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Mobile Banking

Varo Bank Review: Providing High-Yield Online Savings Account For You

Finding a savings account that earns a high annual percentage yield could be challenging. With this Varo Bank review, though, we are going to share with you essential information on why it’s the right financial institution to bank with.

Varo Bank Review: Providing High-Yield Online Savings Account For You

According to an article published by CNBC, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States last year, the Federal Reserve has decided to drop the interest rates to almost 0% in the hope of supporting the economy.

Because of this, most banks also lowered their interest rates on different financial products — from checking accounts to mortgages — that they offer to consumers.

However, while most opted for that route, there are certain banks that managed to still provide high annual percentage yield, and one of them is Varo Bank.

For those who are not familiar or do not exactly know what a high yield savings account is, CNBC, in another article, described it as an account that provides higher interest rate, “allowing your money to grow even faster as it sits in your account.

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Contrary to a typical savings account, having a high-yield savings account allows you to take advantage of what you have. Basically, this is how it goes — the higher the annual percentage yield is, the faster your money grows. To make it short, it means higher earning.

…and who does not like a higher earning, right? We all do, for sure.

So, if you have a good amount of spare money that you do not intend to use anytime soon, at the same time you want to make the most out of what you have, then, the best way to go is to open a high-yield savings account.

But, as mentioned earlier, these days, especially with the ongoing pandemic around, finding a bank – in this case, an online bank — that offers a high annual percentage yield could be a challenge. Let’s face it, the reality right now is that the economy is really struggling to get back on its feet.

However, while it seems impossible at the moment, there are still some banks that managed to pull it through. Varo Bank is one example. The bank has made it possible to still provide high APY to its savings account holders.

For sure, you are interested to know more about what this bank has to offer now, right?

So, with that said, today, in the next few sections we are going to provide you more information – of course, essential ones – about Varo Bank.

Specifically, we are going to tackle the following:

  • What is Varo Bank?
  • Who is Varo Bank best for?
  • What are the products offered by Varo Bank?
  • How to bank with Varo Bank?
  • Is Varo Bank safe?
  • What to like about Varo Bank?
  • What not to like about Varo Bank?

WHAT IS VARO BANK?

Before we even talk about the more serious details, as a potential customer, it is our responsibility to get to know about the institution we are eyeing to bank with.

It is important to look into how stable, reliable, and trustworthy the bank is — and what better way to do that than looking into the history of the firm, right?

Now, here are some key information that you should know about the Varo Bank —

Varo Bank was established in 2015. It is a mobile-based bank, which means physical branches are not available for those who prefer to bank in the more traditional way.

Since it is a mobile-based bank, it is only right that the company makes its mobile banking app available for both Apple and Android users. By the way, the mobile app is downloadable for free.

By downloading the app, you get to access the various products and services (including several deposit and loan products) offered by Varo Bank.

Varo Bank N.A. is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which means the federal government protects all deposits for up to $250,000 per depositor for every account ownership category, should there be a bank account failure.

Varo Bank, although it does not have physical branches, is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

To know more about Varo Bank and what makes it one of the best online banks out there, check out this informative review by Eddie Yoon:

WHO IS VARO BANK BEST FOR?

Now that you already know a few important information about the bank, this time, let’s talk about who Varo Bank appeals to the most.

Generally speaking, Varo Bank appeals to customers who prefer mobile banking and do not mind not having any physical branches around.

But more specifically, Varo Bank is best for people who want to earn a high annual percentage yield on a savings account, at the same time, enjoy a no minimum balance requirement when opening an account.

With access to a large Allpoint ATM network, Varo Bank will surely be great also for those who want easy cash access.

Furthermore, Varo Bank is ideal for those who want to get away with fees like monthly maintenance, overdraft, foreign transaction, and transfer fees.

Now, if you are any of the above-mentioned, then, Varo Bank is right for you.

WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY VARO BANK?

Probably one of the most important things that a customer needs to look at when choosing a bank is the variety of products being offered by the financial institution. This way, you get to see if you are able to make the most out of what it offers, or not.

