Paper Checks with Chime – Manufacture Debit Card Spend

Chime Checkbook

Chime just rolled out a new feature called Checkbook which allows you to write checks fee-free from your Chime account to pay businesses or individuals.

Here’s a look at the feature:

chime checkbook 1

You can access it at the top-right of the home-page, in between the “Add Funds” tab and the “Offers” tab.

chime checkbook 2

Chime allows loads of up to $500 per day from a debit card.

chime slack

It used to be only $200, but it was quietly raised a few months ago. [UPDATE: Mileswhip tells me that his account is still limited to $200 per day. This is also what it says in Chime Support. And from the comments to this post, it seems that everyone besides me has the $200 limit. Let us know if your account has a $500 limit or a $200 limit.]

If you have a debit card that earns points, you can load up your Chime card and then unload by writing a check to pay, for example, your mortgage or a credit card bill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more details from Chime from Chime support (go to support and search ‘Checkbook’):

  • Max check amount is $2500.
  • No fee for using Checkbook.
  • Funds are removed from account immediately.
  • Typically takes 3-5 business days for check to reach destination.
  • If check isn’t cashed, funds will be returned to your account after 180 days.
  • You can cancel a check by calling 1-844-244-6363. Funds become available the next day.

The Old

It has long been possible to manufacture debit card spend with Chime. But it wan’t especially useful ever since they added a 3% fee to load your Chime account with an ‘irregular’ debit card. For example, gift cards, Paypal debit cards and presumably Buxx, all have a 3% load fee. However there are some debit cards which earn rewards and don’t have a fee on Chime. For example, the UFB Direct card can be used to load Chime with no fee and will probably earn rewards. Same for the Suntrust debit card which is probably fee-free on Chime and hopefully earns rewards. [UPDATE: Reader Sergey reports that Suntrust does not earn points on Chime.]

It was always possible to manufacture debit card spend with Chime using a rewards debit card, but you still had the hassle of then unloading the Chime card. You could do it at the ATM ($2.50 for $500, besides the ATM surcharge fee) or you could use it to buy money orders or load Bluebird/Serve.

Since the rewards on debit cards are usually lackluster, it wasn’t necessarily worth the hassle of unloading in order to accrue the ‘meh’-points.

The New

With the new Checkbook feature, the hassle is much less. All it takes is loading $500 per day and then unloading by writing a check from Checkbook. All while in your PJs. This could make it more of an option to use for racking up debit card rewards without the hassle of unloading.

To be clear, there’s nothing game-changing here, since it’s only an option for the few reward debit cards out there. But it’s a new, interesting option and I think that some people would find it worthwhile.

It’s also now a much more attractive option for the use of meeting a transaction threshold – some bank accounts require a certain number of debit card transaction to remain fee-free. Since Chime has a $25 minimum load amount via debit card, you’d end up with a nice amount of money in your Chime account which would have to then be unloaded. With the new feature, you can just pay a bill with Checkbook, making it a viable option. (See more option in this post.)

Caution

Just a couple of things to remember:

  • We don’t know how sensitive Chime is to constant load and unload. I’ve never heard that they made any  problems, but the limits used to be just $200 and it was more recently upped to $500, so it is a possibility.
  • We don’t know if they’ll have special sensitivity to unloading via check. They write: “every once in while you need to mail a check”. My guess is that they’re just trying to be 21st century and not make a big deal out of checks, but they do say that “every once in a while” terminology.
  • The easiest way of using Checkbook would be to write a check to yourself and deposit it in your regular checking account. (Better yet, deposit into your Suntrust/UFB/whatever rewards checking account.) But it’s possible that they won’t like people writing checks to themselves.
  • If you’re paying a bill with Chime, it makes sense to start small and make sure that the check is sent properly. They do say that they’ll write the account/bill number on the check, but this is unchartered territory and extra caution would be prudent.
  • Of course, we always have to beware of any sensitivities that the debit card may have. If you’d do $500 per day, it would be around $15,000 per month and  it’s always possibile that they won’t be happy.

