Chime vs Current: Which Digital Banking Account Is Better?

chime vs current

In an age where we do almost everything online, it is no surprise that digital banking has become an easy, viable alternative to traditional banking systems. 

Two of these mobile banking companies have gained popularity with the public. Chime and Current are both digital-only banks that offer many features and benefits right from your mobile phone. To compare Chime vs. Current, we have to look at a breakdown of these features.

While both companies are a great option because of their savings account interest rate and terrific sign-on incentive, we believe Chime is the best place to store and spend your money. 

Quick Summary

  • Receive Pay Earlier
  • Overdraft Protection up to $200
  • Peer-to-peer transfers to anybody
  • Fee-free ATMs
  • No monthly charge for members
  • Free debit card replacement
  • .5% APY on savings accounts
  • $50 sign-on bonus
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • Offers a Credit Builder card
  • Offers Chime Checkbook check writing service free of charge
  • Sign up for a free Chime account in minutes
  • Receive Pay Earlier
  • Overdraft Protection up to $100
  • Peer-to-peer transfers to Current members only
  • Fee-free ATMs
  • No monthly charge for basic members; $4.99 Premium membership to gain access to some features
  • Generate temporary cards
  • $5 debit card replacement
  • No interest on savings accounts
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • Offers a rewards program with cash-back incentives
  • Gas hold refunds for premium members
  • Has Teen Accounts available

Both digital banks are a great choice, but Chime is our pick for the best mobile bank. Users often compare Chime and Current to another digital-only bank, Varo. You can read our Varo review here. 

Features

There are many features the two institutions share, with a few differences between them. There are also some things unique to each bank. Depending on what features and benefits are essential to you, this can help you decide which bank you are going to trust with your hard-earned cash. 

Pay attention your which features are your priorities when reviewing the features and benefits that both Chime and Current offer.

Earlier Pay

Both banks advertise earlier direct deposits as one of their key selling points. Chime and Current both claim that you will receive your pay up to two days early

They do this by immediately releasing the dollar amount indicated by the Federal Reserve when your employer submits your direct deposit. Even if your check date is several days later, Chime and Current give you access to it once submitted. This feature can be very convenient when you don’t have time to wait for payday to pay your bills.

However, one thing to note is that this feature is only available to Current Premium members, who pay an additional fee. Chime offers this feature to all members and does not charge extra to receive your direct deposits early.

Fee-Free Overdraft

Overdraft fees are one of the biggest complaints about traditional bank structures. One overdraft can cause multiple transactions to bounce, leading to tens and even hundreds of dollars in fees. 

Both challenger banks, Chime and Current, mitigate this by offering fee-free overdrafts.

Chime’s overdraft protection, called SpotMe, can be enabled with a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 per month. It offers up to $200 in overdrafts. 

Current’s overdraft protection program is called Overdrive. You can enable up to $100 of fee-free overdrafts with a qualifying direct deposit of $500 per month. 

Chime’s maximum overdraft limit is higher, but with both institutions, your account history and activity determine your individual limit. However, Current requires your qualifying direct deposit amount to be higher, more than double the qualifying limit for Chime.

 In this instance, Chime’s fee-free overdraft policy wins out over Current.

Peer-to-Peer Instant Transfers

We all know the struggle of sending cash to friends via third-party apps. Often, fees accompany instant transfers to your bank account. Chime and Current have eliminated these fees by offering mobile transfers between accounts.

Chime allows you to search for your friends via their phone number, name, or Chime username. You can send funds instantly from the Chime app. If the recipient is not a Chime member, they can claim the funds using their debit card. 

Current allows you to search for your friends using what is called a Current ~tag. You can send money instantly to other Current members.

In this case, Chime is slightly more convenient, allowing you to send money to anyone, regardless of whether or not they already have an account with Chime.

No Hidden Fees

Chime

  • Fee-free ATMs
  • Free Debit Card Replacement
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fees

Current

  • Fee-free ATMs
  • $5 debit card replacement
  • No monthly fees (on Basic Accounts)
  • No overdraft fees

Both digital banks have fee-free ATMs and the option to use the app to search for the closest in-network ATM to withdraw your cash. Both Chime and Current have tens of thousands of fee-free ATMs available for your use. 

Both offer debit card replacement. However, Chime offers free card replacement, while Current charges $5 for each card.

While Chime does not have any monthly fees on its accounts and all of its features are available to all members, Current offers both a basic and premium account.

The Current Premium Account is $4.99 per month and unlocks some of the features we discuss here, such as gas station hold refunds and extra Savings Pods. 

Because of the availability of a paid premium account, Current falls short in this aspect. Chime offers all its benefits to all members with a free account and does not try to upsell anyone into a paid option.

Family Banking

Chime does not offer parent-controlled accounts for teens.

Current offers a Teen Account for $36 per year. It has several great features, such as total parental control over spending limits, merchant blocking, and the ability to assign chores to complete.

 This feature gives teens financial independence while ensuring their parents can keep them safe and monitor their spending. It’s an excellent feature for families looking to instill responsibility in their younger members.

Neither company offers a joint account to its members, so you cannot link your account with your spouse or anyone else. 

Current definitely wins in the “Family-friendly” category because of the unique availability of a Teen Account. 

Sign-On Bonus

One of Chime’s most significant selling points is its $50 bonus for new members. There are some strings attached, such as signing up through someone’s promotional link and having a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 within your first 45 days, but a free $50 is nothing to laugh at! 

At times, Chime runs promotions offering higher incentives for referrals, giving you more opportunities to add to your bank account.

