There’s a huge variety of digital challenger banks in America right now. Some might even say that it’s the golden age of mobile-only banking. And, although Chime is one of the most popular ones out there, many people are looking for a Chime alternative. Therefore, we’re going to explore the best online banks similar to Chime.
We found the best digital banks like Chime that offer great features, almost no fees, and have solid customer support.
- No monthly fees
- High APY
- Early payday
- No ATM fees
- No minimum deposit
- Savings pockets
- Credit line
One is a very young fintech company that was founded in 2019 by Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton, who serves as the CEO.
One has a checking and savings account that has no monthly fees or minimum balance required. It can earn you 1% APY up to $5,000 and 3% APY on up to 10% of your direct deposit.
Although some of this may sound confusing, One Finance is really all about simplicity. The One Card is a debit and credit card in one with built-in overdraft protection. And unlike Chime, One’s credit builder program has no fees, no interest, and no paycheck direct deposit required to join.
Its other features include free ACH bank transfers, Pockets for stashing away money, and access to 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs.
Overdraft protection is a significant revenue generator for other banks. In fact, this income source is built into their business model. Americans paid a whopping $34 billion in overdraft fees in 2017.
One, on the other hand, offers an optional Credit Line that’s a built-in safety net for your finances. This optional feature is designed to help you access extra money if you need it without being penalized.
The most significant distinction between a traditional Overdraft Protection Program and One’s award-winning Credit Line is that you aren’t hit with multiple per-transaction fees. In fact, you aren’t hit with any overdraft fees.
One keeps customers’ deposits in Coastal Community Bank, an FDIC deposit insurance scheme member. That means that your money is protected up to $250,000.
Read our full One Finance review here.
- Online signup
- Checking and Savings accounts
- Stocks & ETFs investing
- Vehicle financing
- Personal loans
Ally offers much more features than Chime does. Not only can you open a checking and a savings account, but you can also take out a mortgage for a home or a car, a personal loan, or invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, mutual funds, etc.
As you can see, Ally is closer to your typical bank than a digital one. Nevertheless, it’s more flexible and more straightforward at its core than brick-and-mortar banks.
Their Online Savings Account has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and the interest rate is compounded daily, which is a plus.
The Interest Checking Account gives you a 0,10% APY for balances under $15k and a 0.25% APY over $15k minimum daily balances.
You have several options to add funds to Ally’s account. You can transfer money from one of your bank accounts, transfer money from another Ally account, send a mail cheque or wire transfer to their postal address, or set up a direct deposit with your employer.
It seems like One isn’t the only digital bank that moved away from charging overdraft fees. Some other banks have started to notice what detrimental effect overdraft fees have on their customers.
Ally has decided to eliminate overdraft fees entirely. They started off by reimbursing them in early 2020 as a way to help during the pandemic. And now, they are removed completely.
Their customer service team is available 24/7, which is rare with digital-banking companies. A plus is also the ability to use any Allpoint ATM in the US for free, and you even get reimbursed up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.
- First USA Digital Full Bank
- Partner offers
- Early direct deposit
- Overdraft protection
- No monthly fees
- Checking account
- Debit card
- Savings account
- Early Direct Deposit
- $100 Instant Cash
- Free ATM Withdrawals
2020 was an exciting year for Varo as Varo Money was the first challenger bank in the US to be granted a national bank charter making it a fully-fledged bank. And now, instead of Varo Money, they’re called Varo Bank.
Varo offers its customers a bank account with no monthly fees and no ATM or overdraft fees, placing every customer on an even playing field with access to all of their services and features.
Apart from a current account, they also offer a savings account with an APY up to 3%, an advance up to $100, and a credit building program. So, very similar to Chime.
Unlike some traditional banks, there is no minimum balance required for a Varo Savings Account. You need just $0.01 to start earning interest with your online savings account.
All money in your Varo Bank account (checking and savings) is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000. The FDIC insures both the deposits you make within your high-yield savings account and any interest you earn.
You can deposit cash at 90k+ Green Dots or transfer money from your other bank accounts. With the open banking feature, you can control all the other financial accounts that you connect to the Varo app.
The Varo app is well-designed and understandable, making each feature easy to access and include in your day-to-day personal banking. On top of the financial elements such as transfers and transactions, Varo also offers various innovative budgeting tools to help customers stay in control of their finances.
