August 22, 2021

Current Review

Read more about Current
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Current offers banking features like savings, and debit card options — but is it legit? Find out the pros, cons, and how it compares to Chime.

Overall Score

4.0

Savings

3.0

Checking

5.0

Price

4.0

Customer Service

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Up to 15x cash back at 14k stores
  • Ability to deposit cash
  • Instant gas hold removals
  • Savings doesn't earn interest
  • Fee required for most features

Bottom Line

Simple, digital-only banking with useful features and impressive cash back

Current is a digital-only app trying to make banking easier in the modern world. The platform also features a teens-only plan to help young adults learn to manage money.

But how much does it cost? And is it trustworthy?

Learn about the benefits, risks, and costs associated with Current in this review.

What is Current?

Like most digital banks, Current is not an actual bank, but a financial technology company. Current's legal name is FinCo Services, and it was founded in 2015 by Stuart Sopp, the former Head of Trading at Morgan Stanley and Citi.

Current offers traditional banking features through its online app, including debit cards, and "savings pods," which are Current's version of savings accounts (more on these later).

To date, the company has received $402.4M in venture capital funding, including most recently a $220M Series D funding round in April 2021.

Is Current legit?
Yes. Deposits are handled by Bancorp Bank, a member of FDIC. That means that even if Current defaults, your deposits are guaranteed by the government up to $250,000.

Current Pros and Cons

Current's main drawback, compared to competitors like Ally, Axos, and Chime, is requiring a monthly fee to access the premium features. However, even at $4.99/month, the cost of Current Premium isn't too bad.

Pros:

  • Up to 15x cash back at 14,000 participating retailers
  • Fee-free ATM access at 40,000 locations nationwide
  • Automated savings tools
  • Biometric security features like Face ID and fingerprint scanning
  • Cash deposit availability
  • Instant gas hold removals (more on this later)

Cons:

  • Savings pod doesn't earn interest
  • No online banking (only accessible within the mobile app)
  • $4.99 monthly fee required to access most benefits

What bank does Current use?
Deposits are handled by The Bancorp Bank, while cards are issued by either Choice Financial Group or Metropolitan Commercial Bank. You can view more information by reading Current's terms of service.

How Much Does Current Cost?

Current offers three pricing tiers that come with different features and benefits.[1][2]

Basic: Free
Premium: $4.99 per month billed monthly
Teen: $36 per year billed annually (equal to $3 per month)

Is Current BBB accredited?
Current is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but does have a "B" rating with the firm.

What Fees Does Current Charge?

Other than the membership fees for the Premium and Teen accounts, Current does not charge any other common fees.

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No overdraft fees — customers also receive up to $100 in fee-free overdrafts with Overdrive
  • No external or internal money transfer fees

If you use an out-of-network ATM, you will be subject to a $2.50 fee. International ATM withdrawals come with a $3 fee.

How to avoid ATM fees with Current: Current allows you to access over 40,000 fee-free ATMs around the world. To locate a free ATM (and avoid any out-of-network fees), open up the Current app and tap the $ icon toward the bottom of your screen. Use the ATM Finder to search for free ATMs near you.

How Does Current Work?

To sign up for a Current account, follow these steps:

  1. Download the app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store (or enter your phone number on Current's website to be sent a download link)

  2. Provide personal information including your name, phone number, email address, mailing address, and Social Security number

  3. (Optional) Connect Current to a debit card or bank account to fund your account

After signing up, you will be sent a debit card by mail. Your debit card will arrive by USPS within 7-10 business days.

Luckily, you don't have to wait 7-10 days to start using your account. Current gives you a virtual card that you can add to your digital phone wallet and use while you wait for your physical card to arrive.

Current Features

Intrigued by what Current has to offer? Below, take a look at some of their popular features to know whether Current is the right banking app for you.

1. Instant Cash Deposit

One impressive feature offered by Current is the ability to deposit cash into your account without paying any fees. This is extremely rare in the digital banking world and is usually one of the main drawbacks of banking exclusively online.

How to Deposit Cash with Current:

  1. Log into the app to locate a cash deposit location near you
  2. Tap "View Barcode" from the map
  3. Show the barcode to a cashier at the checkout counter
  4. Give your money to the cashier
  5. Instantly view your money deposited into your account

2. Savings Pods: What are They?

Current offers customers the option to open up "savings pods," which is really just another name for a savings account. Basic Plan customers are limited to one savings pod, but Premium customers can open up to three.

Unfortunately, this is one area where Current falls short.

First, your savings earn no interest. This is uncommon since digital banks are known for offering customers extremely high APY compared to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

Second, other digital banks offer a much higher limit on the number of savings accounts you can open.

For example, Ally customers get up to 10 savings "buckets" within a single account to save for specific goals like a vacation, college tuition, a new car, or emergency fund.

3. Current Teen Account

Current also offers a Teen account for $36 per year (equivalent to $3 per month) billed one time annually. This account helps give parents the ability to teach their children about spending and savings.

With the Teen account, parents can blacklist certain retailers, set spending limits, and automate allowance payments.

Another popular feature offered by Current inside the Teen account is the ability to assign chores and set the payment for each completed chore.

4. Current Gas Hold Removal

When you visit a gas station and pay with a card, a "hold" is typically placed on your account for (usually) $100.

This is because, unlike most point-of-sale transactions, the total amount you are going to spend is unknown until you're done pumping.

For most banks, this hold remains in place for several days until the transaction is finalized.

