What is Chime Banking?
Created in 2013 by Chris Britt and Ryan King, Chime is often advertised as a bank for Millennials, but it was designed to cater to anyone who is more comfortable with banking on a smartphone than with a brick-and-mortar institution.
Chime’s spending and savings accounts and free Visa debit card are supported by the Bancorp Bank, a finance industry leader that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). So you get the support of a big bank but none of the fluff and fees.
Getting started takes just a few minutes on their website. Chime banking is accessible on your iPhone or Android device. They offer Checking or Savings accounts.
Chime is dedicated to “empowering people to lead healthier financial lives.” They promise this by not relying on customer fees. Instead, Chime makes money from Visa every time customers use their Visa debit card for purchases.
There is no fee for minimum balances, transfers or overdraft. The only time Chime charges a fee is when you use an out-of-network ATM or try to get cash back at checkout from a non-participating retailer.
If you do incur a fee, Chime will take the money out of your spending account up to the remaining balance in your account, sending your balance to zero if applicable.
Currently, there is no overdraft protection, so if you try to make a purchase without sufficient funds in your spending account, your transaction will be declined (unless the merchant forces a charge similar to the way gas stations do or when you leave a tip on your restaurant receipt after paying for the bill).
No Fees — The only fee you'll ever pay is for out-of-network ATM withdrawals.
Visa Debit Card — You'll receive a Visa debit card that can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted.
Automatic Savings — Allow Chime to automatically "round up" money to deposit in your savings account. You can also have 10% of every paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account.
ATM Network — Although Chime has no physical branch locations, you can make withdrawals fee-free at more than 24,000 ATM locations.
Awkward External Debit Linking — To link an external debit card, Chime requires you to send a picture of both the front and the back of your card. This is an odd and unsecured way to link.
Slow Customer Service — It takes an average (based on customer reviews) of two to five business days for someone to respond to messages via the mobile app.
No Mobile Check Deposits — Chime does not offer mobile check deposits yet.
Limited Banking Features — Chime allows only one spending and one savings account.
If you’re looking for a fee-free, mobile bank with simple features that can help you save and earn extra money, then Chime is worth the try.
If you need more robust banking features like automatic bill pay, physical checks, interest-bearing accounts or the option to have more than one checking and/or savings account, then Chime is not for you. Similar mobile banks such as Ally, Simple and Capital One 360 can offer you free, robust banking features but without a microsavings and rewards program.
Chime is designed for younger adults without complicated financial situations. But anyone who is looking for simple mobile banking and a microsavings app rolled into one can benefit from Chime.