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.
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.“
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.
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?