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Cover image for We're developers. Why aren't you using an online-only bank!?

We're developers. Why aren't you using an online-only bank!?

nolyoi profile image Nolan Mayersky ・8 min read

I know a lot of us here in the cryptoverse despise traditional banking. Personally, I do. Every major bank I've ever had to deal with has been a royal pain in the ass and has screwed me in more ways than I could possibly count. Without even some courtesy lube!

Ever since my last horrid experience with Wells Fargo, I decided to opt-out of the whole traditional banking world and started making my way towards non-traditional, online only banking services. I've tried a bunch of them from Simple, Aspiration, Ally, One, and several others. All were pretty decent, honestly. Better than 90% of the traditional brick-and-mortar banks that I was used to.

But, there was one online bank that truly stood out and has won my heart since day 1. That bank is, Chime. Now, you may be wondering, why Chime? Well, let's get in to it below.

Who is Chime Bank?

Chime was founded by Chris Britt (CEO) and Ryan King (CTO) in 2013 in San Francisco, California as an alternative to traditional banking. The company launched publicly on April 15, 2014 Now giving them_ over 6 years of experience_ in the online-only banking sector!

Chime provides online-only spending and savings accounts. The company launched in 2014 as an alternative to traditional banks. Chime doesn’t have any branches or ATMs of its own. As of Dec. 2019, Chime had 6.5 million customers! Quite a feat for a bank without any brick-and-mortar branches, huh?

Chime bank android and ios apps.

What does Chime offer?

Chime currently offers two accounts, and has a waitlist (I'm currently on the waitlist myself) for its secured credit card. Here are the need-to-know details:

  • Spending account: This is the bank’s default account that is required to become a member. It comes with a debit card with access to over 38,000 fee-free ATMs across the U.S., though you can also combine your debit card with Apple Pay and Google Pay to leave your wallet at home. There’s no minimum deposit required to open it, and the account also doesn’t have any monthly maintenance, overdraft, or foreign transaction fees—a plus if you plan on resuming your frequent travels following the coronavirus pandemic.

  • High-yield savings account: With this optional account, customers can earn a small amount of interest on their savings. Like the checking account, there are no fees or minimum balance requirements, in addition to no limit on how much interest you can earn.

  • Credit Builder: A new offering, this secured credit card is available to current Chime customers, and it stays true to the company's no-fee philosophy. It lacks an annual fee, foreign transaction fees, late payment fees, and comes with zero interest. Plus, there's no minimum security deposit required—you set your own credit limit.\

  • Chime Pay: If you owe someone money, whether it's a business or a person, you can send it directly to them via the Chime app. This functions in a similar way to Venmo, but exclusively with Chime. It's one of my favorite features!

  • Bank transfer from an external bank: You can link other bank accounts to your Chime account. This allows you to easily transfer money between your Chime account and any other bank account you have linked.

  • Round-up Savings: Round-up savings rounds your transaction up to the next dollar and deposits that change into your savings account. Another neat bonus of this feature is that you are rewarded a 10% bonus every Friday on the amount of money you saved from your round-up's. For example, if I saved $10 in round-ups, on Friday I would receive an additional $1 deposit bonus! This doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up and money is money!

  • Mobile Application: Chime offers one of the most beautiful mobile application's I have come across. Compared to any other mobile banking app I've seen, Chime's is hands down the_ best looking, cleanest, and easiest to navigate_. They have a simple, yet beautiful user interface, and it is extremely easy to learn and use. Even grandma could do it! More on that below!

Mobile Application

The Chime app allows you to set up direct deposit, transfer money among your accounts, find an ATM and review your recent transactions. Moreover, Chime’s iOS version is rated 4.7 stars out of 5, and its Android app is rated 4.6 stars out of 5. The app enables you to turn off your debit card instantly. It also notifies you when Chime processes transactions to your account.

Chime offers a payment app feature, Pay Friends, which enables you to transfer funds to friends and family who also have Chime spending accounts. The app will import your contacts, or you can provide your friend’s email or phone number. There is no fee for this service.

You will receive daily bank account balance notifications via the app, as well as instant transaction alerts whenever you use your debit card.

While your Visa Debit Card can be used in Apple Wallet, it is not available for use with Android Pay or Samsung Pay.

Member service is available via chat in the app, by telephone or by email.

ATM Fees and Overdrafting

Monthly banking charges add up... A LOT! According to a 2018 study by Deposit Accounts, the average bank or credit union customer pays nearly $34 for an overdraft, $2.28 for an ATM Fee, and $4.58 in monthly fees. This is one nuisance Chime wishes to solve.

In today’s day and age, most banks are loaded with hidden fees, but worry not: Chime isn’t one of them. As mentioned earlier, customers don’t need to hand over additional funds for opening an account, and maintenance, foreign transaction, and overdraft fees don’t apply either.

