Chime Banking Review: Is It Right for You?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Nov 20, 2019

What Is Chime Banking?

Chime Bank is an online bank offering checking and saving accounts, a debit card and direct deposit without any fees.

The bank’s defining characteristics is its combination of a fee-free online banking platform and a generous overdraft program. Its checking accounts are part of a new era of online-only banking through which you can do everything you could via a traditional bank without stepping into a bank.

In this review, we will give you a quick overview of how the platform works, what makes Chime different, what customers are saying about their experience and how the bank compares to other online banks.

We will wrap up with a section about the bank’s overall pros and cons.

Chime Checking Account Features

To open an account, you’ll fill out an application just like you would at a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

The advantage Chime Bank gives you is that they don’t use ChexSystem, a credit bureau that provides banks with information about your history with checking and savings accounts.

Most traditional banks use ChexSystem to vet account applicants, which means you have more of a chance of getting an account with Chime if you have a poor history with other banks.

If Chime approves your application, they will give you a checking account and the option to open a savings account.

Chime calls their checking account a “Spending” account. These accounts include the following features:

  • SpotMe overdraft protection
  • No fees
  • Direct deposit and transfers
  • Cash deposits
  • Debit card
  • Connect to Apple, Google and Samsung Pay
  • Send/deposit checks

SpotMe Overdraft Protection

Chime Bank’s unique feature is that it doesn’t charge overdraft fees and will allow between $20 and $100 or more of charges to go through before they decline transactions.

What makes this feature unique is that only one other online bank offers a similar program. All other popular online banks either charge you overdraft fees or they decline the transactions that would overdraw you.

A few important nuances of Chime’s SpotMe program are:

  • You have to have at least $500 of direct deposits in the past 31 days to participate.
  • Chime determines your overdraft limit based on account history.
  • It doesn’t cover ATM withdrawals, transfers, or Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash transactions.

SpotMe is a program you have to sign up for in the app once you have your account. When you do, Chime will notify you any time you overdraw. They will also tell you if they choose to change your StopMe overdraft limit.

Also, anytime you overdraw your account and SpotMe covers you, you can (but don’t have to) leave the bank a tip to compensate them for their generosity.

No Fees

Chime Bank, like many online banks, won’t charge you any fees to have an account. This means you don’t have any monthly maintenance fees, no fees for making too many transactions and no fees for overdrawing your account (spending beyond what’s available in your account). Also, you won’t pay a foreign transaction fee for using your debit card abroad.

However, you will pay a $2.50 fee if you use an out-of-network ATM.

Direct Deposit and Transfers

The bank lets you make direct deposits of paychecks into your account. They note you’ll get your paycheck two days quicker than if you took it in check form.

Also, you can send money to and from your Chime account just like a traditional bank. You can link your other bank accounts to your Chime checking account. However, Chime limits transfers from your linked accounts to $200 per day and $1,000 per month.

Also, Chime accepts transfers from the following banks only:

  • Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • Citi
  • US Bank
  • USAA
  • Fidelity
  • PNC Bank
  • Capital One 360
  • TD Bank
  • SunTrust
  • Navy Federal
  • Charles Schwab

Cash Deposits

You can deposit cash to your Chime checking account but the process is cumbersome. You’ll need to go to a GreenDot At the Register location, which is a network of around 60,000 stores that include Family Dollar, 7-Eleven, Dollar Tree and similar stores.

You’ll give the cashier your cash and your Chime debit card and tell them you want to do a GreenDot deposit.

GreenDot charges up to $4.95 for cash deposits. This per-deposit fee could be costly if you work for tips, as you’ll have to make regular cash deposits to your Chime account.

Debit Card

Finally, you get a Chime debit card you can use to make purchases just like debit cards from traditional banks. You can use this card to withdraw money at MoneyPass ATM’s—there are more than 38,000 around the country. You can get cash back with the card at retailers, too.

Chime lists all these locations via their ATM & Cash Back Finder page. If you tend to use ATMs and get cash back, check this locator page to ensure Chime has locations near you.

