Varo Bank review: Is a Varo Bank account the best choice for you?

Panna Kemenes

Varo Bank is one of the newer online banks, which have started to emerge in recent years. Founded in 2015, the bank offers high-yield savings accounts, minimal fees, and the convenience of online banking.

One of the bank’s highest priorities is providing customers with a convenient way to manage their finances on the go. Varo pulls this off with various useful features, including a handy mobile app and vast ATM network.

This Varo bank review will explore the ins and outs of the online bank, to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

You’ll also find out about Varo international transfers, and how you can get the mid-market exchange rate and avoid markups with Wise.

See how you can save money with Wise🚀

📝 Table of contents

Varo Bank review: Varo Bank accounts

Varo Bank is a legitimate online bank. It has earned a reputation as a trustworthy mobile bank and can be an excellent option if you’re interested in online-only banking.

Just like with any bank branch, you will be able to set up a standard bank account and use a debit card. Then there are all the perks that an online-only bank can offer on top of that.

Varo offers several types of accounts, including a basic checking account, savings account, and more.

Varo Checking account

The Varo Bank account is the standard checking account, and it comes without monthly maintenance fees.¹

There’s no minimum balance requirement, either, so you’re free to put as much or as little in the account to set it up.

You will need a few things to create a checking account with Varo, though, namely a Social Security number and a valid government-issued ID.

Here are a few of the top features:

  • Direct deposit funds are made available quickly.

  • There’s a No Fee Overdraft (providing you make five debit purchases a month and receive direct deposits of $1,000 or more every month.

  • You can enjoy instant transfers between Varo Bank users.

FeesBest for
  • No monthly fees
  • No fee for ATM withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs ($2.50 for non-Allpoint ATMs)
  • No minimum balance fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
Varo’s checking account is great for online banking with no hidden fees, no overdraft fee, and early access to direct deposit payments.

Varo Savings account review

Varo’s savings account offers a generous APY, so it is possible to accrue a high level of interest on your savings.

As with the checking account, there’s no minimum deposit or minimum account balance required to establish a savings account with Varo.

The moment you deposit funds in a Varo savings account, you qualify for a 0.20% APY.²

Here are a few of the features that customers enjoy:

  • If you fulfill the following monthly criteria you can earn an APY of 3.00%: Make five debit card purchases, receive direct deposits of $1,000+ from government sources or payroll, and keep your balance below $5,000 for the calendar month.

  • With Save Your Pay you can automatically have your earnings sent between your checking and savings accounts.

  • With Save Your Change, Varo will round up your checking transactions to the nearest dollar, depositing the remaining cents into your savings account.

FeesBest for
  • No monthly fees
  • No fee for ATM withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs ($2.50 for non-Allpoint ATMs)
  • No minimum balance fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
Varo’s savings account is great for earning high APY interest on savings, especially once you meet the monthly requirements.

Varo overdraft fees

There are no overdrafts with Varo Bank. There is the option, however, to use Varo Advance.

Varo Advance is a way of instantly accessing extra funds so that you can purchase without going into overdraft on your account.

There are no overdraft fees, just a requirement to repay the Advanced Plus and any Advance Fee within 30 days if you wish to secure another Advance.

Is Varo safe?

One of the biggest concerns regarding online banks is security. However, online banks (including Varo) have to adhere to the same government regulations that traditional banks do.

Varo Bank is safe and secure. It protects the customer’s sensitive data with 256-bit AES encryption.³

Is Varo Bank FDIC insured?

Yes, deposits made in any of Varo’s bank accounts are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured.

This means that your money will be protected up to the amount of $250,000, and reimbursed should the bank go out of business.

Varo customer service and banking experience

As Varo is an online-only bank, there is no in-person customer support. However, there are still a few ways to reach out to Varo Bank with your queries.

