Chime Review: Chime Helps Make Saving for your Home Easy
Chime is part of the new slew of financial tech apps that have hit the market in the last few years, but unlike other competitors, Chime is not trying to reinvent the wheel. They offer a simple online banking app that combines a checking and savings account without all the fees of a brick and mortar bank.
If you’re looking for an easy way to save money for a down payment on your new home or put cash away for things like property taxes or insurance, Chime might be just what you need.
Chime Banking at a glance:
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
No account minimums
No foreign transaction fees
Free Visa debit card
Large free ATM network
Low interest savings account Options
Check and cash deposits can be difficult
Who is Chime?
Chime is a mobile banking app which launched in 2014 in, you guess it, San Francisco. If you’re comfortable with the idea of a checking account with a linked savings account you have a pretty good understanding of what Chime does. Chime’s simplicity is that it just happens to do all of this online.
They also happen to do everything without all of the fees, penalties and restrictions of a typical brick and mortar bank. With Chime you set up direct deposit and link any other accounts you may have. Chime has partnered with Bancorp Bank to provide you with an FDIC insured account so your money is always protected. They’ve also partnered with Visa to give you a debit card that you can use anywhere Visa cards are accepted. Use it to buy groceries, coffee, pay your bills, or shop online.
Checking Without the Fees
The only fee you may encounter with Chime is a $2.50 out of network ATM transaction fee. But that’s it. There is no minimum balance requirement with Chime, nor are there monthly charges or overdraft fees.
If you attempt to make a transaction that will take you into the negative, Chime will move money from your savings account to your checking account to cover the difference. If you don’t have the money in your savings to cover it, Chime will deny the transaction.
If you’re getting gas or eating at a restaurant and you’re close to empty, Chime will allow the transaction to go through even if the tip or the gas total takes you into the negative. There are still no fees, but if your account stays in the negative for 90 days Chime will close your account.
They also have no foreign transaction fees. Anyone who’s ever tried to withdraw money from a bank overseas will appreciate not being pummeled with off-the-wall charges.
Thanks to an agreement with Money Pass, Chime also offers free ATM withdrawals from 30,000 ATM machines across the country. You can find them easily through the app. A quick glance at ATM availability showed us a large contingent in both cities and suburban areas. They were a little more spotty in rural areas, but that’s true of any bank. Just be sure to check the map for ATM availability if you do live in the country and need to access ATMs on a routine basis.
Saving with Chime
Chime functions as a perfectly good checking account but it really shines when you combine it with their built-in savings account. Other apps definitely have more functionality in this area, but it’s hard to beat Chime for its ease of use. No, you won’t be able to automatically transfer money to savings every time you buy a cup of coffee or every time your dog poops but you also don’t have a lot of tinkering to do either.
Chime has two ways to automatically move money into your savings account. Once you set up direct deposit you can elect to have Chime move 10% of your check directly into your savings account, or you can have Chime round up every transaction you make to the nearest dollar and move the change into savings. If you’ve ever done either, you know how quickly you can start saving money these ways. If you need to turn them off for a bit, you can easily do so within the app.
Neither of these functions is revolutionary but both are easy ways to save money fast.
The only real downside to the savings account is that the interest rate is only .01%. While this is extremely low compared to other savings accounts let's not kid ourselves by saying anyone actually makes significant money on interest with any savings account at any bank.
Chime Debit Card
Chime will issue you a Visa debit card when you open an account that can be used like any debit or credit card. There is a maximum daily withdrawal of $500, but that’s standard.
Chime gives you cash back when you make certain purchases too, which is a feature usually only reserved for credit cards. They have a set of reward categories for things like groceries and entertainment. They also have cash back for certain bills like cable and phone.
Deposits and Withdrawals
With Chime you can set up direct deposit and transfer money from other accounts but there is currently no easy way to deposit cash or checks directly into your account. This is clearly the one downside to not having a physical location because you can’t simply walk into a physical branch and throw down a stack of Benjamins.
Checks are also not easy to deposit. Chime offers remote mobile deposit, but only for members who are enrolled in direct deposit, otherwise you have to go to an ATM. You can use third party apps to do this but the only one we could uncover was Ingo and they charge either $5 (or between 1% and 2% of the check total) for the privilege. If you need to regularly deposit checks or cash you’ll either need to use Chime as a secondary account or find another app all together.
Chime gives you the best of both worlds, a checking and savings account combo, zero fees, and a great, intuitive app. While the savings triggers are simple, they are extremely handy and would likely be the ones you’d choose if given a choice.
If you’re looking for an easy way to start saving with an app that still has the comfortable feel of the accounts you’re accustomed to, Chime is the bank for you.