Varo Savings Account Review
Earn up to 5% APY on savings under $5,000.
finder.com’s rating: 4.7 / 5.0
With the Varo Savings account, you can earn a competitive APY and enjoy no fees. But to earn the highest rate, you’ll need to meet stringent balance and direct deposit requirements. If you can’t meet them, your rate will drop to 2% APY, which is still one of the most competitive rates available.
Up to 5.00%
Minimum deposit to open
|Annual percentage yield (APY)||5.00% on balances of $1.21 to $5,000 if you set up direct deposits totaling at leat $1,000 monthly |
2.00% on balances of $2.98+ the average of your close-of-business-day balances for the month must be at least $2.98 in a 31-day month and $3.08 for a 30-day month
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|Minimum balance to earn interest||$1.21|
|More info||Go to site|
Alexa Cruz is an editor at Finder specializing in banking and kid’s debit cards. A certified anti-money laundering specialist, Alexa helps guide readers to the best savings and checking accounts for their financial goals. Her expertise has been featured on top publications including Best Company, U.S. News & World Report, MSN and Yahoo. And she’s frequently interviewed by broadcast news publications across the country, including Fox News and NBC News. Alexa earned a BA in English from Wesleyan College and enjoys reading memoirs in her spare time.
The Varo Savings account is best for those who plan to keep less than $5,000 in their account. You’ll get a debit card with your account, and you won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees. Its best features is that you’ll have the opportunity to earn a high interest rate at 5% APY.
However to earn this high rate, you’ll need to keep less than $5,000 in your account, discouraging you from saving more money. You’ll also need to receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits to your account each month. Because the account limits how much you can keep in it to earn the highest APY, you’ll need to regularly transfer money to another account.
If you don’t meet these requirements, your interest rate drops to 2% APY, which is still competitive for today’s savings rate.
If you want a savings account that doesn’t come with such strict rules for the highest APY, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when considering a high-yield savings account.
How to open a Varo savings account
Open a Varo Savings account online in a few minutes. Get started with these steps.
- Visit Varo Bank’s website. Go to Banking under the navigation menu and then select Savings account.
- Enter your email address.
- Create a Varo account by entering your email, mobile phone number and password.
- Enter the verification code your receive via phone and email, choosing Next when applicable.
- Provide your full name, last name, date of birth, Social Security number and country. Then choose Next.
- Enter your address and mailing address. Then, select Next and continue through to submit your application.
See if you’re eligible to open a Varo Savings account.
- At least 18 years old
- US citizen
To set up your Varo account, you’ll need:
- Personal information, such as your email address
- Social Security number
- Smartphone for receiving account messages
The benefits of a savings account with Varo
The best benefits of this Varo Savings account are the opportunity to earn a top APY and tools that help you automatically send money to your savings account.
- Competitive APY. You could earn up to 5% APY if you meet the requirements. Its base APY of 2% is also one of the most competitive we’ve seen, set at 15 times the national average rate for savings accounts.
- Debit card. Comes with a Visa debit card — a rare perk for a savings account.
- No minimum balance. There is no minimum balance required to open an account. But there is a minimum balance to earn interest.
- Save your change. Round up each transaction from your linked Varo checking account’s debit card and send the difference to your savings account.
- Save your pay. Automatically transfer a percentage of your direct deposit from your Varo checking account to your savings account.
How much interest you can earn
Assuming that you meet the requirements to gain Varo‘s highest APY on balances of $5,000 or less, see how much you could earn on your savings each year with this account.
|APY||Amount in savings||Interest earned in 12 months|
Case study: Jennifer’s experience – November 2020
After moving home earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, I managed to save a good amount of money. So, I decided to open a high-yield savings account.
After comparing savings accounts and their APYs, I decided to go with Varo Savings. It offered the highest interest rate I could find — 2.8% APY for up to $10,000 in your account. That high APY came with a catch, though — I needed to set up a direct deposit of at least $1,000 each month. I figured that would be easy enough since I planned to automate my savings.
However, what I didn’t realize until after I set up the account was that I’d also need to make five purchases with a Varo debit card each month to qualify for that high APY. If I didn’t meet both of these conditions, I would only receive an APY of 0.20%.
This is where they got me — I didn’t realize when I signed up for the savings account, I was also signing up for a Varo checking account and debit card until I received it in the mail. I honestly didn’t want to have a debit card tied to this new bank because I didn’t want to have easy access to my savings.
I haven’t been making the five purchases with my debit card, so I’ve only been earning 0.20% APY. I keep meaning to set up autopay with this debit card for some of my monthly subscription services so that I don’t need to manually use the card five times each month, but I keep forgetting to do this.
If you’re good about meeting the two conditions I mentioned above or you’re looking to open a high-yield savings account along with a checking account, then I think Varo Savings would be worth it. But if you’re like me and are only looking to open a savings account to earn interest, you might want to go for an account with fewer hoops to jump through to earn the highest APY.
What to look out for
You’ll need to be comfortable banking online or accessing funds through ATMs. Other downsides to keep in mind:
- Strict rules to earn APY. To earn the 5% APY, you must have at least $1,000 in direct deposits every month. But if your balance exceeds $5,000, your interest rate drops to 1.20% APY.
- Limited deposits. The only way to deposit cash in your account is by visiting a GreenDot retailer and pay a fee up to $5.95 per transaction. You also can’t deposit checks via the app directly into this savings account.
- No branch locations. Varo doesn’t give you the option to bank in a traditional branch, though you can make transactions through a GreenDot retailer or one of 55,000 fee-free ATMs using the Allpoint network.
Looking to compare similar accounts with the highest interest rates? Think about an Aspiration Spend & Save Account, which lets you earn up to 5% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you spend at least $1,000 with your debit card each month. For high-yield rates without worrying about strict requirements, you might go with a Bread Savings™ High-Yield Savings account or Quontic Bank High Yield Savings account.
Compare with other savings accounts
Use the table to see how the Varo Savings account’s interest rates, fees and opening deposit requirements compare to other savings accounts.
How to deposit or withdraw my moneyVaro limits you to a cash withdrawal of $1,000 per day from ATMs. No minimum or maximum balance is required to fund your account.
You might choose to set up direct deposits or automatic transfers to automatically save money. Or you can transfer money from an external account.
- Direct deposit
- Cash deposit at a GreenDot retail location with a fee up to $5.95
- Transfer from external bank account
- Transfer from digital wallets like the Cash App, Paypal or Venmo
Withdraw optionsVaro gives you the ability to spend your money via a free debit card tied to your savings account. You can also access your money by:
- ATM withdrawal at any of 55,000 AllPoint ATMs
- ATM withdrawal at a non-network ATM for a $2.50 fee plus ATM owner fees
- Debit card purchase
- Over-the-counter cash withdrawal with $2.50 fee
- Transfer to external account
How to contact Varo about my savings account
Reach out to Varo customer service in two ways.
- Call 1-800-827-6526 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and weekends from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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