Chime review: What are the pros & cons?

Adam Rozsa

Chime was launched back in 2013 to provide a modern alternative that serves everyday people better than traditional banks¹.

Chime isn’t a bank. It’s a financial technology company offering banking services through other partner financial institutions. However, you can still open a Chime Spending Account, Chime Credit Builder Account or even a Chime Savings Account. Chime also offers the Chime card, to make spending and withdrawals just as easy as if you had a regular bank account. Intrigued? We’ve got all you need to know - including up-to-the-minute Chime reviews - right here.

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📝 Table of contents

Chime Accounts

First, let’s tackle the elephant in the room: is Chime legit? It’s important to point out that Chime - although not a bank - does offer FDIC insurance on all accounts. That means your money is just as safe with Chime as it would be with an online bank or any traditional bank. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Chime accounts on offer to learn more.

Chime Spending Account

The Chime Spending Account comes with a linked Chime card which is on the Visa network². You’ll be able to get paid using direct deposit, and could get your paycheck up to 2 days early thanks to Chime’s early direct deposit process. Chime also supports mobile payment platforms to make spending easier - and you may be able to get a fee free overdraft if you’re eligible. More on that later.

Here are the Chime Spending Account fees you need to know about.

ServiceChime Spending Account Fee
Account opening feeFree³
Monthly service chargeFree³
Local ATM withdrawalsFree to use 60,000 ATMs within the Chime partner network³ $2.5 to use any other ATM³
International ATM withdrawalsChime ATM withdrawal fees will apply - you may also pay a fee imposed by the ATM network provider
Make a cash deposit to your accountIf you deposit cash via a Chime partner, they may impose their own fees and limits⁴

There are also some spending limits that are worth knowing:

ServiceChime Spending Account limit
ATM withdrawalUp to the equivalent of $500/day⁵
Cashback point of saleUp to the equivalent of $500/day⁵
Over the counter cashbackUp to the equivalent of $500/day⁵
Card purchasesSignature and PIN purchases up to the equivalent of $2,500/day⁵
Total daily transaction limitAll the above spending types are subject to a total daily limit of $2,500 or the equivalent⁵ This total daily limit also includes any fees incurred

Overall, the Chime Spending Account has some great perks, reasonable limits and low fees. One place you’ll not want to use it though is to pay at the pump at a gas station. In this case, you may find the gas station puts a hold on your funds to the value of $125⁶. If you don’t actually buy that much gas, your funds will be later released - but this can take a couple of hours, up to a couple of days. Worth avoiding.

Chime Savings Account

When you open a Chime Spending Account, you’ll also be asked if you want to open a Chime Savings Account⁷. This account can only be opened by customers with an active Spending Account⁸. You won’t get a card for this account product, but your deposit will grow thanks to a better than average interest rate - and you can make withdrawals to your Spending account if you need to access your funds.

It’s worth noting that while there are no fees for this account, you may find that there are limits on the number of withdrawals you can make to your Spending Account over a given period. At the time of writing, this limit - imposed by the Federal Government - has been lifted, but previously customers could only make 6 withdrawals a month.⁹

Other Chime Accounts & Services

Chime also offers a Credit Builder Account option. With this account, you’ll be provided with a secured credit card, which you can fund from your other Chime accounts¹⁰. You’ll then be able to spend up to the amount you’ve added to your card, while building a credit history. If you’ve previously been denied credit facilities, this may help you get a better credit score for future needs.

As an alternative, you may be able to access a no-fee overdraft with Chime if you’re eligible to enrol in SpotMe¹¹. To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Have had at least $500 deposited in your Chime Spending Account in the past month
  • Have an Apple or Android phone with a data plan

If you’re eligible for this service you may be able to overdraw your Chime account - however, if you leave your account underfunded for 15 days or more, Chime may offset this by moving funds from your other Chime accounts to cover the shortfall.

Chime Banking Experience

Of course, any Chime review needs to take a look at the customer service options and availability - so you can choose if Chime is right for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Chime mobile app

At the time of writing, the Chime mobile app gets a good 4.6/5 rating on Google Play¹² and an even more impressive 4.8/5 over at Apple¹³. From within the app you can see your account balance, manage your card, check spending and more. This is the most convenient way to manage your money if you decide to open a Chime account.

