10 Best Chime Alternatives

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Looking for an alternative to Chime for online checking? Look no further.

The best online-only checking accounts don’t charge fees. And, mobile deposit and free ATM access make online banking easy.

If you’re like most people, you rarely walk into a bank anymore. With direct deposit, you no longer have to deposit a check each month. If you do receive a paper check, you can deposit it using a mobile app.

When you need to pay a bill, you probably use online bill pay. And the online bank will send a free check when a paper check is required.

You still need a local bank to make cash deposits. Otherwise, online checking accounts can handle most of your banking needs.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

Editor’s Top Picks

COMPANYFEATURES
AspirationClimate conscious banking opportuntity
Axos BankingEarn up to 1.25% interest
Ally BankGet .10% on balances under $15,000

Top Alternatives to Chime

You’ll notice there are many free chime alternatives. To choose one, focus on what benefits you want.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Free ATM access
  • Interest earned on deposits
  • Debit card purchase rewards
  • Overdraft protection
  • Paper checks

Every online financial technology company like Chime offers different benefits.  For example, some online companies don’t offer paper checks. But they will mail a check for free when digital payment isn’t possible.

1. Axos Bank

Axos Bank homepage

Axos Bank offers five different online checking accounts. One account is for seniors (age 55+) and another is for teens between ages 13 and 17.

The other three standard accounts are open to all members. As you probably expect, the banking rewards are different for each account option.

All five accounts are free to open and don’t charge monthly maintenance fees. And none of them require minimum balances. Below is a brief summary of the two best standard accounts.

Essential Checking

The Essential Checking option is free and simple to use. For fee-free checking, consider this Axos Bank product.

You can enjoy these benefits:

  • Unlimited domestic ATMs
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft or insufficient fund fees

It’s also possible to receive your direct deposit up to two days early. This account doesn’t earn interest but it’s easy to avoid common bank fees.

Rewards Checking

The Rewards Checking account gives you the opportunity to earn up to 1.25% interest. That APY opportunity is broken down into the following actions:

  • Earn 0.40% APY if you receive at least $1,500 in monthly direct deposits
  • Earn 0.30% APY if you use your Axos Bank debit card at least 10 times per month (minimum $3 per purchase)
  • Earn 0.20% APY if you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in a self-directed trading account.
  • Earn 0.20% APY if you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in a managed portfolio account.
  • Earn 0.15% APY if you use your Rewards Checking account to make your full monthly Axos bank consumer loan payment.

For each debit card transaction, the minimum purchase amount is $3 to earn rewards. By making at least fifteen in-person purchases, you earn 0.8332% APY for the month.

You also have unlimited domestic ATM withdrawals. Besides, you won’t pay any overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees, either.

The minimum initial deposit is $50 yet there isn’t an ongoing minimum balance.

Watch for sign-up offers as well.

CashBack Checking

You can get up to 1% back on all signature-based debit card transactions — that is, any time you make an in-person purchase with your card.

It’s possible to earn up to $2,000 back each month in debit card purchases. But you must maintain a minimum $1,500 account balance.

You earn 0.50% back on qualifying purchases if the balance dips below $1,500.

This can be a better option than rewards checking if you earn more in purchase rewards. And again, remember the tax implications of interest earned (taxable) vs. cash back (not taxable).

Like the Rewards Checking option, you have free domestic ATM withdrawals.

Pros

  • Two ways to earn checking rewards
  • Zero account fees or account minimums
  • Free unlimited domestic ATM access
  • No overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees

Cons

  • Golden Age and First Checking accounts don’t have unlimited free ATM access

2. Aspiration

Aspiration is a registered brokerage firm that offers checking accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts to online users. Even though Aspiration isn’t a bank, it offers an FDIC-insured Spend & Save account for free, the funds are insured for up to $2 million per depositor.

The platform offers competitive rates and low fees to those seeking a socially conscious way to manage their money. For example, Aspiration makes it a point to avoid fossil fuel exploration or production. Depending on your values, managing your money with Aspiration could be a good fit.

Below is a more in-depth look at both Aspiration’s Spend & Save plans. Neither account uses the deposits to fund fossil fuel exploration or production.

Aspiration Spend & Save

The Aspiration Spend & Save plan comes with a ‘Pay What You Think Is Fair’ pricing model. With that, you can pay a monthly fee that reflects the value you get from the account. For example, you might pay $0 or $10.

There’s a $10 minimum opening deposit required. And you’ll earn 3% APY on your savings if you spend at least $1,000 from the account. When you use the debit card, you can score 3% to 5% cash back on businesses with a sustainable focus.

You’ll get access to over 55,000 fee-free ATMs. Plus, you have the option to plant a tree every time you use your card.

Aspiration Plus Spend & Save

The Aspiration Plus option comes at a price of $7.99 per month, or $5.99 per month when billed annually. The set price comes with some extra features.

