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Our verdict

A free online spend account with modern banking perks like early direct deposit and unique overdraft services.

The Chime Checking account is a free online account. Chime isn't a bank, but its banking services are backed by its FDIC-insured banking partners. This account doesn't charge a monthly maintenance fee, foreign transaction fee or overdraft fees. It features early direct deposits and SpotMe, an overdraft alternative service that can spot you up to $200 if you overdraft. There's also an optional 2% APY savings account and a Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card to help you build credit history. But you can't open joint accounts, and Chime has thousands of customer complaints due to many account closures without notice.

Best for: Those in need of a free online checking account.

Pros

  • $0 opening deposit and no monthly fees
  • No overdraft or foreign transaction fees
  • Free overdraft service SpotMe
  • Early direct deposits

Cons

  • Inexplicable account closures
  • No physical branches
  • No joint accounts
  • No wire transfers

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Who is Chime Checking best for?

Chime Checking is well-suited for anyone in need of a low-hassle online checking account. It also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, making it great for those who travel internationally. And if you don’t like fees, good news, because Chime Checking is free to open and maintain.

Chime also won’t check your banking history through the ChexSystems report during the application process. This makes it a solid second-chance account for those with negative banking history.

Chime isn’t a bank – it’s an online fintech offering banking services through Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A. As an online fintech, it doesn’t have any physical branch locations. But if you don’t need frequent in-person customer support and don’t make frequent cash deposits, the lack of physical locations shouldn’t pose too much trouble.

What we like about Chime Checking

The Chime® Checking Account offers many perks, featuring low fees, a large ATM network, early direct deposits up to two days early and an optional savings account. You’ll get a Visa debit card that grants you free access to more than 60,000 ATMs across the country. This includes 40,000 Allpoint ATMs, which are located at retailers such as CVS, Target and Walgreens. And you can withdraw cash at more than 38,000 participating stores.

Few fees

Chime claims that it will never hide behind fine print or profit from members’ misfortune or mistakes, and its website displays a chart of all potential fees associated with the account. It eliminates many fees found at larger banks, such as monthly maintenance, overdraft and foreign transaction fees.

Optional savings account

When you sign up for this checking account, you’ll get access to Chime’s optional free savings account, which earns up to 2% APY on all balances.

While the 2% APY isn’t the highest savings rate we’ve seen, it’s higher than the national average of 0.46%, as reported by the FDIC.

Chime SpotMe

Chime SpotMe® is an optional, free overdraft service for qualified members. It allows you to overdraft the checking account up to a certain amount. If Chime “spots” you, the amount they cover is deducted from your next deposit, up to $200. There are also many other similar overdraft services and cash advance apps that work with the Chime checking account, but seeing as SpotMe is already included with Chime, it may be the easiest option for an overdraft service if you qualify.

To qualify for the service, you must sign up for direct deposit and deposit at least $200 per month. SpotMe limits start at $20 but can be increased up to $200 based on factors such as account activity and history.

Credit Builder card

A Chime® Checking Account with up to $200 in monthly direct deposits also qualifies you for Chime’s optional Credit Builder card, a secured credit card that helps build credit and is designed to work with Chime’s Checking account.

There’s no credit check, no annual fees or APR. Your spending limit is determined by the amount of money you move to the Credit Builder card from your Chime® Checking Account. It works like a security deposit, similar to other secured cards. When you use the card and pay off the outstanding balance, the payments are reported to all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Where it falls short

Chime is largely free, but there is an out-of-network ATM fee of $2.50 per transaction. But if you use MoneyPass, Allpoint and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs, you won’t incur a fee. And like most fintechs with banking services, Chime has no branch locations.

Also, if you’re in need of a joint checking account with Chime, you’re out of luck. Chime doesn’t allow joint accounts or allow customers to get a second card.

Thousands of complaints

Nearly 8,000 people have filed a complaint against Chime on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile in the last three years. As a result, Chime has a C+ rating with the BBB. While Chime makes an effort to resolve these complaints and issues, the high volume of complaints is alarming.

Chime also has nearly 4,000 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the last three years. Complaints are in the same vein as BBB, and almost every complaint comes from customers whose accounts were inexplicably closed.

These account closures are the result of a security measure that’s supposed to fight fraud, but it seems that many innocent victims lost hundreds or thousands of dollars, as reported by MoneyUnder30.

Chime Checking’s fees and access

Type of feeFee details
Monthly service$0
Opening deposit$0
ATMs
  • Domestic: $0 in network, $2.50 out-of-network fee
  • International: $2.50 international fee
Debit card fees
  • Cash withdrawals: $0 in network
  • Foreign transactions: 0%
  • Card replacement: $0
Overdraft or nonsufficient funds$0
Wire transfersN/A
Other fees
  • Paper statements: N/A
  • Account closure: $0

Compare Chime Checking to other checking accounts

Narrow down top checking accounts by opening deposits, fees and APYs. You can also tick the Compare box on up to four providers to see features side by side.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
$0
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until June 30, 2024.
Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings by meeting deposit requirements, and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Members without deposit requirements will earn 0.50% APY on both savings and checking balances. Turn on automatic savings or use the Roundups feature to help you reach your savings goals faster. Get up to $2M of additional FDIC insurance through a network of participating banks.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
$0 per month
$0
N/A
The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Earn up to 3.3% APY after meeting rate requirements. Get ATM free reimbursements at all domestic ATMs. Pay $0 monthly or overdraft fees. FDIC insured.
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.
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Customer experience

Chime has quite a few testimonials and reviews, despite only being in business for 10 years. There are thousands of customer complaints with the BBB, with many customers reporting issues around cards not working, accounts being closed or suspended without notice and issues revolving around fraudulent charges.

