Positioning itself as a mobile-only banking service, Varo entered the banking industry with an aggressive marketing thrust that countered traditional bank offerings. For starters, they don’t charge a minimum balance fee nor an overdraft fee.
Then, Varo threw in a bunch of other innovative offers such as higher-than-industry-average APY for a qualified savings account. On all balances, the account now provides an annual percentage yield (APY) of 3.00% - 5.00%. You can get even higher APY - but one of the conditions to meet is maintaining a daily savings balance of $5,000 or less, which doesn't make sense if you have more and would like to maximize your savings.
On the other hand, Varo has a limited banking product line. Rather than trying to emulate a conventional high street bank, Varo’s aim is to help its customers rebuild or build credit. So, its products are tailored to this purpose.
Varo Banking can be a perfect fit if:
- You like the idea of a checking account working seamlessly with your savings account
- You want a secured credit card
- You want help to build or rebuild your credit
- No Fees
- Attractive APY
- No Minimum Balance Requirements
- Access Allpoint ATM network
- Limited Products
- Need to Open a Checking to Get the Best Rates
- Online Only
- No Promotions
Can I Open a Joint Account?
Joint accounts are not currently available from Varo, and secondary users on Varo Bank cards are not permitted. As a result, if you're seeking for a joint account with a partner or dependent, this is not the bank for you.
Varo has acknowledged that this function might eventually be made accessible. Before you rule off Varo as an effective choice for you, it could be worthwhile to check again.
How does the Varo debit card work?
Your Varo Bank Account, a full-featured bank account similar to the checking accounts provided by conventional banks, comes with your debit card. You must deposit funds into your Varo Bank Account before you can use your debit card.
Can I trust Varo with my money?
Varo Bank, N.A., which offers Varo Bank Accounts, insures deposits up to $250,000 through Varo Bank, N.A; Member FDIC.
What is the Varo debit card's cap?
Your Varo Bank debit card entitles you to a daily spending cap of $2,500 that may be used for both purchases and cash back at checkout.
Cash advances are also possible with your card. The maximum amount you can withdraw from an ATM in one calendar day is $1,000.
Varo Banking Review
Money Market Account
Varo Banking Pros & Cons
As with any company, Varo has potential benefits and possible drawbacks. It is important to be aware of both the positives and negatives before you decide to use the service. This will help you to make an informed decision.
Varo doesn't charge monthly maintenance fees, transfer fees, or foreign transaction fees. This, in addition to the high savings rates, makes Varo one of the best online banking services available.
Any bank that offers high interest rates is likely to attract customers, and Varo is no exception. The annual percentage yield (APY) on the Varo Savings Account is 3.00% – 5.00%. This rate plus Varo's straightforward pricing structure give you the potential to save a sizable sum of money.
Additionally, if you fulfill specific criteria, you can earn an APY of up to 5.00%. Although there is no minimum balance required to open a savings account, there is one required to start earning interest.
There is no minimum balance required to open an account, which makes it easy and quick for those who are looking for a checking account.
Being a Varo bank depositor automatically gives you access to ATMs all over the world – although some partner ATMs abroad may levy a fee for some transactions.
If I’m looking for a bank that can serve my banking needs, this bank falls short because of the absence of other traditional bank products.
Not all customers would be okay with just checking and savings account.
If they need other products, they would have to find another bank and go through the account opening process all over again.
If you would like to enjoy higher APY, you'll need to open a Varo checking account.
Varu has no branches, it's a 100% online-only bank – so if personal service is important to you, it may not be the best place for your needs.
Many banks offer bonuses and promotions for new accounts, and this is something that is not applicable to Varo. For example, SoFi offers a bonus of $50 – $250 when you open a new SoFi Checking and Savings account.
Their competitive advantages rest heavily on their Varo mobile app, where you can do nearly all your banking transactions. Varo has a website help center with an extensive FAQ section. There is also a contact email and customer service phone number, but there are no details of when the phone lines are open to receive calls.
