• Alex Mizerski

Chime Review: a great online bank

Updated: Jun 2, 2021


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Chime is a great online banking option. Its operational mantra is very similar to credit unions. They want to pass savings on to their customers as often as possible. It's this philosophy that makes Chime a great option for those of you who are comfortable with an all-online bank.


How does Chime Score:

Cost and Fees: 10 out of 10

Security: 9 out of 10

Ease of Use: 9 out of 10

Features and Tools: 7 out of 10

Overall: 8.5 out of 10


Chime Basics:

  • FDIC Insured

  • No minimum balance

  • 0.5% APY on Chime Saving Accounts

  • Checking and Savings accounts offered

  • Free online bill pay

  • Early pay (if direct deposit is setup)

  • Nationwide ATM network


What is Chime?

Chime logo
Chime logo

Chime is an online banking option with a powerful, easy-to-use app, and a quick setup process. They offer a slimmed-down set of banking options to streamline and simplify your experience. Like any other bank account, they are FDIC insured, keep interest rates high, and fees low through their slimmed-down approach.


In addition, they don't have to manage true retail locations so their overhead is much lower than your local branch (running a physical location is quite expensive). These strategies allow Chime to be a highly attractive banking option for a wide variety of customers.



How can Chime help you?

The concept of Chime is brilliant. Keep overhead low and pass the savings on to your customers. Focus your attention on building a super easy-to-use app that folks love, ask them to invite their friends, and build a community around the app.


This concept makes Chime a very attractive banking option for first-time account holders, college students, and those that have less complex personal finances. Because they have all but eliminated fees for their customers anyone who moves from a traditional bank to Chime can probably benefit from the move.


The challenge comes with building a relationship and leveraging that relationship to negotiate better rates at some point in the future. If you don't care much about building a relationship with your personal banker and care more about finding a no/low fee checking and savings account then you are someone that should check out Chime.


Chime Features

Chime Spending Account - This is their version of a checking account. The reason they don't call it a checking account is because they don't offer checks, the key term in "checking account". So they call it a spending account. Which makes sense because if you are paying attention to your personal finances you should have at least two accounts, one for spending and one for saving (at least).


Chime Savings Account - This is your traditional savings account, but the benefit of a Chime Savings Account is that you get a better rate than you would with most other savings accounts from big box banks. As of Jan 2021, they are offering 0.50% on a savings account. Other than that, this is your normal savings account.


Get your paycheck early - Chime has set up their key features to focus upon folks that live paycheck to paycheck (and sometimes a bit short between each). If you set up direct deposit they will allow you to spend your paycheck before it hits your account. Meaning, if you set up a direct deposit, and your company pays you on the 1st of the month, then if you get to the 28th of the previous month and need to spend money on something then Chime will work with you and allow you to spend a portion of your paycheck prior to it being directly deposited in your account. This is like a payday advance without the huge fees. A giant plus for folks that sometimes forget home much money they have in their account.


Invite friends - Chime is all about word of mouth advertising and they will pay you for it. If you allow them to access your contacts when you download the app they will reach out to your contacts. If anyone signs up then Chime will give you $75. Pretty awesome deal if you ask me.


Link other accounts - Linking other accounts help you get a sense of where your money is. If you are setting up an account with Chime then you care about your money and are probably keeping all your money in one place. If you aren't consolidating all your money into your Chime account then you are probably using Chime for the extra earnings from the savings account. In either case, linking other accounts might not be the most important thing for you. If it is, then this is a great feature to help you understand where all your money is.


Grow your savings - This is an awesome tool to help you increase your savings over time automatically. If you are someone that needs a little help growing your savings then take advantage of this tool


Earn more & Save money - Chime has partnered with a ton of different partners in a variety of categories to save you money. To date, they are offering discounts on insurance, Doordash, and more. As they continue to grow, more and more discounts are expected to be available.


Pay or Request money from friends - If you know what Venmo or Paypal is, then you know what this feature is. Send or ask for money from folks with this feature right in the app

Pros

Super simple setup

Touch ID compatible

Direct deposit preferred

Referral bonuses

Pay friends

No ATM fees - see map of approved ATMs

High yield savings account


Cons

Limited banking-related offerings


Chime Alternatives

Ally

Radius

Bank5 Connect

HSBC Direct



How to get started with Chime

If you are interested in what Chime has to offer, click here. If you want to know more about setting up your account read the details below and follow along.


Step one is entering your email address. Pretty much the exact same step as setting up an account with every other thing ever!


Chime - enter your email
Chime - enter your email

Next, adding your first and last name are pretty standard parts of setting up a bank account. The following steps will be your basic personal information setup.


Adding your date of birth is a standard part of getting a checking or savings account.


Because this is an online-only bank they want your mobile phone number so they can text you a link to quickly and easily set up their app.


Having your home address allows them to send you a debit card and verify who you are.


Pretty simple next step, setting up your password. There are cool tools out there for passwords. I suggest LastPass as a tool, its free, and it can keep your passwords organized.


You can't set up a bank account without providing your social security number.


Now we are starting to get into the meat of your account setup. This is where Chime beings to understand more about where your money will be coming from. They need to be assured that you will have money to put into your account if they are going to offer you an early payment on your checks.


Finally, you are almost there. The fine print here is that you are signing up for a bank account and need to agree to the federal guidelines of opening an account.


Now it's time to download the app unless you have already. If you haven't you will receive a text message that can help you add the app to your phone, otherwise go to the App or Play store to download the app, log in, and get started.


After you have gone through the steps above and downloaded the app you will get a series of prompts letting you know that your account is ready to roll.


This is another step in the notification and setup process. Here you can make the decision to link your Chime account with your current money or future money via direct deposit.


The final step before you are 100% ready to roll with your Chime account. One additional chance to connect all your accounts to Chime and track all your personal finances in one place.




Who can benefit from using Chime?

Anyone can benefit from what Chime has to offer. Their target audience is first-time account openers. Additionally, anyone that may have a history of overdrafts might also want to consider a Chime account.


Or, if you are just looking to make a higher rate on your savings account then Chime might be for you.


Summary

Chime is a slimmed-down online bank that is a great fit for most people. If you don't have a need for anything other than a checking and savings account, then Chime is probably right for you.


Like a credit union, they pride themselves on running lean and passing the savings on to their customers. You find evidence of this in their overdraft fee structure and their .5% rate on their savings accounts (well above many competitors at this point in Jan 2021).


If you are in need of a basic checking and savings account then you should check out Chime.


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