With customer reviews, Chime does a little better, holding a respectable 4.05 customer star rating with BBB. Customers praise features like the early direct deposit, the overdraft service SpotMe, the Credit Builder card and the easy-to-use app. Many other reviews are also happy with the lack of fees and overall convenient services.

Chime’s Trustpilot reviews are lower, holding a 2.7-star rating out of over 8,000 reviews. Most reviews are positive, with many customers raving about the Credit Builder program, the referral bonus program and how their early direct deposits are always on time.

Frequently asked questions

Is Chime a bank, and is it safe?

Chime isn’t a bank, but it partners with Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank, N.A., which offer FDIC protection for up to $250,000. The Chime app also provides encryption to protect your account information and allows you to block your card if you suspect fraudulent or suspicious activity. Plus, you can turn on notifications to stay on top of your account activity.

How do you move money from Chime Credit Builder to checking?

You can transfer funds from the secured Chime Credit Builder credit card to your checking account with the Chime Move money in-app feature.

You can also withdraw cash using an ATM with the Chime Credit Builder card, which is actually a cash advance because it’s a secured credit card. While most credit cards charge higher rates for credit card cash advances, Chime still doesn’t charge extra fees or APR for credit card cash advances.

How to transfer money from my savings to my Chime® Checking Account?

To transfer money from your Chime Savings to your Chime® Checking Account, go into the Chime app or head to Chime.com. Then, select Move Money, then Transfers. Follow the prompts to transfer funds. You can also transfer funds from an external account with the Move Money feature.

Currently, Chime allows for unlimited transfers and withdrawals from the Chime Savings Account into the Chime® Checking Account.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. ATMs: Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Deposit: Once the retailer accepts your cash, the funds will be transferred to your Chime Checking Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens and Duane Reade. Mobile Deposit: Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member's direct deposit enrollment status. Chime Savings Account: Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account. APY: The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of May 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest. Get Paid Early: Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. Credit Builder: The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits. SpotMe: Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

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Bethany Finder

Writer, Banking and Loans

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Avatar

LJ

April 29, 2019

How long does it take for a mobile check to be added to account after i take pics etc? How long does it take for a mobile checkin to go through?


Avatar

johnbasanes Finder

April 29, 2019

Hi LJ,


Thank you for reaching out to Finder.


Though there is no specific time frame for a mobile check going through, you may need to contact Chime directly via the contact details advised on the page we have. Hope this helps!


Cheers,

Reggie


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April 17, 2019

Hi John,


I get SSI from the social security when will that be deposited onto my Chime account?


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Jeni Finder

April 19, 2019

Hi,


Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.


Please note that Chime do not hold deposits. Instead, when Chime receives payment information from your benefits provider, the deposit is instantly posted to your Chime Spending Account. Chime will let you know as soon as your money is available with an email and a push notification to your phone.


If you don’t see your deposit, it means that the files are either in transit or haven’t been sent by your benefits provider. In that case, please contact your provider for more information.


I hope this helps.


Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Cheers,

Jeni


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hitmencrew3

April 14, 2019

If i get a check on the first of the month i got direct deposit when will i recieve my benifiets


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johnbasanes Finder

April 15, 2019

Hi hitmencrew3,


Thank you for reaching out to Finder.


It would depend on what benefits you are specifically looking at. Generally, once you have set up an account, you are already up for the benefits that the account provides it’s users. Hope this helps!


Cheers,

Reggie


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Buffy

March 23, 2019

How can I get a replacement card? mine was lost.


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Val Finder

March 23, 2019

Hi Buffy,


Thank you for your question. Sorry to hear that you lost your card.

You can disable transactions in the Settings section of your Chime app or at http://www.chime.com. Under Card Settings, toggle the Allow transactions switch to the grey position. In the security section of the Settings page, turn off Chime Card Transactions. This will immediately prevent any more transactions on your card.


If you need a new Chime Card, tap the “Replace My Card” button in the Card Settings of your Chime app! You will be asked whether your card was Lost, Stolen, or Damaged. After confirming your address a replacement card will arrive within two weeks. Keep an eye out for a green envelop with a Salt Lake City, Utah return address.


Hope this helps.


Regards,

Val


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Charles

March 11, 2019

Can I transfer money from my account to other accounts outside United States?


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Val Finder

March 11, 2019

Hi Charles,


Thank you for leaving a question. Chime does not impose a limit on bank transfers (ACH transfers) that are initiated from an external account. However, external banks may impose their own limits and fees. You may want to ask your receiver to check their bank if Chime transfer account is acceptable.


Hope this helps.


Regards,

Val


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