- No monthly fees
- High APY
- Early payday
- No ATM fees
- No minimum deposit
- Savings pockets
- Credit line
Digital banks are cropping up relentlessly, and we are here to keep you in the loop. Today, we’re reviewing One Finance. Join us to see how it compares to other digital and brick-and-mortar banks. But first, here’s our short verdict:
One is a strong contender in the neobanking world. It has a simple structure with one account for checking and saving. You’ll benefit the most with their account if you set up a direct deposit which opens up benefits and raises the limits.
One was founded in 2019 by Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton, who serves as the CEO. The company headquarters are in San Francisco, California.
Why is One so special?
In the sea of big banks and digital banks, One is trying to differentiate itself by giving you more for your paycheck. It’s giving you interest rates that aren’t seen often these days, and you can access your money at any time as it isn’t tied down in a savings account for months or years.
And then there’s their overdraft protection. Charging overdraft fees is making serious money to some banks. In fact, traditional banks and credit unions generated $34 billion in overdraft fees in a single year. They impose high costs on consumers with low account balances. A single $3 transaction can balloon into a $35 overdraft fee.
One offers an optional feature to access overdraft without paying fees. There are no per-transaction fees, and all you need to do is not carry the balance over to the next month because there’s a 1% interest a month.
How to open a One account
To open an account with One Finance, you have to be 18+, have a US residential address, and a Social Security Number.
To open One account, visit their website and hit the Get Started button. You’ll have to enter your email and choose your password. Then the verification process begins, where you have to enter your first and last name and a phone number.
Next, enter the verification code sent to your mobile phone, home address, and date of birth. After that, enter your Social Security number and click Continue.
Follow the cues to finish setting up your account by linking it to an external bank account so you can add some funds.
How to connect One to external bank accounts
To fund your One account, you’ll first have to connect an external bank account to transfer money. One uses Plaid to link to other banks. Major banks are recognized, but you’ll have to do a manual account verification for some smaller banks.
The easy way is to open the One app or visit the website app and select the ‘Move Money’ tab. Select the ‘Add money from bank’ option and tap the ‘+Add account.’ It’ll then take you through options to sign in to your external bank and select your account. Once connected, you’ll be able to transfer funds into One at your convenience.
If you can’t find your financial institution listed within Plaid, you’ll have to do manual verification. Click on the ‘Link with account numbers’ button. You then have to enter your account and routing numbers. We will then make two deposits of less than $1 each into the account you confirmed in one business day.
Once you see the two small transfers in your external bank account, go back to the ‘Add money from bank’ page. Select the option to ‘Verify’ your account and enter the amount of the two deposits.
To help verify your ownership of that external account, you may need to submit documentation like a recent bank account statement.
How to fund your One account
After we opened One account and connected an external bank account, we can finally add some funds. Be aware that it can take up to 3 business days for the funds to become available in your One account.
So, to fund your One account:
- Open the One app or log in to your online account
- Press the “Move Money” tab. Click on the “Transfer” option
- Click on the “From” option
- Choose your external bank account from the list of “Available” options
- Select the Pocket where you want to move your money
- Enter the amount of money
- Click on “Next: Review”
- Press ‘Transfer now”
Pros and cons
- No monthly fee
- No minimum deposit
- Get paid early
- 3.00% APY with Auto-Save
- Credit line
- 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs
- FDIC insured up to $250,000
- No customer support over weekends
- Earns interest up to a certain balance
One has two types of accounts, a deposit or checking account and a credit line. Save, and Auto-Save pockets might feel like savings accounts, but they’re technically high-interest checking accounts.
Direct deposit benefits
By making a qualifying direct deposit into your One account, you can unlock some benefits that we’ll cover in-depth in this review. But first, what is a qualifying direct deposit?
Direct deposits that qualify are:
- Regular paychecks
- Social security income
- Government salary
- Retirement payments
- Unemployment payments
One reviews cases on an individual basis. Suppose you think that a deposit that you made should have qualified as a direct deposit. In that case, you can contact them with the date and deposit amount, depositor name, and a reason for consideration.
So, what are the benefits of direct deposits? You get:
- Paid sooner with Early Paycheck
- Earn up to 3% APY on up to 10% of your paycheck (up to $1k/m) on auto-save
- You might get an increased Credit Line
- Earn up to 1% APY in your Save Pocket Up to $25,000
How to add your paycheck to direct deposit
- Log into your payroll system
- Fill in your personal information
- Choose the amount
- Choose the Pocket you’d like to fund
- Fill in the bank name as Coastal Community Bank
- Fill in your employer information
You can also download a PDF form.
One’s card acts like both a debit card and a credit card. And your One account can therefore give you access to low-cost credit through Credit Line. You can enable it straight from your Spending Pocket.
Credit Line through Spend
It connects to your Spend Pocket to cover purchases or transactions that took your balance below $0. Deposits that you put into Spend will automatically repay the Credit Line. Even though it’s free, if you don’t repay your balance in the current month, you’ll have to pay 1% interest per month or 12% APR.