Chime customer support

As a digital bank, Chime doesn’t have any branches you can walk into to get advice. However, that also means no waiting round in line or taking time out of your day to travel to a branch office. Instead, you can get customer support 24/7 in the Chime app or by emailing the support team. There’s also phone support available 6am to 10pm (CST) Monday to Friday and 7am to 9pm at weekends¹⁴.

Chime Pros & Cons

Here are some key pointers to think about if you’re considering Chime.

Pros

  • Opening an account online is easy - and many services are fee free
  • Get a Chime card to spend and make withdrawals easy
  • Smart ways to save with competitive interest rates
  • Credit building solutions for people who need to improve their credit score
  • 24/7 service and support via the highly rated Chime app

Cons

  • Face to face service isn’t an option - support is online and by phone only
  • Not all services are fee free - you may pay for depositing cash or for ATM withdrawals
  • Limits apply to some services - like spending limits on withdrawals and purchases
  • Some services - like fee free overdrafts - are only available to eligible customers
  • No multi-currency account options available - fees for using your card overseas may be higher than in the US

Bottom line: Is Chime for you?

Chime offers some smart account solutions for people who want to manage their money online and on the phone. You won’t find as full a range of account types with Chime as you may at your regular bank or credit union - but the fees are probably lower with Chime. One thing that makes Chime different to many banks and other financial institutions is that the way Chime screens customers is different. This may make it easier to get an account with Chime if you don’t have the best of credit scores or if you’re just building your credit history.

Chime may not suit you if you need to use your account to deposit cash - fees can apply here - or to make larger purchases - limits can apply here. It may also not be the best option if you like to travel or shop online with international retailers. Take a look at the alternative options suggested below to see if you can find a better product if you shop around.

Alternative Options

If what you’re looking for is an online bank account, you might want to compare some of the options available from other challenger banks. Check out N26 as an example¹⁵. The N26 account has many of the same features as the Chime account, and offers a couple of free US out of network ATMs a month fee free

Or, if you love to travel or spend online in foreign currencies, you may be better off with a multi-currency account to let you convert your US dollars to the currencies you need, and then spend with no foreign transaction fees.

Take a look at the Wise multi-currency account to hold 40+ currencies. All currency conversion with Wise uses the real mid-market exchange rate with no hidden fees. That means that you may save money when you shop online at your favorite international retailers, or buy things as you travel. Just pay a low, transparent conversion fee whenever you want to send an international transfer or switch your money within the Wise app.

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Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

All your Chime questions, answered.

Is Chime Bank legitimate?

If you’re new to digital banking, it’s natural to wonder if Chime is legitimate - and if so: is Chime a good bank? Let’s start there. Chime isn’t a bank in the traditional sense. It’s a financial technology firm which offers banking services. It’s still covered by FDIC insurance, so it’s safe to say Chime is legitimate - and your money is as secure there as it would be in any regular bank.

Which bank does Chime use?

Chime holds customer funds in The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.

What is a Chime card?

If you open a Chime Spending Account, you’ll get a linked Visa debit card to make it easy to access your funds. There is also a Chime card attached to the Credit Builder Account. This is a little different though. This Chime card lets people without a strong credit history access a secured credit card which they can use to build credit history, and improve their access to lending and credit lines in future.

Is Chime a good service?

Chime offers a few different online account products which can suit different customer needs. It may be for you if you’re comfortable managing your money online and getting support via your app or online banking service.

It’s worth noting, Chime only allows customers to hold funds in US dollars, and international ATM withdrawals may mean more fees. If you plan to use your account when you travel, you’ll want to check out the details, and explore opening a multi-currency account to make spending foreign currencies easier and cheaper.

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1]Chime - About Us
2]Chime – Debit card
3]Chime - What are the fees?
4]Chime - How do I deposit money into my account?
5]Chime - What are my spending limits?
6]Chime - Why did the gas station overcharge me?
7]Chime - Savings Account
8]Chime - What do I need to know about the Chime Savings Account?
9]Chime - Why can we only make six savings-to-spending transfers per month?
10]Chime - Credit Builder Card
11]Chime - Deposit Account Agreement - Fee Schedule
12]Google Play - Chime Mobile Banking
13]Apple - Chime Mobile Banking
14]Chime - Frequently Asked Questions
15]N26 - US Website

All sources checked on 29 June 2021


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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