Banks Like Varo Money

banks like varo

As of last year, 1.9 billion people worldwide use online banking, and studies project that number to reach 2.5 billion by 2024. With more and more challenger banks popping up on your app store, it can be difficult to find the perks and benefits you need to take control of your finances through digital banks. 

Varo is one of the most popular options, but it’s not the only one! Whether you’re new to having control over your finances, a well-seasoned money maven who wants more from their bank, or someone who’s just trying to make sure all their bills get paid on time, banks like Varo are abundant for every lifestyle.

We rounded up seven challenger banks like Varo Money that offer features that just might make banking a more enjoyable experience. 

Banks Like Varo Money – The 7 Alternatives

  • Chime Bank
  • Ally Bank
  • Current
  • Axos Bank
  • N26 Bank
  • One
  • Aspiration

Chime

chime bank

What is Similar to Varo:

  • Offers a fee-free checking account that you can fund through direct deposit or bank transfer.
  • No monthly or annual membership fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Receive your paycheck up to 2 days early
  • Free Visa debit card with access to Green Dot Deposit options
  • No fees for overdraft protection and optional cash advances for in-between paychecks
  • Optional savings account
  • Mobile app with features that include:
    • Account management
    • Customer support via chat or email
    • ATM locator
    • Deposit your checks with your phone camera.
    • Money transfers between savings and checking, external accounts, and other customers
  • $2.50 fees for out-of-network ATMs 
  • Up to $5.95 for Green Dot over-the-counter deposits and withdrawals
  • Offers savings options to deposit funds automatically from each paycheck or by rounding up your change
  • Security features include instant push notifications for every transaction, FDIC-insured deposits, the option to freeze your card, and two-factor authentication to log in to the mobile app.

What is Different to Varo:

  • Requires $500 in monthly direct deposits to qualify for up to $200 in cash advances
  • Additional $2.50 fee for over-the-counter Green Dot withdrawals
  • SpotMe overdraft protection is free.
  • Save Your Change only rounds up debit card transactions.
  • 0.5% APY on savings accounts
  • You can only fund the savings account with a Chime checking transfer, not through an external bank transfer.
  • Chime Credit Builder service is currently active, while Varo’s Believe program is in the works but has not launched yet.

Founded in 2013, Chime was one of the first players on the field when challenger banks began their meteoric rise in popularity. Since then, they’ve continued to expand their services, offering support for everyone from folks who are new to managing their finances to old pros alike. 

Many of the best features of Chime originate from the low barriers of entry. CEO Christ Britt built Chime on the belief that everyone deserves a second chance at banking, so they don’t use credit reports like ChexSystems to deny customers from opening checking accounts. 

Ally

ally bank

What is Similar to Varo:

  • Free debit card and in-network ATM withdrawals
  • No monthly fees or minimum monthly deposits
  • No overdraft fees
  • Mobile check deposit through the app
  • Automatically round up your change to the nearest dollar and deposit it into your savings account.
  • Security features include FDIC-insured deposits, instant push notifications, and the ability to freeze your debit card instantly.

What is Different to Varo:

  • User-set spending limits and merchant categories give you more control of your finances.
  • Location-based controls keep your debit card active only when it’s near your phone to prevent fraudulent charges.
  • No options for depositing cash
  • No option for early payday, so direct deposits take up to 3 business days.
  • The savings account offers 0.5% APY
  • Partnership with Zelle and Amazon Alexa lets you send and receive money with your voice.
  • Access to a Money Market account with 0.5% APY and daily compounded interest. 
  • 0.55% APY with a High Yield CD, with no monthly fees or minimum deposits
  • Start investing with as little as $100 and get access to free automated monitoring with 24/7 support.
  • Mortgage, auto, and personal loan options 

Ally Bank, founded in 2009 as the online-only branch of Ally Financial Inc., offers services most challenger banks like Varo Money don’t. 

The free investment portfolio management and access to lines of credit for mortgage and auto loans are appealing for customers looking for the services a traditional bank offers right from the comfort of their smartphone. 