Having said that, in this part of our Varo Bank review, we are going to particularly discuss the products and services offered by Varo Bank.

Varo Bank’s products are limited to checking and savings accounts. Now, let’s see what’s in store for you in each of these accounts –

Varo Bank Account (Checking Account)

Varo Bank’s online checking account is known as the Varo Bank Account. This has no monthly maintenance fee, no overdraft fee, and does not require a minimum balance as well.

The Varo Bank Account comes with a free Visa debit card, which can be used across all Allpoint network ATMs, which currently is at more than 55,000 across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, as well as in the United Kingdom.

Yes, ATM transactions made in these ATMs are all free of charge — including foreign transactions for both ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases made abroad. So, if you are a traveler, this account would be ideal for you.

Moving on, while making ATM transactions in any Allpoint ATMs is free, Varo Bank does charge a $2.50 fee for non-Allpoint ATM transactions made. In addition, certain fees may be charged by the ATM owner as well.

Varo Bank Account offers early access to direct deposit payments. The bank posts deposits as early as on the same day they’re received or up to two days earlier than the payment schedule.

As mentioned, Varo Bank Account does not charge an overdraft fee, which means account holders can overdraw their checking account by up to $50 when making debit card purchases. More so, there are no fees or interest charges, too, for as long as the account holder meets the following requirements:

  • Must make five debit purchases for each month
  • Must receive payroll or government direct deposits amounting to at least $1,000 per month

Please take note, though, to avoid an overdraft fee, you must enroll in No Fee Overdraft in the Varo mobile app. Once enrolled, the feature will then be activated. In the event, however, that you overdraft your account, customers are given 30 calendar days to pay the amount back. Varo Bank automatically deducts the amount from your next direct deposit. That way, you won’t miss the payment.

Varo Bank Account also lets you send money to other Varo account holders without being charged a transfer fee. Unfortunately, though, Varo does not offer a wire transfer yet at this time.

Meanwhile, to open a Varo Bank Account, make sure you are at least 18 years old and have a mobile device that can access the Varo mobile app.

Also, make sure to have your government-issued identification such as passport or driver’s license, as well as your Social Security number when opening an account. These are essential in verifying your identity. The bank does not have a minimum deposit requirement, which means you can open a Varo Bank Account for as low as $1.

Varo Savings Account

Varo Savings Account is considered a high-yield savings account. It is important to note, however, that it has a tiered rate.

For balances up to $10,000, the annual percentage yield (APY) is 2.80% provided certain conditions are met. Meanwhile, when conditions are not met, your money will still earn but only for a 0.40% APY. The same APY applies to those with balances above $10,000.

Regardless, though, the APY is definitely higher as compared to the national average of 0.04% APY for a savings account. So, yeah, either way, you are still earning above-average — a win-win situation still.

As mentioned, there are certain conditions to be able to earn the 2.80% APY on balances up to $10,000. This includes:

  • Must receive a minimum of $1,000 in total qualifying direct deposit from either payroll or government sources
  • Must make at least five purchases using the Varo debit card between the first and the last business day of the month
  • Account balance must not drop below zero at any point during the month
  • The balance should not exceed $10,000

The Varo Savings Account also comes with two automatic savings tools, which include:

  • Save Your Pay – This allows the account holder to set up a recurring transfer from checking to a savings account every time he or she receives a direct deposit payment. The user gets to choose the percentage of payment that he or she wants to move to savings.
  • Save Your Change – This feature allows you to round up every checking transaction to the nearest dollar, and then move the extra cents to the account holder’s savings account.

Similar to the Varo Bank Account, the Varo Savings Account does not charge monthly fees or require a minimum balance.

To open a Varo Savings Account, the requirements are pretty much the same as the Varo Bank Account. Your personal information is required, and an identification issued by the government must be presented to verify your identity.

HOW TO BANK WITH VARO BANK?

By now you probably have gauged already if you want to open an account with Varo Bank or not.

