Current Bank Review: We Tried Current Online Bank And This is Our Take
Current is a mobile-focused online bank that offers a checking account and debit card. The account comes with a few bonus features that are noteworthy, including budgeting tools, the ability to deposit cash and earn rewards on debit card purchases. It also includes features to help parents manage their children’s spending.
- Dedicated Account For: Consumer checking
- Account types: Checking
- Min Opening Deposit: None
- Minimum Balance Required: None
- Monthly Fee: None for basic service, $4.99 per month for Current Premium, $36 per year per child account
- ATM Access: 55,000+ ATMs
- Availability: Online
- 3rd Party integrations: None
What We Like About Current
There’s a lot to like about Current if you’re looking for an online checking account.
- No monthly fees for basic service – If all you need is a basic online checking account, Current charges no monthly fees and has no minimum balance, making it easy for anyone to use.
- Deposit cash – The drawback of online banks is that you can’t deposit cash to your account easily. Current solves this problem by letting you deposit cash at more than 60,000 stores.
- Debit cards for children and teens – Parents can give their children their own debit cards, giving them some financial freedom and the chance to learn how to manage money. Current also gives parents tools to control their children’s spending, such as setting spending limits and restricting specific merchants.
- Debit card rewards – You can earn rewards when you use your debit card to shop at participating stores.
- Money management tools – Current offers tools to help you save for different goals and budget your spending, making it easy to keep track of your finances.
- Free overdraft – If you get at least $500 in direct deposits each month and sign up for Current Premium, Current will let you overdraft your account by up to $100, fee-free.
What Could Be Improved With Current
Current has some drawbacks to consider before opening an account.
- No physical branches – Current is an online bank, so if you’re the type of person who prefers to do their banking in person, you should look elsewhere.
- Fees for premium services – If you want to take advantage of everything Current has to offer, you need to pay a $4.99 monthly fee. If you’re a parent and want to add a child to your account, the cost is $36 per year.
Current offers two account types, Current, and Current Premium.
Current’s basic checking account comes with all of the features and tools you’d expect from an online checking account. There is no monthly fee and no minimum balance required to open the account.
With Current’s basic service, you’ll get a debit card that you can use to make withdrawals at more than 55,000 ATMs across the country, the ability deposit cash at 60,000 stores, a budgeting tool you can use for one category of spending, one “savings pod” to track your savings, and spending insights that can help you learn about where and how you’re spending your money.
If all you need is a basic checking account, this account fits the bill.
Current Premium is Current’s fully-featured offering. It charges $4.99 per month and comes with all of the features of Current’s basic account plus some extras. For example, you can get access to your paycheck two days before payday if you sign up for direct deposit. You can also set up three savings pods to track multiple savings goals at once.
Current Premium also includes instant refunds of gas station account holds. When you swipe your card at a gas station, the gas station usually puts a hold on your account for a set amount. For example, it may hold $40. Once you finish the purchase, the gas station will release the hold for the amount you didn’t use to buy gas. If you only put $25 of gas in your tank, it would take the $25 you owe and release the $15 back to you.
It can sometimes take days for gas stations to release holds, leaving cash in your checking account but unavailable for you to use. With Current Premium, you can get these holds released immediately.
These are some of Current Bank’s top features.
While people’s financial lives are becoming increasingly digital, the old adage that cash is kind still rings true in many situations. One of the greatest drawbacks of online banks is that they make it difficult to work with cash. Most make withdrawals relatively easy but if you have cash and want to deposit it to your account, the process can be complicated.
Current has partnered with more than 60,000 stores around the United States to accept cash deposits which it instantly adds to your account. If you find yourself working with cash frequently, but want to use an online bank, Current makes it easier than most of the competition.
Debit card rewards
One of the drawbacks of using a debit card over a credit card is that you usually have to pass up on rewards. Credit cards can offer lucrative cash back, hotel points, and airline miles while most debit cards don’t offer any rewards.
Current has partnered with merchants around the country to offer rewards when you pay for things with your debit card. When you shop with a partnered company you can earn 15 points for every dollar you spend. You can redeem those points for rewards, including cash back.
Teaching your children how to properly manage their money is important, but it can be a complicated task.