On the other hand, Current does not offer such a generous incentive for signing up. On some occasions, if you happen across a promotional link, you can get $1 deposited into your account for signing up. 

This one seems like a no-brainer to us! Free money always wins. 

Security

  • Both banks are FDIC insured up to $250,000. 
  • Both Chime and Current utilize EMV chip technology in their cards to safeguard your transactions.
  • Both offer instant transaction alerts to your mobile device to keep you informed of all activity on your account.
  • Finally, both mobile banks utilize modern technology and encryption to protect your information.

Security is one of the most critical features of any bank. Luckily, government regulations keep us pretty safe. However, we all still need the peace of mind that our money is protected. 

In terms of account security, it is a draw between Chime and Current. They are each just as safe as a traditional bank and will protect your money from a disaster.

Savings Accounts

Both Chime and Current offer the option to put some of your money aside for a rainy day.

Chime’s Savings Account boasts an interest rate of 0.5%. 

There are several ways to move money into your savings account. Within the Chime app, you can manually transfer money between your accounts. 

You can also turn on automatic deposits with the option to “Save When I Get Paid.” You can select a dollar amount or percentage of each deposit to automatically divert to your savings account. This method is an easy, stress-free way to ensure you are saving money without having to remember to make deposits.

Chime also has a Round-Ups feature, which allows you to save money every time you spend. When you swipe your card, Chime will round the final amount up to the next dollar and deposit the change directly into your savings account.

Current’s savings feature is called Savings Pods. These are sort of like micro-savings accounts that you create for specific purposes. You can create a Savings Pod for an upcoming vacation, an emergency fund, a wedding, or anything you might need to set money aside for. The downside to the Savings Pods is they do not pay any interest.

Current’s Savings Pods also allow you to redirect money through an automatic round-ups feature, which works the same way as Chime’s Round-Ups. 

Basic account holders can have only one Savings Pod, while Premium account holders can have up to three. 

While Current’s ability to create multiple savings goals and keep everything organized is a definite plus(for premium members at least), Chime’s interest rate on its Savings Account certainly outweighs it in terms of monetary value.

Rewards

Current offers a rewards system with its free account. 

The way that it works is by spending money using your Current debit card at participating locations. There are over 14,000 merchants nationwide who participate in Current’s rewards program. You earn points for every dollar you spend at one of these locations. 

You can find offers for points multipliers through the Current app – at times earning up to 15x the rewards points. 

You can redeem the points for either cash or other items in the Current Store through the app. 

Chime does not offer a rewards program, so there is a clear winner as far as rewards and cash-back possibilities go! 

Credit Cards

Chime recently unveiled its Credit Builder Card, which adds a ton of value to your account. The Credit Builder card is a credit card that has no limit, no fees, and no security deposit. It also does not require a credit check to enroll. 

The Credit Builder card functions the same as your Spending account. You can transfer money between accounts to fund your credit account and only spend what you have available. Chime holds your money in a secured account for collateral and then uses that account to pay off your balance each month. 

Chime reports your paid-off account each month to the three major credit bureaus, which positively impacts your payment history. In many cases, it can help boost your credit score.

Current does not have a credit card option at this time, giving Chime the leg-up in terms of credit building.

Gas Station Hold Refunds

Unfortunately, this Chime does not offer this feature.

However, Current offers a unique benefit to its Premium account holders. As we all know, when we purchase gas at the pump, the gas station places a hold on our account. They pre-authorize up to $75 of our funds, which can take anywhere from 3-5 days to fall off. 

Of course, this can put you in a distressing situation when you need access to your money, but it’s pending in this gas station hold.

Premium account members through Current will have this hold refunded right away, giving them immediate access to their funds. 

Spending Limits

Both Chime and Current offer a daily ATM withdrawal limit of $500, with no limits on the number of times you can use your card at an ATM.

Chime has a daily spending limit of $2,500, while Current has a daily spending limit of $2,000. In both cases, your ATM withdrawals do count towards the daily spending limit. 

In terms of making large purchases, Chime is the better bet by $500. However, you cannot use either account to purchase anything over the limit. If you have a large purchase to make, you will have to withdraw cash several days in a row, or you will have to use a different bank. 

Checkbook

This feature is exclusive to Chime. Current does not send checks by mail.

Chime offers a checkbook feature, which allows you to request they mail a paper check to anyone. This option is 100% free to all Chime members, and checks take 3-9 days to reach their recipient.

The checkbook is helpful if you need to pay a bill by check or if you would like to send checks for birthdays, wedding gifts, or any other occasion.

Chime Vs. Current: The Verdict

In terms of mobile financial institutions, both Chime and Current come highly recommended by their users. They both offer features and benefits that traditional banks do not, such as fee-free overdrafts and the ease of online-only banking. 

Current has unique features, like its Teen Accounts and Rewards programs, both of which are great additions to your account. However, in terms of value and fees, this company falls short, as they charge for a premium account to access some of its features and do not pay interest on savings accounts. 

Chime also has features that Current does not, like the Credit Builder account and free memberships for all. Chime offers an APY of .50% on its Savings Account. There is also an impressive sign-on bonus.

These are all things that add to the monetary value of your account, allowing you to increase your credit score through the Credit Builder account and earn on your savings through monthly interest. 

Because of these factors, Chime sets itself apart from Current in terms of online banking. While Current is undoubtedly a contender for a great online banking institution, with Chime, you will get more value for your money, all while not paying any monthly service fees.

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As a Current mobile banking app affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.