Current Banking Review 2022
Current is arguably the best low-cost online bank currently, with fantastic interest rate offerings, nearly no fees, cash-back on purchases, and above-average customer service.
Below we’ll go into the things that make Current unique, but to not bury the lead currently they offer most features similar companies do but pay you significantly higher interest on the money your deposit with them as well as give cash-back rewards.
|💰 Interest on Deposits
|💻 Platform Useability
|Simple & Easy
|🛠 Support Quality
|🥇 Fees & Pricing
|Tied for Lowest
There are a few other ‘free’ banking products that are better in certain niche cases, however we’d say Current is currently the best e-banking product/service currently available.
To elaborate – if you are a digital nomad or travel a lot outside the USA Charles Schwab Brokerage-tied bank account may be better as they give ATM rebates for withdrawals outside the USA — however for people who only travel out once or twice a year, or domestically, Current is a better choice.
The other situation is if you do not want a low-cost bank and want to ‘build a relationship’ with a bank that provides credit cards and mortgage services, such as Chase, then it may be preferably to go with them just to ‘get your foot in the door’ with them, even though their banking services aren’t as good as Current.
Table of Contents
Current's Unique Features:
Before we get into the features I want to make it clear these aren’t all the features Current has to offer — these are the features that are unique to Current that make them stand out amongst their competitors.
If you want a full list of their features I’d recommend going to this page on Current’s Website which has all the features they have to offer — it’s just most of them are popular among all Fintech ‘e-banks’ and not that important — the ones below make a difference and are unique to Current.
They Front Your Gas Holds
Rather than using your card at the pump and being slapped with a $150 hold charge by the station for a few days, plus your gas bill, Current charges you just the gas amount.
They take responsibility of the gas hold — so if you’re a bit low on funds you don’t have to worry about having your cash tied up in a gas station hold. That convenience is nice, not having to withdraw cash for your gas is just a little perk that makes life easier.
Cash-Back on Purchases
Current is the only bank that seems to provide this in the USA — cashback for debit card purchases. Okay there’s a few other companies that do — one other good option is Discover’s debit account — but they all offer at most 1% back in cash-back while Current offers up to 15% back on purchases.
Usually purchases don’t get 15% cash back of course, that’s only at ‘select merchants’ but for us when using the card we got an average of 1.6% cash back in total.
This is pretty unique to Current — they allow you to overdraft your account up to $200 so long as you recieve consistent paychecks on a monthly basis, so if you’re in a pinch and don’t quite have the cash in your account, say if you have an issue with your car, Current can help cover you until your next paycheck.
This may not seem like anything special to those who are well-off but the ability to be able to just overdraft your Current account without paying absorbent fees is hugely helpful for those who are in a pinch — not having to go to a payday lender to make up the cash helps out massively.
Truly High Yielding Saving Options
Unlike most banks that offer a pitiful <0.25% in interest on deposits, or like other fintech ‘banks’ like Chime that offer 1.5%~ on deposits annually, Current offers a whopping 4% on deposits.
To be clear that means every year if you have $5000 saved up, say an emergency fund, you’ll earn $200 in interest just for holding it in Current. That’s fantastic — better than any other (safe, insured) savings option currently available among banks, lending platforms, etc.
The only downside is you’re limited to this interest rate up to only $6000 — but lets be real who’s sitting on more than that in cash? I sure ain’t.
Current's Biggest Pros & Cons:
While we’ve already went over Current’s best features that make them unique there are plenty of other good features that they have as well as other benefits to them.
To start the pros of Current are:
- Savings Pods earn 4%+ on deposits
- No monthly fees, inactivity fees, account opening fees, etc
- Fantastic teen/managed banking features (good for any dependants, not just teens)
- Free ATM withdrawals at one of the biggest ATM networks in the country (tons of banks)
- Refunds your gas holds if you use the current debit card at the pump
- Allows you up to $200 in overdraft-expenses 100% fee-free
- Gives points back at tons of retailers, amounting to a 1-2% cashback.
- Instantly credits direct deposits (paychecks) helping you get paid early
- Very simple to use mobile app
- Above-average customer service
- Sexy debit card design
With that being said there are some downsides and cons with Current, such as:
- Current charges foreign transcation fees
- Only the first $6000 in savings pods earn 4% in interest
- Doesn’t offer a desktop/web interface, must bank using your phone
- Doesn’t offer non-banking services (such as credit cards or loans)
- Has a few hidden fees (covered below)
- Does not seamlessly allow you to wire transfer funds out (can withdraw via ACH easily)
Current's Hidden Pricing and Fees:
While current advertises their self as 100% free and without any hidden fees as with all companies that advertise that way there are hidden fees you should be aware of before signing up to Current.
Most of these fees aren’t very relevant for most people and are standard across both fintech ‘banks’ like Current and also amongst traditional banks like Chase or Bank of America, but you should still be aware of them so you don’t get surprised one month with some extra charges.
The first of these hidden fees is shown above — Current charges $3 on all cash withdrawals outside the USA and 3% of the withdrawal amount as a currency conversion fee.
They also charge 3% on all purchases made with the current debit card if it’s not in US Dollars, again as a foreign currency conversion fee. These fees are standard across all banks for the most part though with few exceptions — Charles Schwab Bank being one of those exceptions.
Takeaway — if going on vacation outside the USA bring a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees with you or a wad of cash to save on ATM fees. Alternatively just take out quite a bit each time you need money rather than making many withdrawals during your trip.
Another one of these hidden fees is simply to replace your Current debit card if you lose it — they’ll charge $5 for a new card, and if you aren’t in the USA and need it mailed to you internationally you’ll need to pay extra postage or even get the card forwarded to you.
