Chime® Review: An Online Banking Option With No Monthly Fees

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: Chime is very different from the traditional banking experience. It's often referred to as a "challenger bank" -- a term used for fintechs, or financial technology companies, that don't have an official banking charter but can provide many of the same services. Check out Chime's top-performing categories to find out whether this traditional bank alternative is right for you.*  
  • APYs
    4.7
  • Benefits
    4.7
  • Products
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Chime Overview

Chime® is headquartered in San Francisco and launched in 2014. Its innovative fintech — financial technology — roots is the top reason why it’s different from the average brick-and-mortar bank*. Chime doesn’t have any physical branches — online banking is key, using the simple-to-understand mobile app and debit card to handle your everyday finances. 

Chime’s partnerships with regional banks help them create “member first financial products.” The approach lowers Chime’s operating costs and cuts out many of the fees you’re used to paying. A good example is Chime’s partnerships with Stride Bank and The Bancorp Bank, which adds FDIC protection for Chime account holders, up to $250,000.

Chime Key Features

Here are Chime reviews for the best-performing categories.

APYs

You’ll earn a high-yield interest rate7,8 on your account balances. It’s higher than the average yield you’d find from the traditional brick and mortar bank*.

Benefits

Chime wants to make banking accessible for everyone, regardless of credit history. You don’t have to worry about credit checks or Chex Systems to open an account. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the typical fees you’ll see with other banks such as monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. For anyone who struggles opening a bank account or can’t afford to pay fees, Chime is a great option*.

Products

Other online banks and fintechs may have a wider variety of products including CDs, money markets and loans. However, the typical Chime customer is in search of a simple, no-frills way to bank*. In many cases, they’re just starting on their financial journey or looking to rebuild credit. A checking and savings account — as well as one credit card option — can be the perfect package.

Checking Account

The foundation of your Chime experience is the Checking Account — you’ll receive and send money from it. Opening one is easy — there are no monthly fees, minimum requirements or opening balances to meet. 

As for charges, there is only a $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee. You can easily avoid the fee if you stick with the 60,000 free ATMs4 or by asking for cash back at 60,000 participating locations. Chime works with retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens, Target, CVS and Rite Aid that don’t charge you a fee for cash back6.  

You don’t have to worry about overdraft charges either. Chime created SpotMe®5, which covers overdrafts starting at $20 and all the way up to $200 over time. For any larger amount, the transaction is declined to save you an NSF charge. If you’re wondering how you would even bounce a check, Chime covers overdrafts from debit card transactions and Chime Checkbook, which is similar to bill pay.

You can receive direct deposits up to two days earlier1 than scheduled with early access direct deposit1. Note that bank* transfers can take up to five to seven business days to clear, however. One of the big complaints about online-only banks* is what to do with cash. Chime solved the issue by partnering with many of the same retailers that allow you to get cash back, to accept cash deposits on your behalf6.

Savings Account

Chime has one of the highest interest rates of all savings accounts3 at this time and ranks in ninth place in GOBankingRates’ study on the best savings accounts of 2022. However, it’s more than a place to park money for an emergency or for a goal. You can set up automated savings to grow your balance. The savings account is optional and a Chime checking account is required to open it. 

Save When I Get Paid8 allows you to designate a percentage of your direct deposit to your savings. You can also use rounding up — a clever way to put a few cents extra for each purchase you make towards your savings account.   

All you need to do is toggle rounding up and each time you make a payment with the debit card, Chime will round up the transaction to the nearest dollar and send the amount to your savings account.   

Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

If you had some past financial challenges that you feel still come back to haunt you, you may be relieved to know that Chime won’t penalize you for them. They are committed to giving a fresh start to everyone by not basing their decisions on Chex Systems reports or credit scores9. And best of all, you can start on your credit-rebuilding journey by signing up for Chime’s Credit Builder secured Visa2

The credit card secures the credit limit from funds in your Spending Account and won’t pull your credit. There is no annual fee or interest charges, either, which is rare of secured credit cards. The point of the card is to show the credit agencies that you can spend responsibly and pay your bills on time.  

Enabling Safer Credit Building will help you. It will make automatic payments towards your balance on time every month to avoid late payments8. Chime will also report your timely payments to the credit bureaus.  

Customer Service

You’ll need to feel comfortable with turning to the mobile app for most of your banking* needs. If you’re in need of help, contact Chime by calling 1-844-244-6363.  

How Chime Stands Out

Chime makes banking* extremely accessible to everyone by keeping the requirements down to a minimum. Knowing you can open an account with no money upfront is a great barrier to break down. You can always have your paychecks direct deposited later or contribute as much as you can afford to the account without stressing out. Plus, you won’t have to worry about costly fees that eat away at your balance.

Chime’s Pay Friends feature lets you make mobile payments to people you know. You can send up to $2,000 per month to friends or family as long as they have a phone or email address. It can simplify your life by cutting out the need to use apps such as Venmo, PayPal or CashApp.

Chime vs. Competitors

Take a look at this comparison between Chime and some of its competitors.

Chime vs. Ally Bank

Ally Bank is also an online bank* with low fees and high-yield savings. Chime’s mobile app is better designed, but Ally beats Chime when it comes to comprehensive products. You’ll have access to multiple checking, savings, money market accounts as well as loans and investments.  

Chime vs. Capital One

Capital One also offers free online banking* but edges out Chime with innovative Capital One Cafes where you can talk to an advisor or attend a financial seminar.

How To Open an Account

Chime makes opening a checking account simple. As mentioned, nearly anyone can open an account since credit history doesn’t factor into the decision. As long as you’re aged 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or resident, you can get started using the mobile app or website by:

  • Clicking or tapping on Apply
  • Entering your name, email address and Social Security number
  • Answer if you’d like to open an optional linked savings account now or later
  • Create an account password
  • Wait for approval
  • Set up direct deposit by providing your employer with your Chime account number and routing number
  • Wait for a Chime debit Visa card to arrive in the mail.

Final Take

Chime is reinventing banking* — and according to Chime reviews, many people are responding well to the concept. The app is working on removing all the objections that hold people back from going fully digital. You can make cash deposits at participating retailers6, pay friends and bills without the need for checks and finally have an account, even if you have bad credit.

This article was updated on June 27, 2022 to include additional disclosures from Chime.

*Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC

1Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

2To be eligible to apply for Credit Builder, you need to have received a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account within 365 days of your Credit Builder application. The qualifying direct deposit must have been made by your employer, payroll provider, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit. Bank ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits are not qualifying direct deposits.

3The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of October 25th, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

4Get fee-free transactions at any Moneypass ATM in a 7-Eleven location and at any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Otherwise, out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply.

5Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

6The retailer that receives your cash will be responsible for transferring the funds for deposit into your Chime Checking Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens.

7The average national savings account interest rate of 0.17% is determined by FDIC as of September 19, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/ to learn more. Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of July 1, 2022.

8Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Checking Account into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.

9On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian® and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

Is this your bank?

Stay Up to Date on the Latest From Your Bank

Keep a good thing going with top financial tips and advice from GOBankingRates.

Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

Thank You For Signing Up!

Get ready to receive top financial tips from the experts at GOBankingRates.

Take Advantage of our Best Offer(s)

Share This Article:

About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.
Learn More