Our world is becoming increasingly digital, causing online banks to grow in popularity. However, with many options on the market, finding the right one can be confusing.
Varo Bank has become one of the industry’s top online banks. The company has made a huge impact on the fintech industry, opening more than four million accounts for its customers to date.
This bank combines the features you expect from a traditional bank with the accessibility and ease of use of an online bank. Our Varo Bank review can help you decide if the company is right for you.
Varo Bank is one of the top online banks, offering features like free checking and savings accounts, high savings APY and a secured credit card. As the first and only online bank to receive a national bank charter from the OCC, it’s worth considering for your banking needs.
Saving interest rates
- No monthly maintenance fees
- No minimum balance requirements
- Interest-free cash advances
- Early direct deposit for paychecks and tax returns
- Savings APY as high as 3.00%
- Highest savings APY is only available to certain customers
- Missing some banking products like certificates of deposit (CDs), unsecured credit cards and lending
- Limited website features — most things must be done on the app
- Third-party cash deposits require a fee
In This Article
What is Varo Bank?
Varo Bank is an online-only bank that was founded in San Francisco. It was created with the goal of impacting the systemic financial inequality that many Americans face.
With this goal in mind, Varo Bank is open to all customers and doesn’t have the restrictive requirements that some other financial institutions have.
Though Varo Bank is just one of many fintech companies to come onto the market in the past decade, it was the first to receive a national bank charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
This bank offers traditional account options, including checking and savings accounts, as well as some unique features that can help with building credit and earning cash back.
Who is Varo Bank For?
Varo Bank is a great option for anyone looking for an online-only bank. In an increasingly digital world, more consumers are looking to find their financial services online, and Varo Bank has leaned into that.
On a more broad level, this bank might be right for you if you:
- Want to manage your finances from your phone
- Don’t often need to deposit cash
- Meet the requirements to maximize the features
More specifically, Varo Bank may also be a great choice for you if you:
- Like to earn cash back on your spending
- Need a way to build your credit
- Want to receive your direct deposits early
That said, Varo Bank isn’t right for everyone. If you want a bank with physical branches that you can visit, it won’t be a good fit.
Additionally, it’s probably not right for you if you want a full-service financial institution with features like credit cards, lending and more.
What Does Varo Bank Offer?
Varo Bank offers the basic features you would expect of any financial institution, including checking and savings accounts. It also has a few unique features that set it apart from other banks.
Varo Bank’s primary feature is its full-service online bank account. This is essentially a checking account.
The account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. This makes it accessible and affordable for everyone.
When you sign up for an account, you’ll get a Visa debit card. You can use the debit card for all your spending and withdraw money from more than 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs around the country.
Plus, you can deposit cash into your account at more than 90,000 retail locations using Green Dot Reload.
The money in this account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor per account type.
Varo Bank also offers an online savings account to accompany your checking account. The account offers 0.20% on most accounts.
You can earn 3.00% APY if you have:
- $1,000 or more in direct deposits each qualifying period
- $5,000 or less daily savings balance
- A positive checking and savings account balance for the entire month
Varo Bank’s savings account has two special features to help you save money:
- Save Your Pay: Puts a percentage of your direct deposit into savings
- Save Your Change: Deposits your purchase’s “change” into savings
The money in your savings account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor per account type.
Varo Advance is a feature that allows you to get a $100 cash advance with no interest.
This cash advance can help tide you over until your next paycheck, helping you avoid overdraft fees, late fees or the high rates on payday loans.
Cash advances of $20 or less are free. Larger advances will come with a small fee based on the amount that you’re borrowing.
The fees are as follows:
This feature is available to anyone with an account that is at least 30 days old and has a minimum of $1,000 in direct deposits within the past month.
Keep in mind that you can’t take additional cash advances until you’ve paid off the previous one.
A newer feature that Varo Bank offers is Varo Believe. This program allows customers to start building credit with no minimum upfront deposit, no annual fee and no APR.