First, you’ll earn 5% APY on your savings if you spend $1,000 per month. Additionally, you can earn 10% cash back when you shop at select socially conscious brands.

As with the regular account, you’ll get access to over 55,000 fee-free ATMs. But if you can’t make it to an in-network option, you will receive up to one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement per month.

Finally, this account offers a Planet Protection feature. With that, Aspiration will automatically pursue carbon offsets for your gas station purchases. The goal is to neutralize the impact of every mile you drive.

Pros

  • Pay what you think is fair option
  • 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Only need $10 to open an account
  • Earn up to 5% APY on your savings

Cons

  • Cash back only available for select climate conscious purchases
  • Aspiration Plus comes with $7.99 monthly fee

Related: Ando Money Review: Fight Climate Change With Zero Monthly Fees

3. Consumer Credit Union

There is no minimum balance amount, earn interest and avoid fees at Consumers Credit Union.

You can earn up to 4.09% APY on the first $10,000 in deposits when you complete these monthly actions:

  • Complete 12 debit card purchases with a total purchase value of $100+
  • At least $500 in monthly direct deposit or ACH deposits
  • At least $1000 in purchases on a CCU credit card

Making 12 debit card purchases and $500 in direct deposits let you earn 3.09% APY on your first $10,000. Reaching these monthly milestones also gives you unlimited free ATM access.

Your rewards checking account also provides free online bill pay, online banks and unlimited checks.

Unlike most of the online banking options, you have local branch access. Consumers Credit Union has over 5,000 shared branches nationwide.

Pros

  • Minimal membership requirements
  • No-fee reward program
  • Unlimited ATM network

Cons

  • Required activity to earn APY
  • Overdraft fees

4. Acorns

Acorns homepage

Acorns offers an online checking account with a debit card via the Acorns Spend product. There are also over 55,000 fee-free ATMs and automatic savings transfers.

As Acorns is a micro-investing app, it’s possible to have your spending money and investing money at the same place.

The app can round up your purchases and invests that extra amount. And Acorns invests your online shopping rewards, too. These features make it easy to invest small amounts of money.

You will pay $3 a month to get an Acorns Spend account. But you also have access to the regular Acorns Core investing app and the Acorns Later IRA retirement account.

For $5 a month, you can also open investing accounts for your children.

Acorns won’t invest your checking account balance. However, you can have Acorns invest your spare change each year.

So let’s assume you already pay $1 a month for Acorns Core. If so, you pay $2 more for the Acorns checking account. And if you use the Acorns Later IRA, you only pay $1 more per month.

Paying a monthly service fee is a downside. As a tradeoff, you get unlimited free ATM access. This benefit alone pays the monthly $3 fee if you regularly pay ATM fees now.

With Acorns Spend, you can enjoy these additional benefits:

  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Check sending
  • Bank-to-bank transfers

You can also use Acorns to create spending strategies. This tool helps you live within your means by letting you create savings goals and track spending.

Pros

  • Unlimited free ATM access
  • Access to the entire Acorns micro-investing platform
  • Debit card included
  • Can send checks through Acorns app

Cons

  • $3 monthly fee
  • Fewer features than some other online checking accounts
  • Only select online stores earn cash back rewards

5. CIT Bank

Get a competitive rate with a CIT Savings Connect account and the benefits of easy access to your funds when you open an optional e-Checking account.

CIT Bank makes the list of accounts like Chime with its eChecking account. The eChecking account offers you these benefits:

  • 0.25% APY on balances of $25,000 or more
  • 0.10% APY on balances of $25,000 or less
  • Get up to $30 in other bank’s ATM reimbursed per month
  • Have the bank mail a check for you

It’s free to open an eChecking account with CIT Bank. But you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $100.

You also have free online bill pay and mobile banking.

Although you’ll need a relatively high balance to tap into the highest interest rate, your funds will earn interest of some kind regardless of your balance. It’s free to have the bank mail a check for you. And you won’t have to worry about any overdraft fees.

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates
  • $30 monthly ATM fee reimbursements
  • Free to mail checks

Cons

  • Must have $100 to open an account
  • No physical branches

6. Discover

This next option is a rewards-earning online checking account. Discover has a Cashback Debit pays you 1% back on debit card purchases. This bonus applies to the first $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases. Each month, you can earn up to $30 in cash rewards.

Also, Discover doesn’t have any account fees or balance requirements. You also have access to 60,000 fee-free ATMs in the U.S.

Online bill pay and standard paper checks are free. Sending money to friends with Zelle is free and fast.

Even official bank checks (cashier’s checks) are free. These checks usually cost $10 to $15 at most banks.

Another nifty perk is that Discover waives your first fee each calendar year. So you might be able to save $30 on an overdraft fee. Or $15 on a stop payment fee.

Pros

  • 1% back on first $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases
  • First fee forgiveness each calendar year
  • 60,000+ free ATMs in the U.S.

