Chime Fintech App Review: $100 Simple Bonus

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Simple $100 bonus. Chime is a popular fintech app with a simple $100 cash bonus (up from $50) after a single direct deposit of $200+ within the first 45 days of new account opening. To get this offer, you must be referred by an existing user. Here is a Chime $100 referral link. Here is a screenshot of my bonus (when it was only $50) appearing nine minutes after my initial deposit:

Here is the fine print:

In order for the referring Chime member (“Referrer”) to qualify and receive the $100.00 referral reward and $10.00 temporary SpotMe Bonus Limit increase, and for the referred person (“Referred”) to qualify and receive the $100.00 referral reward, all of the following conditions must be satisfied: (1) Referrer meets SpotMe eligibility requirements and is part of the SpotMe Referral Incentive referral reward campaign; (2) Referred has not previously opened a Chime Checking Account (“Account”); (3) Referred opened a new Account between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022; (4) Referred opened the new Account using the Referrer’s unique referral link; (5) Referred received in the new Account a Qualifying Direct Deposit within 45 calendar days of opening the Account; and 6) Referred activated their physical Chime Visa Debit Card within 14 days of receiving a Qualifying Direct Deposit. A Qualifying Direct Deposit is a deposit of $200.00 or more by Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) that comes from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer OR a deposit by Original Credit Transaction (OCT) from your gig economy payer. Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be legitimate are not Qualifying Direct Deposits.

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.

Why is Chime so popular? Chime is the second-most popular online-only bank in the US (only behind Ally) with over 13 million customers and a recent valuation of $25 billion as of September 2021. I learned that Chime is very attractive to those who are “unbanked” or underbanked”, those people who don’t like traditional banks due to their monthly fees and $35-a-pop overdraft charges. Instead, Chime offers:

  • No monthly fees. No minimum balance. No minimum opening deposit.
  • No credit check. No Chexsystems check.
  • Access to paycheck 2 days early. If you usually get paid on Friday, you can spend the money on Wednesday.
  • No overdraft fees, and they may even “spot” you up to $100 until you pay them back.
  • Free ATM withdrawals at 38,000+ MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

For many folks that have a lot of activity but maintain a low balance, this fee structure is better getting 4% APY or even 10% APY. The key is avoiding those crazy overdraft charges from the big banks and also the various $2 fees hidden inside many prepaid cards. Chime’s only major fee is a $2.50 fee if you make a cash withdrawal at an out-of-network ATM. Chime earns revenue via interchange fees when you buy things on your debit card.

As I opened an account, I noticed that Chime treats you like have never had a checking account before. The sign-up is easily done completely on your phone in a few minutes. You don’t need to deposit a single cent to open. They send basic “Chime 101” emails explaining the effect of bank holidays and how to set up direct deposit.

There is no credit check, so you can have bad credit and even a bad Chexsystems record (meaning you probably left another bank with a negative balance). Nearly every major bank uses Chexsystems to screen new customers. Otherwise, they are referred to as a “second chance” bank account. Chime might have the lowest fees of all such “second chance” banks.

Savings account at 2.00% APY. Once you open the main Chime checking account, you can also open a separate savings account. No minimum balance and no monthly fees on the savings account, either.

Chime has the most of other bank stuff as well. Debit card. Paper check deposit via mobile app. FDIC-insured via partner banks, either Stride Bank or The Bancorp Bank. The only major thing missing besides bank branches is that they don’t provide paper checks. Depositing cash is available, but the third-party physical stores may charge a fee.

In terms of working with my other accounts, I am able to deposit and withdraw fund via Ally Bank push/pull. Your routing number and account number is available openly in the app under “Move Money > Direct Deposit”. My routing number is 103100195, which confirms as Stride Bank, NA. based in Enid, Oklahoma.

Bottom line. Chime is an interesting bank startup that targets the underbanked and unbanked by offering a much better fee structure to those with access to direct deposit. No overdraft fees, no credit checks, no Chexsystems. Currently, there is a $100 bonus available via referral link.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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  1. Just curious, when you sign up for multiple account bonuses, don’t you have to deal with a 1099 for each one? I would try to harvest account sign up bonuses like this, but I don’t want to deal with the taxes and the forms you have to juggle.

    • You get a 1099-INT, which takes a minute in TurboTax to enter the bank info and tax amount, less if it is from a same bank as last year. I usually have over 10 of them at tax time, and I don’t consider it a pain. Tax lots are much more of a hassle when you don’t have auto-import.