Varo has scrapped many pesky fees that often came with bank accounts: minimum balance fee, overdraft fee, ATM withdrawal fee, foreign transaction fee, debit card replacement fee, and transfer fee. Varo offers a digital financial advisory service that is available 24/7. Customers find this helpful for their budgeting and spending analysis.
Varo mobile app also keeps the customer updated with push notifications on their mobile phones, especially on their transactions and account balances. Although the younger consumers perceive it to be an intelligent and state-of-the-art bank, it is still a work in progress as many everyday banking products are absent in its line-up.
Varo’s app is rated 4.6/5 on the Apple Store and 4.5/5 on Google Play.
App Rating (iOS)
App Rating (Android)
BBB Rating (A-F)
8 AM – 9 PM
The Varo savings account is a virtual account so there is no physical bankbook. To monitor your transactions and balances, the Varo App has a utility that lets you view, download, and print your bank statement. The app also provides up-to-date push notifications of your transactions and your current balance.
On all balances, you are eligible for an annual percentage yield (APY) of 3.00% – 5.00%. After fulfilling specific monthly conditions, Varo offers the chance to earn an APY of 5.00%. However, you'll need to meet the following conditions:
- Receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits throughout each eligible period,
- For the entire month, maintain a daily savings balance of $5,000 or less.
- Maintain balances in your checking and savings accounts that are greater than or equal to $0.00 for the whole month.
This is a great rate also compared to the best savings accounts available. For example, Discover Bank offers 3.60% APY on savings.
When you open a Varo Bank Account, you’re opening a checking account with a twist. You won’t receive any personal checkbook, but they will give you a Varo Visa debit card. In case you need to issue a physical check, the bank will be the one to issue it for you.
The main feature of this product is that it is fee-free, which is attractive to many consumers. They also allow you to have an overdraft of up to $50 without charges. However, the bank will decline your transactions if you go over this limit. To qualify, you should receive a minimum of $1,000 in direct deposit and make at least five debit purchases within the month.
Withdrawals can come through Allpoint ATMs free of charge. However, if you use other bank’s ATMs, the ATM provider may charge you a fee – but Varo Bank will not.
Save Your Change & Save Your Pay
Varo helps depositors save money through their Save Your Change and Save Your Pay programs.
In Save Your Change, they round off eligible transactions to the nearest dollar and put the change into your savings account. In Save Your Pay, customers can nominate a percentage of their earnings that the bank will transfer automatically to their savings account.
- Track your spending: You can use it to track your spending on your Varo (and even non-Varo) accounts. For your security, it provides transaction alerts and notifications. You can lock your debit card via the mobile application if you lose it through theft or accident.
- Get Money Faster: If you avail of their direct deposit service, the bank will let you get your money two days early. This is like getting your salary earlier because Varo Bank will release the funds to you when they receive the money from your employer.
55,000 ATMs, Bancorp As The Provider
But with mobile banking app technology as one of their strongest suits, there’s a lot of potential for a more present-day take on traditional products like savings and checking accounts.
They also partnered with Allpoint for their ATM network which makes 55,000 ATMs accessible to Varo clients all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
Varo’s banking services rely on Bancorp as the provider. It is one of the most trusted banking solutions technology providers in the world. Varo has also partnered with Chime Bank, Visa, and PayPal.
No Physical Branches
And because Varo has no physical branches, customers who wish to make a deposit may do so through their partner Green Dot that has a presence in thousands of locations all over the country in stores such as Walmart, 7-11, Walgreens, etc.
Varo Bank holds a lot of promise.
It is a good first bank for young first-time customers, especially millennials who may not immediately qualify to open an account in the bigger banks. The idea for a mobile-only bank is both innovative and forward-looking. This could be the way banking will be moving in the next few years.
With some refinements in their app and the addition of new deposit and investment products in their menu, they could give the older and more popular banks a run for their money.
