Varo Bank Review

In an era where all things have moved towards digitization, online banking is more attractive than ever. A recent Forbes review gives an in-depth view of an all-digital, neobank called Varo Bank. Varo stands out amongst its contemporaries with its array of benefits such as no monthly fees, competitive interest rates, and easy-to-use digital banking apps.

Launched in July 2020, Varo has been trailblazing in the U.S. banking sector. Varo is one of the first mobile-centric banks in the country to win a national bank charter, which ensures account protection up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. This distinguishing feature itself gives Varo a credible hold in the market.

Varo offers two types of accounts: Varo Bank Account (Checking account) and Varo Savings Account. Both are free of minimum balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees. The Varo Bank Account provides access to a network of over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs, ensuring easy cash access to its users.

Varo Savings account is especially noteworthy for its high annual percentage yield (APY). While the base APY is 0.20%, customers can earn up to 3.00% APY if they fulfill conditions like direct deposits of $1,000 per month, maintaining a savings account balance of $5,000 or less, and limiting debit card purchases to five per month. The high APY is a compelling feature that helps Varo’s customers grow their savings exponentially.

The mobile banking app is the backbone of Varo Bank. It offers a multitude of features aimed at enhancing user experience and providing convenience. Apart from basic transactions like depositing checks digitally, paying bills, and transferring money, the app also provides money management tools to enhance financial literacy among its users. Personalized budgeting and savings tools, automated saving, and cash flow projections are some of its useful features that help customers understand and manage their finances better.

Furthermore, through its unique tool, ‘Varo Advance,’ Varo provides small instant cash advances up to $100, acting as a minor credit tool. Customers can also opt for direct deposit and receive their salaries up to two days earlier, a feature common among several digital banking platforms. It also has strong customer support through phone and email, which is a crucial aspect of any digital service.

Varo Bank’s Pros & Cons

Based on Varo Back’s reviews and comments from its users, it has the following pros and cons:

Pros

  • No monthly fee and no minimum balance

It doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees and it doesn’t require a minimum balance. Customers have more mobility and flexibility to transfer the money without worried about the amount of money in the account is lower than the requirement. 

  • 3% APY saving account

It offers the highest APY I have seen so far. Compared to the national average APY, 0.07%, for saving accounts, the Varo Bank provides an attractive rate for customers to save and invest money. The Varo Bank does have a tiered rate: 2.8% rate for saving up to $50,000, 1.61% rate for all other balances if requirements are satisfied.

  • No hidden fee

Varo Bank promises that there is no other hidden fee that you need to pay at the end of the month. All changing fees are transparent and easy to check via the app. It is no necessary to worried about hidden fees. 

  • No Foreign transactions fees

Compared to other visa cards from famous bank, it is customer-friendly. Not only because it offers high APY, but also it waives several major fees. As long as the place you travel accepts Visa, you can use a Varo Visa card without being charged an extra fee. 

  • No fees at over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs

You can withdraw money for free from over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs in the United States. Withdraw money is accessible for Varo’s customers all over the United State. 

  • Varo Bank account is FDIC-insured

Although Varo Bank is a digital bank, it is safe and secure enough because any customers’ deposits are FDIC insured to over $250,000.

Cons 

  • No physical checkbook

Same to other digital online banking systems, Varo Bank does not provide checkbooks. You can only use online checkbooks for financial records.

  • Cash deposits fee

Since Varo bank is an online digital banking system and does not provide any brick and mortar branches, the only way to deposit your cash directly to your account is by adding money through third-party services or other retailers such as CVS or Walgreens, which cost you about $5 each transaction.

  • No Zelle

Varo Bank is not listed on the Zelle list. However, some customers have been able to successfully link their card to Zelle. It’s not safe to try to link with Zelle because it might spend more time to solve the problem if it doesn’t work.  

Minimum Checking/Saving account Requirement

Varo Bank implements a no-minimum policy, which means there is no minimum balance requirement to open the bank account.  Compared to the other banks like Chase and Bank of America, your money will be more flexible in Varo Bank.

Fees

Overdraft Fee

Basically, it provides an overdraft fee-free policy with customers who are qualified. Once you qualify, you have the flexibility to overdraw up to $50 on any transaction without call Varo bank. Here are two requirements:

  • Make more than 5 qualifying Varo Visa Debit Card purchases in each calendar month;
  • Receive payroll or direct deposits more than $1,000 into your Varo Bank Account in the same calendar month;

Wire Transfer Fee

It is still developing more services. The wire transfer on both domestic and international are currently unavailable with Varo Bank. 

Foreign Transaction Fee

Many banks charge you about a 3% foreign transaction fee for each purchase but the Varo Bank does not charge you any foreign transaction fee when you travel with your Varo debit card. You can use the Varo debit card everywhere as long as Visa is accepted and you do not have to worry about the extra fee for it.

Customer Service 

Call customer service is really a pain because people have to wait like a century. But Varo Bank changes the calling experience. It has nice and professional customer service agents who stand by 24/7. It is no need to wait for a long time to solve your problems. Most reviews are positive. The customer service number is 800-827-6526.

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