- Free online account
- Early paycheck
- Zero ATM fees at Allpoint
- Price protection
- Rewards on spending
- $250 fee-free overdraft
- $19.99 /mo Credit Builder Plus
- $1,000 Credit Builder loan
- ETFs investing
MoneyLion is a digital banking platform founded in 2013 that’s been offering financial subscriptions and memberships since 2018.
This Chime alternative offers banking, personal finance, and investment services for a monthly subscription fee, leading many to refer to it as the ‘Netflix of finance.’ It really is an all-in-one mobile banking.
They have almost no fees, apart from the $1 monthly admin fee and a $2.50+ fee for out-of-network ATMs. The good news is, there are more than 55,000 free Allpoint ATMs that you can use.
If you decide to make regular direct deposits, you can get paid early and get access to up to $1,000 0% APR cash advances every direct deposit period.
MoneyLion will also be launching a flexible payment plan and crypto investing. For now, you can make use of their fully managed portfolios and auto investing, all with no management fees or minimums.
They help you choose an investment strategy that suits your needs and supports your goals. The portfolio can be as aggressive or as conservative as you’d like.
You can take even more control over your portfolio by adding thematic sets of ETFs aligned to specific topics like technology innovation and social responsibility. You can turn your weekly $20 investment into a $1,000 at the end of the year cycle.
If you want to know exactly where your money is going, MoneyLion has built a so-called personal finance monitor. An easy way to track your financial picture and reduce your financial stress.
When you check your Financial Heartbeat that’s available in-app, you’ll see a heart that pulses and changes colors to reflect your progress. A real-time score from 1 to 10 will let you know what your financial health is like. This makes personal financial planning more accessible and attainable.
And lastly, you can also earn cashback rewards by spending money with your MoneyLion Mastercard. There is a twist, though. The cashback gets added to a fully managed investment account, where you can withdraw it or let it grow.
Check out our full MoneyLion review here.
- Free online signup
- 30-day trial
- Fast Direct Deposit
- Free overdraft $100
- Points and cashback
- Instant Current transfers
- Cash deposits at 60,000 stores
- Free ATM withdrawals
- Gas hold refunds
- Mobile check deposit
- Teen Banking
This next digital bank on our list is a fine alternative to Chime as well. Founded in 2015, its black Visa debit card has been sweeping through social media in the hands of every influencer known to man.
All kidding aside, Current offers a reliable checking account service designed to add speed and ease to the banking experience while also allowing customers to manage their money more closely.
Current has a good few things working in its favor. They have a free account and a Premium account that has a monthly fee of $4.99. The Premium account will get you that recognizable black card and access to early direct deposits. You also get 3 savings pots instead of just one.
Current Premium also allows you to overdraft up to $100 with no overdraft fees when you receive a qualifying direct deposit and enable Overdrive. The only caveat is that you need to receive paychecks via direct deposit of at least $500/m.
The most interesting feature that Current is offering is instant gas hold removal. I know that this authorization by gas stations can be annoying and can sometimes take up to 72 hours to be removed. But I didn’t think it’s so problematic that it would be a selling point for digital banks.
Current’s Teen banking account costs $36 per year and gives parents complete control and visibility into their kids’ spending habits. It also gives teens financial freedom and teaches them responsibility.
If you want to engage your teens into doing more chores at home, there’s the chores feature that allows you to set up a list of tasks for them to complete each week. You are in complete control of the payout that they get for successfully or unsuccessfully completing the chores.
Parents get instant notifications for all purchases and can set spending limits, block specific merchants, and pause or replace the card.
Apart from monthly account fees for Premium ($4.99/m) and Teen ($36/y) accounts, there are no notable fees to speak of. In-network ATM withdrawals are free; there are no bank transfer or Current to Current transfer fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum balance fees.
Read our full Current review here.
- No monthly fees
- No transaction fees
- No foreign exchange fees
- Free debit card
- Stock trading
- Bitcoin trading
Cash app (before Square Cash) is an extremely popular peer-to-peer mobile payments service that is available in the US and the UK. It was launched in 2013 by Square Inc. and has an incredible 36+ million users, with 7 million owning their debit cards for payments as well.
It offers a relatively simple bank account with basically no fees and the ability to receive direct deposits such as paychecks, and even tax returns up to two days early.
One thing that Chime is missing and that Cash App has is a simple way to buy and sell Bitcoin. In three taps you can have this highly sought cryptocurrency in your account. The same is true for buying stocks. As you’re buying fractions of stocks, you don’t have to be rich to invest in them. In fact, you can invest as little as $1!
