Varo Bank is a neobank that was founded in 2015. Initially 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 operates independently.
With more than seven million customers nationwide, Varo is one of the largest neobanks in the US.
Varo Bank reviews help you understand what Varo Bank offers and if it’s right for you. 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 with 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 connects easily with apps like Venmo or external accounts for easy transfers.
There’s no minimum deposit requirement to open a new account, so you can sign up even if you’re starting from scratch.
Varo Savings Account
Varo Savings is a high-yield savings account 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.
Currently, the account’s standard annual percentage yield (APY) is 3.00%, which is fairly high if you’re familiar with typical online banking rates.
However, Varo’s bonus rate now earns 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 two 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 the percentage, 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 their credit.
It comes with a credit card and a linked Varo Believe Secured Account, which provides a low-risk opportunity to boost your credit score.
How Varo Believe Works
A Varo Believe credit card has no monthly or annual fees, no APR, and no up-front security deposit.
You can apply when you open a Varo Bank account and set up a direct deposit with at least $500.
When you spend with your Believe credit card, funds are automatically transferred to your Varo Believe Secured Account, which you can use to pay off your credit card balance each month automatically using Safe Pay. You can also manually pay via check or transfer from your Varo bank account.
Varo then reports your on-time payments to major credit bureaus, and your score can grow over time.
Varo Bank reviews should include an assessment of the Varo Bank features. Here’s what they offer.
Varo’s platform is entirely mobile-based, so you can take care of your banking needs directly from your smartphone.
You’ll have access to all your accounts anywhere you have an internet connection. You can make deposits, move money around, and connect to your digital wallet.
With a mobile-based bank, the banking app functionality is 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 a 4.7 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 40,000+ in-network locations throughout the US.
If you have to use an out-of-network ATM, Varo does charge a $3.50 ATM fee, so be sure to find a free ATM in your area to avoid it.
Varo Advance can come in handy if you need some extra cash to hold you over until your next paycheck.
The feature provides an instant cash advance for a small, one-time fee, so there is no need to worry about an interest rate or steep overdraft fees.
The amount you qualify for varies based on your account activity, amount of direct deposits, and Varo advance history, but Varo Bank offers advances of $20 – $250.
Varo Advance Fees:
- $20 Advance: $1.60 fee
- $50 Advance: $4 fee
- $75 Advance: $6 fee
- $100 Advance: $8 fee
- $150 Advance: $12 fee
- $200 Advance: $16 fee
- $250 Advance: $20 fee
To qualify for Varo Advance, you need an active Varo bank account plus at least $800 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 receive 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 processing, 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 a 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, regardless of your past.
Pair this with a low fee and no minimum platform, and Varo becomes a good bet for those trying to achieve financial stability.
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 to consider.
ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs are always free, but out-of-network ATM use will cost $3.50 plus the fee the ATM owner charges.
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 $5.95. The fee depends on your retail location, so some might charge a lower fee than others.
If you have another bank account allowing free cash deposits, you can always add cash to that balance and 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 $8 for a $100 advance, which is significantly better than most banks’ typical $30+ overdraft fee.
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 email@example.com to get support.
Unfortunately, there are currently no active Varo Bank promotions. Check out these bonus offers instead:
|Citi® Enhanced Direct Deposit
|July 8, 2024
|KeyBank Personal Checking Account
|March 8, 2024
|TD Bank Beyond Checking
|February 29, 2024
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 contact Varo directly via email or phone.
When you need help, Varo’s customer service team is available via online chat, phone, or email.
The call center number is 877-377-8276, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm Mountain Time.
Varo’s customer service has mediocre reviews on TrustPilot, with a 2.6 out of 5-star rating, though 77% of the reviews are either 4 or 5-star ratings.
Here are what some of Varo’s customers are saying about their experiences.
Varo has been great! It's a REAL, Bank that offers a REAL, Checking/Savings Account, unlike what other consumers believe. Do your research! It offers online banking at its finest, in my opinion! Give it a try. I believe the fact that you can load money into it most just believe that it's a pre-paid card. It is not. That is just one of the features that is available. 😊
I really enjoy the base of the bank truly. I do get paid faster than they advertise. I haven’t been able to use their other features because I don’t consistently get paid in that account or keep a good balance. I love their auto move pay to savings so I don’t have to think about that. Their chat support is very prompt and always friendly and helpful. Their app is great too never had an issue in 3 years.
Meagan Hodny Trustpilot
I loved Varo at first, everything seemed fine. However, I travel for work and this is my 2nd bank account. I started using more as my primary bank account but if a hotel or something puts a hold on your account they will not remove it for 10 days. They require proof that the hotel bill has been paid. Most banks it's a three-day hold, not 10. They literally keep your money hostage for 10 days and are super rude when you ask them to remove the hold. This has now happened to me twice. I keep sending the receipt and keep getting crap answers back asking for documentation that has been sent multiple times at this point. Ready to move on from them.
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 an alternative to Varo Bank, check out:
These banks all come with high-yield accounts that carry the same APY, no matter your balance total.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 consider your balance, so you’ll earn the same rate no matter how much you have.
Also, 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 hope 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 that provides all the online security you can 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.
Moreover, Varo’s financial products are available to anyone, even those with a less-than-perfect credit history.
Of course, Varo Bank reviews cannot 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 those looking to build credit.
You could also use it 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.