Credit Karma Money Spend Account Review: A No-Fuss Checking Account

GOBankingRates Score

4.5
Quick Take: Credit Karma Money is a 100% free alternative to a traditional banking checking account. You can use your card at more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide and where Visa is accepted. You do need to have a Credit Karma account to use the service, but that also comes with access to your credit reports and scores.
  • Features
    4.8
  • Availability
    4.5
  • Ease of Use
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Free transactions at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide
  • Banking services are provided by an FDIC-insured bank
  • Early access to your paycheck
  • Instant Karma gives you a chance to earn rewards

Cons

  • Third-party fees apply
  • Limited services

What Is Credit Karma Money Spend?

Best known for its credit monitoring services, Credit Karma has now introduced a checking account to help people make financial progress. Here’s a detailed review of this account.

Credit Karma Money Spend is a spending account, which is a checking account without checks — and without the penalties, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees you’ll find with traditional checking accounts.

The spending account is free to open and comes with a Visa debit card that allows users to make purchases at any merchant accepting Visa cards. You can also pay bills, withdraw cash and receive deposits into the account.

Did You Know?

Credit Karma itself is not a bank and the banking services are offered by MVB Bank.

Credit Karma Money Spend Features

The Money Spend has several offerings for the users, such as:

  • No overdraft fees: Overdraft fees are usually charged if you use your debit card or write checks without having enough money in the account to cover the transactions. Fortunately, Credit Karma doesn’t charge an overdraft fee.
  • Early Payday: With Early Payday, you get your paycheck up to two days before payday.
  • Free ATM transactions: You can use your Money Spend debit card at 55,000 in-network Allpoint ATMs for unlimited free withdrawals. These ATMs are readily available at popular retailers like Target, CVS, Kroger, and Walgreens.
  • In-app controls: Everything that happens with your account or debit card, such as transactions and funds transfers, can be monitored and performed using the Credit Karma app.
  • Instant Karma: Every eligible purchase using your Credit Karma Money Spend debit card gives you a chance to win an Instant Karma purchase reimbursement. It’s a great way to earn and save extra money.

How To Open an Account

Here’s how to open a Credit Karma Money Spend account:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Create a Credit Karma account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Go to the home screen of Credit Karma Money Spend after logging into your account.
  3. Check your personal information. If it looks correct, click “Confirm.”
  4. Alternatively, you can update or change your personal information if it’s incorrect.
  5. Make sure you enter the correct mailing address since Credit Karma will mail you your debit card.
  6. Also, verify your contact details. If the phone number is correct, click “Confirm.”
  7. Read the account agreements and e-sign consent.
  8. Then, click “Accept and create my account.”
  9. Credit Karma’s system will take some time to validate your personal information. After that, you will have a Money Spend account.
  10. Meanwhile, your debit card will come to your doorstep in a few days.

Once you’ve received the card, you can activate it by clicking on the “Activate card” button on the Credit Karma website.

Who Is It For?

The Credit Karma Money Spend account is ideal for younger people who don’t want to be burdened by minimum balance fees and who prefer debit cards over credit cards.

Moreover, it’s a no-fuss, free-to-open account that first-time account holders will be comfortable using.

Is the Credit Karma Money Spend Account Worth It?

The Money Spend account is worth having if you prefer not to bank the traditional way. It has many of the same features as a traditional checking account, but with no fees. Credit Karma credit monitoring is an added bonus.

FAQ on Credit Karma Money Spend

Although the basic idea behind a checking account is pretty simple, the fact that there are so many different kinds can make choosing one difficult. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Credit Karma's Money Spend checking account.
  • What is a Credit Karma Money Spend account?
    • Money Spend is a free checking account from Credit Karma. MVB Bank provides banking services for the Money Spend account.
  • How does a Credit Karma Money Spend account work?
    • The Money Spend account comes with a debit card you can use to make purchases and payments or withdraw money from ATMs. Although you can't deposit cash or paper checks into your account, you can add money from a linked account, mobile check deposit, ACH transfer or direct deposit.
  • What is a Credit Karma Money Spend account used for?
    • You can use the Visa debit card you get free with your Money Spend account to shop, pay bills or withdraw money for free from Allpoint ATMs. In addition, you can use your account for early access to paychecks you have direct-deposited, assuming your employer initiates the deposit before your pay date.
  • Can I open a Credit Karma Money Spend account with no money?
    • Yes. There's no minimum balance or deposit. However, you won't be able to use your debit card until you've funded the account.
  • Is the Credit Karma Money Spend account really free?
    • Yes. There's no charge to open or maintain your Money Spend account. However, third-party fees might apply. For example, Visa imposes a 1% foreign transaction fee when you use your debit card overseas. You might also incur a third-party fee if you use an out-of-network ATM.
  • Can I get free money from opening a Credit Karma Money Spend account?
    • Credit Karma has no free-money promotions currently. However, you can win instant reimbursements on eligible purchases.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He's helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he's not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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