I wish I’d known about Ally Bank when I was applying for my mortgage loan! Having all of my loan, checking, and savings accounts in one place would make it much easier to organize my finances.

Current

current

What is Similar to Varo:

  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit (Premium only)
  • No fees for overdrafts up to $100 with Current Premium Overdrive (Premium only)
  • Savings “Pods” and checking accounts are available for free with the Basic account
  • Instant push notifications for transactions
  • No hidden fees, minimum balance fees, or transfer fees between other Current customers
  • Fee-free withdrawals at in-network ATMs
  • Full-featured mobile app
  • Earn points on debit purchases at more than 14,000 merchants nationwide that you can redeem for cash and prizes
  • Automatically round-up change and transfer to savings “Pods.”
  • Add cash to your account instantly at 60,000 stores nationwide
  • Deposit checks through your mobile app
  • Offers peace of mind with options to pause and resume transactions, securely connect to and transfer between banks, and FDIC-insured deposits.

What is Different to Varo:

  • #CurrentCreator program invites customers to become influencer partners
  • Current Premium requires a $4.99 monthly fee.
  • Built-in budgeting for spending categories
  • Spending insights let you see where your money is going.
  • Teen accounts ($36/year) give parents an easy way to transfer cash, monitor spending, and automate allowance payments. Teens can use their Current debit card online and in-store and donate money to charity through the app. 

Don’t let Current’s $4.99 monthly fee scare you from giving them a shot. While most banks like Varo Money offer accounts with no monthly maintenance fees, Current has some cool features that I think make it worth the cost. 

My favorite benefit is the built-in budgeting tools. Right now, I do my banking and budgeting through separate apps, and sometimes it takes a couple of days for pending transactions to import. 

With Current, you can immediately update your budget, so you’ll always know whether you have enough cash for a Target run or coffee with your friends. 

Axos

axos bank

What is Similar to Varo:

  • Essential Checking account offers early deposits so that you can get paid up to two days early.
  • Receive unlimited ATM-fee reimbursements
  • No monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or monthly balance requirements
  • Peer-to-peer payments let you send friends money from your account with just an email address or phone number.
  • A full-service mobile app lets you control your account from anywhere.
  • Security features include account alerts, debit card management, and FDIC-insured deposits.

What is Different to Varo:

  • In addition to the basic checking and savings account, Axos also offers loans, money market accounts, investments, and CDs
  • Their high-interest checking account offers up to 1.25% APY 
  • There are a variety of account types, including First Checking for teens and Golden Checking for seniors 55+
  • 24/7 live support
  • $50 minimum deposit to open a checking account
  • $250 minimum deposit to open a savings account with a 0.61% APY
  • Automatically pay your bills each month with the Bill Pay feature.
  • Specialized tools for small business banking
  • Link up all your external accounts to your Axos account with the Personal Finance Manager
  • ClickSWITCH lets you transfer any direct deposits from your existing bank to your Axos account in 3 steps.

In my opinion, small business owners would get the best value out of Axos. Most of their features are pretty par for the course, but the additional support for entrepreneurs is impressive. 

One thing that I think everyone could benefit from are the unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. It would be nice not to worry about searching for a specific location or risk shelling out $3.00 to access my own money. 

N26

n26 bank

What is Similar to Varo:

  • No monthly, minimum balance, or overdraft fees
  • Unlimited free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 locations and two free out-of-network withdrawals per month
  • Transfer money into your N26 account from an external account transfer, debit card transfer, or direct deposit
  • Instant transfers between N26 customers
  • Automatic cashback program rewards you for shopping at participating merchants, including grocery stores and restaurants
  • Get paid up to two days early 
  • Save automatically by rounding up your change and taking a set amount from each paycheck
  • 24/7 support via chat, phone, or email
  • Access everything you need to bank through the app
  • FDIC-insured deposits, secure fingerprint login, and the ability to lock or unlock your card instantly

What is Different to Varo:

  • No cash deposits
  • No check deposits
  • Exclusive customer discounts on certain brands and subscription services
  • N26 Spaces lets you allocate your savings based on your goals
  • N26 Statistics helps you see how you spend your money and plan ahead

In my analyses, it seems like N26 is one of the digital-only banks most like Vero. What sets it apart for me is the Spaces savings program. 

