- Offers interest-free cash advances (get paid early)
- Retail and travel benefits
- Send and receive money instantly
- Offers single-use digital cards
- Direct deposits
When considering switching from your traditional banking institution to a digital bank, there are several options. Taking the time to analyze each company and review its services can help ensure you choose the right company to safeguard your money.
Many are now switching to Cogni, a digital banking app formed to provide institutional-level services without additional costs for users. In this Cogni review, we look at how the company has grown since its formation in 2020 and explore its current selection of digital banking services.
Cogni was launched in March 2020 and is one of the newest digital-only banks. Their founding objective was to match the Visa-debit service offering tap-to-pay services without the associated fees for transactions.
Their stated business goal is to combine banking and commerce services with a lifestyle application that matches the financial services needs of app users.
To date, the company has raised over $6 million in funding and now has offices across the globe. Cogni also counts on support from within the banking field, including recognized international leaders such as Barclays, which has a 2% stake in Cogni.
- Zero-fee transactions
- Options for physical checks
- Direct deposit support
- Compatible with person-to-person transaction apps
- 256-bit encryption
- Customizable alerts
- Limited website
- Currently only available in the U.S.
- Short transaction history
- Fee-free transactions on the All-Point ATM network
- No account maintenance fees
- No minimum balance requirement fees
- No overdraft fees
- $2.50 withdrawal fee for non-All-Point ATMs
- $5 card replacement fee (after two free replacements)
Who Can Apply for a Cogni Account?
As long as you are a U.S resident with a social security number and over 18 years of age, you can apply for a Cogni account. The company reserves the right to deny account access to any user.
How Can I Open a Cogni Account?
The process for opening a Cogni account is relatively simple. Just visit the website and provide them with your email address.
Once you receive the email from their support team, Cogni provides you with the application form. The form asks for details about your current address and your social security number. They are then able to set the account up for you within 48 hours of the application process.
As a relatively new app, Cogni offers three standard products: its checking account, Cogni Visa Card, and Cogni Pay.
The primary Cogni offering is their Checking Account. There are no minimum deposit levels when you sign up for a Cogni checking account, as you might find with traditional banks.
Another benefit of their checking account is it comes with a digital card, which allows you to transfer funds into your account without any additional fees. You will also gain free account access via the 55,000 Allpoint ATMs across the United States, so there are no additional ATM usage fees on your bill.
Cogni Visa Card
When using the Cogni Visa card, you can withdraw money from your account and make an online purchase.
In addition to their traditional Visa card, the company also offers their single-use Visa card. This single-use card provides you a little more security as you know the card cannot be used again for a further purchase by someone with access to the card or PIN.
You can generate unlimited single-use cards as a Cogni user, and so you have access to the ideal option for maintaining account security when buying products and services online.
One of the most widely used features of the Cogni service is Cogni Pay. Through Cogni Pay, you can receive money from another account and gain immediate access to the transferred amount. You can transfer money from any other bank into your Cogni account, free of charge.
Cogni Pay also features direct deposit. So you can share your account details and routing information with your employer to immediately get paid for your work.
The connection with VisaReadyLink is one area in which CogniPay stands out. Through VisaReadyLink, you can deposit money into your account from anywhere in the world.
Your money will be available in as little as 30 minutes when you use this transfer method. Imagine being able to take a trip to an exotic location and being able to depend on your digital payment service operating flawlessly.
Traveling with Cogni
In addition to offering a connection to payment services around the globe with their VisaReadyLink service, Cogni also provides access to 15,000 AllPoint ATMs internationally. You’re never left without access to your money, regardless of where you find yourself across the globe.
Their app also helps you pinpoint the nearest AllPoint ATM to your current location, with the AllPoint ATM locator in their mobile app. This addition means you’ll always be able to access cash from local ATMs.
Flexible Digital Banking Services
The goal of digital banking services is to help users access their money and ensure they can use the service at their convenience from any location.
Convenience and compatibility are areas in which Cogni stands out.
Whether you’re using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay, you can use Cogni to transfer your money between your digital person-to-person payment hubs.
So when your friend loans you money, you can transfer the money directly from your Cogni account to their Apple pay account seamlessly.
Another area of flexibility supported through Cogni is their custom alerts. You can set custom alerts to show the second you receive payment for work or when a rent payment has gone through. You’ll be alerted through your mobile device instantly.
So there’s no need to keep checking your accounts as you might do with a traditional banking product.
And even though Cogni is primarily a digital system, they still allow you to create physical checks. So when your landlord requests that you pay them through a paper check, you can log in to your Cogni account and quickly request paper checks be sent to your address.