  2. How do we earn 4% apy?

    • You could’ve gotten a 4% APY CD in 2018 and various rewards checking accounts paid 4% in 2019. Those are gone again for a while, so it’s onto what else is available.

  3. Katie Cox says

    I’m curious how your deposit from yourself counted as a direct deposit as the fine print seems to exclude that type of deposit. Could you explain further?

    • Many promos require a “payroll” direct deposit. This makes it more likely you’ll switch all your banking needs over to them. Yet all direct deposits = ACH transfers. Many people can split their direct deposit into multiple sources, including myself, but it’s a bit of a hassle and there is a delay in the timing. So sometimes you can make a different kind of transfer and it still works and saves time. Sometimes you try and it doesn’t work, just how it goes. (You do get 45 days here.) I had some existing funds in Apple Cash and you can withdraw from Apple Cash into a bank account with the account/routing number and so I tried it, but it is technically not supposed to work so I can’t guarantee you that it will work for anyone else in the future.

  4. Steve Swinehart says

    Small print says that an ACH from another account does not count.
    What did you do?

  5. Can you close the account after receiving $50 bonus or do you have to keep the account open for period of time?

    • I don’t see anything about a minimum holding period, and I don’t see an early closure fee. There are no monthly fees though, so I am not in a hurry to close mine.

      • Stephanie says

        This is an older thread, but I just spoke with Chime support who mentioned that if a Chime account is ever closed by someone then they will never be able to open another account. Period. And I’m sure its common knowledge that the account is linked to a person’s SSN. Which was good to know… Just thought I would share!

  6. Thank you Jonathan for the post, 2Qs:
    1) you received the bonus minutes after you made the $200 deposit, doesn’t it require direct deposit first?
    2) Will ACH count as Direct Deposit? Social security takes 2 months to change bank.

    Always appreciate your post. Read it daily. Best wishes.

  7. Cooper's Dad says

    Is it possible that the $50 referral bonus they’ve credited to you is not your own $50 bonus as the recipient of a referral, but rather a reward you earned by referring someone else who has opened a Chime account? Otherwise it doesn’t make sense they would pay your new account bonus before you’ve earned it with a qualifying ACH credit.
    If that $50 really is your welcome reward, I’d bet that if you tried to close the account right now, they would withhold the $50 bonus b/c it has not yet been earned with a qualifying ACH deposit. It’s not a sustainable business model otherwise.

    • I hadn’t referred anyone (or even generated the link) before taking that screenshot, so it could only be that the 200 was my qualifying direct deposit.

    • Hey Jonathan,
      For someone who has bad credit, does this help rebuild their credit so they can eventually get an account at a normal bank? I work with people with these issues and usually refer them to Bank On programs in their area. I want to make sure Chime isn’t predatory. Those folks already have enough issues.

  8. Does the account help the unbanked build credit through Chex? I work with a lot of these folks and usually tell them to check Bank On program in their area. Want to make sure Chime isn’t predatory before I send anyone there.

  9. Since Chime is an online checking account, I don’t think this would help with rebuilding credit. I’d look into credit cards that are aimed toward low credit score folks…just watch out for interest rates/fees, and make sure you pay off your balance every month.

  10. Jonathan, I just signed up with your link. I think the landing page said $75 bonus. But when I went through the process and downloaded the app, my dashboard in the app says “Your $50 is waiting. Claim your bonus when you receive $200 or more in direct deposit”. Is that just a bug in the app and it is displaying the old bonus? Anyone else seeing the same thing?

  11. FYI, there are lots of recent reports of Chime bank accounts getting hacked via the “pay friends” feature on the Chime Reddit forum. Beware if you have an account there. They are being less than helpful in recovering the money, too. I was going to refer family to get this bonus, but now I’m not. It doesn’t seem like a bank I want to trust my (or my family’s) money with.

  12. I am always interested in a bonus and a 1% savings rate. So, I took a look at the data on Chime at Out of 124 reviews, 96 are one star. Health rating is a B. The rate history chart does not give me confidence the 1% rate will hold.

  13. Is the only reason you applied was to get the $75 bonus?
    I have HMB, getting 3% on 100K
    Investigated One Finance and see no advantage for me. Greener pastures elsewhere.

    • The bonus got me over the hump, but I was interested in Chime to better understand why they are so popular. Chime has 35% market share of online bank accounts (no branches), while Ally only has 9%.

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