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:
  • 515 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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  • Worst banking experience in 40 years

    Overall Experience:

    I have been banking for 40 years. I recently became frustrated with fees and inconvenient access due to a recent move. I read about Chime, and thought it may fit my needs.

    I opened an account on their website, submitted required documentation and soon received my Chime debit card in the mail. A few days later I took my newly activated Chime debit card, and with my verified cell phone and number made an opening funding deposit, via a Green Dot MonePak transaction. The deposit amount was for $500. I immediately received an email confirmation of that deposit. I went to the China app to verify also. It showed that the $500 was credited and part of my balance.

    After about one hour I went to the ATM at my usual bank to withdraw funds. It printed a receipt that read something like "transaction error, try again." I thought I had perhaps chosen the wrong account option. I repeated the $300 withdrawal request, received another printed transaction record stating unauthorized transaction.

    I went into my branch and spoke with my regular account representative (I was at my brick and mortar bank where they know me) about it. She was as perplexed as I. I went back and attempted to do a balance inquiry. It immediately gave the screen message of "account closed," my deposit was now in a "spending account," and the ATM retained my new card. I couldn't believe it. I then tried to login to the Chime app, and received an error message, stating I had my access removed. Same message on the website.

    I then immediately called the customer service number given as a contact us number on the website, and it gave the recorded message customer service closed. I had no option but to wait until the following day, and I called the same number. I spoke with a rep who told me that any account related questions or inquiries were answered by email only. They could provide zero info.

    I emailed Chime at the support address and received an auto-response that it was an error. I tried again, went thru verification that I wasn't a robot, and again response received of not valid. I then called once again and was informed I needed to include the email address of the account with all communications. I did that and never received a personal response. I did keep trying and then began to receive an auto-reply that said to email them with specific account inquiries, if it was that they would get back to me, hold on, it read.

    I called again after several days of no communication of any type was told by the rep. I didn't include a copy of my ID with my email, which they only could see one email from me. They could not answer any account questions. I submitted a new email at the address I verified with that rep, including this time an attachment of my driver's license photo. No response. I emailed again, and nothing.

    I call again, same runaround. No rep is able to answer any account questions nor give me an explanation. When I requested to speak with someone in a supervisory or manager capacity I was told there is not one to speak with. The only option I was told was to email. This is now day 8 of no type of explanation, and zero response. I emailed again, even trying several other possible email addresses I've located on the internet.

    Today is now two weeks exactly, it's been 14 frustrating days, and I've yet to receive even one human reply. I have continued, though, to receive emails from Chime regarding account services and promotional type messages.

    I've never had, in my 49 years, a relationship with any financial institution where I could not speak or receive written communication regarding my account specifics. I'm now angry, in disbelief and shock that a company could be in any position that they felt they did not have to answer to their account holders. It's my hard earned money, not theirs, they are keeping.

    I've read again my Chime small print and agreement. Yes, I believe I deposited too much for my opening deposit. If that be the case, then I can accept that error, and do what I need to make it balance out. Just tell me, communicate how to fix it, and no problem whatsoever. It's when I'm being ignored that I start to feel that a fraud has been perpetrated. Perhaps their non-response will eventually result in my giving up and they keep the funds. Is that what's happening?

    I now see that they are set up to attract those that may have limited finances and banking options. They prey on that circumstance, and once they have access to your info and money, feel they have the upper-hand to dictate how and when you are able to access YOUR money. Opportunists, not a company that thinks of you, but preys on those that for whatever reason, are not in a financially strong position.

    I have no option but to think the worst at this point. I would give this advice to anyone contemplating becoming a member or account holder with Chime. They do not respond to telephone inquiries; all are deferred to email only. Customer service phone hours are restricted to essentially bankers hours. No 24/7 support, even if there's technical, fraud or lost card issues. Unless you have a direct deposit option, the ability to deposit into the accounts are very limited. Instead of being part of a personal and small bank that cares about you as they promise, you are a part of a larger Bancorp company. A customer without a voice or a face.