However, with Current's Premium plan, all gas holds are instantly removed — saving you from the possibility of overdrawing your account before the hold is lifted.

5. Additional Features from Current

Current offers more features that might convince you to open up an account. Review the points below to decide if Current is a good fit for your finances.

Faster direct deposits: If you sign up for a Current Premium account and enroll in direct deposit through the Current app, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier.

Cash back: If you use your Current debit card at one of Current's 14,000 merchant partners, you can earn up to 15x points. These points are redeemable for cash or other items in the Current Shop.

Money management tools: Get insights on your spending habits and patterns on the home screen of Current's mobile app. Current also offers a money tracker and budgeting tools so you can know where your money is going.

Fee-free overdraft: Current's "Overdrive" feature gives you fee free overdraft up to $100. To enroll, you must sign up for a Current Premium account and set up a monthly direct deposit of at least $500/month.

Current Customer Complaints

Current boasts universally high average ratings from customers. Many of the reviews are written by parents who have had a positive experience teaching their children about spending and saving using the Current Teen account.

Rating SourceRating
Google Play Store4.5 stars
Apple Store4.7 stars
Trustpilot4.3 stars

However, one alarming customer complaint seemed to pop up again and again: fraud risk.

Despite the high ratings overall, negative reviews frequently say that fraudulent charges were made on their account and little-to-no help was provided by Current Customer Support.

Representative Negative Review:

"I had my card information used on a transaction and, at the time, they were my financial institution. I locked my card and instantly contacted Current. To be told that I'd have to file a dispute which turned into a 6-month long battle … They have got the science of screwing people down."

— jdubhair31, Apple App Store Review, 10/24/2020

Read More: How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

How to Contact Customer Support

There are two ways to contact customer service for Current.

  • Using the chat feature inside the app, where you will be directed by a chatbot to a human representative
  • Filling out a form on the website and waiting for an email response.

Given the lack of direct lines of communication, it's not surprising that many customers become frustrated with Current customer service when they have issues like suspected identity theft.

However, most simple (and less urgent) questions can be answered with their online FAQ support center.

Current Alternatives

Given the complaints above, you may be curious to hear about alternative options. Below, see how Current compares to other popular apps like Chime, Ally, and Greenlight.

Current vs Chime
Current and Chime are both digital-only banking services offering impressive, modern features that traditional banks don't. This includes earlier direct deposit features, no-fee overdrafts, and "round-ups" to help you add to your savings.

But there are a few areas where Chime outshines Current. Chime's savings account earns 0.50% APY, which is 10x the national average.

Chime also offers a Credit Builder account to help you increase your credit score, and no credit check is required.

However, Chime doesn't offer a Teen account, which makes Current the easy choice for parents who want to help their teens learn financial literacy.

Read more: Chime Review

Current vs Ally Bank
Each offers its own unique set of features, benefits, and drawbacks. This comparison is largely a toss-up depending on what you're looking for.

Ally offers APY on all accounts and the ability to invest money in the market directly from your banking app — while Current offers cash deposits and no overdraft fees up to $100.

CurrentAlly
Savings APY0.50% APY
Checking APY0.10% APY under $15,000; 0.25% APY $15,000 or more
Mobile Check Deposit
Cash Deposits
Early Direct Deposit
Investment Tools
Monthly FeeUp to $4.99FREE
Overdraft FeeFREE$25
Low Balance Fees$0$0

Read more: Ally Bank Review

Current vs Greenlight
Current is geared toward teenagers and their parents while Greenlight focuses primarily on younger children, approximately elementary school age.

Both apps offer similar features and parental controls like transaction monitoring, spending limits, chore rewards, and the ability to blacklist certain retailers.

The primary differences between Greenlight and Current are the price point and the ability of Greenlight users to invest money in the stock market. Current charges $36 for their teen account per year compared to $59.88 per year for Greenlight.

The Bottom Line: Is Current Worth It?

Overall, Current does offer a nice suite of features that would make it a good choice for those wanting a simple banking platform.

It's among the only digital banking app that offers free cash deposits. Plus, it has great overdraft protection, a user-friendly mobile app, and the impressive instant gas-hold removal feature.

From customer reviews, it seems Current could stand improve their customer service and security. Given the recent capital funding of $220M, it seems promising that these issues could be addressed soon.

References

  1. ^ "Difference between Premium and Basic": Current Support, 2021.
  2. ^ "Teen Banking": Current, 2021.
Chase
Member FDIC

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CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Money Market Account - 0.45% APY

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HSBC Bank
Member FDIC

HSBC Premier Checking - $450 Welcome Deposit

Expires 1/5/2022
  • Get a $450 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open a new HSBC Premier checking account and complete the following qualifying activities.
  • Open your new HSBC Premier checking account online by January 5, 2022; and
  • Make recurring monthly Qualifying Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 from a third party to your HSBC Premier checking account(s) for 3 consecutive calendar months from the second full calendar month after account opening.
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Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Discover Online Savings - $200 Cash Bonus

To get your $150 or $200 Bonus: What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account, online or by phone. Enter Offer Code CY21 when applying. Deposit into your account a total of at least $15,000 to earn a $150 Bonus or deposit a total of at least $25,000 to earn a $200 Bonus. Deposit must be posted to account within 30 days of account open date. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers or existing or prior customers with savings accounts that are co-branded, or affinity accounts provided by Discover. Eligibility is based on primary account owner. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account within 30 days of the account qualifying for the bonus. Bonus is interest and subject to reporting on Form 1099-INT. Offer ends 12/15/21, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

Expires 12/15/2021

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