Green Dot Bank Review 2021: Alternative Banking Using a Debit Card and Mobile App
Ease of Use
Mobile App and Digital Experience
- No overdraft fees
- Free cash deposits at participating retailers
- Early direct deposit -- two days early for paychecks, up to four days early for government benefits
- Can deposit cash at many retailers
- Comes with a learning curve since it's not a traditional type of bank
- Limited to one checking and one high-yield savings account
- Interest paid annually
About Green Dot Bank
Green Dot Bank seems like a new banking idea, but it’s been around for 20 years. Although Green Dot Bank is designed to provide online-only banking services using the mobile app and the bank’s debit card, you can still handle cash deposits and withdrawals at over 90,000 participating local retailers, including 7-Eleven, Kroeger, Rite Aid and Walmart. GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Online Banks of 2021.
Green Dot Bank Products
Green Dot Bank isn’t considered a full-service banking platform because it only provides basic banking services.
Take a closer look at how Green Dot Bank accounts work.
Green Dot Bank Checking Account Review
Green Dot Bank isn’t your typical traditional bank. You’ll have only one type of checking account, known as Unlimited by Green Dot, available. The good news is you won’t have many fees to contend with other than the $7.95 monthly fee, which can be waived if you spend $1,000 or more each month with your debit card.
You can open an account online by purchasing a debit card for $1.95 at a retail store or ordering one online. Activate it as instructed on the card and download the Green Dot Bank mobile app. Top up your account with some money at a participating retailer or by setting up direct deposit.
- 2% cash back on purchases
- Early direct deposit — get paychecks up to two days early, government benefits up to four days early
- Can make deposits at participating retailers such as Walmart, Rite Aid and Kroeger
- No expensive overdraft fees to worry about
- No ATM fees when using an in-network ATM
- Pay bills, shop using debit card
- No interest earned
- Must spend $1,000 or more in debit card transactions to waive the $7.95 per month fee
Green Dot Bank Savings Account Review
Opening an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account comes with a linked high-yield savings account. To the bank’s credit, the account is fee-free.
- 2% annual percentage yield on funds up to $10,000
- Allows transfers between high-yield savings and Green Dot Unlimited debit card
- No monthly maintenance fees
- No minimum opening balance requirements
- High interest rate
- $3 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals
Green Dot Bank’s services are useful, but limited. They’re ideal for someone interested in making basic bill payments, and for those who don’t mind visiting a 7-Eleven or Walmart location to deposit funds.
If you need help, you’ll need to navigate through the online chatbot to get directed to the right article in the knowledgebase. You can also call for help at 866-795-7597.
There are no Green Dot Bank branches, but the financial institution works with a list of major retailers where you can make deposits:
- Ace Cash Express
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
- Rite Aid
Mobile and Digital Experience
The bulk of your banking happens through the mobile app. Green Dot Bank reviews from customers using the mobile app are as follows:
- Google Play: 4.2 out of 5 stars, 53k votes
- App Store: 3.6 out of 5 stars, 7.2k votes
You can securely access your account to:
- Activate a new account.
- Deposit checks using your phone.
- Manage your transactions.
- View balances.
- Pay bills.
- Send friends money.
- Access chat-based customer support.
- Find ATMs and participating retailers near you.
Convenience and Ease of Use
The easiest way to set up a Green Dot Bank account is by enabling direct deposit or depositing your paycheck through the mobile app. You’ll avoid having to visit a local retailer to deposit cash. Once your fund deposits are on autopilot, paying bills and buying merchandise is simple — your debit card takes the place of checks and cash.
How To Open an Account
To get started, purchase a debit card for $1.95 at a retail store, or sign up for an account online to receive your card in the mail. Once you have the card, activate it by following the instructions on the card label. Download the Green Dot Bank mobile app and set up an account with a username and password. Set up direct deposit, deposit a check using the app and a smartphone or visit a local retailer to deposit cash into your new Green Dot Bank account.
Customer Service Number: 866-795-7597
Routing Number: 124303120
Green Dot Bank Fees
Green Dot Bank’s fees are minimal when you stick with the account’s basic functions. Fees to watch out for include:
- Monthly maintenance fee: $7.95 per month, which can be waived when you spend at least $1,000 per month using the debit card
- Out-of-network ATM withdrawal: $3 each
- Paper check fee: $5.95 for 12 checks
- Overdraft fee: None
Green Dot Bank vs. Competitors
|Green Dot Bank||Cash back on your spending|
|Chime Bank||No fees|
|Ally Bank||Full-service online banking|
|Radius Bank||Unlimited ATM reimbursements|
Green Dot Bank vs. Chime Bank
Both Green Dot and Chime Bank have a simple model of a spending account with a debit card and a linked high-yield savings account. Although Chime Bank has fewer fees, Green Dot pays cash back on your debit card purchases.
Green Dot Bank vs. Ally Bank
Ally Bank provides a comprehensive list of online-only banking services other banks in this comparison don’t offer. Besides accounts, you can invest your money and borrow from a range of loan and mortgage options. But Greet Dot pays higher rates on savings accounts.
Green Dot Bank vs. Radius Bank
Radius Bank reimburses you an unlimited amount of ATM fees, so you can withdraw from wherever is most convenient for you. If you don’t withdraw cash often, Green Dot is a better choice because it pays more cash back on purchases.
If you’re in search of a low-cost and different way to handle your banking via a mobile app, Green Dot Bank could be a good option. Once you’re armed with the mobile app and debit card, most of your basic banking tasks can be taken care of easily. To get started, sign up for an account to receive a card in the mail, or pick one up at a participating retailer near you.
If you need your paycheck the moment it’s available, Green Dot’s early direct deposit feature is worth signing up for. You’ll get paid up to two days early from your employer and four days early on government benefit payments.
Green Dot Bank FAQHere are answers to some of Green Dot Bank’s more commonly asked questions.
- Is Green Dot Bank FDIC insured?
- Yes. Green Dot Bank is FDIC insured up to $250,000.
- Is Green Dot a real bank?
- Although Green Dot operates a little differently from most banks, it's a real bank. You can open a checking account, order checks for a fee, pay bills and make deposits. The difference is, in-person deposits can be made at a retail store, such as Walmart or CVS, instead of at a bank.
- How can I deposit cash to my Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account?
- There are over 90,000 retail store locations where you can deposit cash for free, such as 7-Eleven, Kroger, Walmart and Rite Aid. You'll need to set up the deposit on the mobile app and visit a cash register at one of the participating store locations.
- How do I keep my Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account eligible to earn unlimited 2% cash back?
- Keep your account active and in good standing for at least 12 months, and you'll be eligible to earn 2% cash back on your mobile and online purchases.
- Can I open a high-yield savings account separate from the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account?
- Unfortunately, you can't open a standalone savings account. You'll need to have an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and debit card before you can open a high-yield savings account.
- Does Green Dot Bank offer free money for signing up for an account?
- The current Green Dot Bank promotion pays you $15 when you activate a card by April 30 and receive your tax refund by direct deposit, and receive two payroll or government-benefit direct deposits of at least $500 each by June 30.