About ChimpChange

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff

If you’re looking to wire money directly to or from your bank account, you’re really only limited to services like Western Union and MoneyGram, or through your bank. The problem is that, regardless of which option you choose (and the amount of money involved), you could spend a lot in fees during the process.

To disrupt this trend, ChimpChange promises to provide a digital banking platform where customers can easily and reliably send, spend, and manage their money for less. This involves two parts: 1) an iOS or Android app and 2) a prepaid MasterCard, which are linked. What does this accomplish?

Using ChimpChange’s app, we’re told you’ll be able to send money in real time to other ChimpChange users, as well as to anyone with a cell phone, while “managing your money on the go.” Then, with ChimpChange’s MasterCard, you’ll be able to make in-store and online purchases almost anywhere in the world—and even withdraw from any ATM with a MoneyPass logo.

In a nutshell, ChimpChange promises to help you send payments and do all your daily transactional banking from a single app—for less than a traditional bank.

Given this, ChimpChange claims they’re out to disrupt the banking industry, based on lower fees and simplicity. But is ChimpChange a good option for everyone? Are there other options competing in the same space? Will it really help you save money?

In order to make sure you have all the information you need, there are several big concepts to tackle, which we’ll walk you through here. To begin, let’s take a closer look at how ChimpChange works.

Funding Your ChimpChange Account & Checking Your Balance

Step 1: Download the App & Activate Your Card

To set up you ChimpChange account, the first thing you’ll need to do is download the iOS or Android app. Then, you’ll be required to enter your personal details, accept the terms, and enter the 5-digit verification code sent to you via SMS.

Once your ChimpChange app has been activated, you’ll also need to activate your MasterCard. First, log back into your app, go to the Settings screen, select Activate Card, and then enter the last 4 digits of your card, as well as your entire social security number.

Note: According to the company, this is required by law as part of the US Patriot Act. However, ChimpChange never sees or stores this information.

Step 2: Verify Your Bank Account

Although the exact steps you’ll need to take here depend on the banking institution, you’ll basically need to transfer funds from your bank account to your ChimpChange account (which is why it’s called a prepaid card). But first, you’ll need to link and verify your bank account before you can load your ChimpChange account with funds.

To do this, you’ll need to go to the Transfer Funds section of your online bank account and add an external account. Here, you’ll enter the routing and account numbers found on the back of your ChimpChange card.

Over the next 2-3 days, your bank will make two small deposits into your ChimpChange account. Once they post, you’ll need to log back into your bank account, enter the amounts to complete verification, and you’re all set.

If you choose, you can also link your ChimpChange account with a PayPal account.

Step 3: Load (or Unload) Your ChimpChange Card

Now that you have a way to fund your ChimpChange account, it’s time to transfer money, which you should be able to quickly accomplish by logging into your online bank account.

Step 4: Sending & Receiving Money

After loading, you’ll need to log into your ChimpChange app by entering your cell number and password, your 4-digit PIN, or Touch ID, select the Send Money Icon. Then, touch the Send To field to open your contacts and choose the person you want to send money to, and enter how much you’d like to send in the Amount field. You can include a memo if you like.

ChimpChange AppWe’re told that sending money through the ChimpChange app is as easy as a few taps.

Finally, you’ll be shown a confirmation page. Once you’re ready to go, select Confirm to send your funds, and you’ll receive a receipt for the transaction via email.

Unloading money from ChimpChange back to your bank account works much the same way, just in reverse.

Alright, so we’ve covered ChimpChange’s ease of use. Now let’s cover their other claim to fame: lower cost.

What Are ChimpChange’s Fees & Eligibility Criteria?

How Much Does a ChimpChange Account Cost?

Signing up for a ChimpChange account is completely free, doesn’t require a credit check, and comes with no minimum balance requirement. You also won’t be subject to any monthly fees as long as you spend, withdraw, or load money at least once every 60 days.

If you don’t use your card at least once every 2 months, you’ll be charged a $4.95 inactivity fee per month. ChimpChange claims they’ll send you a reminder before this occurs.

Other potential fees include being charged $1.50 each time you withdraw money through a bank teller, and $1.95 every time you withdraw money from an ATM that doesn’t display the MoneyPass logo. You’ll even be charged $0.50 for checking your balance at an ATM!

