Current Review: Checking Account Features for the Tech-Savvy Customer
- No minimum opening balance or account balance requirement
- Free budgeting tools available in the app
- Can get points redeemable for cash back by using debit card at select merchants
- Savings Pod balances earn high APY
- Low spending limit on debit card
- No physical locations
Overview of Current
Current is a fintech company, not a bank. Its banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC. As such, it has more of a technology focus than a banking focus.
Current’s mobile app is robust and includes spending and budgeting tools. You can get a notification on your phone every time you use your debit card or get a direct deposit. Notifications include your available spending balance, so you’ll always know how much money you have. But Current is more than a spending account — saving with Current can earn you outstanding yields on your money, and Current also lets you buy and sell cryptocurrency with no trading fees.
Current members can earn points for using their debit card at participating merchants. Those points can then be redeemed for cash. This is a perk that’s reserved for credit card users at most banks, so it’s nice to see it available for debit card users.
Key Features of Current
Learn more about the features GOBankingRates considered while evaluating Current for its Best Banks of 2023 rankings.
Current doesn’t have a checking account, per se. What it does have is a checkless spending account offered by Choice Financial Group. There’s no minimum deposit and no monthly fees, and you get paid two days faster when your paychecks are direct-deposited into your account.
Other ways to deposit funds include mobile check deposit and cash deposits. You make cash deposits at any of the participating retailers listed in the app, such as CVS and Walmart. Current charges $3.50 per cash deposit. Withdrawals are free at 40,000 Allpoint ATMs, and you can also get cash back at the register.
The Current checking account comes with a Visa debit card that earns up to 15x cash back every time the card is swiped at a participating merchant. An additional benefit of this card is that you can avoid overdraft fees with a feature called Overdrive. Overdrive lets you overdraw your account by up to $200 without incurring a fee. But first you’ll need to set up direct deposit and receive a qualifying deposit.
Note that Current account holders can make unlimited withdrawals, whether through an ATM, point of sale or via a card purchase. However, cash withdrawals are limited to $500 per day, and purchases are limited to $2,000 per day. Total card spending is limited to $2,000 per day, so if you withdraw $500 at an ATM, you’ll only be able to spend $1,500 on purchases that day.
Teen banking allows parents to provide an allowance to their teens and monitor their spending. Each teen gets their own debit card. Parents can block specific merchants and get a notification whenever the card is used. They can even require that chores be completed prior to the allowance being transferred to the teen’s card. Teen accounts don’t have access to Overdrive, so you don’t have to worry about your teen spending more than their balance.
Every regular Current account includes three Savings Pods — teen accounts have one, plus a Giving Pod for donations — that are like wallets within your spending account where you can save money and earn great rates on your savings. You create pods from within the app, add goal amounts and transfer money from your primary account balance. Savings Pods aren’t separate savings accounts, so there are no restrictions on withdrawals, and you can transfer money in and out with no fees.
You can set up your Savings Pods for automatic round-up — whenever you swipe your debit card, the mobile app will round up your purchase amount and add the change to your pods.
Savings Pod balances can earn up to a APY, which is 15 times the average interest rate.
Managing your money with Current provides a different experience than working with a regular bank. Here’s what you can expect when you open a Current account.
As a fintech company, Current has a strong focus on technology. The app provides extensive money management tools to track your spending and stay within your budget. You can get instant balance notifications every time you swipe your debit card when your direct deposit arrives, and when a hold is removed, so you always know what your balance is. The app also has budgeting tools to help you stay on top of your finances.
Current’s mobile app is solid, with an App Store rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, and a Google Play rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Current has customer service agents available 24/7 via chat through the mobile app. Alternatively, you can email the support staff directly or fill out a form on the Current website. Phone support is currently unavailable.
How To Open a Current Account
To open an account with Current, download the app from the App Store or Google Play, then follow the prompt to sign up for an account. Once you’ve established your account, you can fund it by depositing a check or enrolling in direct deposit.
Earning points by using your debit card, which you can then redeem for cash, is a big win for those who don’t like to use a credit card for everyday purchases.
Current vs. Competitors
Current stands out from online banks due to the simplicity of its model. Here’s how it stacks up against competing neobanks.
Current vs. Chime
Chime offers no-fee, no-minimum accounts, like Current, but does not give you points for using your debit card. Chime members have access to over 60,000 ATMs compared to 40,000 for Current.
Current vs. Step
Step is focused on providing banking services for teenagers that are linked to their parents’ accounts and helping teens save money and build credit. Parents can provide their teens with a secured Visa card that limits their spending to the amount that’s in their account. Step does not, however, offer products for parents, so they need to have a separate account elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a basic online spending account that also gives you a way to save, Current is certainly worth a look. The high APY on Savings Pods balances is reason enough to make the switch.
Current FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Current.
- Is Current a trustworthy app?
- Yes. Current uses encryption to protect your data during transactions and while the app is not in use.
- How can I get a Current account?
- It takes just a few minutes to sign up. Go to the Current site and enter your mobile number. They'll text you a link, where you can fill in your information and go.
- How do I deposit money into my Current account?
- You can link another account to your Current account and transfer money. Or you can deposit a check of up to $2,000 in the mobile app by taking a picture and filling in the information.
- Are funds in a Current account FDIC insured?
- Funds in a Current account are insured up to $250,000. FDIC insurance is provided by the issuing bank, Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.
- Is Current Bank a real bank?
- Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.
- What bank is Current owned by?
- Current isn't owned by a bank. However, banking services are provided by a bank.
- Does Current give you money?
- Yes. New Current members can receive a $50 bonus after signing up for an account, entering the code WELCOME50 and adding a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more within 45 days of account opening.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
To determine rankings for the Best Online Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors across exclusively online banks: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings APY; (4) 1-year CD APY; (5) customer service options and mobile products offered (24/7 customer service, live chat with a human, mobile app and remote check deposit); (6) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (7) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (8) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. Factors (1) and (2) were weighted 0.5 times, and factors (3) and (7) were weighted 2 times. For all savings and checking account data, only the basic accounts/products offered at each institution were analyzed.
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 Checking Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding credit unions): (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) APY on the checking account; (6) overdraft fee amount; and (7) 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. Factors (1), (2 and (5) were weighted 0.5 times, and factor (4) was weighted 1.5 times.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 20, 2022.
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.