Mobile Wallets: Where’s The S-Curve?

Mobile-Only Bank Chime Claims 750,000 Customers

Chime, the mobile-only bank, is in high growth mode: The company has opened 750,000 accounts since its launch.

By PYMNTS

Chime, the mobile-only bank, is in high growth mode: The company has opened 750,000 accounts since its launch.

According to news in The American Banker, since the start of January, the startup has been signing up new bank customers at a fast pace. Chime’s growth is impressive, given other mobile-only banks in the U.S. have failed to land so many customers. Chime has a low-fee checking and savings account as well as a debit card and mobile app that enable automated savings and real-time notifications. What’s more, the bank doesn’t have monthly fees, overdraft charges and doesn’t require a minimum balance.

“I believe the days of getting all your financial services from one bank brand are ending. The big banks will kick and scream the whole way,” Chime CEO Chris Britt told the American Banker in an interview.

Chime predicts it will sign up 100,000 new users in January, with some of those numbers included in its customer count of 750,000. The CEO believes Chime’s popularity revolves around two things: The startup’s product and app is resonating with millennials, and it’s a brand with which they’re comfortable banking.

“The big banks all charge you $3 to $5 a month just to have a savings account, until you hit a minimum balance,” Britt said in the report. “It’s just not helpful. There’s no reason to charge people fees for that. I just read that Wells Fargo reported $1.246 billion of service charges on deposit accounts. That’s our opportunity right there.”

American Banker noted that half of Chime’s new customers are coming via customer referrals and word of mouth. Social media engagement via Instagram and Facebook has also aided in the company’s customer growth. The app’s social media is built right in, enabling customers to connect with one another and to refer friends, which also resonates with younger banking customers.

Looking to the future, Britt hinted the company could ink a partnership with a robo-advisor to help customers invest for retirement. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our members to have interoperability with all those services they want to use,” the CEO concluded.