This option might be great if you’re trying to introduce a parent to Cogni and want to help them adapt from the traditional banking system to the digital market.
Taking the Lead on Banking Security
As one of the most recent contenders in the digital marketplace, Cogni has taken a leadership role in account security.
They deploy several strategies to safeguard your money and ensure that you’re protected when you complete transactions through their app.
For example, you should know that your account through Cogni is insured up to $250,000, as per the FDIC guidelines. That means you’re covered if someone hacks into your account or you experience any other kind of security issue as a result of banking with Cogni.
They also offer a simple process for reporting a stolen card or freezing your current card. You can contact a service team member directly to ensure they freeze the card and linked accounts in seconds. Then their security team will review your concern and begin analyzing account use.
Another area in which the company takes the lead on digital banking security is by using 256-bit encryption. 256-bit is considered one of the most robust encryption levels available within the commercial marketplace.
Governmental agencies and the leading banks across the globe depend on 256-bit encryption to protect their systems.
As with other leading digital banks, Cogni also now offers multi-factor authentication on all accounts, so you can register trusted devices and use face-ID to confirm your identity.
Tracking Your Spending
When you have a limited budget, you must track your spending effectively and know where every dollar is going. This level of tracking is critical in the digital market, where it is now easier than ever to order a product with one click.
One of the clear benefits of working with Cogni is that they have a tool for tracking your spending. Within your accounts, you see exactly how much you spent over a certain period, so you optimize your budget over time. Their alerts service links with its spending tracking system.
You can use Cogni to set alerts when you go over a specific spending level or show when you have a certain amount in your account before you make a purchase. The tool provides you with an amount of control over tracking your money you might not get with a traditional banking service.
A New Contender with a Big Future
While Cogni was only formed recently in 2020, their $6 million in startup funding and investment from Barclays show the company is attracting attention as one of the top challenger banks.
The company combines the best in digital banking, including seamless payment services and integration with the leading mobile banks, with high-caliber customer service. Cogni is going the right way in taking on the leaders across the digital banking space.
While currently only operating in the U.S. and with a limited capacity compared to other larger firms, Cogni has big plans for the future.
Cogni has a 4.7-star rating on the App Store based on over 600 ratings, with the vast majority of users giving the app a five-star rating. New clients and app users praise the minimalistic user experience and how Cogni speaks to the younger generation of bankers. Cogni’s rating compares well with other digital banking competitors, such as Chime, which has a 4.8-star rating, and MoneyLion, with its 4.7-star rating.
Chime is one of the leading challenger banks across the United States. Much like Cogni, anyone over 18 and with a U.S. address and social security number can get a Chime account. One of the reasons behind their popularity is that they help users rebuild their credit.
Users with a low credit score can get a dedicated credit-builder card to access a small amount of credit. They can then enhance their credit score over time, giving the user greater flexibility in managing their money over the long term.
There are now 12-million Chime users worldwide in 2021.
Users rate MoneyLion rate one of the best digital banks for cash advance offers. The digital bank typically offers 25% of recurring payments in advance to established users. MoneyLion runs on a monthly subscription fee, which has led to their title as The Netflix of Finance.
A significant advantage MoneyLion offers users is their dedicated investment accounts, which allow users to prioritize their financial goals and meet long-term targets through automated investment programs.
Their investment accounts are currently offered with no management fees and no minimum investments, giving MoneyLion a competitive advantage in meeting the needs of first-time investors across the country.
Like Cogni, Current is a checking account and payment service that allows individuals the flexibility to buy products and receive payments through a safe digital system.
Current partners with global retailers offer cashback for product purchases. When users shop with a partner company, they receive 15 points for each dollar they spend. They can then redeem these points for several rewards, including cashback offers.
Another advantage of Current is their child accounts. App users can set their children up with a Current account to help teenagers track their spending and learn more about banking processes.
Child accounts cost $36 per year and allow the user to set an allowance to give the child money on a set schedule. So parents gain control over how much their children spend. And children gain an insight into their spending and the importance of budgeting.
The Bottom Line
This Cogni review shows that Cogni is a highly secure digital banking service, mainly if this is your first entry into the world of online finance. The company offers several security options, including one-time-use cards and multi-factor authentication to help safeguard both your data and your finances.
With no minimum balance requirements and access to your money via 55,000 AllPoint ATMs, Cogni offers a combination of digital banking flexibility and security. While they have limited account options right now, the 2020-formed company has a significant foundation on which to build.