Hidden fees are a sneaky way that traditional banks use to take your hard earned dough. Chime is not that kind of bank. That’s why Chime offers online banking with no monthly fees or open deposit required. Applying is absolutely free. There’s no opening deposit or minimum balance required, no international transaction fees, and if you lose your debit card, you can replace that card, you guessed it, for FREE!

The fine print is subject to change, but as of me writing this post, here are the fees, rates, and other terms you should know about if you open an account:

  • Minimum balance required to open: None
  • Monthly fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: None
  • ATM fees: None at MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs (over 38,000 of them nationwide!); $2.50 at out-of-network ATMs
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Checking account APY: N/A
  • High-yield savings APY: 1.00%
  • FDIC Insured: All Chime accounts are FDIC insured up to the standard maximum $250,000 per account, per ownership category, through its partner banks, Stride Bank, N.A. (FDIC# 4091) or The Bancorp Bank (FDIC# 35444).

Mobile banking app Chime offers both spending and savings accounts. When opening an account with Chime, you get a Spending Account, a Visa Debit Card and an optional Savings Account , which I recommend as you earn 1.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

Designed for banking with a smartphone instead of at a brick-and-mortar location, Chime is advertised as a bank account for Millennials (I hate this term, so let's say it's for the non-technically challenged). For this reason, Chime works best for anyone with an uncomplicated financial situation, looking to set up an easy online banking account.

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The Downsides

Nothing in life is perfect, and Chime is no exception. Below, I've compiled a small list of the negative parts of Chime. This was actually pretty hard for me to do. But, here they are:

  • No Joint Accounts. Banking with Chime is not the right choice for those wanting a joint account. It doesn’t offer them.
  • Cash Deposits Take Work. Since Chime provides online-only bank accounts, putting cash into your Chime account is a challenge. You’ll need to go to a Green Dot cash deposit location, which may charge a fee of up to $4.95 to deposit cash (Chime, please find a better way to do this!). You could also purchase a money order/cashier's check and deposit it to your Chime account for free that way too. ;)
  • Out-of-Network ATM Fees. Although you will have access to more than 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs, Chime charges $2.50 per transaction through an out-of-network ATM. Though personally, I've never had a problem finding an in-network ATM close by. Cashback at stores is also another free option.
  • No Personal Checks. If you need to send a check, Chime can send one for you, although you are limited to $5,000 per payment. Payment requests made through Chime Checkbook can take three to nine business days to arrive.

Who should consider using Chime?

If you’re generally savvy when it comes to mobile and online use and can’t even remember the last time you set foot in one of your current bank branch, Chime is for you. Same goes for anyone who’s sick of paying fee after fee with their current bank.

Keep in mind: You need to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. To use the mobile app, you'll need an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.0 or greater, or an Android device running OS 5.0 Lollipop or greater.

Chime is designed for those looking for a no-fee mobile bank account with built-in features to help save and earn extra money, including access to a high-yield savings account.

My experience

I've personally been using them for over 3 years and have never had a single issue with them. They just seem to get better and better every year. Constantly adding new perks and features for their members.

As far as their support goes, I've only had to use their support 2 or 3 times. Each time they were amazing. I assume their support staffing is based in the USA because they spoke perfect English, which is a HUGE plus. They also have an in-app support system via chat which I used once. This was also a great experience for me as I'm not exactly a big fan of talking on the phone.

If you choose to give Chime a chance, use my signup link and we will BOTH be credited an extra $50 when you receive your first direct deposit! How cool is that!?

As I mentioned before, you also get your direct deposits 2 days EARLY and if you opt-in to round up savings, you get a 10% bonus on the amount you saved every Friday!

Find me another bank that beats that... I bet you can't!

Go ahead and head on over time Chime's website and give them a try! If you have any questions for me about my experience with them, feel free to leave a comment or message me on social media and I will reply.

Don't forget to use my link and get that $50 bonus!

https://www.chime.com/r/nolanmayersky/

Happy banking, friends!

Read this post on my blog and make my analytics look nice :P @ https://nolanm.dev/posts/13-a-review-of-my-bank-because-they-re-actually-awesome

Posted on by:

nolyoi profile

Nolan Mayersky

@nolyoi

I'm a 30 (oh, wow, I'm that old now) year old software engineer from Northwest, Indiana. Looking to meet like-minded people. Let's become friends and build together?

Discussion

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I don't mean to belittle Chime. It looks like a neat and easy to use banking app. But strictly speaking it is not a bank - it doesn't have its own FDIC number. I believe that is an important distinction from regulatory and other legal aspects.

 

Technically you're right. Chime isn't a bank itself. But, the banking services are provided under the Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank. It is FDIC insured up to 250k.