Wouldn’t it be nice to get your paycheck two days ahead of schedule? Or to eliminate the words “overdraft fees” from your vocabulary? How about managing your budget easily right from your phone? 

Chime online bank brings all of this to the table with an easy to use banking app and member-focused benefits.

Whether you’re just looking to get your paycheck a little sooner or want to simplify your budgeting, Chime Bank can help you save more with less hassle.

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What’s Chime?

Chime is a mobile banking app that makes saving simple. What really sets this bank apart from the competition is its accessibility and member perks. 

No matter your credit score or banking history, you’ll be able to open an account with Chime after a brief security check, even if other banks have turned you down recently. 

Since 2013, Chime has been offering banking services any money-minded human could appreciate. Early access to direct deposit, fee-free overdraft, and automatic savings are just a few features that members love.

There are three components to a Chime account:

  • Spending account: This functions similarly to a checking account. If you get a direct deposit from your employer, it’ll be routed to this account. 
  • Optional savings account: Chime’s savings account offers a competitive 1.60 percent APY. 
  • Visa debit card: Your debit card is directly linked to your Chime spending account. 

The spending and savings accounts have the same capabilities as standard bank accounts. You’ll have an assigned account and routing number, which you’ll need to provide your employer for direct deposit setup.

Even though Chime doesn’t look like the brick and mortar banks you might be used to, there’s no cause for worry: Chime is FDIC insured to the standard maximum deposit amount of $250,000 through its partner banks Stride Bank, N.A., and The Bancorp Bank.

If the easy enrollment process and fee-free banking weren’t enough to entice you, these member perks just might:  

  • Early Direct Deposit: Most paychecks take two business days to travel from your workplace to your bank account through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. When the payer agrees, Chime can help post those funds faster—as soon as it is notified they are coming.
  • Automated savings: If saving is your priority, Chime has tools that can make your goals a reality. You can round up your transactions so that extra cents get transferred to your savings account, and automate a portion of each paycheck to go right to savings. You won’t even get a chance to miss that money. 
  • Spotme Overdraft Protection: Chime has a generous fee-free overdraft protection policy for members with recurring direct deposit of at least $500 per month. By opting into this service, Chime can “spot” you an amount from $20 to $100, and pay itself back with your next direct deposit. 

With benefits that are easy to take advantage of, plus an easy-to-use debit card, Chime’s members get a very different experience from traditional banking. 

How the Chime card works

Your Chime spending account comes with a linked Visa debit card that you can use to withdraw or deposit funds at ATMs or make debit payments at retailers. 

Direct deposit is the primary way Chime members fund their accounts, but there are other options for depositing funds: 

  • Direct deposit: The best way to enjoy the perks of Chime banking is with direct deposit. Enrolling in direct deposit means you may be able to access your paycheck up to two days early. Additionally, having direct deposit qualifies you for mobile check deposit and Spotme overdraft protection. 
  • Bank transfer: This option is limited to a select set of large regional and national banks. You can transfer up to $200 per transaction, and $1,000 per month, from a supported bank account. 
  • Mobile deposit of a paper check: This feature is limited to members who have recurring direct deposit set up. 
  • Cash deposit: Using Green Dot, you can deposit cash to your Chime spending account at specific retail locations. Just keep in mind that these third parties can charge you fees for doing so, and you’re limited to cash deposits totaling $1,000 within 24 hours, up to $10,000 in a month.

Chime partners with MoneyPass and the Visa Plus Alliance networks to give its members access to more than 38,000 ATMs nationwide for free. 

You can even control your debit card by turning it on or off directly from the mobile app. If you’ve ever misplaced your card, you’ll know just how valuable this feature can be when you need it. 

How the Chime app works

The Chime mobile app brings banking right to your fingertips and is available for both Android and iPhone. You can completely manage your accounts from the mobile app, including accessing your account and routing number, viewing balance and transaction history, and turning your debit card on and off. You can even view your card details in the app—a small pleasure when you’re trying to make an online purchase, but your wallet is in the other room.

The app is user-friendly, with an overall rating of 4.8/5 on the Apple Store, and 4.6/5 on the Google Play store. Members note how easy it is to use the features and view their account information. 

How can I login to my Chime account? 

You can log into your chime account via the mobile app, or on the Chime website. All you need is your email address associated with your account, and the password you set when you signed up. 

Chime Reviews: Is it for real?

Chime is indeed a legit banking option for anyone who wants simple, fee-free banking right from their phone. It currently has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and boasts reviews that average higher than 4.5/5 stars across Trustpilot, Apple, and the Google Play Store. 

Happy customers highlight the widely used perks of the app: early direct deposit, easy-to-use mobile app, and automated savings. Not only that, but customer service, on the whole, seems to be responsive and helpful: 

Although negative reviews are few and far between, they mostly center around the fact that some members don’t actually receive their paychecks two days early:

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that this feature only works if the payer (your workplace) allows for it, and may not be successful with each pay cycle. 

What to do when Chime is down

You may have heard that Chime’s app went down in October 2019. While uncommon, it’s a risk that comes along with any electronic processing system. 

Like many online banks, Chime uses a third-party to process payments, which means that when the system goes down, the repair is beyond the bank’s control. These issues are typically resolved within a day or so.