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to see them add this Checkbook feature; seems they’re trying to become a real checking-alternative, similar to what AmEx is trying to do with Serve and co.

Personally I don’t have Suntrust or UFB Direct debit cards, but I have a card from my local bank which gives around .4% rewards for signature purchases. Of course I don’t use it for ordinary purchases since I could earn five time that by paying with a 2% cashback credit card. But it’s still useful for an occasional debit-only transaction. For example, it earns points for sending money with Square Cash.

Anyway, it was never worth my while to manufacture debit card spend with Chime at .4% profit, but with this added Checkbook feature I’m now considering it.

Let us know in the comments if you’ll be using Checkbook.

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Jo Ann Huber
Jo Ann Huber

Mailing a check

Jo Ann Huber
Jo Ann Huber

This is the first time I’m paying my rent with a check it’s to an account with Chase Bank I did give the account number now I’m waiting to hear either from Chime or Case Bank if the check was recieved. Worries worries it is for my rent I hope it works out.

YMeTho
YMeTho

???

Moe
Moe

They also only ACCEPT certain mobile deposits I currently just signed the back of a check owed to me by my previous bank and of course chime will not ACCEPT it
The whole reason I joined anyway

Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson

I ended up closing my Chime acct because of check deposit issues. My ex wrote out 3 months of child support checks and post dated them. I deposited the first one fine and then got an error trying to deposit the second. It said it was a check I already deposited.
I figured it was an error and reached out to Chime customer service and told them that while the payor and amount were the same, if they notice the check number and date were different.
An email from customer service came a day later saying that they were refusing the check and DO NOT RE-DEPOSIT IT (caps from their email to me). It was the last straw that caused me to close the account.

Previous issues included them having a horrible chargeback process, changing merchant names (for some reason they change similar sounding merchant names, anyone else have that problem? Sonic Internet becomes Sonic Drive Inn)
Threatening to cancel my card and reissue it due to a standard chargeback, etc.

They seem to be a nightmare of a “bank” with no real upside.

Literally as I was chatting with customer service an email popped up from Chase with an offer of $200 if I opened a checking account and signed up for direct deposit.
I opened the account and just got the $200 credit from Chase 🙂

Judy A Jones
Judy A Jones

Hoe can i get a check book from chime

Me
Me

It would be great if you could order checks through Chime. My loan company requires to write a check for remaining amount each visit Incase someone doesn’t pay they cash the check. It’s so hard to use chime checkbook for that. May have to go elsewhere.

Mark Zhang
Mark Zhang

One report.
So there is this option of getting DD with Chime. Therefore I attempted to do an account linking by providing the Routing and Account numbers to Alliant CU. Then, I actually got the linking process done. I am not really sure, but it seems that if the link is good, I should be able to push into and pull out of Chime; is this correct?

I’m still waiting to see if Alliant CU would have any issues with the link, but as of now, the “status” is showing as “active”.

LiCharles1985
LiCharles1985

Has anybody been able to send a check out to a family member or friend? I tried this and it never reached my sister.

kishore
kishore

NW Buxx is showing up as 3% fee …

Pointsaholic
Pointsaholic

any datapoints regarding fee with buxx (with NW or USbank)? seems like those are the only ones left if no fee….

Pointsaholic
Pointsaholic

nevermind – I just tried NW and it works great

Miles per Day

I just tried to add my UFB card. The site says it’s charged a 3% fee. There goes that angle.

UBcitizen
UBcitizen

I signed up and sent money from 3 days ago when this post came out with UFB. First two days had no fees but starting today a 3% fee started to show. I guess they caught on. =(

Dan
Dan

I finally signed up for Chime after seeing this and loaded $200 (the limit) with my UFB debit card with no fee yesterday. Today Chime says there’s a 3% fee. That was good while it lasted, which for me was precisely one day. I’m closing the account as soon as I can liquidate that $200.