Chime vs Current: Which Digital Banking Account Is Better?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own. Read more about Affiliate Disclosure

Digital banking accounts are the new thing on the market. People are leaving their old banks behind and opting to manage their money via an app on their smartphones. Chime and Current are two such accounts that people might want to consider.

Chime vs Current is part of a Chime review and compares Chime with the digital banking app, Current, as alternatives for those who do not wish to use their old bank or don’t already have an account set up. Chime and Current are both great apps, but which one comes out on top is a hot question.

Let us differentiate both the banks on the following points:

  • In terms of interest rate

As far as Chime vs Current, Chime is the winner in terms of interest rate. Chime offers a whole 1% interest on all balances, while Current pays nothing at all. Chime makes up for this disadvantage by having lower fees and offering higher ATM withdrawal limits compared to Current.

  • In terms of fees

Chime wins over Current with lower fees. Chime offers those who sign up to Chime a free debit card as well as no monthly or overdraft charges. Chime, unlike Current, does not charge their customers any foreign ATM fees and has fewer service charges than Current.

  • In terms of design

Chime and Current both have smooth, streamlined designs that make managing your money easier. Chime’s design is slightly more minimalistic than Current’s as it only shows the most important information about an expense such as the amount of money spent or saved and where Chime users can also see their account balance without having Chime download their transactions automatically.

  • In terms of features

Chime has more features than Current, but Chime does not provide any sort of budgeting tool like Current. Chime also doesn’t have a feature that lets users set up recurring transfers. Chime has no savings goals or any other sort of goal-setting feature, unlike Current. Current, on the other hand, is more focused on budgeting with its budgeting tools, Chime also has a savings goals feature that allows users to set a monthly.

  • In terms of security

Chime and Current both offer the same level of security, which includes two-factor authentication. Chime also has an extra security feature. Chime users can lock their debit card via the app in case they misplace it or are worried about potential identity theft. Chime allows users to alternately use Touch ID or Face ID for added security, while Current only uses the standard password.

  • In terms of transaction transparency

Chime provides more information than Current, Chime shows its users the exact amount of money that they are spending. Chime also pegs transactions to a more specific date.

  • In terms of customer service

Chime and Current both have phone numbers. Chime offers live chat as well as email for those who need assistance. Chime also offers an FAQ section. Chime provides Chime users with many more methods of contacting the company than Current does.

  • In terms of the sign-up process

Chime and Current both have similar processes for signing up. Chime is slightly easier to set up, however, Chime only requires the Chime user’s name and requires users to set up a pin and link their bank information. Chime also has automatic sign-in with Google and Facebook.

  • In terms of app

Chime and Current are both apps. Chime is primarily an app with its own payment card. Chime also has more features as users can choose the type of transaction they want to use with their Chime account, while Current requires all transfers to be done through direct deposit. Chime is an app Chime users can use for all sorts of transactions. Chime isn’t just a banking account Chime users can also manage their Chime prepaid card.

All about Chime Bank

Chime got started when Chime’s CEO and Founder, Chris Britt, was unable to find a checking account that he liked and Chime was created. Chime is different from most banks because Chime attempts to make its services more user-friendly, financial education-focused, and secure rather than just another bank account.

Chime offers a unique approach to banking by attempting to educate its users on how they can manage their money better and save more, which many believe is the biggest problem that financial service companies need to solve.

Chime has been able to increase its user base from 100,000 in 2014 to 1 million Chime users and Chime is adding approximately 10,000 users a month. Chime has been able to expand into the market because Chime was designed based on customer feedback, 60% of Chime users are under 35 years old and Chime offers low fees for their banking services.

Features of Chime Bank:

  • Chime is FDIC insured.
  • Chime uses back-end infrastructure to ensure that its users’ money is always safe and secure.
  • Chime has a smartphone app that allows its users to manage their accounts, pay bills, set up direct deposits, send money, deposit checks into their account using the mobile phone, and more.
  • Chime uses Varo’s Varo Money Wallet as their financial app which allows its users to manage all of their accounts in one place, avoid complex bank account numbers, and more.

