Chime Prepaid Review | A Free Bank Account Alternative

Chime may ring a bell if you’ve been looking into different ways to receive, use and save your money. Chime is different from other prepaid options because it is specifically oriented toward helping members save money every month. Accounts have several built-in features that allow card users to effortlessly put away money. Can you really expect to save some dimes with Chime? Find out about the hits and misses of this prepaid product.

A Summary of Chime

Chime is a mobile banking account that comes with a Chime Visa® Debit Card attached to it. The Chime Automatic Savings program helps users save money every time they make a purchase with the card. Chime achieves this by rounding up every transaction amount to the nearest dollar and transferring the difference into a Chime Savings account. There is also an option for Chime users to automatically transfer ten percent of every paycheck directly into their Chime Savings account each pay period.

What Chime Offers

What do you need to know about getting started with chime? Chime actually makes it easy for new members to link their old bank accounts and move any existing funds into a new Chime account for free. Here’s a look at the basic fee structure of the card:

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No overdraft fees
  • No transfer fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free cash withdrawals at MoneyPass® ATMs and 30,000 additional cash-back locations
  • $2.50 fee for transactions at most other ATMs

Like with most other prepaid options on the market, you can get paychecks in your account up to two days sooner when you set up a direct deposit with your employer. Chime can be used for many of the things you would use a credit card or traditional bank card for. However, it also goes a step further by offering some high-tech features. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is essentially accepted everywhere that Visa is accepted.

Here are some of the things you can do with a Chime account:

  • Bills can be paid electronically with funds from your Spending Account using your routing number and Chime account number
  • Paper checks can be mailed out when you set up delivery using the Chime Checkbook feature
  • Funds can be moved between your Chime Spending and Chime Savings accounts or between your Chime Spending account and an outside bank account
  • Money can be sent instantly to other Chime members

Chime Rewards

Chime offers cash back rewards through its Android or iPhone app. Rewards can be for a specific retailor or for a type of purchase (e.g., at restaurants). Simply use your Chime card to make the purchase, and Chime will apply the reward to your Spending Account.

What There Is to Like About Chime

Chime has an app that provides daily balance updates and real-time transaction alerts for your account. The app can also be used to send messages to Chime’s customer support and get assistance in real time. Chime’s previously mentioned built-in savings features make it easy to save money every month without putting a lot of thought into it or exercising a ton of willpower. In addition, Chime is virtually a fee-free card. The Pay Friends feature allows you to transfer funds instantly if you need to split the cost of rent or cover a portion of a restaurant bill while out with friends.

Where Chime Falls Short

The big feature that seems to be missing from Chime is the ability to deposit paper checks into your account. Most other prepaid cards allow you to snap a photo of a paper check and virtually upload the funds directly into your account. Chime also doesn’t offer any type of overdraft protection. Another potential drawback is that the Chime Checkbook feature only allows you to send $5,000 at a time. It can also be easy to see Chime’s limitations when compared to traditional bank accounts if you’re interested in setting up a joint account with a spouse or family member. This simply isn’t something that’s realistic or convenient when using a Chime card.

A Last Look at Chime

The two big things to take away from Chime are that it’s free and it offers built-in savings features. A Chime account takes the sting out of putting just a little bit of money away every month. Chime could be ideal for someone looking for a single-user account that offers an easy way to make purchases and put money aside wisely.