Varo Bank FAQs
Varo is a mobile only bank that has a reputation for solid customer service and a variety of finance products.
In addition to no monthly fees or hidden charges, you can enjoy FDIC protection for up to $250,000. So, you have the reassurance that should Varo cease trading for any reason, you’ll be reimbursed for your funds up to the FDIC cap.
Varo Bank has been operating since 2015 and has become a popular mobile only banking option. Varo is considered an “intelligent” mobile bank offering a variety of products including savings and checking accounts, debit cards and lending products.
Varo is a reputable organization with no monthly maintenance fees, and no account minimums. You can even access a digital financial advisor 24/7 to get help with budgeting goals or spending analysis.
Varo has banking products with no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. You can also access a fee free ATM network, but you will only be able to deposit cash via a third party retailer that may charge a fee.
So, if you’re looking for banking facilities with no monthly fees and other advantages such as a good rate on your savings, instant cash loans and early direct deposit paychecks, Varo could be the right choice for you.
Like Varo, Current is an online-only banking tool that allows access via a mobile app. While Current banking app is aiming to be a leader in the digital banking industry, there are some areas where it lags behind Varo. For example, there is a maximum balance of $10,000 across all of your Current checking accounts. Additionally, to access all of the useful Current features, you will need to subscribe to the higher tier plan that costs $4.99 per month.
So, unless you are looking for a basic Current account that you can organize with Savings Pods, Varo is likely to be a better option for you.
SoFi Money is well regarded for its personal loans, but it also offers competitive rate savings and checking accounts with no maintenance fees or account minimums. However, the advantage SoFi money has over Varo is if you are a frequent traveler. From anywhere in the world, SoFi will reimburse ATM charges providing you use a machine that accepts Visa.
So, if you like to travel and need a little more from your banking services, SoFi money could be a better choice.
Online Banks For Starters - Alternatives
APY Savings The annual percentage yield (APY) is a percentage that represents the amount of money or interest earned on your savings account over the course of a year. The APY factored in compound interest. A savings calculator can help you quickly determine how much you'll earn with a given APY.
3.00% – 5.00%
Checking Account Fee The monthly fee on checking account
Checking Minimum Deposit
Mobile App Rating
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Varo vs Chime
Chime differs from many banks and other financial institutions in that it screens customers in an unusual way. If you don't have perfect credit or are still building your credit history, this may make it easier to open an account with Chime.
Varo, a mobile-only bank, was established in 2015. As a result, there are no bank branches. To use Varo's services, first download and sign into the bank's Apple and Android mobile apps. Varo offers a lot of functionality for on-the-go users, which may entice you to go online.
Read Full Comparison: Chime vs Varo Comparison: Which Online Bank Wins?
Varo vs SoFi
SoFi offers a Spend and Save account that is part savings account and part checking account. You can earn 0.25 percent on your entire balance, but you can also establish savings vaults. These are separate funds within the account that allow you to allocate funds to various savings goals. This allows you to save for both short and long-term goals without having to manage multiple savings accounts.
Varo, on the other hand, has a more traditional savings account that offers an impressive up to 3% interest rate. Higher rates are available if you keep a savings balance of $5,000 or more or receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the qualifying period.
Read Full Comparison: SoFi vs Varo Bank: Which Account Is Better For Your Money?
Varo vs Axos
Axos is a large online bank that offers checking, savings, CDs, investing, and other services. Customers can earn interest or cash back on a variety of checking account options. The APY on Axos Bank's Rewards Checking account isn't the highest among online banks, but it's high enough to justify opening an account as part of a larger online banking strategy, and there aren't many fees.
Varo Bank is a web-based bank that offers a variety of deposit and loan products. It was founded in 2015 and is based in San Francisco. Varo offers high-yield savings accounts and cash-back checking accounts, as well as a fee-free ATM network (see below for more information from Varo) and automatic savings tools.
Read Full Comparison: Axos vs Varo: Compare Banking Products