Introduction to Varo Bank
If you’re looking for a banking alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, Varo Bank may be the solution you’ve been seeking. In this 2023 Varo Bank reviews, we’ll explore the bank’s features, benefits, and drawbacks, providing valuable insights for those who want to streamline their finances.
Varo’s Unique Proposition
Varo is a digital bank known for its cutting-edge technology and innovative online features. It offers both checking and savings accounts, accompanied by a range of online tools designed to improve your financial well-being. The bank stands out with exceptional customer service, a user-friendly mobile app, and minimal fees, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a straightforward financial solution.
Varo’s Key Features
Here are some of the highlights that make Varo Bank distinctive:
Varo is at the forefront of the digital banking revolution. Its mobile app and online tools make managing your finances a breeze.
No Minimum Balance
With Varo, you won’t be burdened by minimum balance requirements. This means your money is truly at your disposal.
No Monthly Fees
Say goodbye to those pesky monthly fees that traditional banks impose. Varo understands the importance of fee-free banking.
Savings Account Overview
Varo offers a high-yield savings account that is FDIC-insured, ensuring the safety of your deposits. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect from Varo’s savings account:
The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on Varo’s savings account is highly competitive, making it an attractive option for your savings goals.
Automated Savings Tools
Varo includes two impressive tools to help you bolster your savings:
- Save Your Pay: Automatically transfers a percentage of your direct deposit paycheck into your savings account.
- Save Your Change: Rounds up transactions from your checking account to the nearest dollar, saving the extra change in your savings.
Checking Account Overview
Varo’s online checking account is another fantastic offering. Let’s dive into its core features:
No Monthly Fees
You won’t find any monthly maintenance fees with Varo’s checking account, making it accessible for everyone.
Early Direct Deposit
Varo’s early direct deposit feature ensures you have access to your funds up to two days earlier, making your financial life more convenient.
For added flexibility, Varo offers Varo Advance, allowing customers to access up to $100 in cash directly through the mobile app. There’s no interest, but a small fixed fee applies, based on the amount borrowed.
Pros and Cons
Like any financial institution, Varo has its pros and cons:
- No minimum deposit or balance requirements.
- Competitive APY on savings accounts.
- Unique savings tools to help you grow your wealth.
- Chat support is available seven days a week.
- Cash deposits are limited to third-party retailers, which may charge a fee.
- Varo doesn’t offer money market accounts or certificates of deposit.
- High-yield savings accounts are only available to checking account holders.
- Varo doesn’t facilitate wire transfers.
- 24/7 customer service isn’t available.
Founded in 2015, Varo Bank’s primary mission is to provide banking services to individuals who have historically faced barriers due to financial inequality. In 2020, Varo achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first fintech company to secure a full-service bank charter from the federal government.
Varo Bank Products
Varo offers a select range of deposit products, ensuring you enjoy a hassle-free banking experience. Here’s a brief overview:
Varo Checking Account
Varo’s online checking account, known as the Varo Bank Account, stands out with no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements. To open an account, you need a government-issued ID and a Social Security number. Varo promotes early access to direct deposit payments, often making funds available sooner than traditional banks.
Varo Savings Account
The Varo savings account boasts a competitive APY, catering to both the diligent saver and the average depositor. You can open an account with no minimum deposit and no monthly fees. Plus, Varo offers a significantly higher APY if you meet specific criteria.
To provide customers with greater financial flexibility, Varo introduced Varo Advance. This program offers instant access to up to $250 in cash via the mobile app, with no interest charged, but a small fee applies based on the amount borrowed. Varo customers can have only one outstanding advance at a time.
Varo’s Believe program is designed to help account holders build their credit. The Varo Believe Secured Credit Card doesn’t require a minimum security deposit, annual fee, or APR. Your credit limit depends on your available balance in your Varo Believe Secured Account, offering flexibility for financial growth. Varo reports your payment history to major credit bureaus, and you can track your credit score’s progress in the Varo mobile app.
Access on the Go
Banking with Varo is not only convenient but secure as well. With a Visa debit card, you can access your account with ease, whether for purchases, cash withdrawals, or deposits. Here’s what you need to know about accessing your Varo Bank Account on the go:
- The Varo debit card can be added to your Apple Pay or Google Pay mobile wallet.