Apple, Google, and Samsung Mobile Payment Integration

You can connect your Chime debit card to Apple, Google and Samsung’s mobile payment apps. Chime’s fine print notes you can’t set up recurring payments or bill pay via Apple Pay with your Chime bank debit card.

Sending and Depositing Checks

Chime allows you to send checks via the Chime app for free. You identify who the payee is and how much you want to pay and Chime sends a check on your behalf. Their fine print says it will take between three and nine business days for the check to arrive.

If you need to deposit a check, you can do it through the app. You’ll tell Chime the check amount, and take a photo of the front and back of the check. You have to be enrolled in direct deposit to use this feature.

Chime Savings Account Features

Chime’s savings account is very basic. It doesn’t offer nearly the number of features the bank’s checking account provides.

However, Chime does a good job of integrating the savings account with two savings tools: automatic deposits and Save When You Spend round-ups.

Automatic Deposits

You can automate savings by transferring a certain amount of money at a certain time each month. Also, you can send to your savings account a certain percentage of your direct deposits that you choose.

Save When You Spend

With this feature, Chime will round up every transaction to the next dollar and deposit the difference into your savings account. You have to sign-up for this program through your Chime account – it does not happen automatically.

Chime savings accounts earn 0.01% interest per year.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Chime has over four hundred customer reviews here on HighYa for an average rating of 3.9-stars. Seventy-three percent of these customers indicated that they would recommend the bank to a friend.

We analyzed these customer reviews and here are the main takeaways:

  • The bank has outages that affect transactions. Multiple customers in the recent reviews complained about multiple-day outages and issues with debit card transactions and direct deposits. Customers were not able to make purchases or pay bills through their account.

  • It’s hard to talk to a real person via customer service. Multiple readers said they had a hard time reaching a person when they Chime’s customer support. We faced the same issue. We called Chime multiple times via their customer service number and could not connect with a real person. You’ll find this very frustrating if, for example, the bank has an outage and you can’t get your questions answered by phone.

  • No fees. Many reviewers expressed the happiness about Chime not charging overdraft fees and service fees banks typically charge.

  • Paychecks arrive quicker. Multiple reviewers said they enjoyed the fact that Chime’s direct deposit resulted in paychecks showing up earlier than their coworkers’ paychecks.

These reviews indicate there are some clear pros and cons. First, you have to remember that Chime is an online bank with one website and app, and no physical locations. So, if Chime’s website and app are down, then you can’t access your money or pay bills.

Second, you’ll have a difficult time reaching a live person if you need to ask questions or resolve an urgent matter. Chime’s phone number provides various pre-recorded messages.

Also, many positive reviews praised the bank’s lack of fees and a two-day direct deposit.

While Chime follows through on its strengths, its online-only platform is susceptible to glitches that can leave you without access to your money. This is a drawback you need to weigh if you’re considering Chime over a traditional bank.

Chime Bank vs. Simple and Varo

Two of Chime’s main competitors are Simple and Varo. The banks share Chime’s fee-free approach to banking but have important differences that could make them a better fit for you.

Chime vs. Simple

Simple’s approach to your banking focuses on helping you understand how to spend and save. They use algorithms to provide you with suggestions about if you should make certain purchases and to set up automatic savings based on your income and typical monthly expenses.

Also, Simple’s savings accounts earn interest at a rate of at least $20 per $1,000 (same for Varo). Their interest rates range from 2.02% to 2.15%. Chime’s interest rate for savings accounts is 0.01%.

Simple is the only bank in this comparison that offers joint accounts, too.

Finally, Simple has phone agents to help you, whereas Chime conducts all correspondence through email. We called Simple’s customer service line and were able to talk with someone in less than 60 seconds.

Simple is the right bank for you if you need direction about how to spend and save based on your unique income and spending patterns, and if you want an interest-bearing savings account. Furthermore, the bank is an excellent fit if you and your spouse want to open a joint account.

Chime vs. Varo

Varo’s banking is similar to Chime in that they provide fee-free overdraft protection. However, they cap their overdraft limit at $100 and their criteria for their overdraft program are more stringent: at least $1,000 in direct deposits per month, at least five transactions per month.

