does Chime offer its customers?

Chime Spending account

$0 monthly fee

No minimum balance requirement

Access to over 38 000 fee-free ATMs

Customers receive paycheck by direct deposit up to 2 days earlier than a traditional bank

$0 fees to use debit card overseas

$2.50 per transaction charged at out-of-network ATMs

Deposit cash at Green Dot locations for a nominal fee

Pay bills by sending a check online through Chime Checkbook feature

Limits of $5 000 per payment and $10 000 in a calendar month

Daily and monthly transfer limits; maximum you can send from an external bank is $200 per day and $1 000 per calendar month

 

Chime Savings account

$0 monthly fee

Linked to Chime Spending account

Set money aside with Automatic Savings features

Offers an annual yield of 0.50 percent (10x the national average)

No minimum balance requirement

No maximums on interest earned

Round Up feature on Chime card to nearest dollar; difference deposited into the savings account

Save When I Get Paid option; transfer 10 percent from your direct-debit paycheck into your savings account

All funds are held at an FDIC-insured banks

 

Chime mobile app

Award-winning user-friendly Chime app for all online transactions

Track your daily transactions and account balances

Get daily balance notifications and instant transaction alerts when using your Chime VISA debit card

Get a notification as soon as a direct deposit is posted into your Spending Account

Send money instantly using Pay Friends

 

SpotMe fee-free overdraft

$0 overdraft fees

Chime customers with total monthly qualifying direct deposits of $500 or more are eligible to enroll

Limits are determined by Chime based on factors such as account activity and history

SpotMe lets you make debit card purchases that overdraw your account with no overdraft fees

Limits start at $20 and can be increased up to $100

Negative balance is applied to next deposit into your Chime Spending account

No overdraft protection offered for transfers or line of credit

 

Get Paid Early

Get your direct deposit paycheck up to two days earlier than traditional banks with

When you set up a direct deposit on your Chime Spending account, you are automatically eligible to Get Paid Early

Get Paid Early feature activated via the Chime mobile app

 

Chime Automatic Savings

Save money every time you make a purchase or pay a bill with your Chime VISA debit card

Save When You Spend automatically rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the Round Up from your Spending Account into your Automatic Savings Account app

The more you use your Chime card, the more you build your savings

Automatically transfer a percentage of your monthly paycheck directly to your Chime Savings account

 

Fee-free ATM withdrawals

$0 fee for withdrawals from ATMs in Chime network

Chime customers have access to over 38 000 fee-free MoneyPass and VISA Plus Alliance ATMS

Use the Chime app to find the closest fee-free ATM near you

 

Chime cash deposits

Chime is a wholly-digital bank and does not have branches. Chime customers can deposit cash into their Spending account at over 90 000 retail locations in the United States. This includes cash deposit partners such as Walmart, Walgreens and 7-Eleven.

The cashier makes a deposit directly to your Chime Spending account. Customers can make up to 3 deposits every 24 hours up to a maximum of $10 000 per month.

To transfer funds from a non-Chime account to your Spending account, use the Move Money feature on the Chime app. Chime customers can make transfers of up to $200 per day and $1 000 per month. Transferred funds from an external bank account may take up to 5 working days to show in the account.

For both cash deposits at retail outlets and using the Move Money app, you will incur a deposit or transfer fee charged by the third party.

 

Chime Pay Friends

$0 to send money from Chime to Chime accounts

Built-in app feature to instantly pay friends, family or work contacts who have a Chime Spending account

Pay Friends is available on both iOS and Android and can be used to transfer money to friends regardless of which device they use

Pay Friends automatically pulls in your contacts from your mobile contact list to help you find and pay friends quickly

You can also pay friends or family using their phone number or email address

 

How much does it cost to bank with Chime?

$0 to open a Chime Spending account

$0 monthly fees or transaction fees

$0 for overdrawn balance

$0 minimum balance fees

$0 card replacement fee

$2.50 for over-the-counter withdrawal or out-of-network ATM withdrawal

 

Chime makes money from the Interchange (real) bank rate. Every time you use your Chime debit or credit card, VISA processes the transaction and charges an interchange fee for the service. Chime gets a percentage of the interchange fee every time the cards are used.

 

Is it safe to use Chime?

