Technology

Chime app review: what we like and what we don’t

Budget-conscious clients tired of receiving money from traditional bank accounts will benefit the most from using the Chime app.

Chime offers checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. In addition, there is a loan creation tool that you can use to create a loan from scratch for free.

The trade-off is that banking with Chime takes place entirely online. So, if you want to visit the bank from time to time, Chime will not be the best option. And if you are looking for a financial institution with a full range of products, such as bonus credit cards or loans, it is better to go to a larger bank.

However, as you will see in our review of the Chime app, Chime is not just a revolutionary in the banking industry. With perks like direct deposits up to two days early, savings and overdraft protection up to $200, it’s easy to see why there’s so much to enjoy in this app.

Here are the pros and cons.

Chime App Review: Features

Chime is a banking app that helps users manage their money. But Chime itself is not a bank; instead, a technology company created the banking platform. Banking services are actually handled by Chime partners, FDIC members, The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank. Here are the ins and outs of what Chime has to offer:

Checking bills in a call

Chime’s core product is account verification, which allows you to perform day-to-day banking activities such as payroll deposits, bill payments, and withdrawals.

Each Chime account comes with a Visa debit card that you can use in stores or connect to your digital wallet. The following are notable features:

  • No credit check: Applying for a Chime checking account does not require checking your past banking or credit history, which can be a boon if a bad history is keeping you from qualifying for other bank accounts.
  • Free ATMs: Cardholders get access to over 60,000 free ATMs worldwide. You may be charged a third party ATM fee if you use an offline ATM.
  • Get paid two days faster: If you’ve set up payroll for direct transfer to your Chime account, you can get paid up to two days earlier.
  • Savings Summary: The summary feature can group each transaction by your bank account and save change.
  • Free Overdraft: Eligible account members who deposit at least $200 monthly into their Chime account are eligible for Chime SpotMe, an additional overdraft service that covers overdrafts up to $20.
  • Transaction Control: You can enable or disable your card using the app, and enable or disable international purchases when you travel abroad for security purposes.
  • Special Offers: Chime users can access special discounts and cashback offers from companies partnering with Chime.

How to add money to Chime

To fund your Chime account, you can set up a direct deposit, transfer money from external banks, make a mobile checking deposit, or deposit cash with deposit partners.

How to withdraw money from Chime

To withdraw money from your Chime account, you can withdraw money from an ATM, transfer money to an external bank account, send money to a friend, mail a check, or pay your bill with your card.

Chime High Yield Savings Accounts

In addition to checking accounts, the Chime app offers savings accounts that you can open to save money for emergencies or other purposes.

Chime Savings Accounts currently offer an APY of 1.00%, much higher than the national average of 0.08% APY for savings accounts.

Chime Credit Builder Accounts

The Chime Credit Builder account works like a secured credit card with no annual fees or interest rates.

There is also no credit check, so if you have limited credit history or bad credit history, you can still qualify for it.

Here’s how the Credit Builder account works:

  • Sign up for a Credit Builder account through your Chime checking account.
  • Transfer money from your Chime checking account to your Credit Builder account; this money acts like your line of credit.
  • Use your Credit Builder Card wherever Visa is accepted.
  • The funds in your Credit Builder account will automatically pay your credit card bill.
  • Account payments are reported to all three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – to help you build a positive credit history.

(Image credit: Call)

Restrictions

Other than the banking features listed above, Chime’s mobile banking app is quite limited in its financial services. Traditional banks may have some frustrating rules, such as a minimum balance requirement, but they usually offer more bells and whistles.

For example, large banks may offer loans, joint accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and investment services. Banks and credit unions may even let you manage bank accounts and loans from the same app profile. The Chime app can help you manage basic banking, but nothing more that is related to your finances, which should be considered.

Chime App Review: Pricing

The Chime mobile app is free to download, and banking services are also free. So how does Chime make money? Every time you use your debit card, the merchant you buy from is charged a transaction fee, and part of that fee goes to Chime.

Chime App Review: Ease of Use

Clarity and simplicity is what we’re all looking for when onboarding an app, and Chime’s registration process delivers on that. Chime will kindly tell you what information is needed to create an account.

The Chime app is available on iPhone or Android. To get started, you need to provide your email address, home address, and social security number. Chime says it’s only using your social security number to verify your information and won’t result in a credit hit.

Once setup is complete, Chime will show you how to fund your account. The app’s main screen also gives you a good view of your balances, perfect for when you want to quickly check if you have enough money to make a purchase.

Chime App Review: Support

Chime Customer Support is available Monday through Sunday from 3:00 AM to 11:00 PM CST. When you call, Chime attempts to answer your question without connecting you to a live person, by first walking you through several automated customer service options. But if you press 0, you can quickly contact an agent who is willing to help with account questions.

How the Chime app differs from the competition

Chime is very similar to Varo, another mobile banking app that offers banking services. However, one area where Varo stands out is that it offers higher APY savings, from 1.20% APY to 5% APY, compared to Chime’s 1.00% APY. So, if you want to maximize your interest income, Varo might be your best bet.

Chase is a big bank that has a banking app that offers some of the same features as Chime, like the ability to set up savings automation and transfer money to other partners using Zelle. But Chase checking accounts have a monthly fee unless you maintain a certain daily balance or have direct deposits of $500 or more in each billing period.

Like Chase, Bank of America is a large bank offering banking products, mortgages and other loans. Using the Bank of America app, you can send cash, set savings goals, make mobile deposits, and more. But then again, Bank of America checking accounts may also incur monthly fees if you don’t meet the direct deposit and balance requirements. When it comes to no commissions or conditions, Chime reigns supreme.

Chime App Review: The Verdict

Chime is a great app for doing simple day-to-day tasks like paying paychecks, paying bills, and saving money for a rainy day. But it’s pretty simple.

Chime customers don’t get access to physical branches or advanced banking, making it less than ideal if you want to open multiple account types in one place. The advantage of running many different accounts at a large bank is that it sometimes comes with loyalty perks, such as interest rate discounts or incentive bonuses.

Ultimately, Chime is a good choice if you need a basic bank account. But if you want to make more complex money transfers or have a lot of assets to manage, you might be better off looking at other banking options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Chime offer online banking?

Chime is a technology company that offers banking services through its app and website, but Chime itself is not a bank. The banking services that support the app are provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, both of which are members of the FDIC.

Does Chime charge any fees?

The Chime app is free to download. Chime does not charge monthly fees, overdraft fees, or international transaction fees for its checking or savings accounts. The Credit Builder account, Chime’s secure card version, also has no annual fee or interest rate.

What types of accounts does Chime have?

Chime has bank accounts, checking accounts, and credit creation accounts that work like a secure card that you can use to build your credit history.

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