Varo Bank Review 2021

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Updated on Monday, March 29, 2021

Varo Bank

Founded in 2015, Varo Bank is an FDIC-insured, mobile-only bank. It became the first U.S. consumer fintech to become a national bank charter by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the primary regulator of banks, when approval was finalized in June 2020. Varo uses its fintech expertise to create proprietary technology and offer accounts and services to consumers who may not have access to traditional financial institutions.

Varo Bank offers just two types of accounts, checking and savings. The savings account offers one of the highest interest rates available, based on a customer’s banking activity.

Varo Bank savings accounts 4 out of 5

Varo Savings Account
  • APY: Variable, ranging from 0.40% to 3.00%
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Monthly fee: $0

Consumers who don’t need access to a bank branch might consider a Varo savings account, which offers a variable interest rate, starting at 0.40% APY. The account’s top rate — 3.00% APY — is currently one of the highest in the country for a regular savings account.

To earn the maximum interest rate available, the account holder must make at least five debit card purchases from a Varo checking account, and they must receive a total of at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits to a Varo checking or savings account each calendar month. Customers must also meet daily balance requirements: Their daily savings balance must not exceed $10,000 during the entire calendar month and their checking and savings account balances must be greater than or equal to $0.

Varo customers who have both savings and checking accounts can have money automatically transferred from their Varo checking account to their savings. The “Save Your Pay” option transfers a percentage of your direct deposits to your savings account, while the “Save Your Change” feature rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar, moving the difference into the customer’s savings account.


on Varo’s secure website

Member FDIC

For more top savings account options, take a look at our roundup of the best savings accounts.

Varo Bank checking accounts 4 out of 5

Varo Checking Account
  • APY: N/A
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • ATM access: Free access to 55,000+ AllPoint ATMs nationwide; $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs

Varo Bank offers one basic type of checking account: A non-interest-earning bank account with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. Varo also doesn’t charge for debit card replacement, foreign transactions and ACH bank and Varo-to-Varo transfers. Instead of an overdraft protection feature, the bank offers Varo Advance to qualified customers, which covers an overdraft of up to $100 with no fees as long as it’s repaid within 30 days.

Since the bank is virtual, customers can use their Varo debit card to access money at no charge through the AllPoint network of ATMs (Varo does charge a $2.50 fee for withdrawals at out-of-network ATMs). Withdrawals from an AllPoint ATM are limited to $500. Customers who need more cash can choose a cash-back option for as much as $500 when making a purchase at a store with their Varo Visa® Debit Card. Another option is to do an “Over the Counter” cash withdrawal for up to $1,000 at participating banks, which may incur fees. No matter how cash is withdrawn, Varo has a limit of $1,000 per calendar day.

Customers can add money to their account through direct deposit, digital transfers or mobile deposits on the Varo app. Cash deposits can be made by loading money onto a debit card through Green Dot, located inside more than 90,000 retailers, including CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid and Target. Note that Green Dot charges a service fee of up to $4.95.

A unique feature is Varo’s early direct deposit. In this process, employers submit payroll files to the Federal Reserve before the money is deposited into the employee’s account, which is generally done on a specific day. However, for Varo customers, the Fed notifies Varo of the amount, and it’s deposited into customers’ accounts after receiving the direct deposit notification, up to two days earlier.

Varo Second Chance Bank Account
  • APY: N/A
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • ATM access: Free access to 55,000+ AllPoint ATMs nationwide; $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs

Varo Bank notes that it was founded on the belief that everyone should have access to a bank account. As such, it offers a Second Chance Bank Account for customers who have been denied a bank account due to a poor banking history.

Varo doesn’t perform a ChexSystems or credit report check before approving a new account, and it also doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement or monthly fees. While it’s listed separately, the Second Chance Bank Account offers the same benefits of a regular checking account, including a debit card with fee-free ATM access, free paper check mailing, early direct deposit and access to an optional high-yield Varo Savings Account with automatic savings tools.

Find further savings account options in our selection of the top savings accounts.

Varo Bank CDs 0 out of 5

Unlike many other banks and credit unions, Varo doesn’t offer certificates of deposit (CDs) — at this time, the only type of accounts that are available are checking and savings accounts. Customers who would like to open a CD or money market account at the same institution where they do their daily banking would not find that option with Varo and may want to look elsewhere.

If you are interested in opening a CD, check out our top CD picks.

Customer experience at Varo Bank

For those who are looking to earn a bit more on their savings, value a fee-free structure and don’t mind banking completely over the phone or online, Varo Bank could be a good option, despite its limited product lineup.With 55,000-plus ATM locations worldwide, Varo customers can often find a convenient location for cash withdrawals. The bank’s app allows you to check balances with your Varo and non-Varo accounts. You can also set up transaction alerts, make mobile deposits and lock your debit card if it’s lost or stolen. At time of writing, the Varo iOS app has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating, and the Android app has 4.5 out of 5 stars. Varo also currently has an 4.6 rating from TrustPilot.

The bank has an online Help Center, where customers can get answers to questions. Customers also can get direct support via email or over the phone.