In recent years, there's been a surge of mobile banking and financial management apps. And for investors who don't want a physical banking branch and to keep fees as low as possible, this rise of mobile banks is excellent news.
Two of the most popular players in this space are Chime® and Current. The former is largely known for its lack of fees and overdraft protection, while the latter is making a splash with an excellent high-yield savings account.
But choosing the right company to hold your money isn't easy, especially since both platforms have many similarities. That's why we're covering all of the features, differences, and pros and cons to help you choose a winner in the Chime vs. Current showdown.
*Chime is an online banking platform that launched in 2013. Since it began, Chime has developed into an incredibly comprehensive money management app. It offers fee-free2 Checking and Savings Accounts, and it also has a credit building secured credit card. Plus, Chime is known for its lack of fees, overdraft fee protection, and ease-of-use.
If you're tired of bank fees and want a simple way to save and spend your money, Chime is one of the best solutions out there. You can't invest though your Chime account, but it's an excellent, cost-effective way to manage your cash.
* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account.
Like Chime, Current is a completely digital banking solution that offers a fee-free checking account. But the company actually got its start by offering debit accounts for teens. Current still has an excellent teen account, but it also has a competitive high-yield savings account that pays 4% APY. And with its debit card, you enjoy perks like cash-back rewards, free ATM withdrawals, and overdraft protection.
True Investor Junkies chasing the highest APYs for a savings account will naturally be drawn to Current. But the platform continues to add new features, letting it go toe-to-toe with competitors like Chime.
Chime vs. Current – The Features
Both Chime and Current offer no-fee banking solutions with a range of other features and perks to help you save. Here's a breakdown of the main features these two companies offer to help you pick the right solution for your money.
One of the main attractions of both Chime and Current is that each one offers a high-yield savings account. If you need somewhere to hold your idle cash or an emergency fund, a high-yield savings account certainly beats a piggy bank or under your mattress.
Here's how Chime and Current compare in term of interest rates and account limits:
- Chime: Earn 2.00% APY7 on cash in your Savings Account, with no balance requirement, fees, or maximum cash limit. A Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account.
- Current: Earn 4% APY on up to $6,000, split across three savings pods of $2,000 each. There's no minimum balance requirement or account fees either.
Current is better than Chime for maximizing your interest, but only up to $6,000. After that, you're better off using Chime for your remaining cash.
7 The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of October 25, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Like the savings accounts, both Current and Chime offer fee-free checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements. Each account grants you a Visa debit card, making it easy to spend online and in-store.
However, Current has an excellent teen account option that gives it the edge over Chime for parents. With this account, teens can learn how to responsibly save and spend their money with their own debit cards. And parents can set up allowance and chore payments, set spending limits, and block specific merchants for easier control.
Overdraft Fee Protection
If you set up direct deposits for your Chime or Current account, you can qualify for up to $200 in free overdraft fee protection.
With Chime, you use its Chime SpotMe® feature to borrow up to $200 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals without paying fees. You then pay off your negative balance with your next direct deposit. You need to receive at least $200 in monthly direct deposits to qualify, and other factors like account history and activity also determine your eligibility.5
Current's overdraft protection, called Overdrive, is basically the same, but you need at least $500 in monthly direct deposits to qualify. Your limit starts at $25 but can increase depending on account activity and history.
Overdraft protection can help you avoid painful bank fees when money is tight. And, thankfully, both Chime and Current make it easy to qualify for. However, Chime takes the edge over Current since it has a lower monthly direct deposit requirement.
5 Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
Early Paycheck Deposits
Like many mobile banks these days, both Current and Chime3 let you get paid up to two days early if you set up direct deposit. Like the overdraft fee protection, this feature is free and can really help out if money is tight and you're waiting for your next paycheck to cover bills.
3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
Both Chime and Current offer fee-free withdrawals at participating AllPoint ATMs, which is another way each company helps you avoid fees.
According to Chime's website, it has 60,000+ ATMs in its fee-free network.6 In contrast, Current says it has 40,000+, so Chime is the winner here.
6 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
One advantage of online banking apps and payment processors is that it's easy to send and receive money from people. So, if you need to split a bill with friends or send a family member money, you don't have to jump through hoops to do so.
Money transfers is one area where Chime shines. You can send money to anyone, regardless of the bank they use, without paying fees for instant cash outs. The person you're sending money to just needs a valid debit card, and they don't have to be a Chime user.11
As for Current, you get fee-free money transfers, but only to other Current members. Every member has a Current Tag, similar to a Cash App tag, that you enter when sending money. This is one significant difference between Current and Chime, and it makes Chime much more flexible for sending and receiving cash.
