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When considering banks, millennials are increasingly asking: What’s in it for me?
According to a Deloitte study, young financial consumers expect incentives when selecting a bank or financial product.
I like this mentality.
If your financial provider isn’t getting it done, it’s probably a good idea to explore your options.
One up-and-comer is Current Bank, which is a popular mobile banking service with some unique features.
Let’s take a look at what Current Bank has to offer and see if it’s a good fit for your personal financial situation.
What Is Current Bank?
Current Bank is part of a new class of online-only banks, which operate without any brick-and-mortar locations. You can access Current over an Android or iOS device or through a browser.
As it turns out, Current Bank isn’t technically a bank. It’s a financial technology or fintech provider. The company is backed by Metropolitan Commercial Bank and Choice Financial Group, which is an FDIC-insured financial institution.
To date, Current Bank has racked up roughly $402 million in funding. It operates out of New York.
Get started with Current Bank
Top Features of Current Bank
Visa debit card
Not all online banks issue debit cards, so it’s significant that Current does.
So if you go out to a restaurant or a ballgame, you’ll be able to use your Current Bank debit card the same as you would when using a Bank of America or Wells Fargo card.
Teen and child banking
Looking for a debit card for your kids? Current Bank has a solution for that, with debit cards for children and teenagers.
As the parent or caregiver, you remain in full control of the account. For example, you can place spending limits, block certain merchants, and receive notifications about when and where your child’s card is being used.
Debit card rewards
Current offers a unique points system for cardholders. You can earn up to fifteen points on standard debit card purchases at more than 14,000 merchants.
Current makes it easy to find offers around town. All you have to do is look at the company’s mobile map and find a nearby deal. After that, simply buy something at the participating retailer and you’ll receive points.
To get to $1, you need to rack up 100 points. So, it’s not the most lucrative system.
If you’re looking for real rewards, you’re better off finding a top cash back credit card.
In addition to a physical debit card, Current also provides a virtual card. You can add this card to Google Pay or Apple Pay.
A virtual card is convenient because it lets you move money back and forth between physical and digital spending. You can also pause the card at any time if you need a gut check on your finances.
Depositing cash and checks can be tricky when online banking. Most online banks make you deposit money into a third-party checking account and transfer the money into your account. This is inconvenient and takes extra time.
Current offers a workaround. The company partners with more than 60,000 stores — including popular destinations like 7-Eleven and CVS. So you can deposit a paycheck or make a cash transaction and pick up some roller dogs while you’re at it.
Current lets you deposit up to $500 per transaction and $1,000 per day, up to $10,000 per month.
To make a deposit, simply tell the cashier your intentions. Then pull up a barcode in the app, have the cashier scan it, and collect a receipt.
Current Bank offers access to more than 55,000 ATMs through the Allpoint network. That being the case, locating one shouldn’t be an issue. All you have to do is pull up the app, click on the ATM locator, and head over to the nearest one.
Does Current let you deposit cash through an ATM?
Unfortunately, you can only make withdrawals through Current’s ATM network. If you want to make a deposit, you have to visit an in-network retailer. You also can’t deposit checks.
Hate going into banks to complete transactions? That won’t be an issue at Current because the experience is entirely mobile.
All you need is an Android or iOS device and you can download and use the Current app to manage your mobile banking needs.
Current offers a useful budgeting tool that shows where your money is going and how much you have left to spend (depending on the budget limits you set).
That being said, if you’re looking for a top-rated budgeting app that can track all of your accounts and spending, you should probably check out YNAB or Goodbudget.
Overdrive is Current Bank’s version of overdraft protection.
To access it, you need to enroll in a Premium account and receive at least $500 via direct deposit each month.
You’ll start with $25 of overdraft protection. If you want more, you’ll have to ask the bank for a review. If your financial profile is strong enough, it’s possible to receive up to $100 of coverage. If you go over this amount, your purchase will decline.
Current Bank’s savings pods can help you put money aside for rainy day emergency funds or your next vacation.