Important note: Also, keep in mind that if you load funds at 7-11, CVS, K-Mart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, or Walmart, they will charge you an additional fee of $4.95. To avoid loading fees altogether, you can complete a form and hand it to your employer in order to have funds direct deposited to your ChimpChange account.

For a more complete look at potential fees, be sure to check out ChimpChange’s Pricing page. The good news is that for every fee, the company seems to go the extra mile and provide suggestions on how to minimize or avoid them.

Does ChimpChange Have Strict Eligibility Criteria?

All ChimpChange accounts are offered through Eagle Bank and Trust Company of Missouri or Central Bank of Kansas City. In order to qualify for one, you’ll have to be aged 18 or older, with a US SSN and a US residential address. However, ChimpChange accounts are not available to residents of CT, NH, RI, or VT.

When loading your ChimpChange card, you’ll only be able to transfer up to $2,500 each time, with a maximum of 2 loads per day. Daily withdrawals max out at $1,000, while you can make up to $1,500 in purchases per day. The account maximum is $10,000.

Have other pricing or eligibility questions? ChimpChange’s customer service department can be reached at 855-HICHIMP (855-442-4467).

How do ChimpChange’s fees compare to other methods of transferring money?

Does ChimpChange Have Any Competition?

Until very recently, there’s no doubt that traditional banks were sticking it to their customers when it came to transferring money. After all, according to MyBankTracker, these fees can reach as high as $30 to send money, and up to $20 to receive it.

However, this increasingly isn’t the case anymore. What do we mean? Likely to keep their customers happy (and to respond to competition like ChimpChange), many larger banks no longer charge fees to transfer money from one bank to another.

Perhaps the best-known example of this is Chase’s QuickPay, although there are increasingly popular options like TD Bank’s Person-to-Person Payment, Wells Fargo’s Sure Pay, Bank of America’s send money service, and more. And if you’re looking to move outside of traditional banks you have even more options, including well-known services like PayPal, as well as up-and-comers like Google Wallet, Square Cash, Venmo, and many more.

Obviously, if you’re just looking for a mobile banking app or for a prepaid debit card (which might not offer all the same features as ChimpChange), you’ve got even more options.

The point? ChimpChange has a lot of competition vying for your business.

Who Founded ChimpChange? Is the Company Getting Good Reviews?

ChimpChange is the brainchild of 34-year old Australian Ash Shilkin, who claims he first had a vision of “zapping money to each other using [a] wristwatch” back when he was 14, which eventually led him to the company’s creation.

Prior to founding ChimpChange, Ash worked within the climate industry, first as CFO of CO2 Australia and then as Director of Yonderr.com. Today, he’s based out of Los Angeles, CA.

Despite being in business since 2011, there were few online customer reviews for the ChimpChange service at the time of our review. We found one detailed writeup in The Sydney Morning Herald back in April 2015, which is outdated, with little feedback elsewhere.

ChimpChange’s iOS and Android apps had well over 1,000 reviews, however, with 3.5 and 3.8-star ratings, respectively. There, most users seemed to be pleased with the app’s ease of use.

On the other hand, common complaints cited declined transactions (even with money in the account), inactivity fees if you don’t use the card regularly, and less-than stellar customer support (specifically, long wait times for replies, even in emergency situations).

Should You Open a ChimpChange Account?

Considering everything we’ve covered so far, let’s walk through this last part, step by step:

Exactly What Is ChimpChange?

Here at HighYa, we enjoy helping you clear away the hype, so that you can take a fresh look at a product through the lens of what you need (instead of what a company’s marketing department wants you to believe). From this perspective, ChimpChange is basically just a prepaid debit card with a fairly useful (at least according to most customers) app.

ChimpChange Pros & Cons

Outside of their app, the biggest difference between most other prepaid debit cards is that with ChimpChange, you’ll be subject to very few fees, which could save you a ton of money if used on a regular basis.

However, with ChimpChange, we think you might experience many of the same downsides as traditional prepaid debit cards. Like what? Here are a few examples:

  • If you already have a checking account (which you’ll need in order to fund your ChimpChange account), it’s very likely that you already have a debit card. So, for point of sale purchases, you’ll likely be able to use it at just as many retail locations—without having to transfer money beforehand.
  • Speaking of which, like many other prepaid debit cards, it can take a couple days for transferred funds from your bank to show up in your ChimpChange account. So, if you’re relying on it as your primary payment method and you quickly run out, you could be short on money for an uncomfortable period of time.
  • If you have an account with one of the larger banks, they very likely offer a low- or- no-fee service that allows you to transfer money between individuals, or even businesses, which means you won’t have to create yet another new account or download another app.