Now, if you opt to open an account, then this part of our Varo Bank review is for you as we are going to tell you more about banking with them.

To be eligible to open an account with Varo Bank, you must be at least 18 years old. Similar to most banks, your personal information including your name, address, mobile number, and Social Security number is required, and you will also have to present valid government-issued identification such as your driver’s license or passport.

To open an account, all you have to do is visit the Varo Bank website, click the “Get Started” button, and then, follow the prompts.

According to Varo, the whole application process should not take longer than five minutes — now that’s very convenient and fast, right?

Apart from the website, you may also apply for an account via the Varo Bank mobile application, which is available for both Apple and Android Users.

Deposits and Withdrawals

To deposit money to your account, apart from direct deposit, Varo Bank also supports mobile check deposits. Bank transfer is another option. As of this writing, cash deposits are not yet supported, which is a very common thing among mobile banks.

As with withdrawals, all Varo Bank account holders are handed with a Varo Visa debit card, which enables them to withdraw money from any of the over 55,000 Allpoint network ATMs.

Fees

As mentioned in the previous section, Varo Bank does not charge a monthly maintenance fee, overdraft, ATM fee (unless you use a non-network ATM), transfer fee, as well as foreign transaction fee.  

IS VARO BANK SAFE?

The safety and security of all depositors are one of Varo Bank’s top concerns. Thus, the bank has ensured that all safety and security measures are in place to avoid fraudulent acts as well as identity theft.

Meanwhile, in case of a bank failure, Varo Bank is FDIC-insured, which means all depositors will get up to as much as $250,000 per account holder, per account category.

With all that being said, Varo Bank is indeed a safe mobile banking platform where you can store your hard-earned money.

WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT VARO BANK?

We’ve come to the point of our Varo Bank review wherein we are going, to sum up, all the good things we found at Varo Bank.

Some of the things that we particularly like about it are as follows:

  • No Minimum Balance Requirement for Opening an Account – Unlike most mobile banks, Varo Bank does not require a minimum balance requirement when opening an account, which means you can open an account with as little as $1 only.
  • No Monthly Maintenance Fee – Another thing to like about Varo is that it does not charge a monthly maintenance fee for both checking and savings accounts.
  • No Overdraft fee – Similarly, Varo also does not charge an overdraft fee. If you do an overdraft, however, you are given 30 days to pay it back to the bank. The amount is in fact automatically deducted from your next direct deposit to ensure you do not miss it out.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee – Another plus for us is that Varo Bank does not charge a foreign transaction fee, which makes it an ideal bank partner for those who love traveling.
  • Competitive APY for Savings Account – One of the most important features that Varo Bank offers is its high-yield savings account wherein you can earn as much as 2.80% APY for balances up to $10,000, and 0.40% for balances below $10,000 and those who do not meet certain requirements to avail the higher interest.
  • Highly-Rated Mobile App – Given the fact that Varo Bank is a mobile bank, it is really important that the app works very well. Good thing Varo ensures their customers have the best mobile banking experience with both their website and of course, ultimately, their mobile app.
  • Access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATM Network – All Varo account holders are given a Visa debit card, which allows account holders to withdraw cash from among Allpoint’s ATM network.

WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT VARO BANK?

To complete our Varo Bank review, here are some of the not-so-good things we found:

  • No Physical Branches – Varo Bank is a mobile-only bank, which means it does not come with physical branches. So, if you want a feature of a conventional bank, then, this may not be the right bank for you.
  • High-Yield Savings Account is Only Available to Checking Account Holders – Yes, you read it right. Unfortunately, one of the conditions for you to earn a high-yield savings account is that you have to have an existing checking account. Otherwise, you’d only earn 0.40% APY, which, to be honest, is still high as compared to the average APY of savings accounts nationwide.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VARO BANK REVIEW

Overall, we got to say that Varo Bank, while it does have its share of downfalls, it is overshadowed by its good features, especially its high-yield savings account option.