    Not the future in personal banking I had envisioned or they so deceptively have promised you. At this point, I'm just wishing myself luck here.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Will deny disputes and accuse you of stealing your own money.

    Overall Experience:

    We had someone skim our card information and use it fraudulently. We opened a dispute and sent in a copy of the police report I filed. Disputes take 10 business days.

    I called back to get a status update and found out the dispute had been denied because my husband supposedly made the transaction. We called the company the charge was made with and their fraud department told us that they did not tell Chime any such thing and even verified that the shipping address for the fraudulent order did not match our address or any address we would have used. I was forced to rebut the dispute but could only do it by emailing it in.

    I did get upset and yelled, but they hung up on me 3 times and my husband once. My rebuttal will take another 10 business days. When I asked to speak to a higher up supervisor, I was refused multiple times. I asked to speak with the "investigations" department, and that was refused as well. DO NOT use Chime Card or Bancorp!

    I found a law firm advertising specifically to sue Chime Card for the exact same thing we are going through. So not only do they not want to help you when you are ripped off, a law firm is actively looking for other Chime Card victims.

    Oh and even if you get a new card, watch out. We got a notification that someone tried to use the NEW card at around 3 am the day after we activated it. Make sure you keep your transactions turned off. I only gave one star because I can't give zero.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Chime is the worst bank ever

    • By Cody Rabe,
    • Tennessee,
    • Sep 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    An ATM ate my card and I didn't receive my withdraw, so I call Chime and they said the would get me a new card in 3-5 business days. It is going on two weeks and I have no card and don't have access to my money. Every time I called them they told me a different story. I'm on the verge of being kicked out of my apartment, losing my car, I have no gas to get to work, and they do nothing to help me. They make my life difficult and they have the worst manager ever. Her name is Lauven Daniel (#2127) and she was very rude and hung up on me. I hope she gets fired.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Worst bank (if you can call it that) ever! They should be sued and shut down.

    • By Myeka,
    • Seattle, WA,
    • Nov 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    They lack any ability to be able to provide customer service to their bankers, any time that I have had a problem with my account they not only refuse to help me and problem solve. In order to get any progress on my problems, I have to get aggravated and rude. I have experienced a number of times I have needed to contact merchant services, and they will not help you no matter what! They go by a bankers book for dummies and will only provide you with three steps they are able to take; their problem-solving sucks!

    Right now I am waiting on a dispute for $100, so I can cancel my account. You would be a fool to bank with these people. I know I made a fool out of myself. I would give zero stars, but that's not an option.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Another bad experience with Chime

    Overall Experience:

    I requested a check to be mailed to pay a bill. After the payment was not posted to my account in two weeks, I started trying to contact Chime.

    As previous reviewers said, you will not get a reply to emails or messages sent through the app. The customer service phone line does not give an option for speaking to a human unless you go into the "Inquiries about my account such as balance, etc." menu and wait for the last option. So first choose 2 and then 0.

    I didn't know that at first, so I contacted Bancorp and they transferred me, "as a one-time courtesy" to someone I think might have been at Chime Headquarters. He told me to wait until it had been 10 business days, and when I complained about the poor customer service, he told me "Online banking is not for everybody."

    I think everybody, online or not, expects to hear back from customer service when they have a problem. They have 55 complaints to the California BBB, although they indicate they have been appropriately resolved. That might be the way to go if you can't get their attention.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Tax refund

    • By Amanda Garcia,
    • North Carolina,
    • Feb 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    My tax refund was supposed to be deposited today, February 22, 2018. The IRS has already told me there's nothing wrong with my taxes, so it's the Chime card. If you want your taxes on time, do not use Chime prepaid card, they suck.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • By far the worst financial institution on earth.

    • By Rick C.,
    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Dec 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    If you are thinking of using this "bank," run hard and fast IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

    I signed up with Chime Bank because they claimed it would make my life easier. It didn't.

