Current Bank Review 2023: What We’ve Learned From Trying It
These days, online-only banks are a dime a dozen. And it seems as if every bank has a different APY or reward structure to try and attract new customers. However, you usually have to jump through hoops or receive significant direct deposits to get the best rates.
This isn't the case with Current, a neobank that's offering 4% APY on up to $6,000, no questions asked. It also offers an excellent, free account for teens and a robust rewards platform and doesn't charge monthly fees.
Our Current review is breaking down everything this neobank has to offer, including some of the best alternatives.
Fees - 9
Features - 7
Ease-of-Use - 9
Account Types - 7
Interest & Rewards - 9
Pros & Cons
Current is a neobank that began in 2015, originally focusing on its fee-free bank accounts for teens. Since then, Current has grown into one of the most competitive online-only banking options, offering high interest rates, cash-back rewards, all without fees or balance requirements.
It's important to note that Current is a financial services company and not a bank. However, it provides its banking services through Choice Financial Group, so money gets FDIC insurance and is secure.
How We Tested Current Bank
In July, Clint Proctor (our Editor-in-Chief) opened a Current account for himself as well as his wife. His primary motivation for getting started with Current was to claim the promotional 4% APY on savings. Here are the biggest pros and cons that he's found from using Current so far:
“First of all, I have to say that Current's account opening process couldn't be any easier. It literally takes about 2 minutes to get an account up and running. I would also give the app's user interface a 5 out of 5 in terms of usability.
Before switching to Current, I'm embarrassed to say that I was earning close to nothing on my savings. But I couldn't resist the opportunity to earn up to 4% on my emergency fund. Yes, the 4% APY is capped at $6,000 in savings. But if you have a spouse and you're both able to open an account, that limit doubles to $12,000.
One thing to keep in mind is that the 4% is limited to the first $2,000 in each savings pod. So to earn that top APY on up to $6,000, you need to create three savings pods under each user's account. So I'm receiving $0.21 to $0.22 per savings pod per day, so $0.63 to $0.66 total.
One of the things I was most disappointed to discover was that Current doesn't integrate with Zelle right now. Yes, it has it's own P2P payment service that works well for shifting money around between Current accounts, but that can't help you with moving money from other bank accounts. So I had to use a standard transfer to make my initial deposit, which took 4 business days to show up. If I could have used Zelle, the money would have arrived instantly.
Current Banking Promo Codes
Right now, Current is offer a $50 signup bonus for new account holders. To earn the bonus, you'll need to enter the following promo code during the signup process:
Then you'll need to make a qualifying direct deposit of at least $200 within 45 days of opening your account. After you've met the deposit requirement, you should receive your bonus within 10 business days via Current Pay.
What Does Current Bank Offer?
There are two main Current customers: those who want a no-fee personal account with a high APY and parents who want a fee-free account for their teens. But under these two account types, you get numerous features like a rewards point system, savings accounts, and overdraft protection.
Current Personal Account
Current's main offering is its personal account. This account has $0 monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. Other perks include:
- No overdraft fees
- No bank transfer fees when sending money to other Current members
- Free ATM withdrawals at 40,000+ AllPoint ATMs
- Getting paid up to two days early
- Instant gas hold removals (so your money isn't locked up for days after filling up your car)
- Mobile check cashing
You can sign-up for an account in under two minutes according to its website. And the fact there's no account fees is a selling point. And features like gas hold removals or early paycheck direct deposits can make a difference if money is tight.
Current's personal account lets you spend money with the Current Visa debit card. But right now, you can earn a whopping 4% APY on up to $6,000 by moving your money into savings pods.
Every Current account comes with three savings pods. You can put up to $2,000 into a savings pod to work towards different goals, similar to a high-yield savings account. You earn 4% APY on up to $6,000 annually across all your pods, which is a very competitive rate. And the best part is that there's no direct deposit or spending requirements like many other online banks have to unlock the best interest rate.
To fund your pods, you make one-time transfers from your main balance. Alternatively, you can transfer money to your current account via ACH or by depositing a check, which many mobile banking apps don't support. Current also has a round-up feature similar to microsaving apps that rounds-up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra money into a pod.
And since Current works with Choice Financial Group, money in your savings pods gets up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance.
Current Teen Account
If you're looking for an excellent banking solution for your teen, Current is worth considering. It offers a teen account that's very similar to its personal account, only with more parental controls.
Teens can spend money anywhere Visa is accepted with their Current card. They also get one pod to help them save and can turn on round-ups to build good habits. And like its personal account, teens get free AllPoint ATM withdrawals and instant gas hold removals.
And Current's teen account has several useful features for parents like:
- Block merchants to prevent spending
- Assign chores for your teen to complete
- Automate allowance payments
- Set spending limits
- Receive notifications about your teen's spending
- Send instant transfers to your teen's account
- Let family members add funds to their account
Parents just need to download Current, create an account, and then create an account for their teen that they access with their phone. You don't pay additional fees or subscriptions for your teen's account either.
With its points rewards program, Current members can earn up to 15% cash back from over 14,000 retailers across the country. All you have to do is activate offers in the Points tab of the app and shop with your Current card to earn points. It takes 100 points to redeem $1, and cash credits to your account balance.
Many offers only pay 1% to 2% in points, but this is still an excellent rewards program for a free debit card. And Current partners with many major brands like Burger King, Forever 21, Rite Aid, and Subway.
