April 27, 2022

Best Neobanks

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Looking for a new neobank and not sure which to choose? Look no further than this comprehensive guide to the best neobanks.

The 5 Best Neobanks for Every Type of Person
  1. Chime: Best for building credit
  2. Revolut: Best international bank
  3. Aspiration: Most ethical neobank
  4. Current: Best for teens and young adults
  5. SoFi: Most holistic neobank

With the convenience of mobile banking, most of us hardly go into a bank branch anymore. In fact, many people have turned to neobanks, or fintech companies that offer banking services.

But are neobanks trustworthy? And what do they offer?

In this guide, discover the best neobanks, how they work, and what accounts and services they offer.

What is a Neobank?

A neobank is a fintech company that offers banking services, typically backed by larger financial institutions.

The main difference between traditional banks and neobanks is that neobanks are entirely digital. Their services are offered via mobile apps or desktop sites, while traditional banks also use physical branches.

Compared to traditional banks, banking with a neobank may offer more flexibility. But they usually have fewer services than a traditional bank.

When it comes to customer service, traditional banks offer support in-person, over the phone, and online. Neobanks do not offer in-person support.

Fees with traditional banks tend to be complex, difficult to understand, and higher than those charged by neobanks, which are typically low and transparent to customers.

The confirmation process for transactions with a traditional bank may be long, while neobanks often manage instant confirmation.

Fun fact: The term "neobank" has only been around since 2016, and neobanks are sometimes referred to as "Challenger Banks" in the UK.

The 5 Best Neobanks

Below, let's take a look at the best neobanks available today. Keep in mind, not all neobanks are available everywhere. Be sure to check that your neobank of choice offers service in your area.

Chime: Best for Building Credit

Chime is a neobank based in San Francisco and founded in 2013. Chime doesn't charge any monthly fees, overdraft fees, or minimum balance fees.

Chime has three popular accounts to choose from:

  • The fee-free checking account comes with a Chime debit card and no minimum balance requirements. You also get a change-rounding feature that will automatically transfer your change to your Chime savings account when you spend.

    You can easily allow or disallow transactions through your app, and it works with both Apple Pay and Google Pay.

  • The Chime Credit Builder account requires no credit check to apply, charges no annual fee or interest, and doesn't require a minimum deposit. It helps you build credit by reporting your transactions to the three main credit bureaus.

  • The Chime Savings account offers 0.50% APY on your deposits with zero fees, the best rate you'll find with most competitors these days.

And in case you were worried about withdrawing your cash, users automatically get access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs located at stores around the country.

Looking for more ways to build credit? Explore our list of the best credit building apps to help you build up your credit score fast.

Revolut: Best International Bank

Like many neobanks, Revolut started in the UK. Founded in 2015 with an emphasis on travel cards and low exchange rates, Revolut has since expanded to the U.S., Europe, and has plans to launch in Hong Kong.

Revolut accepts 150 different international currencies and charges low rates for exchanging and sending money internationally. In fact, users get 10 free international transfers each month in 30 different currencies.

Revolut offers three service plans:[1]

  • Standard, which is free. The standard plan offers fee-free out-of-network ATM withdrawals up to $1,200 a month, commission-free crypto trading, 0.05% APY on savings, and even up to 5 kids' accounts.

  • Premium, for $9.99 per month. This comes with all the same features of the Standard plan, plus a higher APY, overseas medical insurance, global express delivery, and priority customer support.

  • Metal, for $16.99 per month. The Metal account comes with a higher APY, a metal card, and a variety of other perks like overseas medical insurance, global express delivery, and priority customer support.

In addition to their other banking offerings, Revolut offers budgeting support, a payments system, cards, cash back rewards, investing in stocks and crypto, and more.

Aspiration: Most Ethical Neobank

Aspiration was founded in 2013 with the goal of helping people understand where their money is going. They're B-Corp certified, and use their profits to help fight climate change, benefit the environment, and aid struggling communities.

Aspiration rounds up spending to put aside money for planting trees, and for every $10 that customers spend, $1 is donated to charity. Better yet, donating to any related to the fossil fuel industry is strictly prohibited.

Aspiration offers:

  • Interest-earning savings accounts
  • Cash back on purchases from Conscience Coalition companies[2]
  • Free ATM access
  • Access to Mastercard Global Service
  • Purchase assurance for lost or damaged items in the first 90 days
  • A Mastercard that pays 1% cash back for every month you spend carbon neutral

Through their mobile app, Aspiration also shares "Aspiration Impact Measurements" to evaluate the sustainability practices of companies. It's an insightful feature that can help you make an informed decision about doing business with them in the future.

Aspiration cards are made from plastic recycled from the sea, and they offer services to offset gas purchases. When it comes to protecting the environment, Aspiration is the neobank to go with.

Current: Best for Teens and Young Adults

Current is another U.S.-based neobank, founded in 2015 and catering to younger users. As Current states on their homepage: "Current is a financial technology company, not a bank." Deposited funds are covered by FDIC insurance through their issuing bank, Choice Financial Group, a member of FDIC.

One of their best features is the Current Interest account, which can pay as much as 4.0% APY on deposits up to $6,000. This is far more than you'd get at traditional banks or even most online banks.

The one drawback is that this rate can change at any time, so there's a chance you may not end up with the rate you're expecting.

The Current Premium account offers a range of features including a Visa debit card, early direct deposit on paychecks, cash back at merchants around the country, and $200 overdraft protection.

Current charges no minimum balance fees, bank transfer fees, overdraft fees, no fees for instant transfers to other Current members, and no fees for ATM withdrawals as long as they're in-network.

Current also has a banking app designed specifically for teens. For more teen-focused banking apps, check out our comprehensive guide.

SoFi: Most Holistic Neobank

SoFi, already offering services like student loan refinancing, home loans and investing services, has recently launched checking and savings accounts as well.

They offer many of the same features that other neobanks do, including early direct deposit, no account or overdraft fees, and cash back on your spending.

Users can also earn 1.25% APY on their balances if they set up a direct deposit to their SoFi accounts. Overdrafts are covered up to $50, and to help you save more, you can set up "Round-Ups" to do it automatically.

SoFi members get access to the Allpoint network of ATMs, meaning fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 machines around the country.

Bottom Line

While neobanks aren't the right fit for everyone, it's easy to see the appeal. High rates and low fees, with a range of useful and often innovative features to help you save more, keep more, and build toward a brighter financial future.

If you still think you'd like the option of visiting a brick-and-mortar location, there's nothing wrong with that. In that case, you might be better off with a traditional or digital bank instead. But for those who'd just as soon do everything online, neobanks are an excellent option. For more alternatives to traditional banks, check out our guide.

References

  1. ^ Revolut. Our Pricing Plans, Retrieved 4/17/2022
  2. ^ "Conscience Coalition": Aspiration, 2022.

Jeremy Harshman is a protector of art and writing at CreditDonkey, a bank comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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