Also, since it is a mobile bank, it provides customers a more convenient and fast banking experience.

So, given all that’s been said about the bank, do you think it has all the features you are looking for?

It is our hope that this Varo Bank review provided you with all the information you need to convince you that this is the right bank for you.

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Investment Apps and Websites

Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

In this Varo money review, we are going to look into how this startup bank tries to disrupt traditional banking through monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

 Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

Back in 2013, research conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that 51% of American adults or 61% of internet users in the country do online banking. Meanwhile, 32% or 35% of the total number of cell phone users opt to do banking using their mobile phone.

Fast-forward to 2018, a report published by Statista states that based on a survey conducted, it was found that 693% of Millennials are or have used mobile banking, while 24% of Baby Boomers do online banking as well.

Furthermore, in the said report, it says that probable reasons behind the rise in number have something to do with how flexible and convenient mobile banking is. Well, with people nowadays being always on-the-go, it is not surprising at all if one of these days all traditional banks will focus on strengthening their mobile banking services.

While there are a lot more people who are into online banking particularly mobile banking, there are still a few who are not into it. Some are kind of hesitant or worried about security and if it’s really convenient to do banking online.

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These concerns are valid and that is why Varo Bank makes sure it offers plenty of capability for users who are always on-the-go. With a mobile app and broad ATM network, Varo Bank ensures complete basic banking and savings transactions for each of its customers.

Furthermore, when it comes to safety and security concerns, Varo ensures customers’ personal information and money are well-protected by its 256-bit AES encryption.

Now, are you curious to know more about what Varo Bank has to offer?

If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place as we are going to dissect all essential information every customer needs to know regarding Varo Bank.

In this Varo money review, we are going to particularly talk about the following:

  • What is Varo Bank?
  • What does Varo Bank have to offer?
  • How to open an account with Varo Bank?
  • Are there fees and charges involved?
  • What are the benefits of using Varo Bank?
  • What are the downsides of using Varo Bank?
  • Is Varo Bank safe?

WHAT IS VARO BANK?

When looking for a mobile bank partner, it is important to take time to get to know the bank you are eyeing for.

A little history of the bank will help establish your trust and confidence in doing business with them. You get to see how credible and how trustworthy they are.

With that said, let’s get to know more about Varo.

Varo was founded in 2015. Compared to other online banks, it is relatively new. No wonder why some people wonder about the reliability and the authenticity of the bank.

Moving on, based in San Francisco and Utah, Varo was established to be an all-mobile bank that offers both checking and savings accounts.

As we have mentioned earlier, Varo aims to disrupt traditional banking and even other online-only banks by providing customers with monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

Varo is part of the growing neo in the United States, which makes it the first of the bank scene.

Recently, Varo worked on becoming a fully-fledged bank, making it the first of its kind in the country to receive full approval.

By becoming a full-fledged bank, it means Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will offer Varo customers deposit insurance up to $250,000.

Varo has a very bright and interesting future, to be honest. With it becoming a full-fledged bank is just the beginning of better days ahead for this mobile bank.

Before moving on to our Varo money review, here’s an interesting and very insightful and informative Varo Bank review by MONEY with Eddie Yoon that we thought you should check out:

WHAT DOES VARO BANK HAVE TO OFFER?

Now that you already know a brief history about Varo and what to expect from it in the future, this time around in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about the different products and services that this all-mobile bank has to offer.

As earlier mentioned, Varo offers the following:

  • Savings Account
  • Checking Account

Now let’s look into each of these items —

Savings Account

Varo does only have one savings account, and this one’s a high-yield account that comes without fees whatsoever.

Since the Varo Savings Account does not charge any fees, savers can earn up to 2.80% APY, which is very competitive as compared to other mobile-only banks out there.

While it all sounds good, the Varo Savings Account is only available for savers who have already an existing checking account with Varo, which they call a Varo Bank Account.

