A digital account with cashback rewards and built-in envelope budgeting — but watch out for fees.
finder.com’s rating: 3.8 / 5.0
★★★★★Jelli is a digital bank account and budgeting app rolled into one. It has no monthly fees, offers cashback rewards on debit card purchases and is unique with a built-in envelope budgeting system where you can manage and categorize expenses in real-time. But the account comes with a long list of miscellaneous fees that are difficult to avoid and you can only bank through the app.
$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
Expert reviewJelli is best for anyone looking for a built-in envelope budgeting system tied to their bank account. You can divide all your funds into goals and earn cashback rewards when you use your debit card at a participating retailer.
But Jelli has a lot of miscellaneous fees that could eat into your budget if you’re not careful.
You’ll pay $2 each time you use an ATM and $0.50 when you make a purchase that requires a PIN. And if you need to pay a bill electronically, you’ll have to pay $1 per transaction. You’ll also pay $0.50 if you need to call customer service to check your card balance.
If you never need to handle cash, don’t use bill pay and are keen on making signature-based transactions for everything, you may be able to get by just fine. But if you want to use this as your main account, you may need to create a dedicated budgeting category just to cover all the fees you’ll incur.
What fees should I look out for?Jelli doesn’t charge monthly or overdraft fees, but there’s a laundry list of other fees to watch out for:
|PIN-based debit purchases, domestic||$0.50|
|PIN-based debit purchases, international||$2 + up to 3% of transaction amount + currency exchange rate|
|Signature-based debit purchases, domestic||Free|
|Signature-based debit purchases, international||$2 + up to 3% of transaction amount + currency exchange rate|
|Cash reloads||$2 + third-party fees|
|Check deposit at retail location||$2 + third-party fees|
|Cash withdrawal at bank or retail location||$2 + third-party fees|
|ATM withdrawal, domestic||$2 + third-party fees|
|ATM withdrawal, international||$3.50 + third-party fees|
|Bill pay fee (electronic and paper check)||$1.00|
|Bill pay fee for canceling a check||$25.00|
|Account inactivity after 90 days||$3.50|
|Account cancellation with refund||$10|
|Balance inquiry using automated customer service number||$0.50|
How do I open a Jelli account?
Follow these steps to open your Jelli account:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- Download the Jelli app from the App Store or Google Play.
- Launch the app, enter your email address and click Sign Up.
- Review the fees and click Continue.
- Enter your full name and phone number.
- Agree to the terms and conditions and click Continue.
- Follow the prompts to finish your application and request your card.
Open a Jelli account when you meet these requirements:
- US resident
- At least 18 years old
- Valid Social Security number
You’ll need to provide this information when signing up:
- Full name
- Email address
- Residential address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
What are the benefits of Jelli‘s digital account?
There’s no credit check required to open a Jelli account and no overdraft fees, plus you’ll enjoy these perks:
- No monthly maintenance fee. Unlike some digital banks, you won’t have to worry about paying a monthly fee to maintain your account.
- Cashback rewards. Earn JelliCash — aka cashback rewards — when you use your debit card on qualifying purchases.
- Built-in budgeting. Jelli has a built-in envelope budgeting system, allowing you to manage all your spending and saving in one convenient app.
- Share savings goals with friends. Connect with friends through the Jelli app and group-fund projects, leave comments and post updates about your goals.
- Up to five cards per account. Request one primary card and up to four secondary cards for anyone age 13 and older.
- Accepts cash deposits. Unlike other digital accounts, this one lets you reload cash at any Western Union, MoneyGram or CashPass location.
- High transaction limits. The Jelli account has higher daily limits for withdrawals, deposits and transfers than other accounts we’ve reviewed. Here’s a summary:
Transaction type Daily limit Purchases $5,000 Withdrawals from ATM, bank teller or POS purchase $920 Direct deposits $50,000 Cash deposits $10,000 Card-to-card transfers $20,000 ACH deposits $50,000
What should I look out for?
While Jelli as it’s perks, there’s a few things that make it sour:
- No ATM network. You’ll pay $2 for domestic ATMs and $3.50 for international ATMs on top of any fees the operator may charge.
- Miscellaneous fees. While you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee, the account comes with a long list of other fees that could quickly derail your budget.
- Can’t budget using multiple accounts. With regular budgeting apps, you can connect your checking, savings, credit card and more to manage all your money in one place. But you can’t do this with Jelli, which means you won’t have an accurate view of your total financial picture.
- Maximum account limit. You can’t keep more than $50,000 in your Jelli account at any one time.
- Mobile banking. The only way to access your account is through the Jelli app.
If you’re looking for a budgeting and digital bank combo, you may want to consider Qube Money.
Compare Jelli with other digital accounts
Use this table to see how Jelli compares to other digital bank accounts. If more than one account catches your eye, check the “Compare” box next to each one for an in-depth side-by-side view.
How does budgeting work in the Jelli app?Jelli uses the envelope budgeting system. But instead of digital envelopes, you divide funds into JelliJars. Create as many JelliJars as you need for things like groceries, rent, an emergency fund, vacations and more.
Each time you make a purchase, you’ll get a notification asking you to assign that expense to the appropriate JelliJar.
To save time, automate your budget so that your JelliJars fill up each time a direct deposit hits your account. This way you don’t have to manually move your funds every pay period.
How does JelliCash Rewards work?