The feature offers a round-up component, which rounds up all payments to the nearest dollar and puts the remaining balance toward the savings goal of your choice.
Current Bank Pricing & Fees
It’s completely free to sign up for a Current Bank account, and there’s no minimum opening deposit or minimum balance requirement.
As for fees, the good news is that there are no monthly maintenance fees, which many traditional banks charge.
Here’s a rundown of the fees you do have to keep in mind.
Cash deposit fee
There’s a $3.50 fee to deposit cash in your account through a partner retailer, which is a bit steep.
To avoid this fee, you’ll have to deposit money into another bank account and transfer it over.
The bottom line here is that if you frequently need to deposit cash, Current is probably not the best choice.
Gas station hold fee
When you use your Current debit card at a gas station, you may have to temporarily pay more than the amount of gas you actually purchased. This is called a gas station hold fee.
For example, you may pump $20 worth of gas, but the gas station will temporarily hold $50.
You can receive an instant refund through Current’s paid plan. Customers who use the free plan will have to wait for the transaction to clear, which can be frustrating.
Pro tip: Avoid a gas station hold fee by paying for gas in cash or on a credit card.
Teen account fee
Adding a child to your plan will cost $36 per year.
Foreign transaction fees
The Current debit card is not the one you want to use when traveling abroad due to a 3% transaction fee on purchases made outside of the United States.
Current Basic vs. Current Premium
Current Bank offers a free plan and a Premium model with a few extra perks.
Current Basic account (Free)
- Free debit card
- 1 savings pod
- Single budget category
- Spending insights
- Instant purchase notifications
- No overdraft fees
- Direct deposit
- ATM withdrawals
Current Premium ($4.99 per month)
- Premium debit card
- Three savings pods
- Early direct deposit access — two days early
- Spending insights
- Instant refund for gas station holds
- No overdraft fees
- Expanded budgeting with three categories
- ATM withdrawals
What’s better: Current Basic or Current Premium?
As you can see, the two accounts are pretty similar.
Early deposit is a nice feature due to the time value of money. In other words, money is worth more today than its equal sum tomorrow. But since the Premium plan costs $4.99 per month, that basically negates its value.
It’s also hard to justify the paid model, considering there are free budgeting apps that can work with Current — like Mint and Personal Capital. And again, you can avoid gas station holds by paying in cash or with a credit card.
So in my opinion, you should probably stick with the free plan.
Always remember: It’s the small purchases that often lead to overspending. At first glance, $4.99 doesn’t seem like a lot. But it can add up over time.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Since Current is a mobile app, you’ll need a smartphone to use it. You can use this app with an Android or iOS device, and the phone needs to be able to receive text messages.
In addition, you’ll need some basic information including a Social Security number and a residential address in the United States.
To start, download the app and go through the signup process. Once you’re in, you’ll have access to a thirty-day trial that enables you to gauge whether you like the service for free.
Refer someone to Current Bank, and the company will give you a $1 bonus.
This referral fee is on the lower side compared to other banks. For example, SoFi Money offers $10 referral fees. And the Altra Federal Credit Union pays you $50 for referring someone — and $150 to the person who signs up.
Your personal network, and your advice, have a lot of value. If you sign someone up for a banking service, you should receive adequate compensation. Look around and explore your options before recommending someone.
Current Bank signup bonus
Current Bank now has a $50 bonus when you receive a payroll direct deposit of $200 or more within forty-five days of opening the account.
Use the code WELCOME50 to access this promotion. This is only for new Premium members.
Once again, Current’s bonus leaves much to be desired. If you’re looking for a legit signup bonus, check out the following banks:
- PNC Bank ($300 bonus for Virtual Wallet)
- TD Bank ($300 bonus for TD Beyond Checking)
- KeyBank ($200 bonus for Key Smart Checking)
- Chase ($225 for Chase Total Checking)
Get started with Current Bank
Current Bank Security
Feeling unsure about mobile banking? That’s understandable. But rest assured, Current Bank is an app that you can trust.