Pros and Cons of Chime Bank

Pros

  • No Monthly Fees: Chime doesn’t charge a monthly fee for Chime’s accounts. Chime would rather motivate Chime users to manage their money responsibly with Chime’s goal of increasing Chime users’ financial knowledge and Chime does this by charging Chime users no monthly fees. In fact, not only does Chime not charge a fee, they actually refund Chime users for any fees Chime users are charged by Chime’s partnered banks.
  • FDIC Insured: Chime accounts are FDIC insured, which means Chime account holders would be covered in the event of Chime Bank closing. Chime uses an FDIC pass-through insurance structure so each depositor at Chime is insured to at least $250,000, which includes principal and any accrued interest up to that amount.
  • No Overdraft Fees: Chime doesn’t charge Chime users overdraft fees. Chime users can overdraft their accounts because Chime allows Chime users to link their checking accounts with a debit card. Chime’s overdraft fee policy is that Chime Chime will not charge Chime user overdraft fees.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Chime doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, which means every time a Chime user makes a payment in Chime, or whatever currency that is not US Dollars or local to the area where the transaction was made there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • Free Spam Protection: Chime offers free spam protection for text messages, phone calls, and emails to protect its users from fraudulent activity associated with financial service providers such as stealing money from Chime.

Cons

  • No Personal Touch: The con of Chime bank are the lack of personal touch. Although Chime has a great online banking system, there is no in-person customer service available. For example, if a Chime user wanted to discuss their account with someone at Chime they would have to schedule a call. Chime does have a customer service phone line on the website for questions and answers but it isn’t 24/7 available.
  • Limited Services: The services available with Chime are limited. There isn’t an ability to schedule future payments on Chime’s website either so any scheduled payments have to be done manually.
  • ATM Charges: If using an ATM, however, there will be fees if using an ATM outside of Chime, or whatever currency that is not US Dollars.
  • Spending Limits: Chime users are limited to the amount of money they can spend per month.

All about Current Bank

Current Bank is a large financial services company that provides three different products. Current Bank has been in the banking business for several decades and today offers state-of-the-art web, mobile, and software solutions for its customers. Current Bank prides itself on researching new technologies to provide high-quality solutions to meet customer needs.

Current Bank employs over 10,000 people and has assets in the billions of dollars. Current Bank provides top-notch customer service and strives to provide superior products at all times. Current Bank is dedicated to its customers above all else, even over profitability.

Current Bank also has several high-profile executives that manage different parts of Current Bank’s business. Current Bank has a history of rapid and continued growth and expansion and is one of the most well-respected names in banking today.

Current Bank will continue to grow as its three product lines become more popular with current and potential customers. Current Bank’s mission statement indicates that it “strives to provide superior products at all times.”

Features of Current Bank

  • Current Account holders can sign up for Current Bank easily and quickly online through Current Banking.
  • Current Account holders can open Current Accounts for children between the ages of 14 and 17 with Current Bank.
  • Current Account holders can receive direct deposits in as little as one hour.
  • Current Account holders can use the Current VISA Debit Card to make purchases wherever Current or Current Bank is accepted–even internationally.
  • Current Account holders have Current Bank Current Wallet, Current Current Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, Current Current Chip Security, and Current PIN or fingerprint access to their accounts.
  • Account holders can make as many Current Account withdrawals as they want without Current Bank limiting their Current Account withdrawal amounts.
  • Current Bank provides technological solutions for business customers.
  • Current Bank caters largely to businesses and Current Bank offers various options for Current Account holders of all kinds.

Pros and Cons of Current Bank

Pros

No monthly fees: Current Bank provides a Current Debit Card to all customers that allows them to access their Current Account. Current Account balances never incur monthly fees, even if they fall below the minimum amount needed in order for a customer to avoid paying monthly fees.

Low or no overdraft fees: Current Bank also doesn’t charge its customers for withdrawing more money from their account than is in it. It offers free overdrafts up to $100.

Instant Money Transfer: Current Bank also offers Instant Transfer, which allows Current Account holders to instantly transfer money worldwide.