If an outage occurs and you can’t access your Chime account (or any other online bank), there are a few steps you can take to take control of the situation: 

  • Remember that your money is safe: Chime is FDIC insured through its partners Stride Bank, N.A., or The Bancorp Bank, members FDIC. This means that funds under the maximum limit of $250,000 are insured. Just because you don’t have access to your funds doesn’t mean it’s not there, and you may find peace of mind in remembering that your hard-earned money is protected.
  • Contact your creditors: If you have bills due during an app outage, many creditors will be understanding of your circumstances and work with you to avoid any late fees. You must take the proactive step of calling first, though. 
  • Have a back-up plan: No matter where you do your banking, you should always have a plan B. Even brick and mortar banks can have issues, like card stripes not working or overactive fraud detection. Some ways you can protect yourself and maintain some peace of mind are: 
    • Having a bank account with a different bank with an emergency balance,
    • Carrying a credit card that can cover immediate expenses, or 
    • Keeping a prepaid Visa card on hand 

It’s frustrating when you can’t access your funds. Chime has shown its commitment to its members and wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. 

Chime vs. Competitors: Which is best for you?

With so many options on the market for online banking, it can be hard to choose. To help you with your decision, we’ve highlighted important features that make Chime stand out from the competition. 

Chime vs. Varo

Chime and Varo have a lot in common. They’re both online-only banks that offer early paycheck access through direct deposit, as well as automated savings transfers that can be set up right from the mobile app. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between these banks at all.

However, Chime comes out ahead for those who rely on heftier ATM cash withdrawals. You can withdraw up to $500 cash per day with Chime, compared to Varo’s $300 per day limit. 

If withdrawal limits don’t make or break your decision, you might consider the ATM networks. Chime partners with Moneypass and Visa Plus Alliance (VPA), and Varo with Allpoint. Nationwide accessibility is about equal, but you can see which network has more convenient locations for you to benefit from fee-free ATM use, as foreign ATMs will charge a fee for using your Chime or Varo debit card.

Chime vs. Ally

Chime and Ally offer very different services to their customers. Where Chime’s features focus on getting you paid fast and simplifying the savings process, Ally functions more like a traditional bank. 

If you’re looking for a bank that can offer you other financial products like C.D.s, refinancing, and money market accounts, Ally’s your best bet. Chime doesn’t offer any products aside from its linked spending account, savings account, and Visa card.

However, Chime is a clear winner when it comes to mobile app accessibility. Those looking for a simple way to take control of transactions and payroll will fare better with Chime, with features like mobile account management, daily balance and transaction notifications, and straightforward automated savings.

Chime vs. Green Dot

While Chime is an online bank, Green Dot is a prepaid card service. You get similar options with both to load money into accounts, but Chime comes with a much lower price tag. Compared with Green Dot’s $7.95 monthly fee (unless you deposit $1,000 per month), Chime is a no-brainer for the lack of fees alone. Not only that, but if saving is a priority, Chime savings link easily to your Chime spending account, while Green Dot does not have a savings feature. 

If you deposit cash regularly, you’ll pay the same fee with either option. This is because Chime uses Green Dot to process cash deposits at participating retailers. 

Chime: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chime? 

Chime is an online bank that offers fee-free accounts that make saving and spending money easier. If you’ve been denied opening a bank account elsewhere, Chime can help you get started again. Among its many benefits, Chime avoids hidden fees with free ATMs across the nation, overdraft protection up to $100, and no minimum balance requirements.

What bank is Chime run through? 

Chime Bank is partnered with Stride Bank, N.A., or The Bancorp Bank, members FDIC. 

Where and how can I load my Chime card?

Your Chime card is connected to your Chime spending account, and there are a few ways you can add money to it: direct deposit, mobile check deposit, bank transfers, and cash deposit. You can enroll in Direct Deposit to have your paycheck sent right to your account. You can do this by providing your account and routing number to whoever is responsible for payroll at your workplace.  Once you have Direct Deposit set up, you become eligible to deposit paper checks via mobile deposit. All you have to do is log into the app and upload a picture of your endorsed physical check.  Chime also supports limited regional and national banks for bank transfers. If you have an account with a bank it supports, you can transfer money between accounts up to $1,000 per month.  Cash deposits are possible with Chime but can end up costly. Through Green Dot, you can load money into your Chime account at retailers across the country—just keep in mind they’ll likely charge you a fee.

How do I contact Chime customer service?

You can connect with Chime customer service via the following methods:  By phone at 1 (844) 244-6363. Phone lines are staffed Monday to Saturday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM CST, and Sunday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM CST.  By email at support@chime.com.

Chime Contact Information

HeadquartersP.O. Box 417, San Francisco, CA 94104
Customer service phone number1 (844) 244-6363
Customer service emailsupport@chime.com
Websitechime.com
Twitter handle@Chime

Conclusion: Can you bank and budget better with Chime?

Chime is an excellent option for anyone looking to get a better handle on their budgeting. Forget the overwhelm of complicated budget tracking apps and account options. Chime has exactly what you need for a streamlined approach to budgeting—early direct deposit, automatic savings transfers, and daily balance notifications help you stay on top of your accounts. 

If your current bank is making mobile banking too complicated, or charging you fees you know you can do without, making the switch to Chime can save you money…and stress.

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Updated May 27, 2020

Mandie Kelleher is a freelance content writer for financial services and personal finance. With a background in financial administration, and teaching, she crafts content that deepens her readers' understanding by making complex topics simple. You can learn more about Mandie by visiting her site, mandiekelleher.com.