ChimpChange was founded in 2012 with the goal of providing no-cost banking to millions of Americans. the ChimpChange app offers several money management tools that might appeal especially to consumers who don’t have a bank, or who want a cheap way to send money to friends or family.
Apple and Android smartphone users can download the app and sign up for an account. Users without a smartphone can access the features online. Along with your ChimpChange account, you’ll receive a ChimpChange Mastercard. The Mastercard is a prepaid debit card that allows you to make payments from your ChimpChange bank account.
You can load money into your bank account with no fee from another bank account or as a direct deposit from your employer. Alternatively, you can add money to your account for a fee through a money transfer agent like Western Union, 7-11, CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Kmart, or Rite Aid. Using the Ingo Money check cashing service, you can also deposit checks that you receive into your ChimpChange account.
Once you have funded your ChimpChange account, you can use your prepaid Mastercard just like you would any other debit card. You can use your Mastercard to pay for purchases in person or online as well as access cash at an ATM.
You can also use ChimpChange to send money to anyone else who has an account. The ChimpChange app allows you to transfer up to $500 per day to other account holders using their phone number. Transferring cash to users through ChimpChange is free, and the money is immediately available in their account.
Since the company’s mission is to provide no-cost banking services, most of the features of your ChimpChange account are completely free. There isn’t a fee to open an account, and there are no fees to add money to your account through direct deposit or another bank account. There aren’t fees to use your ChimpChange Mastercard for payments, ChimpChange doesn’t charge ATM fees, and sending money to other users is also free.
There are fees, however, for some of the account features. Generally, these fees are related to the costs ChimpChange incurs from another party involved in the transaction. For example, there is a fee of $4.95 associated with funding your account through a money transfer service (such as Western Union, Walmart, etc.) because of the transaction costs from those other parties.
While ChimpChange does not charge a fee when you access cash through an ATM, your transaction may be subject to fees from the network or financial institution that owns the ATM.
Likewise, there is a processing fee associated with depositing money into your account from a check using the Ingo Money service. ChimpChange charges a service fee of 2 percent for payroll and government checks with a pre-printed signature and a 5 percent fee for all other accepted checks. There is a $6 minimum service fee per check.
Benefits of ChimpChange
The main benefit of ChimpChange is that it offers a low-cost banking option to anyone with an Apple or Android smartphone. It also provides a free and easy way to send cash to friends and family.
One of the other benefits is the option to enable automatic round-ups. When you make a purchase using your ChimpChange debit card, the amount of the purchase automatically rounds up to the next dollar. So if you buy something for $7.50, ChimpChange will deduct $8 from your account and move 50 cents into your round-up account. Although the money is set aside into a sub-account, you can transfer it back to your regular account and use it at any time.
The ChimpChange app also lets you track your monthly spending by category with a graphical view of your monthly income and expenses.
Downsides of ChimpChange
Some users may find that their current financial institution provides many of the same features at a lower cost. For example, some financial institutions provide similar mobile banking apps that allow users to manage their accounts from their phones and even deposit checks for free through their app. They may waive ATM fees and provide a free debit card attached to the bank account.
Reviews on the Android app were mixed. Some users reported problems accessing their money, long wait times to talk to a customer service rep, or having their card declined for a sale despite having funds in the account.
If your account is inactive for 12 months, ChimpChange will close the account and charge you $10. Also, the service isn’t available in Vermont, Connecticut, or New Hampshire. If you move to one of those states and already have an account, ChimpChange might close your account and return your money to you. Finally, if you choose to use its check-cashing service, it could take up to 10 days to get the money.
ChimpChange provides a lower-cost mobile banking option that could be helpful to users who can’t meet the minimum balance or direct deposit requirements for a traditional bank. In addition, ChimpChange is an easy and free way for users to send cash directly to other users. Others, however, may find that the extra fees are excessive compared to the features their current checking account provides.