Additionally, savers can only earn the said 2.80% APY if they meet the following requirements:

Ensure a daily savings account balance of up to $10,000

Make at least five debit card purchases for every calendar month

Receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the same calendar month

If you fail to meet the above-mentioned requirements, your rate will only be 0.81% APY.

Please take note that all three must be met. If for example a savings account holder keeps a daily balance of $10,000 or more but does not meet the other two requirements, he or she will not be eligible as well for the 2.80% APY.

Just the same, even if a saver meets the two other requirements, but holds a daily savings balance of more than $10,000, the rate automatically drops down to 0.81% as well.

If, however, you do not mind about the APY, it is important to note that Varo does not require a minimum balance on its savings account. A saver needs no more than $0.01 in his or her account to start earning interest.

As mentioned, a saver is required to have a Varo checking account in order to open the Varo savings account. Although there are those requirements, what we find nice about it is that it comes with benefits.

Specifically, Varo Bank has two automatic savings options to help encourage savers to reach their savings goals.

The automatic savings options include:

Save Your Pay – This program by Varo allows savers to select a percentage of every direct deposit into their Varo checking account to have automatically transferred to their Varo savings account.

Save Your Change – This program allows savers to make purchases anytime using the Varo debit card. When used for purchasing, Varo will round up the amount to the nearest dollar, and then, transfer that amount from the saver’s Varo checking account into his or her Varo savings account.

Checking Account

This time around, let’s talk about Varo’s checking account.

The only checking account option from Varo is what they officially call the “Varo Bank Account”.

This checking account comes with an impressive punch for a fairly simple offering.

The key benefits of using a Varo Bank Account include:

  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • No minimum balance required
  • No overdraft fees
  • Early direct deposit

The Varo checking account comes with a Visa debit card, which you can use to withdraw, as well as in making purchases.

By the way, while Varo does not charge fees or interest, this is only applicable if users meet the following requirements:

  • The user must make five debit purchases every month.
  • The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

Furthermore, with regards to the no overdraft fee benefit, Varo checking account customers must enroll in No Fee Overdraft, which is available in the Varo app, so the feature gets activated. In case you did overdraft your account, Varo gives you 30 calendar days to pay the amount back. Varo, however, automatically takes the amount from your next direct deposit.

In addition to the benefits, Varo users also can send money to other Varo accounts without having to worry about getting charged a fee. Varo to Varo instant transfer feature is absolutely free. The downside of this account, though, is that you cannot use your Varo account in making wire transfers.

HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH VARO BANK?

By now, you already know what Varo is all about, and the products that the bank offers.

At this point in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about how one can actually open a Varo account.

If you are interested in opening a Varo account, then, you got to check this section out.

Opening An Account

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, Varo offers an entirely digital service, which means, if you are looking for a physical branch, Varo does not have it.

Similar to most digital banks out there, Varo promises an easy and simple process when opening an account with them. In fact, the process is very straightforward and convenient.

Unlike traditional banks, you can do it in just a few minutes. No need to do paperwork and definitely, no long waits.

To apply for a Varo account, first of all, users have to download the Varo app. The Varo app is available for both iOS and Apple users.

Once done downloading, to proceed with the process, users need to follow the on-screen prompts to complete the whole account application.

As we have said, the process is simple and easy it takes no longer than five minutes to finish.

By the way, just the same as other digital banks, you will be asked to provide some personal information, as well as undergo an identity verification process by providing either a valid ID or a passport.

Should users encounter any problem upon signing up, Varo offers a variety of customer service lines that will offer fast and friendly advice or recommendations.

Adding Funds

In relation to opening an account with Varo, we also wanted to share with you how to actually add funds into your account.

As mentioned, Varo does not have a physical branch, so, to make up for that, the bank offers five easy ways to deposit money into your Varo account.

First, the quickest way to put money into your Varo account is through direct deposit. Varo allows you to pay money into the account yourself or you may opt to use it to receive your paycheck directly into your account.

With Varo’s direct deposit option, users get to receive their salary up to two days early. Additionally, users can receive instant pay from Uber and/or Lyft if you are employed by these companies.