You can contact Varo Customer Service via email, or by giving them a call between Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 9 PM, and Saturday - Sunday, 11 AM to 7 PM.⁴

This is limited compared to Ally⁵ and Axos⁶, who provide a 24/7 phone line for personal banking questions. That said, Varo Bank also has an extensive help page where you can find answers to a wide range of questions you may have.⁷

It’s also worth noting that Varo Bank has a high score of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot (a consumer review website). The main area of satisfaction seems to be excellent customer service.⁸ Varo scores higher than Axos on Trustpilot, despite Axos having a 24/7 phone line.⁹

As for the overall banking experience, the mobile app allows you to stay on top of your spending. The app is well-rated on the iOS and Android app stores.

Varo Bank comparison

No Varo review would be complete without a comparison table, to see how it sizes up against other online banks. The comparison shows what rates and fees the savings account offers from each bank.

BankFees and minimum opening depositAPY
Varo Bank
  • No monthly fees¹⁰
  • No minimum deposit
  • No fee for ATM withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs ($2.50 for non-Allpoint ATMs)¹¹
  • 0.20%
  • Up to 3.00% if you do not exceed a daily savings balance of $5,000 per month, make at least five qualifying Varo Bank Visa® Debit Card purchases AND receive direct deposits of $1,000 or more.
Axos Bank
  • No monthly fees
  • $250 minimum balance to open an account
  • Some ATM fees¹²
  • 0.61%
  • Ally Bank
    • No monthly fee
    • No minimum deposit
    • No ATM fees¹³
  • 0.50%
  • Is Varo better than Chime?

    There’s some fierce competition in the online-only bank stakes regarding interest rates, low fees, and easy access to funds. Whether Varo is better than Chime, for instance, depends on what you need for your money.

    Varo could be better if you’re looking for a high-yield APY. If you fulfill the monthly criteria, you can secure a rate of 3.00% compared to the 0.50% that Chime offers for its savings account.¹⁴

    Chime can be a good choice if you’re interested in a customer-friendly banking experience. It has several useful tools to help you save money and move your funds around easily.

    Can I use the Varo Visa® Debit Card internationally?

    Yes, you can use the Varo Visa Debit Card wherever you are, provided that Visa is accepted.

    It can be a useful card to use while you travel, given the lack of foreign transaction fees, exchange rate markups. You can also withdraw cash at any ATM that accepts Visa.¹⁵

    Avoid costly international transfers with Wise

    If you need to send money abroad, you may also appreciate the Wise account.

    Wise is a safe and low-cost way to send money online, and you can save money while doing so.

    Open a Wise account in minutes 🚀

    Varo Bank and WorldRemit announced a partnership in 2020, which means that Varo customers can send money abroad directly from their phones.¹⁶

    It’s worth knowing, however, that while Varo has no exchange range markups on international card use, WorldRemit does add a markup when transferring money abroad.

    WorldRemit’s terms and conditions say:

    ‘When you pay a Transaction Amount in one currency and the Payout Amount is in another currency, there will be a difference between the exchange rate at which we buy foreign currency and the exchange rate provided to you. WorldRemit and its Service Providers usually make a small profit in these circumstances.’¹⁷

    You can also read a full guide on WorldRemit money transfer fees.

    With Wise, you get the mid-market rate, the same one you’ll see on Google. You can save a lot of money by avoiding these mark-ups.

    Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

    🤓 Not the one for you? Here are some more reviews you’ll love


    1. Online Checking Account: No Monthly Fee Checking
    2. Open an Online Savings Account | No Monthly Fees
    3. Is my information really secure? – Varo
    4. Varo Bank
    5. Ally Bank's Telephone Customer Service Has Consumers Smiling | Ally
    6. Personal Banking Questions and Information | Contact Axos Bank
    7. Varo Bank
    8. Varo Bank Reviews | Read Customer Service Reviews of
    9. Axosbank Reviews | Read Customer Service Reviews of
    10. Open an Online Savings Account | No Monthly Fees
    11. Varo ATM fee
    12. High-Yield Savings Account | Interest Compounded Daily
    13. Online Savings Account: High Interest Savings, Rates & Reviews
    14. Chime - Savings account
    15. Can I use my Varo Visa® Debit Card when I travel internationally?
    16. WorldRemit becomes preferred remittance provider for Varo Money
    17. WorldRemit Terms And Conditions

    All sources checked 17 May 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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