Other Important ChimpChange Considerations

Are there any other important aspects about ChimpChange you should keep in mind? Outside of everything we’ve discussed so far, one of ChimpChange’s main claimed benefits is that they can make “transactional banking” much easier, which typically references handling day-to-day finances.

However, we’d have to wonder how easy it would be to consistently pay bills through your ChimpChange account. After all, you’d still have to transfer money from your primary bank account to make sure there are adequate funds, which seems like it’s only complicating the process by adding another step (not to mention that the transfer process can take days). On the other hand, by knowing exactly what’s in your account at any time, ChimpChange might make a useful budgeting tool.

Instead, we think ChimpChange might work best for someone who frequently transfers money to other individuals (at least once every couple months, in order to avoid fees). Also, if you’re a US resident and plan on going overseas for a short, ChimpChange might offer a relatively easy solution for avoiding many associated bank fees.

Do you use ChimpChange? If so, for what? What do you like and dislike? Tell us your opinions by writing a review below!

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13 Consumer Reviews for ChimpChange

Average Consumer Rating: 1.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  10
Bottom Line: 31% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 13
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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Closed my card with no explanation

    • Portland, OR,
    • Oct 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have three children, and I sometimes use prepaid cards to put any money I have left over from my check from work. I do that so I can pay some bills or just have an easier and cheaper way to keep my money safe besides a real bank account.

    So that’s exactly what I did with ChimpChange! I barely had my card, not even a week. I loaded some money and tried to take money out of the ATM, but it wouldn’t take my pin. So I check my email and there was an email from ChimpChange saying that they are closing my account for compliance, without even notifying me or giving me an explanation. Not to mention whenever I called customer service it sounds like the people work from home and hate being bothered. I am very disappointed because I have to wait 7-12 days for a check in the mail because they closed my account. On top of that, they asked for me to send in a pic of my ID and a bill for proof of address. I already signed up for this card, why do you need all this extra info!? All I know is I hate them.

    I have three kids with no money until I receive this check or my next work check. Stupid people! I will write a review everywhere and report them to the BBB!

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

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    If I don't get my direct deposit you can go jump chimp

    • South Carolina,
    • Oct 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    As a person who receives disability, I figured this was a good option. I've been using the card for a few months and decided to direct deposit my social security check. Here it is: the 3rd social security says it was released but ChimpChange has not received it. I've been on hold forever. Sending my money back to American express where I know I don't have issues.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Eh, not very good customer service

    • Washington,
    • Sep 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I emailed customer service because I could not get my transaction history to print from the website. The guy acted like he did not want to talk to me when he responded. He said, "why can't you print your transaction history? Do you not have a printer?" I thought that was just dumb. If I didn't have a printer, why would I email saying I am having trouble printing? He never responded after I told him the error message I was receiving when I tried to download the history.

    Not very good customer service at all. I probably won't use them much anymore. I need to print my transaction history from time to time, and if that's impossible, makes me feel like they can rip me off and I never can get proof.

    Nice app, beautiful and all, but virtually no customer service, so not a safe company, if you ask me. If the app were to malfunction, my money would just be gone.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Do NOT use direct deposit. False advertising!

    • Houston, TX,
    • Sep 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was getting a refund and asked that it be placed on the ChimpChange card. It was there in less than 24 hours! I was so impressed that I decided to have my pay directly deposited to the card, too. I was going to make them my primary card.

    Their YouTube ad says they offer two-day early access to your pay with direct deposit. So, I did it. Well, it's Wednesday, I'm looking for my money, as usual, and it's not here. My employer says it has been released, so I call and send an email. They tell me that they don't offer two-day early access!

