Chime Banking [An Honest Review]

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Chime is an extremely popular banking app. What exactly makes them so popular, and is it a good fit for you specifically as a consumer? Let’s find out in this comprehensive review of the Chime banking app.

What is Chime?

Chime is an app that partners with banks to provide banking services through the Chime platform. Specifically, they work with Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, both of which are FDIC members. In terms of the services Chime provides, its quite comprehensive. Some of these services include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Secured credit cards

We’ll be looking at each of those products in detail below. Furthermore, they’ve got featured benefits for their consumers, which include:

  • The ability to get an advance on your paycheck or IRS refunds up to 2 days earlier than usual, and interest-free
  • The ability to spend $200 past your debit balance without triggering overdraft fees
  • The ability to pay friends and family through the app for no charge
  • 2.00% APY
  • Automatic Savings to help you build an emergency fund
  • Transaction alerts
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to tens of thousands of ATMs around the nation

Interest piqued yet? Everything looks pretty good so far. Let’s go through the main products that Chime has to offer. But before we start, is Chime an actual bank?

Is Chime a real bank?

No, Chime is not a real bank. As previously stated, they are partnered with a couple of banks for their services. However, as they are not an actual bank, they are not subject to the same rules and regulations as bank. This can be argued to be a point of concern in terms of business practices. For example, they aren’t really allowed to market themselves as a bank, yet they do so anyway. As to whether this poses a problem since they work with FDIC insured banks that truly do comply to the rules and regulations set forth for banks is up for debate.

Is Chime a neobank?

Yes, Chime is a neobank. These are online-only banking services that have been popping up as popular alternatives for people who have less than stellar credit scores or funds and can’t qualify for many of the traditional banking services or products that brick-and-mortar banks offer.

Also check out our review of another neobank, Current, and how the two compares.

Chime’s Checking Account

Chime has a checking account you can open with no minimum balance requirement, monthly maintenance fee, or overdraft charges. You can accidentally overspend by up to $200 and not get charged an overdraft fee for it. Chime will simply apply your next deposit to the balance to even things out. In order to qualify for that feature, called SpotMe, you simply need to have a monthly deposit of at least $200 as well as an active Chime Visa debit card. Plus, if you’ve been a member of the Chime app for awhile and they start to notice that you’re a responsible, reasonably-funded client, they may qualify you for a higher SpotMe limit than $200.

To pull out your money, you have your choice of over 60,000 partnered ATMs across the nation to choose from. And if you want to use your card internationally, they don’t charge you either. That’s quite a big deal as many banks make a lot of their money by charging fees as high as 3% overseas.

A great and unique feature of the Chime checking account is that you can round purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the remaining amount of money into a high-yield savings account automatically. This works very similarly to the Acorns Round-Ups feature, which is another great money-saving app you can check out.

Another great perk of signing up for a checking account with Chime is that they allow you to get an advance on your paycheck or IRS refund up to two days earlier than usual, and the best part about it is that there’s no interest charge on it.

Chime’s High Yield Savings Account

Chime’s High Yield Savings account offers a very high APY relative to other financial institutions. Their APY is 2.00%.

Credit Karma Online Savings is a worthy savings competitor and has been known to offer as high as 2.03%, and that’s already over 10x the national average, but even they don’t even offer that high of an APY at the moment.

Plus, with Chime’s High Yield Savings account, there are no attached minimum balances and no fees. As interest rates increase, you may see Chime’s APY increase along with that, making it all the more worthwhile. Keep in mind that in order to have a High Yield Savings account with Chime, you’ll need a checking account to go along with it. It’s also great to pair it with the automatic savings feature where you round up a purchase to the nearest dollar and deposit the remainder to your High Yield Savings account.

What is the Chime Credit Builder Credit Card?

The Chime Credit Builder credit card is aimed towards people who are just getting started on their financial journey or have a not-so-great credit score that they need to work on building up. Chime offers a Secured Visa credit card, meaning that a minimum deposit is required to serve as collateral.

The way it works is, you can move a minimum of $200 from your Chime checking account to your Credit Builder account, and that serves as your credit limit. You’re essentially only able to spend what you already have. Then, as you make purchases and pay off the balance with the money in the Credit Builder account, Chime will report to the three major credit bureaus: Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. This helps to build up your FICO credit score without any risk of non-payment.

On top of helping you build your credit score over time, this particular credit card doesn’t require any credit checks. This is a big deal for those with already poor credit because it doesn’t trigger a hard pull, which will end up lowering an already low credit score. The reason they’re able to do this is because it’s a secured credit card; the money you put into your Credit Builder account serves as a collateral and safeguard. It basically makes Chime taking you on as a credit card client a no-risk proposition for them.

How’s the Chime app?

Chime’s app is beautifully designed and highly intuitive. This is one of the strengths of going with a neobank. As a first and foremost tech company, Chime knows how to succeed in creating a user interface and experience that is seamless and enjoyable for the user. Although there are many pros to using Chime, the aesthetics and features offered in the Chime app far outshine any app from a traditional bank.

Chime even adds a Venmo-like feature where you can directly send and receive money with your friends and family using the Chime app, all for no charge. Your friends and family won’t even need a Chime app for you to pay them through the Pay Anyone feature; any bank will work just fine. You just simply need their email or phone number. There are also no fees to instantly cash-out if you wish.

How much does Chime cost?

Chime truly doesn’t have any hidden fees anywhere. Not any overdraft fees, maintenance fees, overseas fees, nothing. The only fee that comes close to Chime charging you a fee is if you use an out-of-network ATM to pull your money out of Chime. However, that’s usually within your control as there are over 60,000 ATMs to choose from. If you’re near a 7-Eleven, chances are you can go there to get your money fee-free.

Chime to Chime transfer limit

If you’re looking to transfer money within Chime accounts, you can do as many transfers as you wish.

Outgoing Chime transfer limit

An outgoing Chime transfer is a transfer of funds from a Chime account to an external bank account that isn’t Chime. As far as Chime transfer limits to external accounts, you are allowed to make up to 3 transfers per day up to a max of $1,000 total per day. If you have been in good standing with Chime, you may be able to contact customer service and have them increase your transfer limit.

Chime bank wire transfer limit

Unfortunately, Chime does not allow wire transfers at this time, but they do hope to have them added as an option in the near future.

Does Chime work with Cash App?

Absolutely. Chimes works with Cash App. When you are in the process of transferring money, after designating the amount to be transferred out of Chime, be sure to select Cash App as the receiving platform. Once you’ve reviewed the information as correct, go ahead and confirm to get the transaction going.

Chime early direct deposit advantage

For many people, the reason to get a Chime account is that with Chime, your direct deposit can show up 2 whole days earlier than any other account. This is crucial to those who need their money right away.

When will my direct deposit hit Chime?

This depends on where the direct deposit is coming from:

  • From your employer, your direct deposit will post immediately. However, the exact timeframe varies by employer. You’ll have to contact your employer to get specifics.
  • A cash deposit from a retail location will post as a direct deposit into your account within 2 hours.
  • If initiated from an external bank account, it’ll take about 3 business days from the time of the request.
  • If initiated via Chime, it’ll take about 5 business days to see your direct deposit hit your Chime account. This takes longer because Chime has to communicate with the bank to get the direct deposit request going for you.

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