I like the Spaces concept because I tend to dip into savings anytime there’s even a minor emergency, including the ones that probably weren’t emergencies at all. 

By dividing my savings account and giving each dollar a specific goal, I think I’d be more hesitant to pull money out.

One 

one finance

What is Similar to Varo:

  • No fees and no minimums
  • No deposit is required to open an account, which comes with a free debit card.
  • Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Auto-save with paychecks or round up your card transactions
  • 1.00% APY on save Pocket balances
  • Interest-free automatic line of credit to cover negative account balances if paid back before the 1st of the following month
  • Offers paycheck deposits up to 2 days early, but our research notes that it typically comes one day early.
  • The One app keeps your finances close at hand.
  • Fund your One card with direct deposit, mobile check deposit, wire transfers, and peer-to-peer payment services like PayPal.

What is Different to Varo:

  • Track your credit score and receive personalized credit insights with Credit Manager
  • Split your money into Pockets and monitor your spending for each category
  • Automatic line-of-credit comes with a 12% APY if not paid back by the 1st of the following month.
  • An additional 3.00% APY on auto-save Pocket balances
  • Scheduled transfers let you automate your budget by sending money to your bill Pockets weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  • Each spend Pocket comes with its own account number, which you can provide to bill companies so they only withdrawal payments from the Pockets you specify
  • Increase your line of credit up to the amount of one paycheck over time

One is a solid option for people who have tried other banks like Varo Money but want a little more control over their finances through neobanks. 

Their Pockets feature is similar to the famous “envelope method” of budgeting, so if you’ve found success with that in the past, One may be a great choice.

It’s really exciting that they include credit score tracking right in the app. I know that monitoring my score has helped me make better financial decisions and reduce my debt. Plus, it’s fun to have a mini celebration when you hit a new high score!

Aspiration

aspiration

What is Similar to Varo:

  • No ATM fees at 55,000 in-network ATMs
  • Get your paycheck deposited up to two days early.
  • Free checking and savings account when you sign up for Pay What is Fair.
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free debit card and digital card 
  • 10% cashback on all purchases through retailers who are part of the Conscience Coalition
  • A slew of security features protects the funds in your Aspiration account with FDIC-insured deposits, fraud protection and alerts, multi-factor authentication, and 256-bit encrypted data.

What is Different to Varo:

  • Aspiration Plus costs $7.99/month.
  • Pay What is Fair account lets customers set their own fee and change that fee at any time. 
  • Aspiration donates 10 cents of every dollar paid in customer fees to charities.
  • Customers who open a new Spend & Save Plus account and spend $1,000 within the first 60 days are eligible for a $200 welcome bonus.
  • Offers up to 1.00% APY on your Save account
  • Reimbursement for one out-of-network ATM fee per month
  • Plant Your Change helps you eliminate your carbon footprint by planting trees. 
  • Planet Protection offsets your carbon output every time you purchase gasoline.
  • Open a Redwood Fund for sustainable investing with professional fund management for a $10 minimum deposit.
  • Zero credit card is in early access but will give you 1% cashback on all purchases each month that you get your carbon footprint to zero.
  • Redwood IRA lets customers start saving for retirement with tax-deferred growth for a $10 minimum deposit.
  • Give to your favorite charitable causes with tax-deductible donations.

Aspiration takes a totally different approach to its banking system. They offer many of the same perks that other banks like Varo do, with the added bonus of giving something back to the environment every time you swipe your card.

My favorite perk that Aspiration offers is IRA and investment accounts. I’m like many people my age in that I know I’m supposed to be contributing to retirement and dabbling in stocks, but it’s all so overwhelming!

It seems like Aspiration makes it easy to understand and manage, even for those of us who get a little cross-eyed at the mere mention of 401ks or tax deductions. 

Which Bank Will You Choose?

There are plenty of online banks like Varo, each with its unique set of perks, pros, and cons. No matter which choice you end up making, be sure to do your research and think realistically about what you need to have a healthy financial future.