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Updated on Thursday, January 10, 2019
GoBank card features
The GoBank card combines the features of a standard checking account with an app for managing your money. GoBank does not check your ChexSystems report when you sign up, so you can qualify even if you have past issues.
This account comes with a debit card that lets you make purchases and take out money from ATMs. GoBank has access to over 40,000 free ATMs nationwide. It offers direct deposit and includes an early payment benefit where you receive your paycheck up to two days before your actual payday and government benefits up to four days before the scheduled date.
With the GoBank app, you can look up your account balance, find free ATMs and deposit checks with your smartphone. The app also includes several budgeting tools that we will cover below.
GoBank will pay a $100 bonus for customers who open their accounts before Jan. 31, 2019. To qualify, you need to make at least one purchase on the debit card by that date and then each month for the next 12 months. You’ll receive the money on your first anniversary. However, this account does not earn interest.
GoBank card fees and fine print
The card has some fees that are on the high side. This account is expensive when you use out-of-network ATMs, deposit cash at retailers and order paper checks. But you can avoid all these charges by only using in-network ATMs and by only adding money through direct deposit and checks.
To open a GoBank card, you need to make a starting deposit of between $20 and $500. There is no minimum balance requirement, but the most you can have on your card is $50,000. This account charges an $8.95 monthly fee, but GoBank will waive it each month you make direct deposits adding up to at least $500.
|GoBank Card Fees|
|Activation fee||None if you open online; up to $2.95 if you open at a retailer; fee depends on the retailer.|
|Reload fee||Up to $4.95 per transaction to deposit cash (depends on the retailer accepting cash)|
|Check deposit fee||No fee for checks and direct deposit|
|ATM fees||Free at in-network ATMs; $2.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs, plus any charges from the ATM owner|
|Card replacement fee||$5|
|Monthly fee||$8.95 (waived if monthly direct deposits total at least $500)|
|Paper check fee||$5.95 to order a pack of 12 checks|
|Foreign transaction fee||3% of the purchase|
Using the GoBank mobile app
Every GoBank card account includes use of a mobile app for managing your money. The app does a good job covering key banking services. It has a “Slide for Balance” feature that lets you quickly check how much money you have without making you log in to your bank account.
With the app, you can also check your transaction history, deposit checks, transfer money to other people with a GoBank card and find free ATMs. You can set it up to give you mobile alerts, including whenever you receive payment or your balance falls below a certain amount.
Beyond these standard features, the app comes with a budgeting tool that lets you track your income and expenses. You can set goals, then the app will tell you how close you came and where you fell short during the month. It can set reminders for upcoming expenses and income.
There’s also a Fortune Telling tool that gives you advice on whether you can afford purchases based on your budgeting goals. Finally, you can set money aside in a separate savings account called the Money Vault. You can move money back into checking anytime you want without a fee. But this savings account does not earn interest.
We are impressed with the app as it includes most of the features we’d expect. Perhaps it could do better with customer support as it doesn’t include a live chat. You need to call customer service instead. It also does not include credit reporting, but this may not be a priority for people using this account since there’s no credit check needed to sign up.
Opening a GoBank card account
You can open a GoBank card account on its website, through its mobile app or by buying one from a participating retailer, such as 7-Eleven, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens or Walmart. You will need to make an opening deposit of at least $20 but no more than $500 to launch your account. You can make the deposit by buying a card directly from a retailer, setting up a direct deposit or by depositing cash at a retailer after setting up your account online.
Registering for the card is simple. It does not run ChexSystems. It only verifies your identity by asking for your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and contact information. It may ask you to upload a form of ID, such as a driver’s license, to confirm this information.
If you buy your GoBank card at a retailer, it’s possible that GoBank will not receive all the information it needs to verify your identity. It will limit what you can do with your account until you can submit the missing info. With the limited account, you can spend whatever you initially deposited on the card, but you will not be able to add new funds. You will also be blocked out of most of the account features, such as bill payment, person-to-person transfers and making international purchases.
Who could benefit from the GoBank card
The card seems like an ideal fit for someone who likes online and digital banking but can’t qualify for a bank checking account because of their credit or ChexSystems report. Since GoBank does not check credit or ChexSystems, this won’t be an issue.
Its app helps you manage your money from anywhere because you can check your balance instantly, there’s no fee to deposit checks via mobile and the budgeting tools let you plan your spending. At the same time, its account is excellent for direct deposit because it’s also free and you get your money up to two days ahead of payday.
For someone who likes managing their money the old-fashioned way, with cash and face-to-face banking, this isn’t a great choice. There’s a steep fee to order paper checks and to deposit cash at a retailer. GoBank also doesn’t have any physical branches. It is not ideal if you want live customer service instead of just dealing with an app.
Finally, anyone considering this account should aim to have monthly direct deposits of least $500. Otherwise, the card charges a costly monthly fee.
Overall review of the GoBank Card
There’s a lot to like about the card. The mobile app is excellent, there’s a large ATM network and you can direct deposit money for free while getting access to your paycheck two days ahead of schedule.
With this account though, you need the right approach to prevent fees. Depositing cash, ordering paper checks and using out-of-network ATMs all get expensive with the card, and you should avoid these transactions whenever possible.
This is a good choice for someone who wants a mobile-centered account but cannot qualify for a standard checking account because of credit or financial difficulties.
There are more generous checking accounts out there that pay interest and are better with refunding ATM fees. But you may need to pass a ChexSystems review of your banking history to qualify. If you can’t do that, the card is a solid choice for managing your money.