Founded in 2015, Varo is an all-mobile bank account app. It’s the first US consumer fintech company to receive a national bank charter from the OCC. Varo customers can expect safe “branchless” banking, access to both checking and savings accounts, and no monthly or hidden fees.
In just five years, Varo Bank says it’s helped its customers save $124+ million in overdraft fees, $115 million+ in auto savings, and seen $559 million+ total savings inflow. So, if you’re wondering whether Varo is right for your banking needs, then keep reading.
Pros and Cons of Varo
- No hidden fees
- No minimum balances
- Easy sign-up process
- High-yield savings accounts
- Earlier direct deposit compared to traditional banks
- Widespread, global ATM coverage
- Deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000
- No physical branches
- Small fee for withdrawing from non-covered ATMs
What Does Varo Offer?
At its core, Varo offers mobile, no-fee bank accounts. Specifically, you can open up a checking and/or savings account through Varo.
With a Varo Checking Account, you can receive direct deposit payments up to two days earlier than with traditional banks, plus you can still do everything you normally can with a checking account from a traditional bank — just entirely online and without any of the fees. This means that you can complete banking transactions like deposits, withdrawals, transfers, and paying bills without having to visit a physical branch or pay any fees. For a more complete picture, there are no fees affiliated with any of the following:
- Monthly account maintenance
- Varo debit card replacement with USPS
- Foreign transactions
- ATM withdrawals (Allpoint ATMs)
- ACH bank transfers
- Account closing
- Over-the-counter cash withdrawals
- Varo-to-Varo transfers
These benefits also apply to Varo Savings Accounts, which come with automatic savings tools, no minimum balances, and allow you to earn up to 2.80% APY if you make at least five qualifying Varo Bank debit card purchases and receive qualifying total direct deposits of $1,000 or more. Plus, you can take refuge in the fact that your money is completely secure, as all money (deposits and interest) in your Varo Savings Account is insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for at least $250,000 by Varo Bank, N.A.
What To Expect on the Site
Signing up for a Varo bank account is as simple as downloading the Varo Bank app from the App Store and following the prompts to submit your application. All in all, the process can take less than five minutes. Or sign up on Varo’s website. Just click on the “Get Started” button.
In terms of requirements, Varo is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 18 or older with a valid social security number. Given that Varo is entirely mobile, you’ll also need access to a device that can run their app, which means:
- Apple iPhones running iOS version 13.0 or higher
- Android devices running Android OS 6.0 Marshmallow and above with access to the Google Play Store
- A personal computer running one of these compatible browsers: Microsoft Edge version 81.0 or higher, Firefox version 72 or higher, or Safari version 13 or higher.
You also don’t need to worry about compatibility issues when using Varo, as Varo Bank debit cards are accepted wherever Visa is accepted. Similarly, you can connect popular online payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo to your Varo for a more convenient digital wallet experience.
While on the topic of Varo’s mobile experience, their app comes packed with all sorts of security measures to keep your money safe. For example, if your debit card is lost or stolen, you can use the app to immediately lock your card and keep anyone else from using it. Plus, with a Varo debit card, you get protection from Visa Zero Liability, which guarantees you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
Varo only charges one fee — a $2.50 withdrawal fee for any withdrawal made at a non-Allpoint ATM. Fortunately, with over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs worldwide, finding an ATM and avoiding this fee is relatively easy — especially with the help of the built-in “Find ATM” feature in Varo’s app.
With virtually no fees, you may be asking yourself, “But how does Varo make money?” The answer is that every time you use your Varo debit card, the merchant pays Varo a small percentage of the transaction. They also state that they make money from their partners whenever customers take advantage of offers. Outside of no-fee bank accounts, by joining the Varo community, you also gain access to a variety of partner services. These affiliated services can help you earn more money, pay bills, get insurance, and stay on top of your credit. Varo offers a supportive approach to banking.
What People Are Saying About Varo
Customers have a high opinion of Varo. As an illustration, Varo has an excellent Trustpilot score. Based on nearly 2,000 customer reviews, Varo has a score of 4.4 out of 5 stars:
- 82% of customer reviews give Varo 5 out of 5 stars
- 87% of customer reviews give Varo at least 4 out of 5 stars
This Trustpilot score is accurate as of July 2021.
The Bottom Line
Varo Bank brings something to the world of banking that is truly unprecedented: a no-fee, customer-first, mobile-first business model. While there may be no branches, there are also no monthly bank fees, hidden fees, or minimum balances. Plus, with over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs situated around the world, it’s relatively easy to find a fee-free ATM to use.
When it comes to the bank accounts themselves, Varo’s Checking Accounts allow you to do all the regular banking tasks (deposits, withdraws, transfers, etc.) but without any of the fees you would normally find from a traditional bank. Plus, you can even get paid up to two days early with direct deposit. The same goes for Varo’s Savings Accounts, which come with automatic savings tools, no minimum balances, and allow you to earn up to 2.80% APY.
If you’re ready to experience the next chapter in convenient, safe, and easy online banking, Varo Bank is an option well worth considering. Given this, it belongs in any comparison of top online banks.