If you deposit your income into One, you are eligible for an increased Credit Line limit. This increased limit comes with a separate Credit Line Pocket.
Credit Line Pocket
The Credit Line Pocket allows you to access your credit directly, like a credit card. When you assign your card to the Credit Line Pocket, you can make purchases with your credit limit with your One card.
If you repay within the month used or before the billing due date, you’ll avoid paying interest. If you repay after the billing due date, you’ll be charged a 12% APR interest.
In the Credit Line Pocket, you can see your total balance, minimum payment due, next due date, and the ability to repay any balance.
To repay funds, you should select the Pay button in the Credit Line Pocket and transfer funds into Credit Line using any of your Pockets with a positive balance.
What’s the difference?
You can only use the Credit Line through spend by spending below $0.00. In contrast, the Credit Line Pocket works like a credit card. You can access it directly without taking your Spend Pocket below $0.00 to make purchases with your One card.
Just assign your One card to the Credit Line Pocket to begin using Credit Line funds.
Pockets are basically sub-accounts where you store your money. They can have multiple purposes.
When you open a One account, you’ll get a Spend pocket for spending, a Save pocket for saving, a Credit Line pocket, and a special Auto-Save pocket. All pockets except Auto-Save can be shared with other One users like your family members or roommates, for example.
To share a pocket with someone so you can pool money together, tap on the pocket you want to share and tap on the yellow plus sign button in the top right corner.
Now, tap the ‘Share’ button and select the easiest method to share with your friends and family.
With Save Pockets, you can earn 1% APY interest on up to $25,000 once you begin direct depositing your paycheck into your One account.
We have to spend a little more time here on Auto-Save. So, what is it? It helps you save a bit of money by automatically taking out 1-10% of your direct deposit into your Auto-Save pocket, where those funds will earn 3.00% APY.
It’s not a typical savings account because you can take any amount of money out of it at any time. And, you can only add funds through a direct deposit of up to $1,000 per calendar month.
There’s also the Card Auto-Save option that will round up any card transaction from the previous day to the nearest dollar ($4.60>$5; you save $0.40). Card transactions have to be settled before the rounded amount is moved to the Auto-Save pocket.
Digital banks have increasingly started to offer credit builders to help you rebuild your credit score or create one from scratch. At the time of writing this One review, the Credit Builder program was still in beta.
With credit-builder programs, you can improve your credit score by not going into debt by using a credit card but simply doing what you’d do anyway – buy groceries, pay for gas, and other bills.
The catch to building good credit history is to be consistent and on time with paying off your expenses.
When you use One’s Credit Builder Pocket for your purchases, they will automatically report to major bureaus every month that your account has made full, on-time payment. And that’s it. Nothing else gets reported.
The program will be free and with no fees, no interest, and no direct paycheck deposit required to join.
How is One regulated?
One is not a bank but a fintech company specializing in unified banking experiences. Therefore, they have partnered with the Coastal Community Bank to provide banking services and issue the One Card.
As the banking provider, Coastal Community Bank is the official bank of record, so other services may not display One Finance.
Is my money safe with One?
The company keeps customers’ deposits in Coastal Community Bank, an FDIC deposit insurance scheme member. That means that your money is protected up to $250,000.
One takes great pride in the fact that they don’t speculate with your money and especially in the fact that they’re not investing in the fossil fuel industry, which contributes to global warming.
One also uses 256-bit AES level encryption, Face ID, and fingerprint authentication. You can also easily block all transactions if you think that your card might be stolen. Every transaction that is made also triggers a real-time notification.
Who owns One?
One was founded in 2019 by Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California.
The company raised more than $26 million from 2 rounds of funding. The last corporate round brought in $17 million in March 2020.
It has four investors Obvious Ventures, Foundation Capital, Core Innovation Capital, and Bill Harris.
One has a 4.2-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 81% of only 21 total reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 10% a bad one. With a 4.2 score, One is placed higher than Chime (4.1) and lower than Varo (4.4), Revolut (4.3), and MoneyLion (4.6).
- +1 (855) 970-1919
- Chat directly from the One mobile app or web app
The One Finance customer support is available between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
Chime Bank is best for those looking for a simple, completely mobile, low-maintenance bank account. Chime Bank’s features include: get paid early, online banking, fee-free overdraft, no hidden fees, mobile banking, automatic savings, mobile payments, security, and control.
MoneyLion will appeal to a range of potential customers, especially those familiar with the neo banking scene. If you’re interested in trying a new service that offers saving, borrowing, and investing in one place, MoneyLion might be a good choice.
Varo bank account has no fees and is therefore great for everyday banking, spending, and traveling at home and abroad. It offers an excellent savings account, early payday, and more for $0.
The bottom line
People who look for a simple account that will earn them interest and are ready to make a direct deposit of their paycheck will have the most benefits from the One account. With built-in overdraft protection and auto-save feature, One is an excellent addition to the digital banking space.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.