Earn interest on your growing balance with this checking account, which is launching later this year.
Many college students will be familiar with BankMobile as the go-to account for receiving financial aid. In mid-2019, the bank is launching a checking account that’s open to anyone — whether they’re students or not.
Like the online bank’s other products, it comes with money management tools and rewards for smart money moves in and out of the classroom — but it stands out for offering a 1% APY on balances up to $15,000.
|APY||1.00% on balances of $0 to $15,000 |
0.01% on balances of $15,001+
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|ATMs||55,000 ATMs around the world — including over 40,000 in the US|
|ATM transaction fee||$0|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$3|
|Deposit methods||Mobile/remote check deposit|
What are the benefits of the Vibe Up checking account?
The BankMobile Vibe Up account is linked to an app and comes with a debit card that can be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard. It also has these unique benefits:
- High interest rate. You’ll earn a 1% APY on balances up to $15,000. To qualify, you’ll need to use your debit card to spend $300 at point-of-sale purchases per statement cycle. The interest is compounded and credited to your account monthly.
- No credit check. The bank doesn’t run a credit check, so it’s accessible to those with a credit score working against them.
- Fee-free ATM network. BankMobile is part of the AllPoint network, which has 55,000 ATMs around the world — including over 40,000 in the US.
- Rewards program. The Passport Recognition Program rewards students for academic achievements as well as smart financial behavior with deals, discounts and Instant Win games. Also, the bank occasionally runs competitions to pay off student loan debt.
- Supports wire transfers. BankMobile is one of a handful of online-only banks that allows you to wire and receive funds from outside banks.
- Excellent app ratings. Both the Apple and Android app have a rating of 4.4 stars, and thousands of positive customer reviews.
- Savings tools. Use the Money Meter and Snapshot features on the app to monitor your spending and set savings goals.
BankMobile’s ATM network and fees
BankMobile offers fee-free access to 55,000 AllPoint ATMs worldwide. In the US, the ATMs are located in retailers like Costco, CVS, Kroger, Kmart Walgreens, Target and Safeway. To find one close to you, enter your ZIP code on the AllPoint website.
There’s no charge if you check your balance at an out-of-network ATM. But if you withdraw cash, you’ll need to pay a $3 fee. The ATM operator may charge additional fees.
The maximum daily ATM withdrawal limit is $500.
What should I look out for?
At the time of writing, the checking account has a waitlist. Consider these drawbacks before joining the waitlist:
- Low interest rate on balances over $15,000. You’ll earn 0.01% on the part of your balance that exceeds $15,000. So, for example, if you have $20,000 in your account, you’ll get 0.01% for the last $5,000.
- Ineligible purchases. The high APY comes with a few caveats, such as spending $300 or more per statement cycle — but ATM transactions and point-of-sale refunds are excluded.
- Some fees. While the bank charges no monthly maintenance or ATM fees, you’ll pay $25 to send wires, $15 to replace your card and up to $4.95 each time you deposit cash instore.
- No live chat function. Though it’s an online-only bank, BankMobile offers no live chat option.
- Inconvenient cash deposits. If you want to add cash to your card, you’ll need to head to a participating GreenDot retailer or mail a money order to BankMobile.
- Lack of overdraft protection. The bank won’t block checks, ACH transfers and card transactions that will overdraw your account.
- Spending limits. You can spend up to $2,500 per day between swipe-and-sign purchases and cash withdrawals. For PIN-based debit card transactions, like instore purchases and ATM withdrawals, the daily spending limit is $500.
Compare with other checking accounts
How do I join the waitlist?
If you’re interested in learning more about the account when it launches, follow these steps:
- Go to the BankMobile Vibe Up website.
- On the homepage, type in your cell phone number. Click Join Waitlist.
- A box will pop up confirming you’re in the system.
How do I deposit and withdraw my money?
- Direct deposit. If you enroll in direct deposit, a portion of your paycheck or government benefits will go straight to your Vibe Up account.
- Wire transfers. Send and receive funds from an account at an external bank. Incoming wires are free, but you’ll pay $25 for each outgoing wire.
- Internal transfers. Move money between BankMobile accounts online or on the app.
- Cash deposits. Top up your card with up to $500 cash at participating Green Dot retailers (like Walmart), or mail a money order to:
PO Box 445
Phoenixville, PA 19460
- Checks. Deposit mobile checks on the app, or send paper checks to the PO Box above.
- Cash back with merchant transactions. At some stores, you can get cash back for PIN-based debit card purchases.
- ATM withdrawals. Dip your card into any AllPoint ATM for free, or pay $3 to withdraw cash from out-of-network ATMs.
- Teller withdrawals. Head to your local Customers Bank branch to withdraw cash.
- Western Union Direct to Bank transfer. Send money to your BankMobile account using Western Union’s service.
The BankMobile Vibe Up checking account sets itself apart for its student rewards program and 1% APY on balances up to $15,000. But anything more than that earns a low interest rate of 0.01%, and cash deposits are inconvenient.
The account is due to launch in mid-2019. If you want your money to start working for you now, compare checking accounts.