Instant Transfers (But Only to Other Current Members)
Current allows you to transfer money instantly and for free to other members. With Current Pay, members can send or receive cash with no fees by simply using their ~tags.
While this seems like a nice benefit on the surface, it should be noted that most banks already offer instant transfers through Zelle. However, as of writing, Current does not have Zelle integration.
This means you'll need to use a standard transfer to move money from Current to an external bank account, And these transfers will take longer to arrive (generally 3-5 business days).
Qualifying Current members can overdraft up to $200 with the Overdrive feature without paying fees. This can be a much better alternative than turning to your credit card or a personal loan. To qualify for overdrive you must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Receive $500 or more in payroll or social security deposits into your account over a 30-day period
Your overdrive limit starts at $25 and can increase up to $200 based on your account activity and history. This is a similar concept apps like Floatme and Earnin use to provide you cash advances based on direct deposits.
One of Current's latest features is the ability to invest in cryptocurrency right from your account. You only need $1 to start investing, and Current supports 25+ popular cryptocurrencies like:
This isn't as much selection as major crypto exchanges like Crypto.com or Coinbase offer. But you get the major cryptos like BTC and ETH plus leading altcoins. And a $1 minimum investment requirement means anyone can get started. However, you have to be 18 or older to invest in crypto through Current.
You don't pay trading fees, but Current charges a variable spread fee that varies based on the given crypto and market condition. Unfortunately, Current isn't transparent about what this spread fee is but says it's similar to other exchanges.
If you're a more serious crypto investor, you're probably better off with an exchange and using your own wallet so you're in control of your private keys. But for dabbling in popular cryptos, Current has you covered.
Current Banking Fees & Pricing
One advantage of Current is that you don't pay any account maintenance fees or face minimum balance requirements. But there are still a few fees you might encounter, including:
- Cash Add Fee: $3.50.
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%.
- Foreign ATM Withdrawal: $3 + 3%.
- Domestic Out-of-Network ATM Withdrawal: $2.50 plus ATM fees.
- Crypto Trades: Variable spread fees.
Parents can set spending limits for their teen's Current debit card. But there are also general spending and withdrawal limits:
- Daily ATM Withdrawal: $500 maximum.
- Daily Spending Limit: $2,000.
- Check Deposit Limit: $2,000.
- Current Pay (Peer-to-Peer Transfer Limit): $5,000 per transaction.
Is Current Bank Safe?
According to its website, Current uses encryption to protect your data while it's in-transit and at-rest. And, as mentioned, you get $250,000 in FDIC insurance from Choice Financial Group. You can even block transactions from within the app and set up fingerprint and face ID locking to keep your account secure. Overall, Current is safe and secure and follows the same steps other major neobanks do.
How Do I Open an Account?
Opening a Current bank account takes a few minutes and doesn't involve a credit check. The information you provide includes:
- A U.S. Social Security Number
- A U.S. residential address
- Your phone number to receive a confirmation SMS message
How Do I Contact Current?
You can reach Current customer support by emailing email@example.com or by using the chat feature within the app. There's also a contact form on its website.
We like Current since there aren't any spending or direct deposit requirements to get the best APY. This is very rare for online-only banks. Usually, you have to receive around $1,000 per month in deposits to unlock the best rates.
Current also has an excellent teenage bank account. But if you want credit-building tools or more bank-like features, some alternatives might be superior.
Best For: Improving Credit.
If you like Current for its lack of fees, you're going to love Chime. With Chime, you don't pay account fees and there's no minimum balance requirement either. It also has a savings account that pays 0.50% APY. And like Current, you can get paid up to two days early and borrow up to $200 to avoid overdraft fees.
The main difference between Chime® and Current is that Chime also has a credit-building tool. This secured account doesn't charge fees or interest, and it helps you slowly improve your credit score with regular payments.
You can try out Chime today or read our article on the best Chime alternatives for even more options.
Best For: Full-Service Banking.
One of Current's most unique features is its free teen account with numerous parental control settings. Many mobile-only banks leave teens out, but thankfully, this isn't the case with Axos.Axos actually has numerous checking accounts we're fans of, including a lucrative Rewards Checking account that pays up to 3.30% on balances up to $50,000. But it also has a First Checking account for teens between the ages of 12 to 17. This account doesn't charge monthly fees and pays 0.10% APY.
You can also explore other Axos' services, like Axos Invest or its high-yield savings account. Overall, it's a full-service banking option that's more comprehensive than Current.
Best For: Earning Interest.
Varo is another excellent Current alternative if you want to earn a high APY on a smaller cash balance. Its savings account pays a starting 1.20% APY. But if you receive up to $1,000 in direct deposits per month, you earn 5% APY up to $5,000.
Varo also has other banking perks, like no account fees, no minimum balance requirements, and free AllPoint ATM withdrawals like Current. Members can also earn up to 6% cash back by shopping with a Varo debit card or Varo Believe credit card.
If you're really hunting the highest APYs out there, you can consider parking your emergency fund or extra cash in Current savings pods to earn 4% APY. You can then switch direct deposits to Varo so you're earning 5% APY there.
When Current launched, it focused on its teen account. It still offers one of the best fee-free teen accounts out there, but it's also dramatically expanded its products since then.
The bottom line is that right now, Current is an excellent way to get a high APY up to $6,000. And if you leverage its points program, you can earn even more.
For credit building and full-service banking features, look elsewhere. But as it stands, Current is one of the top neobanks for good reason.Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.