It’s not a big fee, none of these hidden fees are, but they do exist — so keep them in mind.
Beyond those two hidden fees there’s not really any others — okay there’s one more and that’s if you’re in the USA but not using an ‘in-network’ ATM you may get tagged with a small fee as well — this fee can vary but is generally between $2 and $5 — so again nothing too painful.
This fee also applies when depositing cash into your account using a 3rd-party service rather than one of their approved vendors.
Current vs Competitors:
We’ll go over some of their biggest competitors and a few other honorable mentions that are worth considering to help you decide if Current is truly right for you, or if banking elsewhere would be better.
Current vs Chime
This is Current’s main competitor — Chime — they’re alright, you can read our full comparison of chime vs current on this page, but in short we believe Current is better for most people right now.
This is because while Chime has many features Current has, even including some of Current’s relatively unique features such as their overdraft flexability, well, Chime lacks in other regards.
They don’t offer gas hold reimbursement, nor do they offer any cash-back rewards on purchases made with their debit card like Current does. Chime also only offers 1.5% on savings deposits while Current offers 4%.
Fee-wise both Current and Chime are essentially identical — Chime offers less fees on foreign transactions but otherwise is identical to Current in terms of fees.
Current vs Ally
Ally was the first online type bank offering better rates and low to no fees, but in the last couple years they’ve slowly gotten worse in terms of their offerings.
They still have the same low fees that Current does, but they lack tons of great features Current has (overdraft protection, gas holds, cashback, getting paid early, etc) and offer a substantially lower interest rate as well (2.25% vs current’s 4%).
Are there any good alternatives or competitors?
In terms of strictly for what Current offers, not really — Chime is the best alternative, but as mentioned before they’re not really as good currently as Current is — however there are a few others that have unique features worth considering: Namely Schwab and Chase Bank.
With Schwab Bank you get free ATM withdrawals globally, in or out of network, and a rebate on any access fees the ATM provider charges. They don’t offer the high interest Current does, or most other features, but if you’re going traveling or living abroad this account is fantastic.
While with Chase it’s a good account if you just want to get your foot in the door with chase and begin to build history with them, allowing you to get their (very good) credit cards and other products.
Chase’s banking service isn’t very good in terms of fees or services though, so if you don’t care to get their credit cards Current is far better for banking imo and are the better choice for banking.
Our Experience Using Current:
I first signed up to Current in early 2020 and the whole time I used them the experience was positive — my only gripes with using Current is they lack a real desktop version and they do not have seamless support for wire transferring funds abroad.
Because of this recently I’ve largely stopped using Current in favor of Charles Schwab’s checking account, as I frequently am outside the USA and have to make many wire transfers, so Current simply stopped suiting me very well — I grew out of its target demographic.
With that being said we still have a Current account and I have nothing else bad to say about them — the app works flawlessly and the customer service was always better (in my opinion/experience) than Chime/other fintech banking platforms.
Current Crypto Review:
Current recently added the ability for folks with an account to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency through a partnership with ZeroHash, a company that’s been partnering with many financial institutions recently.
Testing it out on Current it seems like they offer 25+ cryptocurrenices including bitcoin and Ethereum, and do truly charge no commissions like their marketing says as the buy/sell quotes seem to be comparable to cryptocurrency exchanges and without any real deviation or markup.
As I’ve used and have been familiar with Zerohash’s products in the past I can say they work well and there’s nothing to worry about when using them – so if you want to invest in crypto or hold some bitcoin reserves to protect against inflation go for it.
Just be aware crypto is not FDIC insured, and can be volatile, so it’s not risk-free like Current’s 4% APY savings.
Current Review FAQ's:
Below we’ll go over the FAQ’s we’ve been asked, or encountered, or even had asked ourselves about Current when we first started using them for banking — If you have other questions feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can — and likely even add our answer down below.
Is Current a Trustworthy Bank?
Technically Current isn't even a bank, but rather a fintech banking service that worlds with a traditional bank -- but yes they're trustworthy, they've been around for years and have over 400 employees. Current has millions of banking customers already, millions in funding, and overall has a great track record so they're trustworthy. Current also has Insurance in case anything ever goes wrong.
Can you build your credit with Current?
No, current is simply a banking service provider, they do not offer and credit cards, loans, or other credit-reporting instruments. While Current is good for banking using them won't improve your credit score.
What Bank is Current Under?
Current is a separate entity entirely, an independent company currently, but they are partnered with Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank for their banking services and debit cards.Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank hold the funds (in an FDIC insured account) and issue you the debit card, current just handles the marketing, platform/interface, customer service, and other elements of the business.
How much cash can I deposit into a Current Account?
While theoretically there's no limit in practice the 3rd-party facilitators will generally not accept more than a few thousand dollars at any given time to deposit into your current account. You can hold as much as you want in the account and transfer millions in if you have it, but keep in mind their insurance only covers your first $250,000 in deposits.
Does current give you money or have a sign-up bonus?
Yes, Current generally offers a sign-up bonus, generally it's around $50 - you can sign up through this link to be eligible for the bonus.
What ATM Network does current use?
Current uses the Allpoint ATM Network which allows Current account holders to withdraw fee-free at 55,000+ ATMs around the country. If you aren't familiar with the allpoint ATM network they have atms at most CVS locations, Walgreens locations, Krogers, Target stores, and some gas stations.
Our overall Current rating
Current is our #1 pick when it comes to banking for the average person — they offer good interest rates on your savings, great features, and little to no fees. There’s nothing not to like about Current.
For everyone who’s not a world traveler or rich businessman Current is arguably the perfect banking solution.