Varo Bank Account review
Get an early payday without fees with this online-only bank.
finder.com’s rating: 4.7 / 5.0
Varo is a simple checking account that doesn’t charge fees, run credit checks or hold direct deposits. It offers referral bonuses and free access to thousands of ATMs around the world. All banking is done on the app, but Android users miss out on some of the key features, such as bill pay and mobile check deposit.
Minimum deposit to open
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|Intro or bonus offer||Earn $75 bonuses every time a friend signs up for an account and deposits at least $200 in one transaction|
|ATMs||55,000 AllPoint ATMs around the world for free|
|ATM transaction fee||$0|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$0|
|Foreign transaction fee||0%|
|Nonsufficient funds fee||$0|
Katia Iervasi is a writer from Sydney, Australia. Her writing — and curiosity — has taken her around the world, and she now calls New York home. With a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
Expert reviewVaro is best for those looking for a fee-free checking account. It stands out for offering speedy direct deposits and forgoing all fees — even for foreign transactions.
But the Android app is missing key features, like mobile deposit, and it’s tricky to deposit checks for more than $2,000.
What are the benefits of a checking account with Varo?
The Varo Bank Account is connected to an app and comes with a debit card that can be linked to digital wallets such as Apple Pay, PayPal and Venmo.
It also boasts these benefits:
- No fees. The bank doesn’t charge monthly, ATM, transfer or replacement card fees. If you’re traveling overseas, there are no foreign transaction fees on ATM withdrawals or debit card transactions.
- No credit checks or minimum balances. Varo aims to make banking accessible to everyone, so it requires no credit check and no minimum balance.
- Worldwide ATM network. Access 55,000 AllPoint ATMs around the world for free.
- Early payday. If you enroll in direct deposit, you could receive your paycheck or benefits up to two days early.
- Overdraft protection. Varo blocks any transactions that would overdraw your account, so you’ll never pay overdraft fees.
- Referral bonuses. Once you’re eligible for the referral program, you can earn $75 bonuses every time a friend signs up for an account and deposits at least $200 in one transaction. The limit for bonuses is $500.
- Budgeting tools. On the app, you can track your spending habits across your Varo and external accounts. The app also allows you to create savings goals, set notifications and calculate how much money you’ll have left after paying bills.
- Android app limitations. Android users don’t have access to some features, such as mobile check deposit and budgeting tools. According to the Varo website, these updates are in the works.
- No checks or wire transfers. Varo doesn’t offer checkwriting privileges or support wire transfers.
- Expensive cash deposits. You’ll pay up to $4.95 to deposit cash at certain Green Dot retailers.
- Mobile check amounts. You can deposit checks less than $2,000 for free on the app. If you have a larger check, you’ll need to contact Varo.
- Lack of live chat. While customer service is available via phone and email seven days a week, Varo doesn’t have a live chat function.
- 18 years old or older
- A US citizen or resident with a physical address and Social Security number
- iPhone: iOS 10 or greater on the iPhone 5s or a newer model
- Android: OS 5.0 Lollipop or greater, and access to the Google Play Store
- Personal and contact details
- Physical address
- Social Security number
- A valid government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license
- Direct deposit. Deposit a portion of your paycheck, government-issued benefits and other regular payments (like insurance refunds or Airbnb income) into your checking account.
- Checks. If you’re an iPhone user, you can deposit mobile checks directly on the app. Varo can also mail paper checks on your behalf for free.
- Cash deposits. Submit a cash deposit at 100,000 GreenDot retailers across the US, including participating 7-Eleven, Kroger, Kmart, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart stores. You could pay up to $4.95 per deposit.
- Electronic transfers. Transfer money from an external bank account via an ACH transfer. There’s a limit of $5,000 per transfer and $10,000 per calendar month.
- Digital wallets. Top up your checking account with funds from digital wallets like Venmo, PayPal and Cash App.
- ATM withdrawals. Dip your card in any AllPoint ATM for free. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Varo won’t charge a fee but the operator might.
Varo Bank’s ATM network and feesVaro is part of the AllPoint network, which has 55,000 free ATMs worldwide. Just over 40,000 of them are in the US, and they’re often located in retailers like Walgreens, Target and CVS. To find one near you, open the Varo app and go to Move Money > Find an ATM.Varo charges no fees if you use an out-of-network ATM — but the ATM operator might.
What should I look out for?
The checking account has its drawbacks, including:
If you’re an Android user or rely on wires and large check deposits, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.
Compare with other checking accounts
How do I open a Varo Bank account?
This mobile-first bank has a fully online application. To open an account, follow these steps:
1. Go to the Varo website. Type in your phone number and click Get the App.
2. You’ll receive a text message with a link to download the app.
3. Fill out the form with your personal, contact and citizenship details.
4. Submit your application.
To activate your card, call the automated phone service at 800-827-6526.
- To sign up for an account, meet these requirements:
You’ll also need to have a compatible device:
The application will ask for the following information:
How do I deposit and withdraw my money?
There are a few ways to move money around:
Frequently asked questions
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