Chime has partnered with two leading licensed banks in the United States and is considered safe to use. All accounts are insured by the FDIC through its two partner banks up to the standard maximum $250 000 per depositor for each ownership category in the event of a bank failure. The partner banks are Stride Bank and US Bancorp, and both banks are licensed and regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Stride Bank is an Oklahoma-based financial institution that holds over US$1.17 billion in assets. The bank has developed and currently manages highly-specialised payment solutions for several national fintech companies, including Chime.

US Bancorp is a Minnesota-based holding company and the parent company of US Bank National Association. US Bancorp is the fifth-largest banking institution in the United States, the number one issuer of pre-paid card volume (2019), the 8th largest issuer of debit card volume (2019) and processes a combined monthly volume of over $20 billion.

Chime banking cards are protected by the VISA Zero Liability Policy. This ensures Chime customers are not held responsible for unauthorized charges on their debit or credit cards.

Chime supports a two-factor authentication and finger authentication on its mobile app.

For lost, stolen or misplaced banking cards, Chime customers can instantly block or disable their debit or credit card using the Chime mobile app. The same applies if you suspect your card is being used for unauthorised payments or purchases.

Chime customers receive real-time alerts of any transaction any time of the day via the Chime mobile app.

 

Advantages of Chime

Chime appeals to new-age customers who are comfortable with a totally digital-driven banking app and want a simple, fee-free account for spending and payments with no hidden fees.

A Chime Spending account can be opened in minutes via a user-friendly mobile and applicants are not subject to a credit check. Only personal information needs to be verified. This means that people with a poor banking history who have previously had a bank account closed by a traditional bank are not penalised for past issues.

Chime has two key differentiators; Get Paid Early and Credit Builder. The former allows customers to access funds in their Spending account that are monthly direct deposits, for example your paycheck. Credit Builder offers customers a VISA credit card which, when used responsibly, helps them to build their credit history.

Chime believes in giving people a second chance who have blown their chances of getting a credit card through a traditional bank. There is no credit check to apply for the Credit Builder account and customers are issued a secured VISA credit card with no monthly fee and no interest is charged.

Chime promotes a savings habit with a feature that automatically transfers a percentage of your paycheck (paid into your Spending account) into your Savings account. Chime’s Save When You Spend feature automatically rounds up debit or credit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the Round Up amount to your Savings app.

Sending money from one Chime account to another Chime account is free using the Pay Friends feature. There are also no withdrawal fees if a customer uses one of 38 000 ATMs in the Chime network.

Chime’s operational costs are significantly reduced as it is a digital-only company and has no costly ‘bricks and mortar’ infrastructure. Savings such as these allow neobanks to position themselves in the market as considerably cheaper than traditional banks.

 

Disadvantages of Chime 

Chime is a digital-only bank and all mobile transactions are done via an app. This means there are no Chime branches and no-one you can speak to face-to-face if you have a query or problem. Customer support is provided via the mobile app, phone or email.

Cash deposits can only be made through cash deposit partners which includes over 90 000 retail outlets. You won’t find a Chime branch in your town and to deposit cash, you rely on the fact that one of the retail outlets are based where you live or work.

Chime offers customers a digital financial solution that is convenient, faster and cheaper than most traditional banks. However, Chime only offers one main Spending account with a Savings account and Credit Builder linked to it if requested. If you need a full-service banking solution, you’ll find that what Chime has to offer is very limited.

 

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IN SUMMARY

The US-based Chime digital bank joins the likes of neobanks such as Revolut, Starling Bank and Monese to offer a new generation of customers a faster, more convenient and cheaper way to bank. Chime is only available to US and DC citizens but its cards work all over the world.

What sets Chime apart from other challenger banks is its commitment to giving people a second chance to build their credit history as well as a unique Get Paid Early feature which means customers access direct debit funds from say their paycheck at least two days earlier than traditional banks.

If you have a poor credit history and have been turned down by traditional institutions for a bank account or credit card, you’ll like the idea that Chime allows you to open an account and issues you with a VISA banking cards without doing a credit check.

Chime has partnered with Stride Bank and US Bancorp who are licensed and regulated by FDIC, meaning deposits are insured up to $250 000. With other security and privacy features, Chimes is safe to use and an exciting alternative to banking the old-fashioned way.

 

Disclaimer : Chime post-Covid19

This is a broad overview of the features and fee structure of Chime. It does not take into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

 

Author Details

Louis Schoeman

Louis Schoeman

Featured Forex and Stocks writer

Table of Contents

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