Do you have a “free” checking or savings account at one of the big banks? If you’re a financial boy scout or girl scout, the account is truly free to you. But someone who is a financial wreck is subsidizing you. If you’ve ever overdrafted on your account, the $35 per day overdraft charge proves just how “free” your account really is.
Big banks collect big money from overdraft fees, account minimum fees, and bounced check fees. All these fees make it even more difficult to break out from the paycheck to paycheck trap that ensnares so many young people.
But not every bank abides by this philosophy. Chime, a mobile forward, deposit and savings institution is making money management and savings easier. This is how they’re doing it. Plus, see why we think Chime is one of the best online banks.
- A mobile-app based bank that is user friendly
- As fee-free as you can get with a checking account
- Get your direct deposit up to 2 days early
Chime Bank Details
Min Opening Deposit
Min Balance Requirement
38,000 Free ATMs
Checking And Savings
Like many internet banks, Chime keeps their costs low by investing heavily in technology and eliminating brick and mortar outlets. However, they’ve also had the foresight to focus on their mobile platform. Recently, they’ve been featured by Apple as one of the top money management apps.
The app makes it incredibly easy to set up direct deposit, to transfer money among your accounts, find an ATM and review your recent transactions.
The app is responsive, intuitive, and it has the information you need. You can see recent transactions, account balances, how to find an ATM, and your linked account balances. It’s easy to pay a bill or transfer money right in the app.
They recently added in mobile check deposit, which I think is a huge win!
Chime’s fee schedule is 4 lines long. There are no maintenance fees, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, bounced check fees. You can even use MoneyPass to have access to more 38,000 ATMs for free.
You will pay $2.50 to use an out of network ATM and a 3% external debit charge (when you load your account via debit instead of a direct transfer). That’s it.
Chime is as close to a Fee Free account as you can get. They take pride in aligning their business profits with their members needs. If you join Chime, you can expect transparency and a bank account with no fine print.
Chime also offers no-fee overdraft up to $100 with their SpotMe service. There is no fee to use the service, but once your negative balance is repaid, there is the option to leave Chime a tip.
Chime members 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.
Make Saving Simple (and Rewarding)
In addition to keeping the fees out of banking, Chime allows you to set up an automatic savings program. They launched a high yield savings account that currently pays 0.50% APY.
The bank rounds up each transaction to the nearest dollar, and sets the money into a savings account. They also add a 10% reward to the money you set aside- up to $500 per year.
In addition to the Round-Up program, Chime Members now have the opportunity to also enroll in "Save When I Get Paid," which automatically directs 10% of every paycheck into our Member's savings account.
If you’re struggling to save for a rainy day, a behavioral tool like Chime Automatic Savings can be a perfect solution. You can always access the money or transfer it back to your spending account, but mentally separating it is an easy solution to a savings problem.
But Will it Meet My Needs?
If you have straightforward banking needs, Chime is an excellent bank for you. It’s fee free. It’s got a built in savings tool. You can spend money with a visa debit card, pay bills via the mobile Chime Checkbook.
The beauty of Chime is in its simplicity. However, the simplicity has some drawbacks.
The Chime Checkbook only allows $5,000 in a single transaction but otherwise, there is no limit to how many checks you can send per day. Lump sum expenses like a rental deposit (first, last and security deposit) typically requires a big check, and $5000 might not cut it.
Also, Chime is not set up for joint account holders. If you and your spouse want to share a checking account, Chime isn’t a good option right now.
How Does Chime Compare?
With that being said, here's a quick comparison to other popular banks:
Up to 1.00%
38,000+ Free ATMs
55,000+ Free ATMs
43,000+ Free ATMs
Here are some common questions about Chime:
What is Chime?
Chime is a mobile-first app-based bank that has a free checking account and more features - all on your phone.
Is Chime Free?
Chime is about as fee-free as you can get in a checking account. There are no monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees.
Does Chime offer free ATMs?
Chime has a network of over 38,000 fee-free ATMs.
Does Chime have a debit card?
Yes, you get a debit card with your Chime account.
- Commissions & Fees
- Customer Service
- Ease Of Use
- Products & Services
- Specialty Services
Chime is a mobile first bank that offers almost fee free checking, as well as some great products and services for banking customers.
- Fee-Free Checking
- High APY on Savings
- Depositing Cash Can Be A Challenge
- There are lower transaction limits compared to other banks
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.