- Savings account interest rate is considerably higher than the national average
- No ATM, overdraft or monthly service fees
- Customers earn cash-back rewards on select purchases
- Only one checking and one savings account
- No CDs
Betterment is a financial services company that began in 2010 with the mission to make investing simpler for everyone. It pursued this mission by pioneering the “robo-advisory” industry, which uses statistics-based algorithms to compute optimal portfolio allocations for investors.
Since that time, the firm has broadened its financial services capabilities, and now it offers customized retirement plans, access to financial advisors and a cash management suite, including a checking account with a Visa debit card. Today, the company has assets under management worth $30.7 billion. These factors lent themselves to why Betterment is a finalist on GOBankingRates’ list of Best Neobanks of 2023.
Here is a look at some of the best features of Betterment.
Betterment Checking is a no-fee checking account with no account minimums or opening deposit amounts and comes with a free Visa debit card and reimbursed ATM fees worldwide. Betterment also reimburses customers for foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad and also includes check-writing privileges. Customers earn cash rewards for purchases they make at select merchants and can track available offers in their accounts.
Cash Reserve is Betterment’s high-yield savings account that can be opened with as little as $10. This account comes with an APY of and no minimum balance requirements or monthly service fees. Customers can make unlimited withdrawals from the account penalty-free. Individual Cash Reserve accounts are insured up to $1 million or up to $2 million for joint accounts. GOBankingRates has rated Cash Reserve as one of the Best Online and Neobank Savings Accounts of 2023.
Betterment’s investing products include automated investing, crypto investing, traditional and Roth IRAs and 401(k)s. Automated and crypto investing comes with services like automated rebalancing and multiple portfolio options. The investing fee is either $4 per month or an annual fee of 0.25% of the account balance. Crypto customers pay a 1% fee in addition to trading expenses. For an additional 0.15% fee, customers have access to a Certified Financial Planner to help them.
Betterment has no physical branches, and customers use the mobile app to monitor balances, transfer funds and track purchases. The company currently does not offer bill pay services, so customers have to set up automatic payments with vendors if they do not want to write checks. The app has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Google Play and 4.7 out of 5 on the App Store. Its usefulness for banking services is somewhat limited since it does not include bill pay and mobile check deposit is restricted.
Comparable Neobank Options
Take a look at how Betterment compares to similar neobanks.
SoFi offers home, personal and student loans as well as investment and financial planning services, a checking account and a savings account. The checking and savings accounts are fee-free accounts, and customers have access to ATMs on the Allpoint Network and perks like early paycheck deposits and mobile bill pay. Like Betterment, customers receive cash back on select purchases made with the SoFi debit card. However, SoFi’s savings account has a slightly lower APY compared to Betterment’s high-yield offering.
Like Betterment, Chime* offers fee-free checking and savings accounts1 with no minimum balances and no foreign transaction fees. Chime also offers a Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card2 for customers who need to build their credit score. After meeting the requirement of having a Chime Checking Account, customers can open a High-Yield Savings Account with Chime. However, the APY3 on the High-Yield Savings Account pales in comparison to Betterment’s .
Over the years, Betterment has tweaked its core robo-advisory product, experimenting with different pricing strategies and capabilities. However, it has always relied on Nobel Prize-backed research in developing its algorithm and focused on keeping costs as low as possible for customers. Betterment is a finalist on GOBankingRates’ list of Best Neobanks for 2023 and is best for customers who travel abroad frequently and can take advantage of the foreign transaction fee reimbursement or for savers looking to earn top rates on a savings account.
Betterment FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Betterment.
- What is Betterment?
- Betterment is primarily a robo-advisor and is not a bank, but it also offers a checking account and savings account through partner banks. Partner banks include Barclays Bank Delaware, Citi, HSBC Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.
- Is Betterment worth the fee?
- Betterment does not charge fees on its checking and savings accounts. Customers pay a fee for investing and crypto services.
- What are the cons of using Betterment?
- Since Betterment is not a bank, it doesn't offer customers a full range of banking products, such as CDs and loans. As a mobile-first account, customers have to do all their banking through the mobile app or an ATM. In some cases, the only way to deposit money is through a transfer and not a mobile check deposit.
- Can Betterment be trusted?
- Betterment partners with well-known and trusted banks throughout the country. These banks include Bancorp, Barclays, Citi, HSBC and Wells Fargo. Money deposited into checking and savings accounts is protected by FDIC insurance.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 3, 2023.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.
To determine rankings for the Best Neobanks, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (2) savings APY; (3) products/services offered (credit cards and investment services); (4) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores; and (5) number of extra benefits and perks unique to neobanks. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factor (1) was weighted 0.5 times, and factors (2) and (5) were weighted 2 times.
To determine rankings for the Best Online Bank and Neobank Savings Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all online banks and neobanks: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) minimum deposit to open an account; (3) monthly savings fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (4) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (5) savings APY; and (6) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factor (1) was weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighed 1.5 times and factor (5) was weighted 3 times.
1There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account.
2The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
3The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC