IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

Varo Bank Review: Checking and Savings Accounts

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Written By
I. Mitic
Updated
November 24, 2022
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If you’re looking for new checking and/or savings account, you may want to look into Varo Bank. This article will provide an overview of this financial institution’s features and benefits. We'll also compare it to some of the other leading banks in the industry and see what BBB Varo Bank reviews have to say.

By the end of this post, you should have a clear idea of whether Varo Bank is a good fit for your needs.

APY:
2% - 5%

FDIC-Insured

Visit Site

Fortunly Rating

Fortunly's Rating: Our editorial team determines the rating based on a set of evaluation criteria developed for each product and service category.

Account Type
Checking and savings
APY
2% - 5%
Monthly fee
$0
Minimum balance
$0
FDIC-INSURED
Yes
BBB
A
pros thumb up Strengths
  • 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Unlimited number of saving transfers
  • Mobile App
  • No overdraft fees
pros thumb up Weaknesses
  • No joint accounts
  • No wire transfers
  • No physical location

What Is Varo Bank?

Varo Bank is an online-only bank that offers both checking and savings accounts. It was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Varo Bank has no physical locations, but its mobile app allows you to access your account from anywhere in the world.

Because Varo Bank isn’t your traditional brick-and-mortar institution, you won’t have to wait in line to open an account. Registering is a straightforward and uncomplicated procedure that takes around five minutes. To do it, you will need to provide your basic financial information, download and install the bank’s app, and follow the on-screen instructions. You will then be welcomed into the Varo online banking world.

What Varo Bank Has To Offer

As stated before, Varo Bank offers its clients checking and savings accounts. Most of its services are free and come without hidden fees: For example, there’s no minimum deposit, nor monthly or annual, foreign transaction, or bank transfer fees. Even if you decide to terminate your account for any reason, Varo Bank will not charge you anything.

Another advantage of Varo Bank is the lack of overdraft fees. Why? Well, you can’t go below zero on your account. This may result in rejected purchases, but it is preferable to having a negative bank account and incurring extra costs. If your balance drops below what you kept in your account because of external factors (e.g., a product price change happening after your purchase), you won’t have to pay anything extra.

If you need a small amount of money when your balance is low, the bank offers Varo Advance, which allows you to borrow up to $100 that you need to pay back within 30 days. Depending on the amount, you’ll have to pay up to $5 as a cash advance fee.

Services on Offer

Having as few fees as possible is always good, but what service does Varo Bank actually provide? As previously indicated, they have checking and savings accounts with nearly no additional or hidden costs, as well as some additional features.

Varo Bank Checking Account

The main benefit of having a checking account is quick access to your money. Since the bank doesn't have a physical presence, you might think it won’t be as easy as it would with a different institution, but that is not the case.

As soon as you register and create a checking account, the bank will send you a Varo Visa debit card, but don’t mistake it for a credit card! You can get a cash advance with it, but it’s not a line of credit. The card carries practically no fees, except for a small charge when you use it to withdraw money from unsupported ATMs, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The Varo Bank debit card offers 6% cash back when used at merchants who are part of the cashback program. The money is deposited to your checking account as soon as you accumulate $5, with a maximum of $50 per month. Some notable partners in this program are Zara, Levi’s, and Shake Shack.

The card does come with two limits: The first is that there is a daily limit of $2,500 on purchases, and the second is that you have a daily ATM withdrawal limit of $1,000.

Due to the absence of a physical location, depositing funds into your Varo Bank account may be a bit difficult. Still, it is feasible to do so by depositing checks via the Varo app or cash at Green Dot network retail outlets, but know that the store charges a $5 fee per deposit. You can always transfer money to your account from another account for free.

Withdrawing money is a bit easier because Varo Bank is a part of the Allpoint network, which provides its customers access to over 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide. There is a $2.50 fee when you use any other ATM, in addition to fees charged by the ATM owner.

If you travel abroad often, you’ll be delighted to hear that there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases or Allpoint ATM withdrawals, but the standard Visa conversion rate still applies.

Early deposits are available to all Varo checking account holders. This allows you to access your paycheck up to two days early, giving you more control over your money.

Of course, Varo Bank can’t guarantee that your deposit will always arrive earlier than it should. It depends exclusively on when your employer or the government sends the money to your account. Usually, the process takes a couple of days before you see the money in your account, but Varo Bank sends you the money immediately and then deals with the administrative tasks on its own time.

With all these benefits and nearly no costs, it's no surprise that Varo Bank is on our list of top banks for checking accounts.

Varo Bank Savings Account

We all know we should put some money away for rainy days, preferably in a savings account with a high annual percentage yield (APY), but that isn’t always the case. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the current national APY is 0.21%, which is anything but a good return. Luckily, Varo Bank offers a lot more than the national average.

There are different types of accounts in the banking world, and each has a different interest rate, which might be perplexing, particularly if this is your first saving account. To make matters simpler, Varo Bank has two savings accounts with the same APY, the only difference being how you save money.

Varo interest rates begin with a basic APY of 2%, but it may be increased to 5% if specific requirements are met. To qualify for 5% APY, you must receive a minimum direct deposit of $1,000 at least once a month (peer-to-peer deposits do not count). Your savings account can never have a balance higher than $5,000 at the end of the day, and it should never have less than an average of $1.21 at the end of the month.

You can choose to automatically deposit a percentage of your pay to your savings account, or deposit your spare change. The first one is self-explanatory; saving your spare change works by rounding up each transaction and depositing the difference to your savings account.

Both avenues for filling up your Varo savings account can work for you, depending on how much you want to save and why; either way, you won’t have to put up with monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

How Does Varo Bank Compare to Other Banks?

Varo Bank Logo
Varo Bank
Min. initial deposit

$0

APY

2% - 5%

Quontic Bank Logo
Quontic Bank
Min. initial deposit

$100

APY

3.20%

Ponce Bank Logo
Ponce Bank
Minimum initial deposit

$50

APY

0.1%

Varo Bank Disadvantages

While Varo Bank has many great features, there are also some disadvantages to consider. One of the most significant drawbacks is that Varo Bank does not offer joint accounts. If you want to add someone else to your account, they’ll need a bespoke registration.

Another downside of Varo Bank is that it does not offer wire transfers. This can be a problem if you need to send or receive money internationally. To avoid confusion, you should know that Varo Bank has no direct deposit limit. You can send and receive transfers as long as they aren’t international.

Finally, Varo Bank is an online-only bank, and there are no brick-and-mortar branches you can visit if you have any questions or want to deposit your money.

Is Varo Bank Legit?

Yes, Varo Bank is a safe and reputable bank. It's FDIC-insured, which means the government will back your money up to $250,000. In addition, Varo Bank has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Varo Bank Customer Service

According to Varo Bank reviews and complaints on BBB, poor customer support seems to be a significant source of client troubles, which is understandable. Online-only institutions must provide exceptional customer service, so we decided to test out their customer support.

We called the provided number and, after a five-minute wait, talked to a representative who politely addressed our concerns and directed us to the site FAQ section, where most of our questions were previously answered. Due to the absence of a real banking issue, we could not assess the customer service effectiveness in depth.

If you have any questions before joining Varo online banking, contact customer support with any inquiries you may have or check out their FAQ section on the website. You can contact customer support by email or phone.

Conclusion

Varo Bank is an excellent option for people who want to avoid fees, earn interest on their savings, and easily access their money. It’s also a good choice for people looking for an online-only bank. However, there are some downsides to consider, such as the lack of joint accounts and wire transfers. Still, Varo Bank is a safe and reputable bank with solid features and benefits.

FAQ

Is Varo considered a real bank?

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Even though the bank doesn't have a brick-and-mortar building, it’s still considered an actual bank. It can still do everything a regular bank can do without any issues.

How do I put money on my Varo card?

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You can transfer money from another account to your Varo Bank checking account or ask any cashier to add cash to your debit card.

Is Varo Bank trustworthy?

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Most customers left positive Varo Bank reviews, were satisfied with the service, and didn’t report any malpractice. The bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). It’s as safe as any other bank in the industry.