Chime vs. Current [4 Things to Know Before Signing Up]

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There aren’t too many differences between the two, but the differences that exist can and possibly should change your opinion on which to use. Today we’ll be getting into the details of these two digital/neo-banks to help you make a better and informed choice for yourself and your family.

Before getting into the differences between the two, let’s first briefly touch upon what these two are.

What are Chime and Current, and why do we care?

Chime and Current are similar to banks, but they aren’t truly banks. Instead, they partner with actual FDIC-insured banks to provide the core accounts, while offering features and services that traditional banks don’t necessarily offer. This has earned them the moniker neo-bank. The partnerships they create allow them grow faster and add more services and features for customers to enjoy.

Both Chime and Current are app-based; they don’t have any physical branches you can visit. But they do partner with out-of-network ATMs to provide you with as much convenience as possible. You can open checking accounts, savings accounts, and depending on which you go with, a credit card or teen banking account.

Are neo-banks the future of banking? It’s hard to say. But at the moment, they are backed by billions in funding and certainly have a promising future. Only time will tell.

What are the similarities between Chime and Current?

Both Chime and Current have a lot going for them over traditional banks. Here are some of their features, many of which are quite uncommonly seen when you’re banking at a physical chain:

  • Neither charge any penalties for going below a certain balance.
  • Neither charge a maintenance fee.
  • You get a savings account with both and a purchase round-up program that allows you to put money into your savings account by rounding purchases to the nearest dollar.
  • Both have tons of ATMs available, over 50k each.
  • You have overdraft protection with both. Chime’s protection is known as SpotMe and will spot you up to $200 without triggering any overdraft fees. Current’s is called Overdrive and basically does the same thing up to $200.
  • They both offer access to your direct deposit up to 2 days ahead of payday or your IRS refund date.
  • Both have fees for wire transfers, overseas payments, and ATM withdrawals.
  • Both are not truly banks, but rather neo-banks; they work with existing banks and are online only. This allows them to focus on offering you features not commonly seen with regular banks, and it’s all made possible by the fact that they have lower operating expenses to run each neo-bank.

How much do Chime and Current cost?

Chime and Current do not cost anything to open an account.

However, Current offers an additional option of opening a teen account for your child for $36 per year. They offer a 30-day free trial if you want to go this route and try it out risk-free. It’s probably not the best option out there if you want to open an account for your child though; there are many other companies that have a more teen-focused account and app. Consider checking out some of the following:

  • Greenlight
  • GoHenry
  • Chase First Banking
  • MPH
  • Axos First Checking

What are the key differences between Chime and Current?

Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes. Realistically, for most potential users, one of the following should sway you towards either Chime or Current. There’s no wrong answer, it’s really just all about what you’re looking for in a neo-bank.

  1. Current’s Savings Pod offers 4% APY on your deposits up to $6,000, compared to Chime’s 2% on their savings account.
  2. Current fronts the cost of gas when you fill up, which means that while your gas purchase is pending, it won’t tie up the money in your account until it finalizes the charge. Chime does not have a service like this.
  3. Chime has a Credit Builder secured card that doesn’t require a credit pull; Current offers nothing analogous to this.
  4. Chime does not charge foreign transaction fees, while Current does. You should know that Current will charge a fee of $3 + 3% for any withdrawals you make at an international ATM.

Each of these are potentially a large selling point depending on what you value as a user. If you’re looking to get the most for any unused money sitting in your account or want to have as much money available at the most possible times, Current is your best bet. On the other hand, if you need to build your credit or travel often, Chime is your better friend.

Of note, if you’re interested in other platforms that have credit building services, consider Capital 360 and Cred.ai as an alternative.

Other key considerations with Current

  • With Current, there is a workaround that allows you to deposit cash. You do so by going to their Money tab on the app to find a store that works with Current. Once you do, you can go to the store’s cashier and give them cash plus a barcode associated with your Current account. However, you’ll be charged $3.50 for each cash deposit performed this way.
  • Current cannot be added to Plaid.
  • Current does not offer an option to lock your card to prevent any international charges while you aren’t traveling overseas. Chime does.
  • Current’s customer service is one of their weak points. You cannot call them via any phone number and when you text them via the app, you only get robots. Some customers wrongfully get their money held for a plethora of reasons, and the only way to really get a response is to file a complaint with the BBB, which really gets their attention. To be fair, their terms of service does basically state they have the power to withhold funds or ban accounts for any reason, or no reason at all really.

Check out our full review of Current.

Other key considerations with Chime

  • Chime’s SpotMe is their most-loved feature for most users.
  • Chime has a second chance banking option that basically allows you to open an account with them even if you get rejected for a traditional bank account. This account is also fee-free.
  • Their credit building service doesn’t do a hard pull on your credit. You can apply for this once you have at least $200 directly deposited into your account.
  • There is no cash back rewards for Chime’s card.
  • Customer service is extremely slow, especially when it comes to fraud charges. Traditional banks often win in this category, unfortunately.
  • Out-of-network ATMs will charge you $2.50 per withdrawal.
  • Limited compatibility with apps like Mint, Acorns, Zelle, etc.
  • Fraud rates are higher for Chime then traditional banks due to their tech-focused service.
  • No joint accounts.
  • Chime can lock your card to prevent any international charges while you aren’t traveling overseas. However, this does mean you’ll have to be mindful that when you do actually travel abroad, you’ll need to unlock it or you’ll find yourself not being able to withdraw money the first time around when you’re traveling. That can be very frustrating depending on your time schedule abroad.
  • Peer-to-peer payments can only happen to friends or family that also have Chime accounts.
  • Chime can be added to Plaid.
  • Chime also doesn’t have the greatest customer service, but it is slightly a step above Current’s. This could be due to the fact that Chime has much larger funding and resources to put into it compared to Current.

Check out our full review of Chime.

Are these neo-banks legit?

In other words, is it safe to bank with Current or Chime? The answer is yes, both Current and Chime are indeed legitimate companies.

Current is a private company that was founded in 2015 by Stuart Sopp, co-founder and CEO. He has been able to raise over $402.4 million in funding, including some funding provided by MrBeast himself. The company has reached Series D funding, which few startups often reach. This stage is often funded by venture capital firms. Current currently has 19 investors invested in the success of this company.

Chime has an even more impressive background, having been founded in 2013 by Chris Britt and Ryan King, with Britt serving as CEO and Ryan as CTO. To date, they have raised $2.3 billion in funding and have reached Series G, which is often a pre-IPO level of funding that even fewer startups ever reach. Currently, Chime has 31 investors heavily invested in the success of the company.

In conclusion: Current vs. Chime

Both Chime and Current are great options for anyone looking for a neo-bank to bank with. The main considerations that should sway you towards one or the other are:

  1. Current’s 4% APY vs. Chime’s 2%.
  2. Current’s ability to front the cost of gas.
  3. Chime’s Credit Builder secured card that doesn’t require a credit pull.
  4. The fact that Chime does not charge foreign transaction fees, while Current does.

Hopefully, this helps you make a decision one way or another. As always, if you feel we’re missing any important points, let us know by contacting us. We always love to hear from our readers!

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