Varo Believe works like a secured credit card. When you sign up, you add money to your vault. The amount you deposit is your maximum spending limit.
Each month, you can spend on your Varo Believe credit card and then pay your monthly balance on time.
Your payments will be reported to the three major credit bureaus, which helps build your credit. This program is well-suited to customers who struggle to qualify for a traditional credit card.
Varo Bank’s Perks program allows you to earn cash back on your spending. Cash back is available whether you’re using your Varo Bank debit card or Varo Believe credit card.
You can earn up to 15% on select purchases and have it deposited into your bank account each time you reach $5 cash back.
The Varo Bank app and website have a Perks tab where you can see what the current cash back offers are. You can then shop using the link to start earning.
Early Direct Deposit
Varo Bank allows customers to get direct deposits up to two days earlier than they would be available with a traditional bank.
For example, if Friday is payday, you could get your direct deposit as early as Wednesday.
Better yet, the early direct deposit doesn’t just apply to your paychecks. It also applies to tax returns.
Varo Bank Fees
Like many of the best online banks, Varo Bank makes it easy to manage your money without all the fees you’re likely to pay at a traditional bank. However, there are some costs you will incur for certain transactions.
Here are are the fees you can expect to pay with Varo Bank:
|Account maintenance fee||$0|
|Cash advance fee||$0 – $5|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$2.50|
|Replacement card express shipping||$25|
If you are on the fence about signing up for Varo Bank, these frequently asked questions may be able to help you make a decision.
While there are always some risks when signing up for any financial service, Varo Bank is relatively safe.
The company uses 256-bit AES level encryption to keep your information secure, and the money in your Varo Bank account is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per person.
Additionally, Varo Bank offers zero liability to ensure you don’t pay for unauthorized charges on your debit card or credit card.
You can contact the company via email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-877-377-8276.
Varo Bank also offers a support library where you can search for answers to your questions.
It depends on your needs. Varo Bank comes with plenty of benefits that can make it worth it to customers.
The online-only bank doesn’t charge many of the fees you might find with traditional banks. Additionally, you can earn cash back on your spending and interest on your savings.
That said, Varo Bank’s savings APY is much lower than other banks for most customers, so you may find that another online bank is better suited to what you are looking for.
Opening an account with Varo Bank is easy.
Go to the company’s website, and you’ll see a large button in the upper right corner labeled “Open Account.” After you click it, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address and phone number and create a password.
You can then provide the necessary personal information to complete the process of opening an account.
What Others Are Saying
Before signing up for any financial service, it can be helpful to know what other customers think. Here’s a breakdown of how Varo Bank scores on various rating platforms.
Varo Bank currently has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. This is considered an excellent rating.
82% of reviewers gave Varo Bank a perfect score, citing great customer service and a lack of fees as perks of using the bank.
However, 11% gave the company just 1 out of 5 stars. The most common complaints were issues with account balances and missing money.
Varo Bank is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The company has an A+ rating from the BBB and an average customer rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Satisfied customers shared that they appreciated the bank’s ease of use and incentives.
That said, the company has had a total of 932 complaints with the BBB within the past three years, 675 of which were closed in the past year.
Complaints shared on BBB included issues with accounts being closed unexpectedly and inaccurate balances.
In the Apple App Store, Varo Bank’s app has roughly 9,600 ratings, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The app ranks 59th in the finance category.
Varo Bank has more than 27,000 ratings in the Google Play store, with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Across both stores, users expressed satisfaction with customer service and how easy it is to use the bank. Common complaints included accounts being closed without warning and missing funds.
Varo Bank has become one of the best online banks in the industry. The company offers checking accounts, savings accounts and a secured credit card. It also provides a mobile app and high-yield savings rates.
However, it does have some downsides. The highest savings APY is only available to certain customers. Additionally, the bank doesn’t have some of the more robust banking features other banks offer.
Ultimately, whether Varo Bank is right for you depends on what you’re looking for. It will be the perfect fit for some people. But, for others, it won’t offer quite what they need.