Varo is an all-mobile bank based in San Francisco and Utah, USA. Varo is part of the US’s growing neo, making it the first of the bank scene, aiming to deliver a banking service that helps every customer get ahead financially. Recent news has seen Varo poised to become a fully-fledged bank, making it the first of its kind in the US to receive full approval. This means the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will offer Varo customers deposit insurance up to $250,000.
Video from Varo CEO Colin Walsh:
Varo offers an entirely digital service, meaning that there are no physical branches. However, this makes the sign-up process much more straightforward and convenient, lacking the paperwork and long waits of traditional banks. To apply for an account, users have to download the Varo app from the App Store and follow the on-screen prompts. The application process takes no longer than five minutes, involving entering some personal details and verifying your identity with ID or a passport. If users experience any problems with their sign-up, Varo offers various customer service lines that will offer quick and friendly advice.
Check the video on how to switch banks and open a Varo Bank account:
Varo offers its customers a no monthly fee bank account, placing every customer on an even playing field with access to all of their services and features. Their checking account has no minimum balance, offers no fees on overdrafts, no fees on transfers, no fees at Allpoint ATMs, and no fees to replace your debit card. With your fully-functioning bank account, you will also have access to the range of in-app features designed for making personal banking more accessible, such as instant money transfers and early payday.
To make up for the lack of physical branches, Varo offers five easy ways to deposit funds into your account. The easiest and quickest method is direct deposit, allowing you to pay money into the account yourself or receive your paycheck straight into the account. Their direct deposit service also allows you to receive your salary up to two days early, and you can receive instant pay from Uber and Lyft if they are your employer.
The app also allows you to transfer from an external bank account through the app and your other bank’s online banking service. You can also make a transfer from Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, and more, which will often appear in your Varo account instantly. Want to cash in a paper check? The app allows you to cash it in with your smartphone camera. Lastly, unlike many digital bank accounts, Varo will accept cash deposits. Simply deposit the cash at a Green Dot location or with a MoneyPak.
Varo’s app is highly rated, boasting a 4.7/5 rating on the App Store and 4.6/5 on Google Play – speaking volumes to the high quality and smooth user experience on offer through the app. The app is well-designed and clear, making each feature easy to access and incorporate into your day-to-day personal banking. On top of the financial elements such as transfers and transactions that are to be expected on a banking app but well-executed none the less, Varo also offers a plethora of innovative budgeting tools that aim to help customers stay in control of their finances. Varo allows customers to track their spending in real-time with transaction notifications and spending categorization. They also utilize open banking to enable their users to see data from their non-Varo bank accounts, allowing you to get a thorough overview of your financial situation. Security features such as instant lock and unlock allow you to act fast if you lose your debit card.
In addition to their checking account, Varo offers a savings account, ideal for those who prefer to have their checking and savings accounts in the same place. The savings account also has no fees and is notable for its high APY. Their highest APY and figure advertised (2.80%) are exclusively available for those with savings below $50,000. There are a few other requirements customers have to meet to receive that specific APY. With this savings account, customers are allowed up to six withdrawals for every statement cycle to maintain the APY earnings. Varo’s APY is one of the highest of its kind, making this an excellent option for savers who meet the criteria.
Varo has recently begun to roll out a personal loan service slowly, the latest step in its mission to establish itself as an all-in-one mobile banking service. Currently, the personal loan service is only available by invitation, but it is expected to become more openly available later this year. The minimum loan amount is £3,000, and the maximum is $25,000, offering a fixed interest rate with an APR that ranges from 6.9% to 23.9%. Invitation codes are sent to existing customers in the mail and are only available to those who live in one of the 19 eligible states. The rates themselves are currently relatively high; however, we are not yet sure how this might change once the loans become more widely available.
Varo’s no fee service makes it a great option for those who frequently travel. The Varo debit card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted, and unlike most traditional banks, you do not need to set up travel plans or alerts before going abroad. Most banks place a 3% fee on foreign transactions, leading to a bank statement full of added fees for every transaction you made while traveling. Varo sets no fees on your foreign transactions and free ATM withdrawals at any Allpoint ATMs (available internationally in the UK, Australia, Mexico, and more). Varo also won’t mark up the exchange rate, making travel free of added expenses as possible.
Overall, Varo is emerging as one of the leading neobanks in the US, and the banking experience on offer makes it clear why. Varo is one of the most fee-free banking services available in America, meaning customers are not wasting money on unnecessary fees, instead of spending more time managing their money. Not only does Varo offer a competitive high-yield savings account, but they also offer a range of savings features within the checking accotckunt, such as a round-up feature that places spare change into a separate saving area. Customers have nothing to lose by trying out the no-fee service on offer at Varo.