BankMobile Vibe review
A seamless way to receive refunds and financial aid from your school.
finder.com’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0
BankMobile Vibe is a checking account for students that rewards you with free ATM access, cashback rewards and incentives to save. You can earn up to 1.5% APY as long as your balance is less than $1,000.99 otherwise you’ll earn 0.01% APY. BankMobile Vibe works as a middleman between you and your school by processing and disbursing funds to students on behalf of their colleges — but it doesn’t work with all schools.
$2.99 per month
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
BankMobile’s checking account is designed specifically for students. The account offers cashback rewards, access to free ATMs around the world and a seamless way to receive school refunds. You’ll also earn up to 1.5% APY on balances less than $1,000.99, otherwise you’ll earn 0.01% APY.
But you’ll pay $2.99 a month if you don’t make qualifying deposits of $300 each billing cycle.
If you’re looking for a student account with minimal to zero fees, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.
How do I open a BankMobile Vibe account?
To qualify for this account, you must be a student receiving financial aid at one of BankMobile’s partner universities or colleges.
You’ll get a refund selection kit from your school, and from there you can opt to receive your refunds through the BankMobile Vibe account. The kit will walk you through the steps for opening the account and creating a username and password.
If you haven’t yet received a refund selection kit or personal code, here’s how you can get one.
- Navigate to vibeaccount.com, and select Get started.
- Under the box that says Enter your personal code, select Need a code?
- Enter your school name and email address. You may also be asked to provide your school ID number.
- Select Continue and provide any further information requested, including your mailing address.
- Once complete, you should receive your refund selection kit within seven to 10 business days.
The application will ask for the following information:
- Personal and contact details
- School and student ID
- Social Security number
You’ll also need to provide identifying documents, such as:
- Your student ID
- A valid government issued-ID
- Proof of your physical address
What are the benefits of a checking account with BankMobile?
- Like most checking accounts, BankMobile Vibe comes with a debit card and is connected to an app that makes it easier to manage your money. It also has these unique benefits:
- Uninterrupted refund delivery. If you receive financial aid or other money from your school, the bank promises you’ll get it on time — every time.
- Balances earn interest. Balances less than $1,000.99 earn 1.50% APY, and any amount beyond that will earn 0.01% APY.
- Incentive to save. Through the Passport Recognition Program, students can receive deals and discounts and win cash prizes for smart money management.
- Supports wire transfers. This is unusual for an online bank. Transfers received before 6 p.m. ET are processed the same business day.
- Cash back promotions. The bank regularly offers 1% cashback rewards for shopping at participating grocery stores and gas stations. For details, go to the website.
- Check-writing privileges. You can order a pack of three starter checks from BankMobile. If you want to order a full checkbook, they’ll direct you to a third-party provider.
- Budgeting tools. The BankMobile app features Money Meter and Snapshot to help you to monitor your spending habits.
- Financial wellness assessment. BankMobile has teamed with Prudential Financial to help Vibe account holders understand how well they’re spending, planning and protecting their money and assets.
What should I look out for?
These drawbacks may sway your decision:
- Monthly service fees. It costs $2.99 a month to maintain your account — but BankMobile will waive the fee each billing cycle where you have qualifying deposits of $300 or more.
- No live chat function. BankMobile offers no online customer service in real time, which is unusual for an online bank. BankMobile does have a Facebook page, and Messenger states that replies typically come in within minutes.
- Cash deposit fee. You may be charged up to $4.95 when you load cash onto your card at participating retailers.
- Expensive outgoing wires. Incoming domestic and international wires are free, but you’ll pay $25 when you send a wire.
- Lack of overdraft protection. BankMobile won’t block transactions that will put your account in the red.
BankMobile’s ATM network and fees
Dip your debit card into 55,000 AllPoint ATMs around the world for free. In the US, the ATMs are located in major retailers, such as Target, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and Safeway. To find one near you, search by ZIP code on the AllPoint website.
If you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM, you’ll have to pay a fee of $3. The ATM provider may charge additional fees. If you’re just checking your balance, you won’t be charged a fee by BankMobile.
The maximum daily ATM withdrawal limit is $500.
Compare with other student checking accounts
How do I deposit and withdraw my money?
Deposit or withdraw funds to and from your Vibe account in several ways.
- Direct deposit. Enroll in direct deposit to send a portion of your paycheck or government benefits straight to your checking account.
- Wire transfers. Transfer and receive funds from a checking or savings account at another bank.
- Internal transfers. Move money between BankMobile accounts online or on the app.
- Cash deposits. Reload your card at participating Green Dot retailers — like Walmart — or purchase a money order and mail it to:
P.O. Box 445
Phoenixville, PA 19460
- Checks. Upload mobile checks directly on the app, or mail paper checks to the address above.
- Cash back with merchant transactions. Some merchants offer cash back at the register for PIN-based debit card purchases. BankMobile supports this, and doesn’t charge a fee.
- ATM withdrawals. Access any ATM in the AllPoint network for free. There’s a $3 fee for using out-of-network ATMs.
- Teller withdrawals. Go to a Customers Bank branch to withdraw cash. You may be subject to a fee.
- Western Union Direct to Bank transfer. Use Western Union’s service to receive funds in your BankMobile account.
Frequently asked questions
What happens to the account when I graduate, or if I stop receiving financial aid?
Keep your BankMobile Vibe account open for as long as you like.
How can I contact BankMobile?
There are a few ways to reach the customer service team:
- Phone. To chat with a customer service agent, call 877-327-9515 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week. The interactive service is available 24/7.
- Email. Log into your account and select Email support team.
- Social. Tweet @AskBMD or send a message to the BankMobile Disbursement Facebook page. Facebook Messenger reports that messages are usually answered within minutes, and its hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 12 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
- Mail. The address is:
115 Munson Street
New Haven. CT 06511
Who issues the debit card?
The BankMobile Mastercard debit card is issued by Customers Bank, which is a member of the FDIC.
What are the spending limits?
You may spend up to $2,500 per day. This can be a combination of swipe-and-sign purchases, PIN-based transactions and teller withdrawals.
However, you can’t spend more than $500 a day in PIN-based debit card transactions — including merchant purchases and ATM withdrawals.
What do I do if I see an unauthorized transaction on my account?
Firstly, log onto the BankMobile app and temporarily turn off your card using the Debit card on/off switch.
Then, contact customer care at 877-327-9515 to report the transaction, and cancel your card if necessary.
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