For $36 per year, you can sign your child up for a Current account and get them a debit card that is linked to your account. You can use the Current app to help them track and manage their spending.
For example, you can set an allowance in the app to automatically give your child money to spend on a set schedule. You can also schedule chores in the app and pay your child as they complete their assigned tasks.
If you want to keep a closer eye on your child’s spending, Current lets you set spending limits or restrict purchases from certain merchants, giving you more control over how they spend their money.
Budgeting and saving tools
Budgeting and tracking your spending can be difficult, so Current has some tools that can help. If you sign up for Current Premium, you get access to a budgeting tool that can track as many categories of spending as you like.
Set a spending limit for each category and Current will track each purchase you make with your debit card. You can view your budget at any time to see how much you’ve spent and how much you have available to spend.
Current also generates spending insights that you can look at to get more information about how and where you’re spending your money.
Current’s fee structure is relatively simple. It charges very few fees, even for services that most other banks charge for.
The two most common fees are the monthly fee for Current Premium, which is $4.99, and the annual fee for linking a child account, which is $36. There are some fees for replacement debit cards. You also have to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee and a $3 foreign ATM fee.
There is a $3.50 fee to deposit cash.
Is Current FDIC Insured?
Yes, Current’s checking account offers the full protection offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Current’s accounts are offered through a partnership with Choice Financial Group (Member FDIC). You’ll get up to $250,000 in protection from the FDIC.
Is Current Safe?
When you’re doing anything with your money, but especially trusting an online bank, it’s normal to worry about whether your money will be safe.
Current is a perfectly safe choice for people who are looking for an online bank. The company uses standard internet security practices and tools to keep your money and personal information safe. It also partnered with Choice Financial Group (Member FDIC) to offer the full $250,000 in FDIC insurance for your deposited funds.
Who is Current Best For?
If you’re looking for a basic online checking account, Current is a solid choice. Where it shines is with its family offerings. Though there is a $36 annual fee, Current offers a lot of useful tools that parents can use to teach their children about money management.
If you’re a parent who wants an account that makes it easy to help track your children’s spending and to teach them about money, Current may be a good choice.
Alternatives to Current
There are many online banks out there, so if you’re not certain that Current is right for you, consider these alternatives.
Chime is another online bank that offers tools that you can use to manage your financial life. Like Current, Chime has no minimum deposit requirement and doesn’t charge a monthly fee.
Chime is a strong choice if you want an online bank that offers both checking and savings accounts. Chime also has a credit builder account that functions as a secured credit card. If you need to build your credit score, this can help you put your savings to use.
Read our full Chime review.
Ally Bank is an online bank that offers a wide variety of banking services, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, lending, and investing services.
Ally charges consistently low fees, often having no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee at all. It also offers reasonable interest rates. If you want a full-service online bank that can replace a physical bank, Ally is a good choice.
Read our full Ally bank review.
Users Want To Know About Current
These are some frequently asked questions about Current.
How do Current’s rewards points work?
When you shop at participating retailers and pay with your debit card, you can earn points based on the amount you spend. Premium members can earn more points than non-Premium members.
You can redeem your points for cash or to pay for your Premium subscription.
To earn points, you have to activate a points offer in the app before making a purchase.
How do I deposit cash?
If you want to deposit cash to your Current account, you can do so by visiting one of the bank’s 60,000+ partner locations. You can find a map of locations easily in the Current app.
Once you’re at the store, let the cashier know that you want to deposit cash, pull up the barcode in the Current app, and let the cashier scan it. Give the cashier the amount you’re depositing, plus the $3.50 fee, and the money will immediately appear in your account.
Can I send money to friends?
Yes, Current offers a free tool, called Current Pay, that you can use to send money to a friend directly from your checking account. You can access Current Pay through the mobile app and send money to other Current members instantly.
Current offers a basic online checking account that adds some useful features if you sign up for Current Premium. If you’re a parent, Current may be appealing for the tools it gives you to help teach your children about money and the tools it gives you to track and control your children’s spending.
If you want a full-service online bank that can replace a brick and mortar institution, Current isn’t the right choice but if you want a checking account with some extra features, Current may fit the bill.