If you have read some previous posts from me about online banking, then you probably came across my mentions of Chime Bank.
Over the last few years, the banking industry has been seeing a revolution.
People are looking for better ways to manage their finances, sick of big banks taking unnecessary fees, and looking for more convenience.
And Chime Bank can be a great choice for you. Below, you’ll learn more about Chime, features, and my review on this bank.
Quick Review: In short, Chime Bank is an easy banking platform, with no hidden fees, real time alerts, and much more. I give it a 7.9/10 score. You can sign-up here to get started in a few minutes.
Is Chime Bank A Real Bank?
As alluded to in the intro, you might have noticed that Chime Bank is an online-only bank.
But yes, Chime Bank is a real bank, the only difference is that they have no physical branch locations. Instead, all of your banking is done online and can be accessed at any time with an internet connection.
Chime bank has all the major banking features you would expect and want, but also includes many others that most traditional banks may not be able to offer.
For example, Chime has no monthly fees or overdraft fees, and it lets you round up purchases to the next dollar and save the remainder. But I’ll get more into their features below.
Is Chime Bank FDIC Insured?
With any bank you choose to do business with and send your money, always make sure that they are FDIC insured.
If you are not familiar with why this matters, here’s a quick overview.
The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) is an independent agency of the United States government that protects you against the loss of your deposits.
That is if the bank is FDIC insured and the bank or savings association fails.
According to the FDIC website, “FDIC deposit insurance covers the depositors of a failed FDIC-insured depository institution dollar-for-dollar, principal plus any interest accrued or due to the depositor, through the date of default, up to at least $250,000.”
With that said, Chime Bank is FDIC insured and they use bank-level security to help protect any sensitive personal information and prevent potential fraud.
With Chime, your money is insured up to $250,000 through The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank; Member FDIC.
The Pros and Cons of Chime
Of course, before deciding if Chime is the right choice for your banking needs you’ll want to know all the pros and cons.
The reason why online banking has intrigued so many people and disrupted the finance industry, is because of the plethora of cool and convenient features.
While there are a handful of online only banks, each will have similar but different features. Ultimately, this will depend on your personal finance needs and how you manage your money.
Below, you’ll find some of the great features of Chime Bank and where they also miss the mark.
Pros of Chime Bank
There are a few awesome features that I really like about Chime, which should also catch your attention as well.
- Automatic savings and purchase round-ups: Chime has a built-in automatic savings that makes saving money easy so you can reach your goals faster. Additionally, when you make purchases or pay a bill with the debit card, Chime automatically rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers that into your savings.
- Get paid up to two days early: You can get paid up to two days early with direct deposit. No waiting for your money while it sits to “settle” the funds. So this means your money is available to you as soon as your employer deposits the funds.
- Fee-free overdraft protection: Chime offers something they call Spot Me which if you overdraw your account to make a debit card purchase, Chime will apply your next deposit into your spending account to your negative balance. And it allows you to overdraft up to $100 without charging a fee.
- No hidden fees: No overdraft fees. No monthly maintenance fees. No monthly service fees. No minimum balance fees. No deposit required. No foreign transaction fees. And over 38,000+ fee-free ATMs.
- Real time mobile alerts: Chime sends you instant transaction alerts anytime you use your Chime debit card. Which is great so you’ll always know what’s happening with your money.
- Mobile payment app: Pay Friends is a payment app feature that is built into your mobile bank account with Chime. Instantly send money to your friends, family, etc. when they open a Chime Spending Account. Similar concept to Venmo.
Cons of Chime Bank
As we all know, there is no perfect product or platform out there. And what one person likes, you may find you don’t like. It’s also personal preferences and what features will be most valuable to you.
While Chime has a lot of great features, they still have a few cons that you’ll want to consider.
- Very low interest rate: if you are looking for a high interest rate, Chime will not be for you. Their banking is more tailored for their other features, so if your interest is building your savings higher through interest you’ll want to look elsewhere for that. If higher interest is a priority, check out this online bank.
- Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you: Some online only banks have options to deposit cash, but many don’t. With Chime you can, but it’s not super easy and there can be some fees associated with doing so.
- Limited banking features: While they do have many great features, they are limited compared to some other online banks which have CDs, money market accounts, loan options, and more. If you need more of that, then potentially you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Is Chime Bank A Scam?
Of course, with anything different from the traditional banking you or others might be wondering if Chime Bank is a scam.
With its membership with the FDIC and partnerships with large bank corporations, Chime is not a scam.
However, it is worth mentioning about an incident they had in 2019. In Summer, Chime had an outage that left users unable to access their accounts, use their debit cards, or pay the bills.
From a few articles and this one from CNBC, the outage was caused by an issue with the database of payment processors that Chime uses. And this unfortunately affected a lot of users for over 24 hours.
And here is where online only banks can experience disruption for users: the internet is super powerful but is not perfect and things can happen.
I always recommend using an online only bank as a secondary option. Meaning, use it for the great features, high interest savings or checking, etc. — but have a traditional bank as well where you can access money quickly if your online bank account experiences any issues.
Just like diversifying your investments, you should be slightly diversifying your banking too.
Even though that happened, Chime Bank is still a fairly solid platform and those incidents are rare.
As I mentioned, any online bank can potentially experience some blips with their third-party processors or login experience. Yet, most issues will be solved extremely fast and your money will still be safe.
Chime Bank Review Recap
Hopefully, this gave you some good insight into Chime Bank and their online banking features.
There is quite a bit covered, but I think Chime would be a great addition to your improving personal finances.
With their solid user experience between their website and mobile apps, no monthly fees, overdraft protection, early direct deposit, and no minimum balances required — Chime Bank is a solid modern banking experience.
The bank did experience some hiccups last year, which is why I scored them an 7.9/10. I will be monitoring them over the next few months to see if they put better systems in place to prevent that from happening again.
I also couldn’t dock them too hard, as I work in the software industry and these things can happen as the internet and updates can sometimes trigger minor issues.
So give them a try (no minimum required to open an account) and see how this digital bank fits into your money management and personal life.