The second option to fund your account is by transferring money from an external bank account through the app and through your other bank’s online banking service.

The third option is by making a transfer of funds from PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, and other similar platforms.

The fourth way of putting money into your Varo account is by cashing in a paper check using your smartphone camera.

Last, but certainly, not least the option to fund your Varo account is through cash deposits. Unlike many digital banks, Varo accepts cash deposits. All you have to do is deposit the cash at a Green Dot location or with a MoneyPak.

You see, funding your Varo account is easy. You got not only one but five options to choose from – and we have to say, they’re all easy and very accessible.

ARE THERE FEES AND CHARGES INVOLVED?

The answer to this question is — mostly none.

With Varo, users are free from being charged for the following:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No debit card replacement fees
  • Money Transfer fees (Varo to Varo)

However, as mentioned, these can only be benefited by the account holder (particularly, Varo Bank Account holder) if he or she meets the following requirements:

The user must make five debit purchases every month.

The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING VARO BANK?

We are almost done with our Varo money review. But, similar to our previous bank reviews, this review will not be complete without pin-pointing the pros and cons.

So, first, let’s talk about the pros or the benefits of using Varo. Some of the benefits we found include:

  • No Monthly Fees – By having a Varo account, you do not have to worry about the minimum balance required, card replacement fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts, transfer fees, and foreign transaction fees.
  • No Fee Overdraft – An account holder automatically gets eligible for No Fee Overdraft if he or she receives at least a $1,000 direct deposit every month, at the same time, makes at least five debit card purchases per month. No Fee Overdraft means Varo will cover an overdraft of up to $50 without fees and interest owed. The account holder’s next deposit in 30 days will reimburse the overdraft.
  • No Overdraft Fees – If in case the user does not qualify for the No Fee Overdraft, any transaction the person makes that would overdraw his or her account is automatically declined.
  • Visa Debit Card – Varo Bank Account comes with a Visa debit card that users can use anywhere Visa is accepted. The debit card can also be connected with Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Cash App, as well as Venmo for seamless payments anywhere. This card also entitles the owner to the Visa Zero Liability guarantee, which ensures the user that he or she won’t be liable for any unauthorized charges on the card.
  • Great Mobile App – Varo, being an all-digital bank ensures users have the best digital banking experience. Thus, making sure that the Varo app delivers as it has promised. With the app, users can deposit checks using mobile deposit, send money instantly, receive alerts, as well as track spending.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING VARO BANK?

In the last section, we ran down a list of benefits. This time, we are going to share with you some of the downsides of using Varo. This includes the following:

  • High-Yield Savings Account Only – Unfortunately, Varo only offers a high-yield savings account. Unlike other banks of the same level, Varo does not offer other options.
  • Mobile-Only Platform – Although you can sign up on the Varo website, everything else can only be done using the Varo mobile app. So, unless you want app-based banking transactions, Varo may not be ideal for you.
  • No Checks – Unlike other mobile banks, Varo does not offer paper checks with its checking account. However, a check via the Varo mobile app is available in case you need one. The check is mailed within three to nine business days, though.

IS VARO BANK SAFE?

Safety and security both personal information and money are two very important things that people look into when it comes to mobile or online banks.

Fortunately, Varo is a safe mobile banking platform. Varo Bank N.A is FDIC insured, which means that the federal government protects the depositors’ money for up to $250,000 per depositor, for every account ownership category. This is particularly important in case of a bank failure.

Furthermore, Varo uses 256-bit AES encryption to ensure the safety and security of all the information they gather from every depositor, as well as their depositors’ money.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS VARO MONEY REVIEW

All in all, we got to say that Varo Bank has a very promising offering. Given the fact that is very new to the market, it offers amazing features that every user or depositor usually looks for in a digital bank.

So, do you consider opening an account with Varo yet?

We hope that this Varo money review has cleared your thoughts and worries, at the same time, has answered some of the most crucial questions when it comes to banking with Varo Bank.