    So here I am, no money, heading into a holiday weekend, finances all messed up, and ChimpChange is lying to the American public, engaging in deceptive advertising, and causing undue financial turmoil and distress for decent, trusting citizens. What a shame.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    No fees for loading

    I don't have my account hooked up to another bank account. I have it hooked to my square account. It charges me nothing to deposit my money. I use the card as if it were a back card and again. No charges. I've never loaded, received or sent money, so I'm not sure about that. However, I understand there in a different time zone, however, they do reply as soon as they open. They're always nice and polite. Love them.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Happy with service

    I am very happy with how easy it was to apply and no fees to start. I'll be connecting my PayPal to ChimpChange as soon as I get my card. My husband already has one of these accounts and it has worked out great for a second account to pay bills from or deposit small checks. I don't recommend this service for personal checks, though. They always put a ten-day hold. You will be happy with this account if you have realistic expectations. It's a prepaid MasterCard, similar to Green Dot, so loading money is easy. For any big transaction or very important checks your life depends on, I would hop to a bank that has an office, but we are pleased.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Where is my card

    • Monterey, CA,
    • May 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for this and set up my direct deposit, and it's been one month since they said they sent my card, and I haven't gotten it. I called a few times, and the customer service is the worse I've ever seen. And I'm supposed to trust them with my money. If they can't deliver a simple card then how can I trust them with my money?

    Also, when I called, the customer service people had the worse attitude. I asked for a supervisor, and they kept sending me to a different representative. No supervisor wants to answer a call. What kind of company is this? I guess I'm backing out before it's too late.

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

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Never use this service, you'll regret it

    I deposited money on ChimpChange and used it to send to another country through a remittance service. The transaction was declined because they don't accept prepaid debit cards and said they did not take the money from my ChimpChange account. So I sent ChimpChange an email asking for my money back. They said it's going to take few days to be removed from hold.

    I messaged them again yesterday, and they told me my money is due to be released by Wednesday, April 19th, and that I need to send them a message again to request for the release. I told them that's what I've been asking for the past few days. Why do I still need to message again for the release if it's due to be released on Wednesday? I expressed my frustration and the customer service rep just responded rudely, saying there's a 30-day hold (blah blah), even when they said the money will be released today.

    So I messaged them this morning, and all I get is a response that they're still sleeping, even if I sent my message at 6 and 7 am, which is the start of their operations. They start at 6 am.

    They have the worst customer service. They're rude, and you will have to beg for your own money to be given back to you. DO NOT use this service if you don't want hassles.

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

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Never sign up!

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Apr 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    A friend sent me $15 from his bank account to my ChimpChange account and because he didn't use my full name, "he didn't know he had to," chimp change froze my account. Then they needed proof of who I was. They requested a picture of my ID and I sent it twice. Then they needed proof of my address, and I sent it.

    Long story short, I still don't have MY money. The app and the card look cool and easy. But please DO NOT sign up for ChimpChange!

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

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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    So far, not so good

    • South Carolina,
    • Feb 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have had my ChimpChange card for about a month and have not used it in any way.

    Well, my pharmacy overcharged me for some meds, and I asked them to deposit the refund to the ChimpChange account. This was on a Thursday, so I figured it would be Monday before the money showed up. Well, I get an email on Friday night about 10:30 pm from ChimpChange saying they received my question but were closed and would get back to me on Monday. I never sent them any type of message. I tried to log into my account on my phone and on my computer. I got a message saying there was a problem logging in, and to call customer service.

    So, I called the customer service number and got Barbara, who seemed very annoyed that her phone rang. I told her about the email and the error message when I was trying to log in. Barbara tells me that the email did come from ChimpChange and my card is blocked, and that's why I can't log in. She then told me that she could not help me as she was actually in the MasterCard payment processing center, not ChimpChange customer service. She told me I would need to call back on Monday.

    So now I'm nervous that there is something going on with my money. Why would I get some random email and the card is blocked? First impressions are everything, and this is NOT a good one, and I may not be using this card again.

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

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Sadly disappointed with ChimpChange

    • Bristol, PA,
    • Feb 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I recently moved my fund from a PayPal account to ChimpChange.

    Now I'm being told that my funds have not been added, and I find myself stuck with no gas and no food at a gas station. The funds are not in my PayPal account anymore so I can't use it. When I called ChimpChange about my funds, I'm being told something about a 8 am to 12 pm timeframe, and I have to wait until the following Tuesday to get my own money.

    Come on now, who wants to wait to get the money they so desperately need? I wish I would have been reminded of this when I called earlier. It totally sucks; kids are freaking out, the wife is hungry, and I have no gas. This is totally insane.

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

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