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Are No-Fees Banks Becoming the Norm in 2021?

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No fee banking on the go
BestMoney Staff
Bestmoney Staff
Aug. 01, 20223 min read
Find out how digital banking is disrupting the scene in major ways and how you can take advantage of no or low-fee financial products in 2021.

Covid affected the entire world in numerous ways, and the banking industry is no different. The infrastructure is changing. Digital banking in particular, but also traditional brick-and-mortar branches are rolling out new policies, several of which include reducing fees or dropping them entirely. 

As the financial burden of a worldwide pandemic weighs down the nation, banks across the country are looking for ways they can help. Digital banking, as the go-to option for consumers, may be the solution. If you’re looking to save in 2021 and onwards, find out what these new no-fees policies are and how digital banking is saving people money.

Banking Companies with No Fees Policies: 

Fees? undefined Logo Logo
Overdraft✗*
Monthly Maintenance
ATM Withdrawals✗˜✗³
Transfer Fees
Minimum Balance

Visit SiteVisit SiteVisit Site


No-Fees Options Available & Why They’re Trending

Not only are these digital banks creating a more financially feasible infrastructure, but many of these brands offer additional benefits. For example, American Express comes with global recognition and acceptance, high-yield savings accounts and CDs, and better than average customer service. Chime members enjoy the advantage of auto-savings and direct deposits. And Varo account holders certainly appreciate the fully-featured mobile app and prominent lack of minimum deposit requirement to open an account. 

American Express

Possibly the king of digital banking and a forerunner for the banking without fees structure, American Express® charges no fees whatsoever. From the usual overdraft fees to minimum balance fees, and even ATM withdrawal fees, American Express has done away with them all. You can also withdraw from your savings without any penalties, and high-yield savings accounts come with attractive interest rates, especially when compared to traditional banking options. 

American Express National Bank American Express National Bank Visit Site

Chime

Chime is another digital option without hidden fees˜ (no monthly fees, no overdraft fees*, etc., really, none), but it’s really a horse of a different color. This variety is meant for people who have fully embraced the tech era and enjoy the convenience, comfort, and speed that online banking has to offer. Chime is a mobile app (though you can access your online account on a desktop as well) that helps you manage your finances and save at the same time. You can get savings accounts and spending ones (aka a no-fees checking account), and Chime allows you to set up automatic savings transfers so a percentage of your paycheck is automatically sent to your savings account and purchases are rounded up for savings‡.

The user-friendly interface is a welcome change from the stuffy, red-tape strangled experience that traditional banks represent. Instead, Chime offers a sleek, smooth, and intuitive experience that boils down to faster transactions and less of a headache all around.

Another advantage of banking through Chime is that you can set up a direct deposit for your paycheck and have access to your money days sooner than alternative payment methods^.

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

Chime® Chime® Visit Site

Varo

Varo is another option of app-style mobile banking solutions. The app promises you fast and convenient services that you can carry around in your pocket. As with the other two brands already mentioned, Varo provides bank accounts with no fees, including no transfer fees or monthly maintenance charges ( no ATM fees³, etc.). Varo also offers higher than average APYs. 

Digitally speaking, Varo provides a few neat features, including the popular direct deposit option for faster access to your paycheck¹, push notifications about deposits and withdrawals for more secure banking, and account syncing of your various financial accounts for more seamless finance management. Varo also has the auto-savings feature like Chime and more than 90k locations where you can make deposits².

Varo Bank Varo Bank Visit Site

Not All Roses & Sunshine

On the other hand, no-fees checking accounts also come with their own downsides. For one thing, these digital alternatives mean there is no brick-and-mortar branch for you to drop into. So if you run into a problem, you can’t just pop into your bank to straighten things out in person. What’s more, digital banks generally don’t have the same level or availability of customer service. Again, this only becomes a problem if you run into a problem. But for those customers who like face-to-face interactions, the digital era is going to come with a rough transition.

You’ll also need to open a separate online account for your banking and your credit card management. While this isn’t a major deal, to the less tech-savvy consumers, yet another online account to manage can be a bit of a pain. 

One other thing to look out for is what’s available with a particular brand’s digital banking services. If you’re used to having a smorgasbord of options from your brick-and-mortar bank, you might find the digital services somewhat limiting (surprisingly, considering the fact that digital options are usually more inclusive than their conventional counterparts). 

Take American Express, for example. You can enjoy no minimum deposit fees, FDIC coverage, and a fee-free structure. But don’t try to open up a checking account. AmEx just won’t do it.

Chime too has its limitations, of course, due to its intention to provide a simplified and easier banking experience.

Digital Banking: The Wave of the Future & Savings to Boot

With everything going digital, from telehealthcare services to online therapy, shopping, and team conferencing and collaboration, digital banking is an obvious extension of the perpetual march forward that our society seems inclined to pursue. Now that banks are introducing a no-fees structure for these online accounts, consumers are looking at some serious savings without all the penny-pinching and coupon-clipping that were once necessary for frugal financiers. 

Are no-fees bank accounts becoming the new norm? Guess that’s something only time will tell. But if the opinion of the people has any influence on the decision, no-fees digital banking is here to stay.

Are you ready to join the world of digital banking? Compare more of 2021’s best online banking companies with no or low fees.

Disclosures

American Express

This article was prepared by BestMoney.com in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this product review are the author’s/company’s own and do not reflect the view of American Express National Bank nor American Express Company.

Chime

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

˜Out-of-Network cash withdrawal fees apply. Third-party and cash deposit fees may apply.

^ 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.

* Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires $500 in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Spending Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases 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. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card purchases, including ATM withdrawals, ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See terms and conditions

‡ Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Spending Account into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more into your savings account.

Varo

Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visa® Debit Card is issued by Varo Bank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and may be used everywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted.

¹ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the payer’s submission of deposits. Varo generally posts such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

2 There is no fee assessed by Varo Bank for cash deposits. However, a retail service fee of up to $5.95 applies.

3 There is no fee to withdraw money from any Allpoint® ATM. There is a $2.50 ATM cash withdrawal fee assessed by Varo Bank for all non-Allpoint® ATM transactions (out of network transactions). The ATM operator may charge an additional fee.


BestMoney Staff
Written byBestmoney Staff

Our editorial staff consists of writers who are knowledgeable about financial services. We specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right provider for your needs.

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