11 Funds are automatically debited from your Checking Account and typically deposited into the recipient’s Checking Account within seconds. Pay Anyone transactions will be monitored and may be held, delayed or blocked if the transfer could result in fraud or another form of financial harm. Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed.
Customer support is another important factor to consider, especially when it comes to choosing a home for your money.
With Chime, you enjoy 24/7 customer support via live chat, email, and phone. Current also offers 24/7 customer support through live chat and email, but it says phone support is currently limited. This is another advantage Chime has over Current, and it's quite an important one in my opinion.
Security & Insurance
Both Current and Chime provide up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance on your deposits, making each one a safe place to hold your funds. Cards also come with EMV chips, which prevents card skimmers from stealing your data. You can also disable transactions on each debit card from your online account if you lose your debit card.
Overall, it's a tie on the security front for Chime and Current.
Chime vs. Current – Fees & Pricing
Both Chime and Current are basically fee-free2, and you don't pay monthly account fees or sign-up fees for any accounts. And features like free overdraft protection, free money-transfers, and free ATM withdrawals help you save even more.
However, Chime doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, whereas Current charges 3% on foreign transactions. If you're a frequent traveler, this makes Chime a better choice than Current.
Unique Chime Features
Both Chime and Current are quite similar in terms of fees and account options. But Chime has several unique features that might make it superior:
- Credit Builder Account: With the *Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card, you can gradually improve your credit score by making on-time payments.8 There aren't any annual fees or interest charges9, and Chime reports to all three major credit bureaus to help you build your credit.10
- Flexible Money Transfers: The fact Chime supports fee-free money transfers to anyone regardless of if they're a Chime customer or not is a massive selling point.
- Chime Checkbook: If you need to send someone a check, you can use Chime Checkbook to mail your check to anywhere in the United States, completely fee-free for Chime members.
8 On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.
9 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
10 To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be made by your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to thich Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposits are not qualifying direct deposits.
Unique Current Features
Chime takes the edge over Current if you want flexible money transfers or to build your credit score. But Current has some unique features of its own that might make it a better solution than Chime:
- Cash-Back Rewards: You can earn cash back at 14,000 retailers across the United States with your Current debit card. This includes dozens of popular retailers, and you can redeem cash back as statement credit once you earn at least $1.
- Crypto Investing: One new Current feature is the ability to invest in crypto. You can now buy more than 25+ popular coins, including Bitcoin and plenty of altcoins, starting with just $1. You pay a spread fee that varies depending on the coin, and Current doesn't currently say what the spread is.
- Instant Gas Hold Removals: Another perk of Current is that it instantly removes gas holds from your card to make your funds available immediately after refueling.
Pros & Cons of Chime
- No minimum deposit requirements or maximum cash restrictions on the Savings Account
- Send fee-free money transfers to anyone
- No foreign exchange fees
- Build your credit with Chime's Credit Builder8
- Send paper checks for free
- 24/7 phone customer support is available
- No cash-back rewards
- You can't invest in crypto like you can with Current
- Chime has a lower APY than Current
Pros & Cons of Current
- Current offers a higher APY than Chime
- Earn cash-back rewards from thousands of retailers across the country
- The teen debit card and account is very helpful for parents
- Instantly remove gas holds to free up your money
- You can't send money to non-Current members
- The 4% APY caps at $6,000
- Current doesn't have a credit building tool unlike Chime
- 24/7 phone customer support isn't available
- Current charges 3% for foreign transactions
Chime vs. Current – Which Option Is Best For You?
When choosing a winner in the Current vs. Chime debate, your choice ultimately depends on how much money you're putting into savings and what your goals are.
If you want to maximize the interest you earn and also enjoy cash-back rewards, Current is better than Chime. But this assumes that you stay under the $6,000 cash limit for your savings pods. It's also an excellent alternative to Chime if you want to open an account for your teen.
As for Chime, I prefer it over Current for its easy money transfers, lack of foreign transaction fees, and credit building tool. And Chime doesn't have cash limits like Current does, which helps make up for the lower APY.
Ultimately, I think there's a strong argument for depositing $6,000 into a Current account for your emergency fund and using Chime for everything else. This lets you maximize your interest, and you can get the best of both worlds.