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Motiv Money review

Last updated:  

It aimed to become a free mobile bank account that could help you rebuild credit, but its website has gone dark.

finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0

★★★★★

Motiv Money set out to create a mobile banking product that helped customers spend and save smarter. It was meant to have no monthly fees and tools to help you manage money and rebuild credit, but it seemingly never made it past the waitlist stage.

$0

Monthly fee

N/A

APY

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Monthly fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0
ATMsOver 25,000 free ATMs across the country

Expert review

Peter Carleton

Review by


Peter Carleton is a writer that covers banking and investing, breaking down what you need to know about where you put your money. When Peter's not thinking about cutting-edge banking apps and robo-advisors, he runs a creative agency and spends his spare time cooking or reading.

Expert review

Motiv Money is best for those looking for a banking option that helps them save on fees and rebuild credit. It has no deposit requirements or overdraft fees, so you can hold on to more of your money.

However, it’s mobile-only and the credit rebuilding program has a few requirements.

The Motiv Money website has gone blank and its social media accounts haven’t been active since late 2018. Until the company provides more information on what’s happening, be very cautious. You can find a digital banking alternative by comparing the best app-based accounts and debit cards.

What are the benefits of Motiv Money?

This banking product has a number of standout features, including:

  • Build credit. This optional program allows customers to rebuild credit by making automatic payments toward an interest-free loan. After the loan is paid off, it’s marked as repaid, which has helped customers raise their score by an average of 40 points.
  • No fees or deposit requirements. You can open an account with as little as $0 and you won’t pay any monthly fees.
  • ATM network. Motiv customers get access to over 25,000 free ATMs across the country.
  • Anyone can open. You don’t need to be a US citizen to open the account and there are no credit score requirements. You can also open it if you have a Chexsystems record.
  • Spend and save smarter. Use Motiv‘s built-in tools to manage and budget your money.
  • Banking with an impact. By opening an account, you’ll be supporting partnered nonprofits that prevent predatory lending and other questionable financial activities.

What should I look out for?

This account could be a solid option for those looking to manage their money and build credit, but there are a few things to watch out for:

  • Credit rebuilding limitations. The credit building loan is fixed at $300 and you’ll need to meet one of three conditions in order to be eligible.
  • Mobile only. Motiv is mobile-only, so you can’t access your account by desktop computer or at a branch.
  • No interest on savings. While the credit building program can help you put money aside, your savings won’t earn any interest.
  • Limited history. Founded in 2014, Motiv is a fairly new company without a strong track record like some other financial institutions.
  • No other products. You won’t be able to do all of your banking with Motiv, as it only offers a checking account.

If you want to bank with an institution that offers more products, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.

Compare to other checking accounts

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
HSBC Advance Checking
$0
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
Get up to $270 (max. $50 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
BBVA Free Checking
$25
1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
$3
Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA ATMs.
Chime Spending account
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Linked checking and savings accounts from a mobile-first bank that’s light on fees.
Citibank® Account Package
Citibank® Account Package
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No access to ATMs
$2.50
Earn a $400 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
Chase Premier Plus Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $300 signup bonus as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and set up direct deposit. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How can Motiv Money help me rebuild credit?

While Motiv Money is primarily a mobile banking product, it can also help you build credit once you’ve opened an account:

  1. Meet one of the three credit building program requirements (see eligibility below)
  2. Apply for a credit-building loan
  3. Motiv will take out an interest and free $300 loan in your name and will remove $25 from your account each month as payment towards the loan
  4. After 12 months, the $300 will be returned to your account and the loan is marked as repaid.

How do I qualify for the credit rebuilding program?

In order to start rebuilding credit with Motiv, you’ll need to meet one of three conditions:

  • Set up a recurring direct deposit from an employer or benefits provider
  • Have spent at least $2,500 on your Motiv debit card
  • Be sponsored through a partnered non-profit

Motiv Money ATM network and fees

This account comes with a Motiv Visa debit card that allows you to access your money at 25,000 free ATMs and almost any retailer. You won’t pay Motiv any fees from out-of-network ATMs, though owner fees could apply.

How do I apply for Motiv Money?

Motiv is still in its early stages, but you can sign up for the waitlist in the meantime:

  1. Visit the Motiv website and click Sign Up.
  2. Scroll down and fill out the form, then click Join Motiv.
  3. Once you receive an email to create your account, you can download the mobile app.
  4. Open the mobile app and sign into your account to get started.

motiv application process

Eligibility

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Valid state-issued ID or passport
  • Mobile phone with either Android or iOS

Required information

  • Name, date of birth and address
  • Social Security number
  • Email address and phone number
  • State-issued ID or passport

How do I deposit or withdraw money?

Deposits

  • Mobile check deposit
  • At an eligible ATM
  • Online or wire transfer
  • Direct deposit

Withdrawals

  • At an ATM
  • Online or wire transfer
  • Cashback from participating merchant
  • Bill pay

How do I contact Motiv Money customer service?

If you need to get in touch with customer service, reach out by sending an email to help@motivmoney.com.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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