Mobile-only banks are becoming popular among millennials and Gen Z since they use mobile apps and online interfaces to conduct most of their activities. So, why not extend the same approach to banking too?
People can borrow money, make payments, deposit checks, transfer funds and invest in stocks through these banks without having to visit a branch. Current is a bank app that offers an account for easy money management using your phone.
The US-based financial technology company was founded by Stuart Sopp in 2015, who is now the CEO at Current. At the moment, Current has an impressive three million customers. Does that mean it’s worth the hype? We dissect this in the Current review below.
What is Current?
Current is a mobile-only app based in the US that allows users to make an account and benefit from a number of features. Being FDIC insured through their partner bank, Current provides insurance of up to $250,000 to each depositor.
Current claims it’s not a bank but something better, because banks hold you back while Current tends to move you forward. The company aims to offer financial services to everyone, irrespective of their lifestyle or economic standing.
How to Open a Current Account?
Opening a Current account is quite easy as the company says you can do it in just two minutes. If you have a smartphone, you can do it now. You’ll need to enter your Social Security Number and address to make the account.
- Download the Current app from Google Play or Apple Play Store.
- After downloading the app, tap ‘Get Started’ and follow the instructions on the screen.
- Once you have filled in all the fields, you will receive a verification code.
- You’ll need to use your phone’s camera to take a picture of yourself for verification and upload a picture of your driver’s license.
Unlike traditional banking that can be prone to long application review times for your bank account to be approved – sometimes up to a week – in most cases, Current reviews your application in one business day.
This is much more ideal since you cannot use your bank account while it is still under review.
Who is Eligible for Applying?
You can apply for a Current account if you have:
- A social security number
- A US residential address
- Are 18 or older
Current has two main accounts; the Current Account and a Teen Account. Current recently combined their Basic account and Premium account to form the Current Account which comes packed with all the advanced features without any monthly fees.
At $0 per month, the Current Account has the following features:
- Debit card
- 3 Savings Pod that can earn 4% APY
- No hidden fees1
- Spending Insights
- Early direct deposit access3
- Notifications for transactions and purchases
Early paycheck deposit is beneficial for people who are having financial problems, such as facing high interest rates on credit card debt.
Current Teen Account
It’s best to get your kids started early when it comes to money management. If they get a hand in it at any age, they will be more apt to handle money and credit wisely as adults.
Current’s Teen account has the following features for parental control:
- Set chores for teens to do
- Cashless convenience
- Fund addition by multiple family members
- Allowance payments can be automated
- Can set spending limits
- Can block certain merchants
- Get a notification for all purchases made by the child
- Instant funds transfer to the teen’s account
One thing to note is that the teen account does not have Savings pods; however, it does come with 1 Giving Pod for donations. This account is ideal if you want your kids to learn the importance of money management early in their lives.
Current Saving Pods
One of the most interesting and useful features of Current is its Saving pods. You can think of them as similar to a savings account, one that you use to save for whatever you want, like a rainy day fund, vacation, and more.
Instead, you can make different ‘pods’ for separate goals. For instance, you can make a pod for a MacBook and another for going on vacation. Then, you can simply deposit money from your account into each pod, saving it up until you reach your monetary goal.
With the Current account, you get three Savings pod that can earn 4% APY. The Teen account comes with a ‘Giving Pod’ if your teen would like to donate to a charity of their choice!
Rewards programs allow users to earn rewards on their purchases, such as points, miles or cash back.
Rewards programs vary widely in their characteristics. They may be targeted toward certain segments of the customer base, specific types of transactions, individual customers based on their spending habits, or even work on a generic level across all users.
They may also offer one-time rewards or accumulate points over time which can later be redeemed for various items like merchandise.
Current recently introduced Rewards that allow account holders to earn up to 15 times points on their purchases4 at over 14,000 retailers in the US. Some popular retailers include Rite Aid and Subway.
100 points come up to a dollar and are instantly credited to your account. According to the Current, their users can earn up to $165 per year in cashback rewards by using the Current card at gas stations.
It’s important to note that Current has some limits for transactions.
- $5000 for peer-to-peer payments via the app
- $2000 maximum purchases daily
- $500 maximum ATM withdrawals
In general, these limits should not restrict you unless you do a lot of switching money back and forth or spend over $2000 a day regularly. And we all know gas isn’t that expensive – yet!
Although Current has a limited number of features, the provisions are definitely useful for everyday users. Here are some of them.
No ATM Withdrawal Fees1
Current cardholders can withdraw money from 40,000 in-network Allpoint ATMs in the country without ATM fees1.
Even better, finding an ATM location is very easy. You just have to open your Current app and select the Money tab. Then, look for an in-network ATM around you.