Debit Card Benefits: Current Bank offers Debit Rewards to Current Account holders. Current Debit Rewards allow Current Account holders to receive 1% back on every purchase they make with their Current Debit Card.

Up-to-date technology: Current Bank is constantly researching new technologies to provide the best possible experiences for its customers. Current has recently launched Current Mobile, which provides Current Account holders with access to most Current Bank services at all times with the convenience of using a smartphone or tablet computer.

Cons

Lack of personal touch: Current Bank caters largely to business customers and Current Account holders that require technology-based solutions. Current Bank has a tendency to lack the personal touch that some Current Account holders might prefer from their bank.

Low-interest rates: Current Bank doesn’t offer much in the way of high-interest returns for Current Account holders with large balances. Current Bank’s high-interest Current Savings Account only offers 1.5% interest on balances of $10,000 or more. Current Bank’s Current Market Account is another Current Account option that has higher rates of return, but it requires a balance of at least $100,000 to avoid monthly fees.

Overdraft only up to $100: Current Bank offers free overdrafts, but Current Account holders can only have a negative Current Account balance of up to $100. Current Account holders will incur overdraft fees if their Current Account balance goes below zero and they make a transaction for more than the amount in their Current Account.

International Fees: Current Bank charges Current Account holders $20 for every ATM withdrawal they make that’s overseas or international. Current Account holders can avoid these fees by making all their withdrawals with the Current Debit Card.

Some of Chime and Current Bank alternatives:

  • N26 Bank

N26 Bank is a part of N26, N26 Bank’s parent company. N26 was started in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. N26 offered internet bank accounts, but they were only available online to residents of Germany until 2015 when N26 opened itself up to the rest of Europe. By February 2016 N26 was serving over 50,000 customers across the entire continent.

N26 customers are able to easily view their account activity in real-time through N26’s mobile application. N26’s mobile app is very easy to use and N26 is looking to make it even better by including features such as a PIN generator, digitizing checks, and making N26 Black customers’ insurance coverage extend to their homes.

  • Ally Bank

Ally Bank is a well-established online banking company located in New York, New York. Ally Bank was founded in 1919 as General Motors Acceptance Corporation or GMAC. Ally has been known for its innovative marketing strategy and is a pioneer in online banking.

Ally has several checking accounts to choose from including Ally Interest Checking which offers free online Bill Pay and unlimited check writing abilities as well as Ally’s high-interest checking account that allows you to earn up to 0.25% APY.

Ally also offers its customers free Ally checking which is a simple form of banking that allows Ally customers to write checks, receive their funds via direct deposit or ACH, and receive Ally ATM fee reimbursements.

  • Aspiration

Aspiration-Bank is a relatively new online bank created in 2015. Aspiration is a bank that doesn’t operate brick-and-mortar branches, Aspiration offers its customers ATM-free banking via Aspiration’s mobile app. Aspiration Funds Aspiration funds are Aspiration bank’s premium financial products which Aspiration offers to its customers. Aspiration funds include high yield fund, Money Market Fund, and US Government Bond Fund. Overall, Aspiration’s Funds will likely perform better than most other online banks as they invest in low-risk securities such as government bonds.

The Bottom Line

In terms of bottom-line Chime and Current are both great options for anyone looking for a new banking account. Chime is slightly better than Current. Chime does all of the basic banking that users will need. Chime has a lower overdraft fee. Chime app can be utilized for multiple things. Chime charges a monthly fee, but that’s to be expected from any bank account.

Chime is an all-around great app. Chime offers users the ability to have a free debit card. Chime also has lower fees. Chime doesn’t charge foreign ATM fees and has fewer service charges. Chime also pays their customers 1% interest on their money.

I lead product content strategy for SaltMoney. Additionally, I’m helping our broader team of 4 evolve into a mature content strategy practice with the right documentation and processes to deliver quality work. Prior to Instacart, I was a content strategy lead at Uber Eats and Facebook. Before that, I was a content strategist at SapientNitro, helping major Fortune 500 brands create better, more useful digital content.