    I say "it" instead of "they" because their customer support is nothing but a group of uneducated automatons programmed to say whatever their management tells them to say AND there is no ESCALATION PATH if there is a problem.

    Here is my specific instance. And it happened twice, exactly the same way.

    1) Their customer support is based overseas and those people have no idea about American financial norms.

    2) They consistently claim to transfer you to a "supervisor." There is no such path. They simply transfer to the beginning of the queue where you have to re-enter your information to prove who you are EVERY TIME. Which in essence is a good thing if they didn't make you do it over and over to whoever you talk to.

    3) Possibly illegal banking practices. I set up a bill-pay vendor. In this case my Apartment Leasing Office. I entered the amount, and they said it was sent. They deducted the money from my account. I did this for THREE WEEKS AHEAD OF TIME.

    The check was never sent.

    4) When they have an issue with your payment, they don't bother to return the money to your account nor do they even notify you that there was a problem.

    5) When I called customer service. They always say "that payment as already been TRANSFERRED," and the problem is with the apartment complex and essentially hang up on you. After checking with the leasing office, they did not receive a check.

    This happens to be exactly what every "customer service" person says. My estimation is these are uneducated people with no experience in banking. Maybe retail. They have no idea what they are doing.

    6) I asked for proof of payment. A canceled check, anything, and they repeatedly give the same story. There is nothing we can do because that's how we are programmed by their management. They don't even try to help you find out what happened.

    7) They have no concept of the importance of rent payments in the USA, and don't care if you are being pressured to pay, or that you will be evicted.

    8) I finally got through to someone. You have to get an escalation number from one of these hapless employees who I guess get in trouble if they have to get someone else to help you. Their willingness to help is absolutely offensive.

    9) It took almost a week to get the money returned to my account for a mistake that THEY MADE.

    10) If I had not had to call repeatedly over 10 times to get help, they would have simply kept the money. Rent is a large amount of money!

    What I expected was the bank to send me a message IMMEDIATELY when there was a problem sending a check (or any transaction), and immediately returned the funds to my account. Also, I expect the customer service to have a complete history of the transaction, not just "oh, well, we sent the money to the division that prints checks, so it must be your fault."

    I closed my account because of their predatory behavior!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Lost card

    Overall Experience:

    It is incredibly hard to get money if you lose your card. The fastest I can do is a check in six days (come on), and two weeks for a card (get real). Duh, I will be changing banks. Until this I loved Chime, but this is insane.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Worst bank ever!

    Overall Experience:

    They steal your money and don't try to resolve any of your issues. I would recommend card.com. I'm going back to them. I only left because of the fee. But compared to going through this for $32, I would rather pay the fee.

    You suck Chime! I hope your scam of a business closes down and if I don't get my money back, I will take you to Small Claims Court. Run somewhere else; you have been warned!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • First internet banking experience bust!

    • By FWhittaker,
    • St. Louis, MO,
    • May 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    This is the worst experience I've EVER had with a banking institution! Don't have a situation like a debit card transaction that needs to be reviewed or wanting something as simple as a statement. Yes, a statement. You do not have the ability to print or even see a statement (a simple option with the majority of financial institutions), you have to call and request one. No big deal, right? Wrong!

    I requested one on Monday morning and was told by a supervisor that I would have it within 24 hours. Here we are Friday and I still don't have it and I needed it this morning. Shame on me for not checking because how hard could it be to send a statement? Apparently not that easy. When I called this morning, I was originally told by a CSR that it would take another 7-10 business days. When my call was escalated, I was told by another supervisor that I would have it at the end of the day or tomorrow. I should have known, though, after the ordeal I had to remove a duplicate hold of a transaction on my debit card: three weeks, countless calls, and numerous text messages with them.

    The final resolution of a debit card dispute with these people got me feeling like I won the lottery!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Scam

    • By Joy L.,
    • North Carolina,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Please don't put your money in this account; they will take your money and make you wait months to get your money back. It's an insider that takes your money, and they don't have answers for your question about your money. Please, please don't put your money in this account, they are thieves.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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