Passbook account review by Remitly March 2021 |
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Passbook account review

Last updated:  

Free banking with no foreign transactions.

Developed by international money transfer provider Remitly, Passbook is a checking account and Visa debit card designed to help immigrants in the US manage their money. There are no fees associated with this account. But there’s currently no way to deposit checks.

$0 per month





Minimum deposit to open


Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$0
ATM transaction fee$0
Out-of-network ATM fee$0
Foreign transaction fee0%
Overdraft fee$0

Expert review

Michael Benninger

Review by

Michael Benninger is a personal finance writer at Finder. He is a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer whose articles have been published by Intuit, Blinkist, Business Insider and the Los Angeles Times. When he’s not writing, you can usually find him watching movies, enjoying the outdoors or boarding planes to distant destinations.

Expert review

Passbook markets itself as an account for immigrants, since they don’t require a Social Security number to open an account. But most banks don’t require one either and you can open one with an ITIN or passport.

If you typically use Remitly to send money to family and friends, this account could be right for you. You’ll earn $2 when you use your Passbook Visa debit card to send money through Remitly. But if you don’t use Remitly, there are other free checking account options, like Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking account that offers additional features like an APY.

How do I open a Passbook account?

It only takes about 10 minutes to open a Passbook account:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. Download and launch the Passbook app on your iPhone or Android device, then select Get Started.
  3. Choose to sign up through Remitly or with an email address.
  4. Enter your email address and create a password, then choose Sign Up.
  5. Personalize your card by choosing a flag you’d like printed on your card, then enter your name, birthday and phone number.
  6. Enter the verification code that Remitly sends to your phone.
  7. Complete the signup process by entering your address and uploading a photo of your ID.

It may take up to 10 business days to receive your Passbook Visa debit card.


You must meet the following eligibility requirements to open a Passbook account:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid US address

Required information

You’ll need the following documents to open a Passbook account:

  • Social Security number, Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) or a government-issued photo ID, such as a passport, visa or an identification card from your home country
  • A pay stub, utility bill, lease agreement or official piece of mail with your physical US address

What are the benefits of Passbook?

Like most bank accounts, you don’t need a Social Security number to open a Passbook account. And it’s possible to lock your card to help manage your account. Other perks include:

  • No fees or minimum balance. You won’t have to worry about monthly and overdraft fees or a minimum balance requirement.
  • Travel-friendly. Most bank accounts charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. But with Passbook, you won’t pay a dime.
  • Cash back with Remitly. Get up to $2 cash back when you use your Passbook debit card to send money through Remitly.

Passbook‘s ATM network and fees

Use your Passbook Visa card to withdraw cash for free at thousands of ATMs in Visa’s Plus Alliance network. Remitly doesn’t charge a fee for using your Passbook card at out-of-network ATMs, but third-party ATM operators might charge you.

What should I look out for?

There are a few drawbacks to consider before opening a Passbook account:

  • No check deposits. There’s currently no way to deposit checks into your Passbook account.
  • Cash loading fee. You’ll have to pay a $4.95 fee when you load cash onto your card at a retailer.

Compare Passbook with other checking accounts

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chime Spending account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Spending account
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
Get rid of fees with this mobile-first bank offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Chase Total Checking
Finder Rating: 2.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase Total Checking
Access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches nationwide
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 more than 4,700. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Rating: 2.7 / 5: ★★★★★
HSBC Premier Checking
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
Get a 3% cash bonus, up to $600 (max. $100 per month) during first six months after account opening. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by September 30, 2020, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
BBVA Online Checking
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
BBVA Online Checking
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Essential Checking
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

Although there’s currently no way to do deposit checks with Passbook, there are several other methods to fund your account and withdraw your money:


  • Direct deposit
  • Bank transfers
  • Transfer from PayPal, Venmo or a similar service
  • Deposit at any of the 90,000 retail stores. But you’re limited to $500 or $1,500 per deposit and a $4.95 fee may apply


  • ATMs
  • Cashback at retailers

Frequently asked questions

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