Varo Bank is a neobank that was founded in 2015. Originally starting out as a fintech company that partnered with The Bancorp Bank, Varo acquired its own national banking charter in 2020.
This means that while other digital banks rely on a chartered bank to provide their accounts and insurance, Varo is able to operate independently.
With more than six million customers nationwide, Varo is one of the largest neobanks in the US.
In this post, we’ll cover everything that Varo has to offer, from its banking products to its customer service and support.
Let’s get started with what banking products Varo has to offer.
Varo Bank Account
The Varo Bank account is a fee-free checking account that has no minimum balance requirements.
The account comes with a Varo Visa debit card enabled with contactless debit card purchases, or use your digital wallet whether you’re on iOS or Android.
There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can send money between other Varo accounts for free.
The Varo app easily connects with apps like Venmo or to external accounts for easy transfers.
There’s no minimum deposit requirement to open a new account, so even if you’re starting from scratch, you can sign up.
Varo Savings Account
Varo Savings is a high-yield savings account that comes with the tools and rates to help you build your account balance over the long term.
There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.
At the moment, the standard annual percentage yield (APY) for the account is 3.00%, which is fairly high if you’re familiar with typical online banking rates.
However, Varo’s bonus rate now earns at 5.00% on balances up to $5,000 with qualifying requirements.
Here’s what you’ll need to do in each statement period to get it:
- Receive direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more
- Keep both your Bank Account and Savings Account balances above $0.00
Additional balances above $5,000 will earn Varo’s base 3.00% APY.
Varo Savings Tools
To help you work toward your savings goals, Varo offers a couple of useful savings tools called Save Your Pay and Save Your Change.
Save Your Pay automatically takes a percentage of each direct deposit and transfers it to your savings account. You choose what the percentage is, and you can change it at any time.
With Save Your Change, Varo rounds every debit card transaction up to the nearest dollar and drops the remainder into your savings.
Varo Believe is a program designed to help customers build up their credit.
It comes with a credit card and a linked Varo Believe Secured Account, which provides a low-risk opportunity to give your credit score a boost.
How Varo Believe Works
A Varo Believe credit card has no monthly or annual fees, no APR, and no up-front security deposit.
You’ll be eligible to apply when you open a Varo Bank account and set up a direct deposit.
When you spend with your Believe credit card, funds are automatically transferred to your Varo Believe Secured Account, which will be used to pay off your credit card balance each month automatically.
Varo then reports your on-time payments to major credit bureaus, and your score can grow over time.
Varo Bank Features
Let’s look at the banking features that come with a Varo account.
Varo’s platform is entirely mobile-based, so you can take care of all of your banking needs directly from your smartphone.
No matter where you are, you’ll have access to all your accounts. You can make deposits, move money around, and connect to your digital wallet.
With a mobile-based bank, the banking app functionality is maybe the most important thing to consider, and Varo shines in this area.
The recently revamped Varo app currently holds a 4.9-star rating (out of 5) in the Apple App Store and 4.8 rating in the Google Play Store.
For cash withdrawals, Varo partners with the Allpoint ATM network. This means that when you need cash, you’ll have fee-free access to 55,000 in network locations throughout the US.
If you have to use an out-of-network ATM, Varo does charge a $2.50 ATM fee, so be sure to find a free ATM in your area to avoid it.
If you need some extra cash to hold you over until your next paycheck, Varo Advance can come in handy.
The feature provides an instant cash advance for a small, one-time fee, so no need to worry about an interest rate or steep overdraft fees.
You can request up to $100, and the fee will vary depending on how much cash is advanced.
Varo Advance Fees:
- $20 Advance: $0 fee
- $50 Advance: $3 fee
- $75 Advance: $4 fee
- $100 Advance: $5 fee
To qualify for Varo Advance, you need an account that’s been active for at least 30 days, plus at least $1,000 in direct deposits to your account within the previous 31 days.
You can only have one Advance open at a time, but you can get another Advance as soon as you’ve repaid the current loan.
To repay your Advance, you’ll set up an automatic payment from your Varo Account sometime between 15 and 30 days after you received the cash.
Possibly the most commonly cited drawback of online banks is the inability to deposit cash directly into your account.
This is not a problem with Varo. Using the Green Dot network, you can deposit cash into your account at more than 90,000 retailers like CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, and 7-Eleven.
All you have to do is head to the register and let them know you’d like to make a deposit. Hand over the cash, swipe your Varo debit card, and you’re all set.
There’s a small fee for cash deposits, which will vary depending on your deposit location.
Early Direct Deposit
Varo offers access to your paycheck up to two days early when you enroll in direct deposit.
Unlike most banks, Varo doesn’t hold onto your funds while they’re being processed, so account holders will get full access to their money as soon as it arrives from their employer.
