Varo Review: Is a Varo Bank Account Right For You?

GOBankingRates Score

4.5
Our Take: Varo Bank is a simple-to-use digital bank option that provides some great benefits. It offers FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts and is continually improving its available features.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Fee-Free ATMs
    5.0
  • Interest Rates
    4.0
  • Products
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Favorable interest rates
  • Plenty of fee-free ATMs

Cons

  • Limits on cash deposits and external transfers
  • No physical branch, so you must deposit cash through third parties

About Varo Bank

Varo is not technically a bank. Offering a completely mobile online banking experience, Varo partners with The Bancorp Bank behind the scenes to provide traditional banking services such as its Varo Bank Account and a Visa debit card.

Varo Products and Features

Product Features
Checking
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • More than 50,000 in-network ATMs
Savings
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Up to 3.0% APY
Varo Believe (Credit Builder)
  • Credit limit up to your checking balance
  • No monthly fees
  • No APR
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus
  • Late payments of $15
Direct Deposit
  • Direct deposit income, Social Security, IRS payments and more using prefilled form
  • Get paid up to two days early
Varo Advance
  • Get up to $100 immediately
  • Flat $20 cash advance fee
  • Due in two weeks to 30 days
  • Must have at least $1,000 direct deposit to qualify each month
Automatic Savings
  • Save Your Pay: Set aside a certain percentage of each direct deposit
  • Save Your Change: Round up purchases to the nearest dollar for savings
Mobile Banking
  • Send money to other Varo customers fast and free
  • Easily link to PayPal, external accounts and digital wallets to make purchases or send cash to others

Varo Bank Products

Varo offers three basic account types: Checking, Savings and Varo Believe (Credit Builder).

Checking Account

The Varo Bank Account is an online-only, fee-free bank account. You can use a Varo Bank Account to instantly send money to another Varo user with no fees. You can also request checks for your account. If you sign up for direct deposit, you will have access to your funds up to two days before your regular payment date.

You can connect your account to Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Cash App and Venmo. Although Varo can’t accept cash directly because it has no physical locations, you can deposit cash at over 90,000 retail locations using Green Dot Reload@theRegister. You can also use the mobile app to deposit checks.

Overall, the Varo Checking Account is a great option for those who cannot get a traditional checking account. However, the lack of access to a physical branch can be an inconvenience, especially when having to pay fees to deposit cash.

Savings Account

If you’re looking to earn interest on your cash management account, you’ll want to open a Varo Savings Account. Rates on this fee-free account start at a 0.2% annual percentage yield and can go as high as a whopping 3.0% APY. To earn the top rate, however, you’ll need to meet these three requirements in the same calendar month:

  • Receive $1,000 or more in total direct deposits
  • Use your Varo debit card at least five times
  • Keep your savings account balance below $5,000

Varo Believe (Credit Builder)

Though it has not yet officially begun, Varo is working on a program to help its users build credit. The Varo Believe Program will provide you with a credit card with a limit based on the amount you have in your bank account.

You set aside a specific amount for Believe and use your card to make regular purchases. There are no monthly fees or an APR associated with the account.

Applying does not impact your credit score. However, timely payments can help improve it. Varo reports your activity to all three credit bureaus, which can give your credit a good boost.

Keep in mind that this is like any other credit account. If you miss payments, it might negatively impact your credit. Additionally, it will cost you a $15 late fee.

While there is no feedback yet on this specific program, there are other similar ones in existence, such as the Chime Credit Builder. In general, these programs are a great way to work on better credit without paying high interest fees.

Convenience and Usability

Varo offers some pretty handy features.

Varo’s Best Features:

  • Direct deposit. It’s easy to set up thanks to the prefilled form and can get you paid up to two days early.
  • Varo Advance. Similar to SpotMe from Chime, it allows you to get up to $100 when you’re in a jam.
  • Automatic savings. You can use Save Your Pay to have a set percentage of your check automatically transferred to your savings. There is also Save Your Change, which rounds up purchases to the next dollar and saves it.
  • Mobile banking. Lets you use mobile check deposit, find nearby ATMs and much more.

Banking Experience

Mobile App

Varo’s mobile app offers a very user-friendly resource. It allows you to easily move money between accounts, make external transfers, lock your card and more.

Customer Service

You can reach out to Varo’s customer service team by email at support@varomoney.com. You can also call them at 1-800-VARO526 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST or Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

ATMs

You can find the nearest in-network ATM by logging into the app, selecting “Move Money” and then “Find an ATM.”

How To Open a Varo Account

As Varo is a bank with no branches, you’ll have to sign up for a Varo account either online or via the mobile app. The application process online takes a few minutes.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. You’ll begin by providing your name, email address and password.
  2. As you go through the application process, you’ll also need to gather your personal and financial information.
  3. Provide information such as your Social Security number and external bank account number for funding.

Once your account is established, the easiest way to access your account is via the mobile app, although you can also log in to your account via the Varo webpage.

Varo Fees

Varo prides itself on charging very few traditional banking fees. In addition to having no monthly maintenance fees, Varo charges $0 for nearly all transactions and activities.

Varo does charge $2.50 for withdrawals from non-Allpoint ATMs. This is in addition to any third-party ATM operator fees. If you deposit cash via a Green Dot Reload@theRegister location, Varo won’t charge any fees, but the retailer may charge up to $5.95.

Final Take

Varo Bank provides checking, savings and credit building opportunities for its members. It offers few fees, competitive interest rates and over 50,000 fee-free ATMs. It takes only moments to open an account online. Despite the fact that there are no physical branches to visit, Varo is an incredible option for many bank customers.

Editor’s Favorite

Varo is an excellent banking option for anyone who can not use a traditional bank, as well as a secondary bank option.

Varo Bank FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Varo Bank.
  • How can I qualify for the highest interest rate for my savings account?
    • As long as your balance remains between $0.01 and $5,000, you will qualify for the maximum interest rate. If you exceed the $5,000 maximum, your APY will drop to 0.20%.
  • When will the Varo Believe credit card be available?
    • There has been no specific date announced. However, Varo encourages anyone interested to go ahead and open Varo Bank checking and savings accounts so that you can begin qualifying for the program immediately.
  • Is there a spending limit with Varo?
    • Yes. You can spend up to $2,500 per day with your debit card. You can also withdraw up to $750 per day at an ATM and get up to $500 cash back at merchants.

    John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

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    About the Author

    Brandy Woodfolk is an entrepreneur, teacher, and freelance writer. She received my Bachelor of Business Administration from Everest College, Digital Marketing Certification from Shaw Academy, Certificate in Personal and Family Financial Planning from the University of Florida Through Coursera, and she is completing her Master’s of Project Management from Northcentral University. She has dedicated her freelance writing career to creating content related to digital marketing and SEO, business, personal finance, family, and health and wellness.

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