- There’s a $1,000 daily cash withdrawal limit from ATMs.
- Varo provides access to over 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs for surcharge-free cash withdrawals, with additional options for cashback at store registers.
- Depositing cash is easy at more than 90,000 Green Dot Reload@theRegister retail locations.
- If you have direct deposit set up, you can also deposit checks via the mobile app.
- The highly-rated Varo app is available for both iOS and Android, offering a seamless banking experience with advanced security features.
- If your card is misplaced, you can instantly lock it from the Varo app to prevent unauthorized use. Replacement cards are sent by USPS at no cost, with expedited shipping available for $25.
Varo Bank Fees
When it comes to fees, Varo Bank keeps them to a minimum. Here’s an overview of the fees you can expect:
- Monthly maintenance: $0
- Foreign transactions: $0
- Cash deposits via third-party money transfer services: Up to $5.95
Varo Bank ATM Fees
Varo’s ATM fees are designed to be consumer-friendly:
- In-network (Allpoint) ATMs: $0
- Out-of-network (non-Allpoint) ATMs: $3 per transaction
Varo Bank Overdraft Fees
Varo stands out by not charging overdraft fees, providing you with a more financially secure banking experience.
- Overdraft: $0
- Typical overdraft fees at other banks: $30-$35
Varo Bank Wire Transfer Fee
Varo doesn’t currently offer wire transfer services, which is something to consider if you frequently need this service.
How Varo Compares to Other Banks
Varo Bank has received recognition for its offerings, including being named the “Best Overall Savings Account” by Forbes Advisor. However, it’s essential to compare Varo with other banking options to determine if it’s the right fit for your financial needs.
Varo vs. Chime
Chime is another strong player in the digital banking arena, offering both a checking account and a savings account within a highly-rated mobile app. Chime’s checking account provides early direct deposit, fee-free ATM withdrawals, and generous overdraft protection. It also partners with Walgreens for in-store cash deposits and allows mobile check deposits.
Varo vs. Ally
Ally Bank offers a more extensive range of products, including savings accounts, interest-bearing checking accounts, money market accounts, and CDs. Ally provides fee-free access to Allpoint ATMs, offers reimbursement for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, and features an overdraft protection program called “CoverDraft.” However, Ally doesn’t accept cash deposits.
Varo vs. SoFi
SoFi offers a combination of checking and savings accounts. You can’t open one without the other. SoFi’s interest rates are competitive, and it provides early direct deposit, fee-free ATM withdrawals, and an automated savings program. However, you’ll need to use third-party retailers for cash deposits, and overdraft protection is limited to those with direct deposits.
Varo Bank Experience
Varo’s customer service is available seven days a week, providing support during the week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time. You can also reach out to them via email.
The Varo mobile app consistently receives high ratings from users on iOS and Android devices. It offers full account access, tools, and features, along with the convenience of instantly locking your card if it’s lost or stolen.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are answers to some common questions about Varo Bank:
Is Varo a real bank?
Yes, Varo Bank is a legitimate bank that received a national bank charter in 2020. It is FDIC-insured, offering protection for your deposits.
Is Varo FDIC insured?
Yes, Varo Bank is FDIC-insured, ensuring that your deposits are protected by the federal government in the event of a bank failure.
What happens if someone steals my card or card information?
Varo debit cards have Visa Zero Liability, protecting you from unauthorized purchases. You can also lock your card instantly from the Varo app if it’s lost or stolen.
Does Varo have branches?
No, Varo is an online-only bank, offering convenience without the need for physical branches.
Are checking and savings the only accounts Varo offers?
While Varo’s primary offerings are checking and savings accounts, they have introduced additional products like the Varo Advance program and the Varo Believe Secured Credit Card.
Who owns Varo Bank?
Colin Walsh is the founder and CEO of Varo Bank. The company has garnered significant investments from various notable sources, including Lone Pine Capital, Warburg Pincus, Berkshire Partners, and The Rise Fund.
How much can you withdraw from Varo Bank?
With Varo Bank, you can withdraw up to $1,000 from an ATM per day, making it a practical choice for your daily financial needs.
Varo Bank offers a compelling digital banking experience with a range of features, competitive rates, and minimal fees. Whether you’re new to online banking or looking to simplify your financial life, Varo’s offerings are worth considering for your banking.
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