Gas Hold Removals
Sometimes, when you pay at gas stations with your debit card, they put a hold of several hundred or sometimes one thousand dollars on your account, pending verification from the bank that the purchase was valid.
This is a form of fraud protection that essentially ensures you won’t get stuck with a $200 bill if someone somehow tricks the gas station into believing they legitimately got $200 worth of fuel in a car that only holds 2 gallons.
Gas stations and other establishments have been doing this for years without any notification to consumers (and without much sympathy when consumers were angry about it).
However, Current offers instant gas holds removals to Current Account holders.
When you pay at a gas station using your Current card, a hold will be placed on your account. But Current will instantly remove this hold, sending you a push notification of the amount that has been refunded.
Some banks offer round-ups, which means that the change is added to your account when you purchase something with your debit card. Round-ups are a form of automated savings that can add up quickly if you use your card all the time.
You may then elect what denomination is rounded (usually either to the nearest dollar or five dollars). Finally, you must indicate that there will be no rounding when making certain types of transactions and purchases – such as those made while traveling internationally, which are typically non-rounded.
Current also offers this feature. Here’s how to activate it:
- Go to the app and tap on Savings Pods.
- Here, you can create a pod for whatever you need to save money for.
- Turn the round-ups option on. It will round all your purchases to the nearest dollar, and the subtracted amount will be added to your pod.
You can also edit the pod if you no longer want to send money to it.
How Good is the Current Mobile App?
The Current mobile app does the job without adding any nuisance to the money management process. It’s easy to work through, and all the features are conveniently accessible.
Banking is so much more than just transferring money from one place to another or having a debit card. It’s about convenience and security, which is what the Current mobile app promises you with its many great features.
The spending insights give you an idea of how you spend your money every month. This will help you see a pattern and work on your expenses accordingly. Moreover, the Current app provides you with all the information in an organized manner which makes it easier to read through and understand.
You can check balances, recent transactions and even transfer money just by tapping on the screen of your mobile device.
More importantly, the app lets you locate the nearest in-network ATM so that you don’t have to pay anything on transactions1. Here’s what the Current mobile app lets you do:
- See instant refunds on gas holds
- Find in-network ATMs
- See early paycheck arrival
- Get notifications for purchases and transactions.
How Safe is Current?
Current is quite safe since the company gives immense importance to member privacy. Here are some security features:
- Face ID Lock and Fingerprint Lock: To maximize security, you can put a biometric lock on your app.
- Secured Transactions: Owing to the EMV chip on the card, the data on your card is safe from skimmers.
- Secure Connections: The online channel is secure, giving you peace of mind for fund transfers.
- Pause Transactions: If you have lost your card, you can pause transactions from your app to prevent unauthorized expenditure. Likewise, resuming card transactions is also possible in the app.
Pros of Current
- Overdraft: With a Current Account, you can have up to a $100 overdraft2 without any overdraft fee.
- Early Paycheck: If you have a Current Account, you enjoy early payments with direct deposit3
- No Minimum Balance: You do not need to have any minimum balance in your account.
- No ATM Fee Transactions: Current has a huge network of ATMs, allowing users to benefit from transactions without ATM fees1.
- Automated Savings: The Saving Pods allow users to save money for different things and use automated saving options for rounding off change from their purchases.
- Instant Hold Removals: Current Account holders get instant gas hold removals.
Cons of Current
- Balance Limit: Current has a balance limit of $10,000 for the debit card. You cannot have more than that amount on your card.
- Overseas Fees: If you use the Current debit card abroad, you’ll have to pay transaction and ATM fees.
Who is Current For?
Current is ideal for people who don’t want to visit bank branches and only intend to use their phones for banking. Moreover, you can withdraw cash, pay bills within few taps, check balances, transfer money among your accounts etc.
So, if you’re a student or someone who wants financial convenience, this app is for you. However, we’d advise against the Basic Account since it lacks many features.
On the other hand, the Premium account is more reasonable, while the Teen Account is ideal for parents who want their children to learn financial responsibility early.
Meanwhile, it’s not ideal for people who’re looking for an extensive range of features, such as saving accounts, CDs, and loans.
What Are People Saying About Current?
Don’t just take our word for it – people who are using Current overall have positive things to say about it. Reviews from users mention:
- Ease of use
- The ability to pause and unpause the card
- The ability to receive direct deposit from a paycheck at least a day in advance
Some of the biggest complaints about Current seem to focus on customer service, so be aware that if you do use Current, they prioritize online support above calling.
Important financial information:
Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
1Out of network cash withdrawal fees apply. Third-party, adding cash and Current membership fees may apply.
2Please refer to Overdrive™ Features Terms and Conditions. Current Accounts only
3Faster access to funds is based on comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds is subject to timing of payer’s submission of deposits.
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