Here’s a breakdown of some of Current’s security features.
Secure bank connections
The company offers private and secure bank connections to third-party institutions. In other words, you can safely transfer money from companies like Wells Fargo and Chase.
Current Bank provides EMV chips for its debit cards to prevent data skimming at terminals and ATMs. With Current, you can bank with peace of mind.
Fingerprint and face ID
Want to use biometric features to protect your account? Current Bank supports fingerprint and face ID for extra security.
Pause and resume transactions
We all lose our wallets or debit cards from time to time. It happens to the best of us, and Current Bank has you covered. Simply sign into the app and lock your card. You can resume at any time without penalty.
Customer Service and Support
Current Bank does not have a phone number on its website that you can contact. If you prefer phone support as I do, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Instead, the company asks you to submit tickets through its support center. There’s also a live chat feature on the website.
Thankfully, chat agents are available 24/7.
Pros and Cons of Current Bank
- Well rated mobile app
- Fee-free cash withdrawals at more than 55,000 ATMs
- No monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements
- Teen banking option is a solid choice for kids
- Fees to deposit cash
- No mobile check deposit
- $500 maximum daily ATM withdrawal limit
- No physical branches
- No customer support phone number
Alternatives to Current Bank
Ally Bank: Best overall online bank
Ally Bank is a popular online bank offering industry-leading rates for checking, savings, CDs, and IRAs.
At the time of writing, Ally offers interest checking at 0.10% APY and 0.25% APY for balances over $25,000.
The company provides a user-friendly app with no account minimums or monthly maintenance fees.
Chime: Best mobile experience
Chime is a popular mobile banking app.
This service provides early payments through direct deposit and fee-free overdraft protection up to $200 — that’s $100 more than you can get from Current Bank.
Chime has no hidden fees and offers a high-yield savings account with a 0.50% APY.
The company has a smaller ATM network than Current, with over 38,000 ATMs.
Aspiration also offers no ATM fees through its Allpoint affiliation, and you can receive your paycheck two days early through direct deposit.
The company has a hybrid cash account offering 10% cashback on some purchases and up to 1% APY through an Aspiration Plus subscription. Right now, there is a welcome bonus of $200.
One thing to note about Aspiration is the company’s commitment to sustainability. According to the company, savings and debit card purchases won’t be used to fund the oil or coal industries. The company also offers a “Plant Your Change” feature to offset carbon emissions.
Current Bank FAQs
Is Current Bank popular?
Current Bank ranks very highly in the Google Play and App Store with a rating of 4.5 stars and 4.7 stars, respectively. Props to the company, because it’s not easy to earn such a high rating — especially for a financial services company.
Is Current Bank worth it?
It depends if you’re looking for interest or flexibility.
Current Bank doesn’t offer interest. However, the app is secure and flexible with fee-free ATM access and no account minimums.
You might want to choose Current Bank if you’re looking for an affordable and convenient app and you’re willing to forego accumulating any interest.
Is Current Bank safe?
Yes. Current Bank is safe and reliable. The company has a user base of 3 million customers and high ratings in the Google Play and App Stores. It’s a trustworthy online bank, and it has FDIC insurance from its backers (Metropolitan Commercial Bank and Choice Financial Group).
Does Current Bank offer interest?
No. Current Bank doesn’t offer interest for its checking accounts. Instead, the company provides a points-based cashback program that rewards spending.
The Bottom Line
Current Bank is an interesting newcomer in the competitive online bank landscape. With low to no fees and a slick mobile app, it should serve as a solid checking solution for many.
However, if you frequently need to deposit cash or checks or like to call your bank for customer support, you should probably think twice before opening a Current account.
At the end of the day, the world is your oyster. There are tons of mobile banking options to explore, and Current Bank is just one of them.
Look around and select the best bank for your needs. You’re bound to find one that fits and starts you on the path to prosperity.
Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.