An unfortunate truth about the financial services industry is that certain groups of people are underserved. Times have changed, and things are getting better, but very few providers cater to marginalized communities.
This brings us to Daylight Bank — the first platform of its kind that strives to provide high-quality banking services to the LGBTQ+ community.
Daylight does more than send inspiring emails during Pride Month, unlike most traditional banks. It was created by and is intended for LGBTQ+ people.
In this post, I’ll cover everything we know so far about Daylight. To start, here’s the backstory about how Daylight began and where it’s going.
What is Daylight Bank?
Daylight is a New York City-based fintech company that launched in 2020. It’s led by co-founders Rob Curtis and Billie Simmons.
Curtis, a gay man, and Simmons, a transgender woman, previously worked on other LGBT-focused startups. Their goal is for Daylight to meet the specific banking needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
At the moment, Daylight is still in beta, but it claims to have thousands of people on its waitlist.
Daylight Bank Features
To give you an idea of what that launch will look like, here are all of the features that Daylight promises so far.
Daylight offers a single app-based bank account. It’s intended to fill the roles of both a checking and savings account and helps you budget and set long-term goals. You can also add to your savings account through debit card round-ups. Since the platform is still in beta, we don’t have any info on app functionality just yet. I’ll keep you posted on any initial impressions as it rolls out.
Daylight Visa Debit Card
The Daylight debit card is provided by its FDIC-insure banking partner, MetaBank. The card works anywhere Visa is accepted and is compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also choose the name that appears on your card, no matter what your ID says. This is an especially powerful feature for non-binary and trans people or anyone whose preferred name might not be the one that appears on their legal ID.
Free ATM Withdrawals
Daylight offers one free in-network ATM withdrawal per calendar month. After that, there’s a $0.57 fee per withdrawal.
Early Direct Deposit
Cash Back Rewards
Keeping in line with its overall motto, Daylight offers up to 10% cash back when shopping with LGBTQ+ aligned businesses. We’re still waiting to hear which businesses will qualify and how the cash back system will work. But Daylight assures us that thousands of merchants will net cash back for its members.
Daylight is community-driven from the ground up. The app encourages users to share their goals and seek out advice from experts when the time is right. Within the app, you can easily access money-related content for the LGBTQ+ community.
Daylight also comes with access to dedicated financial coaching. All of its coaches go through a three-step vetting process (including a session with the CEO). This resource helps Daylight users improve their relationship with money and create better habits.
Pay It Forward
As Daylight it builds up its user base, it intends to put its profits to good use. For every new user who signs up by March 31, 2022, Daylight has pledged to donate $10 to charity (up to $100,000). I would like to see more banks follow suit.
Daylight Bank Pricing and Fees
Since the core of Daylight’s platform is to make banking accessible, it plans to keep costs low. There are no monthly maintenance fees or balance requirements, and it’s transparent about any fees that it does have.
Daylight plans to include just two fees when it rolls out, although more info on pricing is coming.
- ATM Fees: Your first in-network withdrawal per month is always free with Daylight. After that, there’s a $0.57 fee for each additional one. If you go out of network, you’ll pay whatever the ATM charges, and Daylight does not reimburse these costs.
- International Fees: Daylight is not the best card to use when traveling abroad because international transactions come with a 3% fee of your total spend. If you’re planning to travel, my advice is to only use your Daylight card to take out cash. Use a travel rewards credit card for everyday spending.
You can’t sign up for an account or download the app yet, but you can join the waitlist at joindaylight.com. All you need is an email address, and Daylight will let you know when it’s ready to accept members.
Daylight is available to all US citizens who are 18 and older with a valid Social Security number. The company’s top priority is to serve the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community, but allies are welcome to join as well.
Daylight Bank Promotions
Currently, Daylight is offering a $10 charitable donation for new sign-ups, up to the first $100,000. There are no cash back or sign-up bonuses available for new bankers.
This is subject to change, so I’ll keep you updated as we get more information.
Daylight Bank Security
Daylight operates on a secure digital platform that places the protection of your money and data at the forefront. Here are some of the security features that come with every account:
- TLS 256-bit encryption
- FDIC insurance through MetaBank
- Instant card freezing
- Instant transaction reporting
Since Daylight isn’t yet widely available, we don’t have much information on its customer service approach.
What we do know is that your options are to contact support through the app or via email (email@example.com). Other options, like a customer service phone number, are likely to come with the launch.
Pros & Cons
- Designed specifically for the LGBTQ+ community
- Very few fees
- Financial coaching included
- Cash back rewards
- No APY
- Still in beta
- Limited free withdrawals
- No sign-up bonus
Alternatives to Daylight Bank
As mentioned earlier, Daylight is very much the only bank of its kind (that particularly serves the LGBTQ+ population).
That said, there are a few alternative neobanks out there that offer a similar to product to a specific customer type. Let’s take a look at two of the more popular ones.
Cheese is a neobank designed for members and allies of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities. It’s free to sign up and use, and members earn extra cash back when they support Asian-owned businesses. Cheese also comes with a competitive APY and a $5 sign-up bonus.
Atmos Financial is a banking option for those looking to combat climate change. Your deposits will never fund projects that hurt the environment, and Atmos rewards its users for climate-conscious purchases.
Who owns Daylight Bank?
Daylight is owned by its co-founders Rob Curtis (CEO) and Bille Simmons (COO). To our knowledge, it is not owned by a larger bank — at least not yet.
Is Daylight a good bank?
We don’t have much information about Daylight Bank’s functionality since it’s still in beta. But there’s plenty to be excited about — especially if you’re close with the LGBTQ+ community. Daylight offers a unique approach to online banking and comes with plenty of modern features.
Is Daylight legit?
Yes, Daylight is a legitimate digital banking platform. Most importantly, it’s backed by MetaBank, which is a member-FDIC financial institution.
Is Daylight Bank Right For You?
It’s not easy finding a financial partner that truly gets you. Big banks tend to treat their customers as numbers, and they rarely show more than superficial support for any particular cause.
But alas, there’s Daylight at the end of the tunnel. The company was founded by LGBT millennials and has no plans to be a contributor to the status quo.
We still have a lot to learn about Daylight, but it’s definitely a newcomer to keep an eye on. I’ll keep informed about any updates as the platform launches.