You’ll earn cashback deposited directly into your Jelli account when you use your debit card at qualifying merchants. The list of merchants is subject to change, so check the Jelli app for a current list.
Watch out that certain types of transactions never qualify for cashback rewards:
- ATM withdrawals
- In-store cash withdrawals
How long will it take to get my card?
Once your account is approved, you’ll instantly get a virtual debit card to use online and through ApplePay or GooglePay. Your physical debit card will arrive in the mail within seven to 10 business days
How do I deposit or withdraw my money?Jelli doesn’t support wire transfers, but there are several ways to access money:
- Direct deposit
- Cash or check deposit at a CashPass, MoneyGram or Western Union location
- Bank transfer
- Cash back at retail location
- Bank transfer
Inverview with David R. Smith – September 2020
David R. Smith
CEO of Jelli
What was your inspiration for Jelli?
When we came up with the concept for Jelli a few years ago, it was a platform where people could connect and interact with their money.
That’s where the idea of Jelli and sharing the jars began.
Who is Jelli best for?Jelli is designed for the millennial demographic and Gen Z. It’s an app that would give them the ability to organize, customize and interact with their finances and money. We really wanted to develop a space where millennials can organize their money, customize it with photos and colors and then share it with friends.
Can you connect external accounts to Jelli?
Yes. I have a Wells Fargo account and my Venmo connected to Jelli. I can send money from Venmo and my bank account over to Jelli and use it to make purchases or put it in a jar.
Jelli charges a fee for bill pay and ATM withdrawals. Besides not using these services, is there any way to avoid these fees if you do want to use bill pay and withdraw cash?
Yes, so on the bill pay side you can use your Jelli Visa card to pay for things like Netflix and your cell phone bill.
As for utilities, many utilities don’t allow you to use a debit card. They prefer an ACH transfer.
To avoid a bill pay fee, you can provide your Jelli account and routing number. If you prefer writing a check, you’ll pay a fee.
Ok, cool. And as far as ATM withdrawal goes, it doesn’t look like Jelli has an ATM network so there’s a fee every time you withdraw cash from an ATM. Is there a way around that ATM fee?
As for ATM withdrawals, the only way around that fee is if you get cash back at a point of sale. But we do charge a fee of $0.50 cents for cash back at the register. Long term, we hope to eliminate that fee and move toward contactless payments.
What if someone loses their Jelli debit card?
If you lose your physical card, you can call to replace it and get a new one sent in the mail. But if you lose your card, you’ll still have access to your virtual Jelli card.
So if you ever lose your physical card, you still have your virtual card as a way to pay for things while you’re waiting for your new card to arrive.
If there are two cards (physical and virtual) are there two separate card numbers?
Yes, that’s correct. If you cancel or freeze the physical card in the app, you can request a replacement. But you’ll still be able to use your virtual card, which has a different card number. You can shop online with it or use it with any type of mobile wallet on your phone.
Can you tell us more about Dosh and how Jelli works with them to provide cashback rewards?
Dosh provides cashback rewards from hundreds of merchants. They’re constantly rolling out hundreds of local merchants, restaurants and retailers. Cash rewards can be anywhere from 3% to 5% — with some even at 10%. They also have Cash Flash rewards that can be anywhere between 10% to 25%.
In the Jelli app, if you click on the Jelli cash icon, it takes you over to your Jelli cash rewards. This section lists all the rewards that you receive. The rewards are instant, but it takes anywhere from three to four days to clear.
You can access the list of merchants available in your area and nationally in the Jelli card rewards section. It shows everything from PetSmart to Walmart.
With Cash Flash deals you can get up to 25% off for the next 24 hours if you make a purchase with your Jelli Visa card. You don’t have to show a coupon or a bar code. You simply shop and get the rewards.
Once you swipe your card you’ll get a notification in the app saying: Hey! You just earned $4 in rewards or $6 in rewards from this merchant. The cash back will show up as pending in your app. Once it clears, you can transfer the money to one of your jars and spend.
If you connect with friends through the Jelli app, how much of your budget can they see? Is it only shared with them? Or can they see your income and other budgeting categories as well?
With Jelli you have some different levels of sharing. Every time you create a jar, it’s private. Only you can see it. But if you select the sharing feature a window will pop up with a number of options. You can choose to share it to the public, to all your friends or only a select list of friends.
Let’s say you create a jar for a camping trip with your friends. You can share it with them, so that they can pitch in with the cost. They can open up the jar, post comments and add their money.
If you’re creating a jar for a larger thing, you can choose to share it with all of your friends or publicly. You can share public jars on Facebook, Twitter, email, text, etc. If someone clicks on the jar and has a Jelli account, it will open it directly in the Jelli app.
But if they don’t have Jelli, a web browser on their phone will open. They’ll need to download Jelli to contribute to the jar.
Can you give an example of when someone would share a Jelli jar with all of their friends on social media?
You can use it to make an announcement to all your friends. For instance: We’re getting married! Instead of wedding gifts we’d like to go to Tahiti for our honeymoon. We’re trying to raise $4,000 for this trip. If you’d like to contribute, you can add your money here.
You can send thank yous and pictures from your honeymoon to everyone who contributed straight from the jar.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Jelli?Jelli combines the features of budgeting, banking and cash back giving users one single source to get rewards, and manage and share their money. With Jelli we want to revolutionize the way you bank.
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