Learn how Chime makes money and what that means for you when it comes to savings.
Banking fees can take a bite out of your checking or savings account. Between monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and paper statement fees, it can add up fast.
Chime takes a different approach and offers online and mobile banking, plus a Chime Visa®️ Debit Card, with limited fees. That means big savings for you, but it raises an important question: how does Chime make money?
How Chime works
Chime is an online-only financial technology company offering banking products, including checking and savings accounts, through its partner banks. For example, you can open a secured Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card online to build your credit history without an annual fee or interest charges.¹
Chime isn’t a bank, which allows it to take an outside-the-box approach to money management and financial services. However, Chime partners with two FDIC-member banks, The Bancorp Bank, N.A., and Stride Bank, N.A. That means your Chime account is safe and secure.
How does Chime make money?
Chime makes money by collecting a portion of something called an interchange fee. An interchange fee (also called a swipe fee) is a fee that’s designed to cover the cost of processing debit or credit card transactions electronically. The merchant that accepts a debit or credit card as payment pays an interchange fee back to the card issuer.²
So again, how does Chime make money? It’s actually pretty simple.
- When you make a purchase with your debit card or credit card, Visa collects an interchange fee from the merchant for processing your payment.
- A portion of this interchange fee is then paid out to Chime.
- Each time you use your Chime card to make purchases and pay bills, Chime gets a small portion. Over time, these interchange fees add up.
You don’t pay monthly service fees or similar fees to Chime; instead, most of Chime’s income is from Visa. That’s one of the ways that Chime sets itself apart from traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
What fees does Chime charge?
Chime eliminates most banking fees for its customers. A glance at Chime’s deposit agreement will tell you that there are no:
- Monthly maintenance fees
- Overdraft fees
- Minimum balance fees
- Paper statement fees
- Returned check fees
- Electronic transfer fees
There’s one main fee that you need to be aware of. Chime charges a fee if you use your card to get cash from out-of-network ATMs or get cash over the counter at a bank. The fee is $2.50, and again, it only applies to out-of-network ATMs or OTC withdrawals at banks.
You can always withdraw cash without a fee at more than 60,000 Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATMs or MoneyPass ATMs located in retailers you love, like Target and inside 7-Eleven locations. MoneyPass® ATMs not in a 7-Eleven location will be subject to fee(s).³
Avoid ATM fees by finding in-network ATMs near you.
Why do banks charge fees?
Banks charge their customers fees as one of the ways they make money. Banks make a significant amount of income by charging interest for loans, but a portion of their revenue comes from deposit account fees.
The average percentage of non-interest income that is made from deposit account fees ranges from 12.8% to 18.2%, depending on the size of the financial institution.4 As reported by DepositAccounts, the average amount of fees per deposit account is $91.68 at Chase and $72.67 at Bank of America.4
If you want more of your income available to cover the bills, pay down debt, and save, consider Chime or a similar offering. We rely on interchange fees for most of our income and intentionally limit the fees that members pay.
Chime lets you manage money without monthly fees
Banking through Chime is a convenient way to spend and pay bills, but it doesn’t inconvenience you with unnecessary fees. By taking some of the interchange fees that Visa charges to process card transactions, Chime can make money without passing costs on to its customers. Each penny saved in fees with Chime is a penny earned for you.
Need to add cash to your Chime card? Learn how to make a cash deposit to your account.
Is Chime a bank?
Chime is not a bank; it’s a financial technology company that offers online banking services through its partners. Chime partners with The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A., both of which are FDIC-member banks, to offer checking and savings accounts to its customers.
Does Chime charge any fees?
Chime doesn’t charge many of the typical fees that you’d expect to pay at a traditional bank. There are no monthly maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum balance fees. Chime does, however, charge a cash withdrawal fee when using out-of-network ATMs or withdrawing money over the counter at a bank.
Is Chime FDIC insured?
Since Chime is not a bank, it’s not eligible to apply for FDIC insurance. However, since Chime partners with The Bancorp Bank, N.A., and Stride Bank, N.A., which are both FDIC-member banks, Chime customers still have FDIC insurance coverage. The current coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership type, per financial institution.5
How does Chime make money with few fees?
Chime is able to make money by collecting part of the interchange fees that merchants pay to process transactions made using the Chime card. Specifically, Chime collects part of the interchange fee that Visa charges merchants to process payments. This type of fee structure means that Chime can eliminate most of the fees that you’d normally expect to pay for a bank account.
How do I get help with my Chime account?
If you have questions or need help with your Chime account, you can always reach out to Chime customer service. You can get in touch via live chat in the Chime mobile app or call customer service at 1-844-244-6363. Both options are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.