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

Chime Guides

What Is Chime? Is Chime a Bank?

Is Chime a bank? Or something else? Learn more about what Chime is, how it works, and how member funds are protected.

Jackie Lam • September 13, 2022

In This Article

  1. Is Chime a bank?
  2. What bank does Chime use?
  3. Is Chime legit?
  4. Is Chime FDIC insured?
  5. How does Chime work?
  6. How do I sign up for Chime?
  7. Chime isn't a bank, but we've got your back

You pull your Chime Visa® Debit Card out of your wallet to get some money from an ATM. Your friend notices that you weren’t charged an ATM fee.1

They ask: Where do you do your banking? You respond: I have an account with Chime.  

That’s when you ask yourself – is Chime a bank? 

You can pay anyone, set up direct deposit, automate your savings, and manage your money when you’re with Chime. You remember seeing that Chime is the #1 most loved mobile banking app.2 But this leads you to wonder: What is Chime? If Chime isn’t a bank, what is it? Is it an app? It’s a head-scratching question, no doubt. 

If you’re wondering what exactly Chime is, we’ve got answers. We’ll shine a light on the ins and outs of how Chime works and how Chime protects your money. 

Is Chime a bank?

You might be wondering, “What bank is Chime?” Chime is not a bank but a financial technology company. 

Our mission is to offer people financial features that help them, like access to paychecks up to 2 days early3 with direct deposit, fee-free overdrafts of up to $200,4 and accounts with no monthly service fees

Many Chime members have been underserved in the traditional banking industry and now have the tools they need to achieve peace of mind when it comes to their money.

What bank does Chime use?

Chime is not a bank but a financial technology company. We partner with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, which are both FDIC-insured. 

Chime partners with banks in a tag-team fashion. Chime helps its partner banks: 

  • Create innovative products, features, and benefits for members
  • Develop handy tech tools
  • Enhance the customer experience 

Chime isn’t involved in the flow of funds. In other words, Chime doesn’t receive or hold money on behalf of its members or partner banks. The partner banks provide the savings and checking accounts. 

Is Chime legit?

As a fintech company that works with regulated banking partners, Chime is a secure and legitimate place to protect your funds. Chime provides helpful, easy-to-use products and features to manage your money 24/7, on your phone or online. 

Your money is also protected by the FDIC through The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC — which we’ll get into next.

Is Chime FDIC insured?

The banks that Chime partners with, The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, are FDIC-insured! The FDIC (which is short for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) provides insurance for deposit accounts like checking and savings.

The FDIC protects up to $250,000 of your funds in each bank account. For example, let’s say you have a checking and savings account. In that case, the FDIC protects up to $250,000 in your checking account and up to $250,000 in your savings account. 

The FDIC promotes stability and confidence in the banking system. The FDIC provides insurance that the government fully backs so you can sleep at night knowing that the money in your accounts is safe.

Fun fact: No account holder has lost a single cent since the creation of the FDIC in 1933. 

How does Chime work?

As a digital-only financial institution, all of Chime’s accounts and tools are a tap away via our mobile app. You can access our features that help you manage, move, and grow your money. 

Chime works hard with its partner banks to make sure it has your back with: 

How does Chime make money? 

Chime is a financial technology company that offers benefits like fee-free overdraft4 with SpotMe® and an extensive fee-free ATM network.1 So you might wonder how Chime manages to make money without slamming you with fees. 

After all, fees are lucrative among traditional big banks. According to S&P Global Intelligence, big banks raked in a staggering $2.34 billion in overdraft fees in the first three months of 2021 alone. Yikes. 

Chime makes money from interchange fees. Financial institutions charge merchants these fees whenever a customer uses a debit or credit card to make a purchase. 

Here’s how interchange fees work: 

  • When you make a purchase with your Chime Visa Debit Card, Visa charges an interchange fee to the merchant. Consider it a payment processing fee. 
  • A portion of this interchange fee is 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. 

And boom! That’s how Chime makes money.

Will I ever be charged an overdraft fee?

No. If you do not have sufficient funds in your Chime Checking Account, or have reached your SpotMe limit (if enrolled), then your Chime Visa Debit Card will be declined. There is no fee for declining transactions or for utilizing SpotMe. 

How do I sign up for Chime?

Signing up is easy if you’re not yet a Chime member. You can open a Chime account in just a couple of minutes. 

Here are step-by-step instructions: 

  • Apply for a Chime account. We just ask for your name, date of birth, address, and social security number. You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. resident. 
  • Download the Chime mobile app at the Google Play Store for Android devices or the Apple® App Store for Apple devices. 
  • Log in on the mobile app or at chime.com to start using your account! You can connect your existing bank account to transfer funds. 
  • You can set up direct deposit by navigating to Settings or Move Money.

Now you’re ready to enjoy all the member-first features of Chime.

How do I speak to a live person at Chime? 

Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can get help in the following ways:

  • Chat feature on the Chime app (top-left corner of the home screen)
  • Phone: (844) 244-6363  
  • Email: support@chime.com

We’re standing by to answer any questions you may have.

Chime isn't a bank, but we've got your back

Even if you bank through Chime, Chime itself isn’t a bank. We’re a fintech company dedicated to offering you helpful ways to grow your savings, build credit,5 and make purchases without slamming you with fees. 

We’re devoted to empowering your financial growth, no matter where you are on your journey. 

If you aren’t a member yet, we’re confident you’ll love our features, products, and tools.

Apply today for a Chime Checking Account.

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.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Chime. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third party websites, as Chime is not responsible for those third parties' privacy or security practices.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank N.A. (“Banks”). Banks are not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

1 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2 Chime was the 2021 #1 most downloaded banking app in the US according to Apptopia®.

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.

4 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.

5 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.

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