Because Varo’s requirements are stricter, Chime’s overdraft program is better for you if you have direct deposits of less than $1,000.

Also, Varo offers interest-bearing savings account with rates between 2.02% and 2.80%. Their best rate is better than Simple’s 2.60% and more than 200 times better than Chime’s 0.01%.

Furthermore, you can call Varo’s customer service line and talk with a real person. We called their customer service number and reached a real person in around five minutes.

Varo’s distinct advantages over Chime are that you can talk with a real person via their customer service line and their savings account offers interest rates that can earn you at least $20 a year for every $1,000 you have in your account.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not Chime is right for you is a matter of understanding how the bank’s pros and cons fit your financial situation.

Pros:

Chime’s best strength is its overdraft program. In some cases, you can overdraw your account by more than $100 and pay no fees.

Another advantage is that you can link your account to Google, Apple and Samsung’s mobile payment platforms.

And, of course, their accounts are fee-free as long as you use ATM’s within their network.

What makes these three benefits so important is that they provide a way for you to get your spending under control without penalty while allowing you to lead a completely mobile financial life: no banks, no paper checks, no monthly maintenance fees.

Cons:

Chime’s drawbacks are that its solely online platform presents a pair of potentially frustrating drawbacks you wouldn’t experience with a brick-and-mortar bank.

First, customer reviews and our own experience reveals it can be virtually impossible to speak with a real person via the company’s customer service line.

Second, because the bank is entirely online, any outages that affect their website can prevent you from paying bills and accessing your money.

Finally, it does not offer joint accounts, meaning it’s not a good fit if you’re married and looking for an account you and your spouse can share.

However, if you’re willing to endure occasional outages, Chime Bank’s lack of fees and generous overdraft program are excellent features.

Is Chime Bank Right for You?

Based on these pros and cons, we think Chime is best for you if:

  • Your banking history would bar you from getting a checking account from other banks.
  • You often overdraw your account.
  • You don’t plan on using Chime’s savings account.

However, we believe Chime won’t be a good fit if the following features are important to you:

  • You want to earn money from your savings account.
  • You want a bank that can help you understand how to spend and save wisely.
  • You like talking with support reps instead of emailing them.

Customer Reviews

Start your review of Chime Banking:
  • 503 Customer Reviews
  • 77% Recommend This Company
4.0 out of 5
5 star: 68% 4 star: 7% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 21%

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Sort reviews by:

  • I love Chime

    • By William D.,
    • Alamogordo, NM,
    • Jul 3, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    Chime is wonderful and very convenient! Thank you Chime for online banking and direct deposit, it is so easy to use. I have never had a bank account like this one and I also love that there are no fees. It's nice.

    Pros and Cons:

    • Direct deposit
    • No fees
    • Online banking
    • No “cons” were specified in this review

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Helpful hand

    • By Austin B.,
    • Phoenix, AZ,
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    I was in a dark financial time and Chime was a shining light to financial stability. No credit checks, no fees GREATLY helped me. The credit builder is no BS, it really improved my credit score. Oh and I cannot forget how awesome it is to receive direct deposit up to 2-3 days early! Once you have steady direct deposits you'll be eligible for "SpotMe" where you can overdraft WITHOUT being penalized by fees!

    Pros and Cons:

    • No overdraft fees
    • No credit checks
    • Early direct deposit and SpotMe!
    • Not enough love support
    • Takes a long time for someone to get in touch with you
    • "SpotMe" is automatic

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Chime is great

    • By Earnestine D.,
    • Montgomery, AL,
    • Jun 30, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    I enjoy my Chime card because I get part of my paycheck two days early. I use this money for things in advance. Also, I use SpotMe to help when I fall short.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Chime is the best

    • By Travis V.,
    • Salt Lake City, UT,
    • Jun 30, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    Chime is so much better than a bank card or any other pre-paid card. They are accepted everywhere. There are never any fees (even for ATM), my direct deposit posts 2 days before payday, transfers are easy, depositing money is easy, linking accounts and bill pay is great and the overdraft has no credit check and increases the more you use it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Chime

    • By Mitzi M.,
    • Pueblo, CO,
    • Jun 30, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    I love my Chime account. The SpotMe feature has been helpful so many times. I have used other ways to receive my paycheck and Chime is the only that has gotten it to me early!

