Chime is an American fintech company that offers free mobile banking.
If you’re only getting started with your financial journey, Chime is a great starting point.
But how did Chime earn this level of fame and fortune? In this article, we talk about how this mobile banking company grew into a multi-billion dollar business.
Plus, learn how to build your own 7-figure business with our FREE playbook!
|Chris BrittRyan King
|Online Banking App
What is Chime?
Chime is a mobile banking app. But it’s not a bank.
All users can access their bank accounts via the mobile app or company website. Account holders also get Visa debit or credit cards.
Its unique selling point?
It charges a grand total of $0 for its services.
As a user, you’re not a direct customer of the banks that handle your account. In fact, Chime can close your account without a warning and without providing a reason for it.
However, Chime accounts are FDIC insured up to the standard $250,000.
Who Founded Chime?
CEO Chris Britt and CTO Ryan King founded Chime in 2012 in San Francisco.
Chris and Ryan aimed to offer users a more convenient alternative to traditional banking.
In an interview with Goldman Sachs, Britt explains how he is keen on serving the broad segment of Americans unhappy with their relationships with traditional banks. Here’s the interview:
What is Chime’s Origin Story?
They officially launched the app to the public on April 15, 2014, in a segment on Dr. Phil:
Over the next few years, Chime raised capital from various private sources.
In 2018, the company acquired Pinch, a credit score improvement service, in an all-stock deal. Pinch’s co-founders joined Chime and have contributed significantly to its growth.
The company partnered with Dallas Mavericks in January 2020. They became a jersey sponsor for the team in a multiyear agreement. The deal's financials are unknown, but it’s a three-year agreement with an option to extend it to five years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chime announced a program that offered anyone who filed their tax returns with the IRS an advance on the Economic Stimulus Payment via SpotMe.
Chime announced in February 2022 that it would delay its IPO until late 2022. However, the company is yet to make any further announcements about its IPO.
How Was Chime funded?
Chime has raised a total of $2.3 billion over nine rounds.
Series G was its biggest funding round. Announced on August 13, 2021, the Sequoia Capital-led $750 million funding round valued Chime at $25 billion.
Here’s a summary of Chime’s funding rounds:
What is Chime’s Valuation?
Based on its Series G funding round, this company is valued at $25 billion.
What Lessons Can Entrepreneurs Take From Chime's Brand Story?
The founders had a purpose-driven approach to founding Chime. One of their fundamental goals as a company was financial inclusion.
In fact, Chris Britt has worked with unbanked Americans in his previous job. He worked at Green Dot, a fintech company and registered bank, where he assisted unbanked Americans in opening their first bank account.
It’s inspiring how Chris applied what he learned at Green Dot to start a business that served a bigger purpose.
How does Chime compare to other banking services?
Chime stands out with its $250,000 FDIC insurance. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. And it has a customer base of 14.5 million — none of the other online banks have such a large customer base.
However, Chime isn’t a bank. Chartered banks like SoFi can offer more competitive rates to borrowers and offer higher yield savings and checking accounts compared to Chime.
What are the fees associated with using Chime?
Chime doesn’t charge a monthly, overdraft, foreign, in-network ATM, or debit card fees. You can deposit cash at various retailers across the U.S., but typically for a fee. Withdrawals made using out-of-network ATMs attract a $2.50 withdrawal fee.
How do deposits and withdrawals work with Chime?
You can receive direct deposits into your account.
Chime also accepts deposits fee-free at 8,500+ Walgreens and Duane Reade locations. The full list of retailers that accept cash deposits is available on its website.
Request the cashier to make a deposit (aka cash reload) when you want to deposit. You can deposit up to $1,000 per 24 hours or $10,000 a month.
However, it doesn’t accept deposits at ATMs.
Withdrawals are free from in-network ATMs. However, withdrawals from out-of-network ATMs cost $2.50 per withdrawal. You can withdraw a maximum of $515 per day at any ATM.
Alternatively, you can withdraw cash from a bank or credit union using your Chime Visa Debit Card. Again, there’s a $515 daily withdrawal limit and $2.50 per transaction withdrawal fee.
As explained in a Harvard Business School article, purpose-driven organizations are sustainable and often industry leaders.
Chris and Ryan had a purpose attached to their business, and that’s one of the key reasons for their success.
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