Second Chance Banking
If you’ve had trouble getting a new bank account because of bad credit history, Varo offers second chance accounts to help you set things right.
Varo doesn’t use ChexSystems or run a credit check to analyze your banking history, so accounts are available to anyone, despite your past.
Pair this with a low fee, no minimum platform, and Varo becomes a good bet for those trying to achieve financial stability.
Varo Bank Fees
Varo is a mostly fee-free platform, so you don’t have to worry about most of the fees you would with a traditional bank.
To start, here’s a look at some common fees that won’t show up with Varo:
- Monthly maintenance fees
- Minimum balance fees
- Foreign transaction fees
- Card replacement fees
- Transfer fees
- Overdraft fees
Even with so much included, there are still some fees that you should be aware of.
ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs are always free, but out-of-network ATM use will cost $2.50, plus whatever fee is charged by the ATM owner.
Varo doesn’t reimburse any of these fees, so take advantage of the ATM locator in the app to avoid unnecessary charges.
Cash Deposit Fees
When making deposits with Green Dot, there will always be a small deposit fee of up to $5. The fee depends on the retail location you’re using, so some might come with a lower fee than others.
If you have another bank account that allows for free cash deposits, you can always add cash to that balance then transfer it over. Transfers to your Varo account are always free, so even though it takes an extra step, it'll save you a few bucks.
Cash Advance Fees
If you take advantage of Varo Advance, you’ll pay a small fee depending on how much cash you get.
The maximum fee is $5 for a $100 advance, which is significantly better than the typical $30 overdraft fee that most banks charge.
To sign up for a Varo account, you can head to varomoney.com or download the mobile app.
From there, it’s about as simple as it gets — applications take five minutes or less, and all you need is a current, valid ID and your Social Security Number.
Varo applications don’t require any type of credit check. If you have any issues during your application, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will be able to help you out.
Varo Bank Promotions
Unfortunately, there are currently no active Varo Bank promotions. Check out these bonus offers instead:
|Citi® Citi Priority Account||up to $2000||July 23, 2023||
|U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking||up to $400||June 20, 2023||
|U.S. Bank Business Checking||up to $750||June 30, 2023||
To start, all Varo bank accounts are FDIC-insured, so your funds are protected up to $250,000 per depositor for each ownership category.
For online security, Varo uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your sensitive information.
If your debit card is lost or stolen, you can easily freeze it directly from the mobile app. If you’re worried that your account has been compromised, you can reach out to Varo directly via email or phone.
Varo Customer Service
When you need some help, Varo’s customer service team is available via online chat, over the phone or by email.
The call center number is 877-377-8276 and is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm Mountain Time, Federal Holidays from 8am-4:30pm Mountain Time and are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
You can also check out the website for quick answers, where you’ll find a huge list of FAQs.
Varo’s approach to customer service seems to be working, and the bank has an excellent rating of 3.8 stars (out of 5) on TrustPilot.
Pros & Cons
- High bonus APY
- Excellent mobile app
- Few fees
- Well-rated customer service
- No physical locations
- Limited account options
- Low APY for high balances
- No sign-up bonus
Alternatives to Varo Bank
If you’re looking for alternative to Varo Bank, check out:
These banks all come with high-yield accounts that carry the same APY no matter your balance total.
Is Varo Bank a good bank?
Yes, Varo is one of the biggest neobanks out there and comes with a lot of features that people like. With low fees, high APYs, and solid customer service, Varo definitely qualifies as a good option for banking.
Is Varo better than Chime?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Both have mobile-only, low-fee platforms with limited account options. The main difference is the approach to savings rates.
While Varo has a higher overall rate, Chime doesn’t take your balance into account, so you’ll earn the same rate no matter how much you have.
With that said, even though Varo Bank offers a tiered interest rate, the standard rate of 3.00% APY is still a bit higher than Chime.
The better option depends entirely on you and what you’re hoping to get from a banking partner.
Is Varo Savings safe?
Yes. Varo Savings is an FDIC-insured account that you can feel secure about. Varo is a nationally chartered financial institution and provides all of the online security that you could expect from a respected bank.
Is Varo Bank Right For You?
As one of the few fintech companies with its own banking charter, Varo is making a splash.
With a high-functioning mobile platform and top-tier customer service, there’s plenty to like.
What’s more, Varo’s financial products are available to anyone, even to those with a less than perfect credit history.
That said, it can be tough to ignore some of Varo’s limitations. There are only two available accounts, and with a relatively low limit for Varo’s highest APY, your net return on interest is restricted at a certain point of financial growth.
Overall, Varo is recommended for those with lower savings account balances who still want to earn interest and for those looking to build credit.
It could also be used as a supplemental account for those comfortable spreading their savings between multiple banks.
For now, that’s a wrap on Varo Bank. Here’s to the next step of finding the best bank to work for you and your personal finance goals.