    Pros and Cons:

    • They care about there customers
    • They do what they say
    • They have great customer service
    • No “cons” were specified in this review

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Chime rocks!

    • By Robert H.,
    • Wetumpka, AL,
    • Jun 29, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    Chime has revolutionized the way I handle money. The "Round Up" saving feature, the "pay friends" feature, "SpotMe", and all this for a big, fat, zero dollar per month fee? CHIME ROCKS!

    Pros and Cons:

    • No fees
    • Paper check availability
    • Pay friends feature
    • No “cons” were specified in this review

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Worth the switch

    • By Adam P.,
    • Franklin, IN,
    • Jun 27, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    At first, I thought of Chime as a scam. You saw all of those ads listed on social media sites and the occasional pop-up ad while browsing a web page. However, a family member talked me into trying Chime. I already have a bank account with Huntington which has been good to me the past 5 years with only minor issues which became resolved quickly. Chime is a great bank in all honesty. I've yet to have an issue with Chime since I've been with them. There are no fees (minus withdraw fees at certain ATMs of course), no hidden obligations or anything of the sort. You can't beat getting your paycheck 2 days in advance either! One reason I love Chime over my personal bank is that they give you so many options if you need financial aid. They give you things you can inquire about to reduce your rent, utilities, and auto expenses. It's great to know that my bank is always looking out for me.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No hidden fees
    • Chime is always putting customers first
    • You're never out of the loop
    • There isn't a branch you can just walk into

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • A must have

    • By Reynaldo R.,
    • San Antonio, TX,
    • Jun 25, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 2+ years
    Overall Experience:

    First and foremost, Chime's offer of having your direct deposit paid to you 2 days earlier every pay period, is 100% legit/true! Furthermore, Chime has your back on a feature called SpotMe. Once you get your direct deposit set up and going, Chime spots you, I believe up to $100 depending on your direct deposit amount. On top of that any other bank will charge you an overdraw fee of $15-$25 per transaction, Chime might either ask for a tip or sometimes a percentage of what you think is good enough for you to pay, they actually put out 3 amounts and you choose, WOW! I really recommend you get a Chime card, it's more than a prepaid card, it's actually a debit card with a routing and checking account number, boom chakalaka!

    Pros and Cons:

    • It's a bank not a prepaid card!
    • SpotMe service is amazing!
    • 2 days early pay direct deposit!
    • Communication
    • More live support
    • More detail where you can reload

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Easy to use app and great benefits

    • By Diana F.,
    • Oklahoma City, OK,
    • Jun 23, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    I love that my direct deposit is posted early! I love that there are no overdraft fees!

    What I really like is their exceptional customer service! I had an issue and I called and was helped on the spot! They were kind and courteous!

    Pros and Cons:

    • Being paid early
    • No overdraft fees
    • Great customer service
    • No “cons” were specified in this review

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great banking option

    • By Jason S.,
    • Winter Haven, FL,
    • Jun 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    Easy to use, great features. Have only used it once, but the SpotMe option is nice to have just in case. Hopefully new features come along, such as NFC for their cards. I don't always have my phone with me to use Google Pay, etc. Other than that, it's awesome.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No fuss
    • Mobile
    • Lack of tools
    • Wish money transfers were available to other platforms

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Banking with Chime has worked awesome for me.

    • By Marlana U.,
    • Katy, TX,
    • Jun 19, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    My experience with Chime overall has been fantastic. The SpotMe feature is a lifesaver. I love that I can deposit checks from my phone and it only takes a few hours to see it in my account. The customer service has been friendly when I've called. I like that I have control of everything concerning my account right on the app. Thank you Chime!

    Pros and Cons:

    • No credit check
    • The app
    • SpotMe
    • Cannot use card for deposits on utility companies

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


Showing 1-11 of 503

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