Cons

  • $30 overdraft fee (maximum of one charge per day)

7. Ally Bank

Ally Bank homepage

Ally Bank pays interest on your account balance, up to 0.25% APY. And, Ally reimburses your first $10 in ATM fees each month.

You earn 0.10% on account balances less than $15,000. Then, when your balance goes over $15,000, you’ll earn 0.25% APY.

There are also 43,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs you can use. For non-network ATMs, Ally reimburses your first $10 in fees each month. So if you regularly use ATMs that charge a $4 fee, that means two free withdrawals each month.

One downside is that if you overdraft, Ally charges a $25 insufficient funds fee once a day.

However, Ally makes it easy to send money to friends. With Zelle, you can quickly send money to any U.S. bank account. You only need an email address or U.S. mobile number.

Pros

  • First $10 in monthly ATM fees are waived
  • Quickly send money to friends and family with Zelle
  • All account deposits earn interest daily

Cons

  • Fewer fee-free ATMs than other online banks
  • No paper checks

8. Capital One 360

For the online-only arm of Capital One, open a 360 Checking account. You won’t pay any account fees and you won’t have to maintain a minimum balance.

With 360 Checking, you can’t visit a Capital One branch for help. But you can stop by a Capital One Cafe if you need help. You have mobile deposit and online bill pay with 360 Checking, plus online support.

If you still need paper checks, your first book is free. And you can use online bill pay or your debit card to pay bills, too.

Your entire account balance also earns interest.

Capital One currently uses a three-tier model:

  • $0 to $49,999.99 earns 0.10% APY
  • $50,000 to $99,999.99 earns 0.10% APY
  • $100,000+ earns 0.10% APY

These interest rates are better than nothing. But you can earn more on your extra cash in a good online savings account provider like Aspiration Bank.

Three Free Overdraft Protection Benefits

Capital One offers three free overdraft protection tools:

  • Auto-Decline: Capital One declines the transaction when you try to pay but don’t have enough funds in your account
  • Free Savings Transfer: You can transfer from another Capital One account
  • Next Day Grace: Transfer money within one business day to avoid the $35 overdraft fee

If your check bounces, Capital One still charges a $9 non-sufficient funds fee. But, at least you save $35 in overdraft fees. For online banks, $35 is high for an overdraft fee.

A fourth overdraft protection option is a line of credit. You want to avoid this option since it’s like a credit card balance. Each day, your outstanding balance accrues interest that you must repay.

Pros

  • Flexible overdraft protection options
  • 39,000+ free Capital One and Allpoint ATMs
  • Entire account balance earns interest

Cons

  • High overdraft fee of $35 per day
  • No fee credits for non-network ATMs

9. Fidelity Cash Management

Fidelity is one of the best online stock brokerages, with fee-free index funds, free investing accounts and fractional investing.

But you can also bank with Fidelity.

Its fee-free checking account is known as a “Cash Management Account.”

It comes with these free perks:

  • Debit card
  • Unlimited U.S. ATM withdrawals
  • Paper checks
  • Online bill pay
  • FDIC insurance up to $1.25 million

If you invest with Fidelity, you can easily move money from your checking account to your brokerage accounts. If you invest with a different online broker, it can take three days to transfer funds.

To prevent overdraft fees, Fidelity lets you set a target balance. For example, let’s say your target balance is $500. If your balance dips to $450, they transfer $50 from a linked account. Fidelity calls this their Cash Manager Tool.

You can also deposit checks with mobile deposit. And you can schedule automatic investments and withdrawals, too.

While better than nothing, account balances only earn 0.01% APY.

Pros

  • Unlimited fee-free ATMs in the U.S.
  • Free overdraft protection (Cash Manager)
  • FDIC insurance up to $1.25 million

Cons

  • You still pay for foreign ATM fees
  • Account balance only earns 0.01% APY

10. Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab homepage

Charles Schwab is great for unlimited ATM fee refunds. Many global travelers like Schwab’s online checking. The main reason is that it waives foreign ATM fees.

And, your entire account balance earns 0.03% APY. This interest rate is higher than some online checking account rates. And, you don’t have to keep a high account balance.

You can also get paper checks for free along with online bill pay and mobile deposit.

One of the biggest cons is that you must have a Schwab brokerage account. The good news is that the Schwab investing account is free and has no account minimums.

If you don’t want to invest with Charles Schwab, avoid this online bank.

Pros

  • No ATM fees anywhere in the world
  • Deposits earn interest
  • Paper checks

Cons

  • Interest rate is lower than other high-interest checking accounts
  • Must also have a Schwab One brokerage account

Related Article: 10 Largest Banks In The World

Summary

If you are tired of fees, switch to one of these Chime alternatives. You’ll get all the benefits of a regular account, except possibly paper checks.

You can also earn debit card rewards or interest.

Chime Disclaimer: 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.

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