For people that love collecting and using coupons at checkouts, there’s good news! Cash App offers plenty of their so-called Cash Boosts. Discount codes that you can only use with your cash app card at supported restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Boosts have minimum purchase amounts and maximum discount amounts. And you can only have one cash boost active at a time. But you can swap them easily at any time.
Cash App is a good app for non-demanding users that want to send or receive money quickly. Its additional features like stock and Bitcoin trading only add more value for Cash App’s users.
The huge number of users that the app has accumulated has also attracted plenty of scammers, so you must be vigilant when using it. If you want to read more about common Cash App scams, read our article.
The Cash App is a great tool to transfer or receive money, without fees, from people you know, first of all. It should not be viewed as a bank account, and you shouldn’t let your money, or at least, a great deal of money, sit on it.
We like that you can invest in stocks and Bitcoin with little or no fees and that you can spend Bitcoin online or in-store with your free Cash App card.
Make sure to check out our full Cash App review here.
- APY of 1.20%
- 5% cashback on up to $3,000 a year
- 85,000 free ATM’s across the nation
- Instant virtual or black metal card
- Up to 3 free withdrawals per month on out of network ATMs
- FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through Evolve Bank & Trust
- Interest compounded monthly and paid monthly
OnJuno is a digital banking platform that is FDIC-backed and offers an annual percentage yield of 1.20% on balances of up to $50,000 on their Metal account and 5% cash back on up to $3,000 a year.
It has two different checking accounts. One is called Basic and is free, and the other one is called Metal because you get a sleek black metal Mastercard if you set up a $500/m direct debit.
The Basic OnJuno account already looks interesting, but the Metal account has even better perks, including a cool-looking black metal Mastercard branded debit card. Which, of course, comes with Mastercard’s Zero Liability policy that will protect you if someone makes unauthorized transactions.
The main difference between these two digital banking accounts though is the fact that APY stays at the 1.20 percent mark up to $5k and $50k, respectively. That is an outstanding percentage for these kinds of accounts.
Nevertheless, even when APY falls to only 0.25%, that’s still much much better than the national APY interest rate on savings accounts of meager 0.04%, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
OnJuno is specially marketed towards immigrants and international professionals. Opening an OnJuno account doesn’t affect your credit score, it can be done fast with only your SSN and passport without visiting a branch, and you can deposit your first paycheck remotely from your phone.
Another great feature are cheap money transfers abroad without hidden fees. Something expats will appreciate very much. And, you can earn cashback on top brands when you make these low-cost international transfers.
From our experience with OnJuno, people that are looking for a high-interest checking account that offers great incentives in terms of cashback and a free black metal card should benefit from opening an OnJuno digital banking account.
Read more about OnJuno in our full review here.
Essential features a good digital bank has to have
There are a few things or features that a digital bank should, in our opinion, offer its users.
Digital or challenger banks are disrupting the banking market by offering accounts with little to no fees for ATM withdrawals, money transfers, foreign exchange, and on top of that, no minimum balance requirements.
No overdraft fees
As we already mentioned earlier in this post, Americans are paying an extreme amount in overdraft fees each year. Big banks rely on them to make money for their shareholders. It’s a corrupt system that needs to be changed, and some digital banks are at the forefront of this important issue.
It really is immoral to charge a $15 fee simply for going into overdraft one time. These fees also add up quickly, and it is a vicious circle. Luckily a good digital bank will offer no overdraft fees to their customers.
Cheap or free transfers
Most big banks offer free transfers inside the bank, and some of them charge for transfers to other banks. A good bank won’t charge you for any of these transfers. It will also charge you a reasonable foreign exchange rate without huge markups.
Sending money abroad also shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, there are digital bank accounts such as Wise that can hold multiple different currencies and will not charge you much for international transfers.
More and more challenger banks are introducing cashback rewards as a way to lure in customers. It’s a win-win situation for both banks and customers. You spend more with your card but also get something back.
Free ATM withdrawals
It’s a must to have a vast network of ATMs that offer free withdrawals. And it’s always nice to see when a bank will reimburse you for out-of-network ATM usage.
Controlling your debit or credit card from the app is incredibly useful in case you lost it or someone stole it. Things like locking your card and instant notifications are a must and can reduce the damage of losing a card.
The bottom line
As you can see, there are many online digital banks similar to Chime, and all of them are a great alternative for people who don’t want to use Chime anymore or at all. Most of them tick off all the boxes that an excellent digital bank has to offer.
Of course, you should do your due diligence and read our full reviews to find out all the ins and outs and see which bank is a good fit for you.