Current Review: Mobile Banking – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Updated: Dec 21, 2021, 7:00am
Current is a mobile-only financial technology company that offers banking services through a few account options. Having launched its first accounts in 2017, the NYC-based nonbank offers another alternative to traditional banking. It’s even bucking the trend of online and mobile service popularized by online banks. Current accounts are accessible only through its mobile app.
This review focuses on Current’s personal banking accounts and services. Here’s a look at Current and how it compares with other financial institutions.
Account details are accurate as of Dec. 20, 2021.
Current isn’t set up like a traditional bank with different account categories like checking and savings. Instead, Current accounts are hybrid accounts that combine checking and savings components. Customers have the option of a free or paid account. There’s also an account for teens available through Current.
All Current banking services are provided through partnerships with Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Members FDIC.
Current’s only free account is the Basic account. This account comes with no monthly fees or other hidden fees. It includes a basic debit card, which can be used wherever Visa is accepted, and access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs through the Allpoint ATM network. It’s worth noting that Current charges $2.50 per ATM transaction outside of its ATM network in addition to any fees charged by the ATM operator.
Standard direct deposits are available through the Basic account. Account features and accessibility vary between basic and paid Current accounts. Here’s a look at some of the features found with both accounts:
Unfortunately, none of the Current account offerings earn interest. If you’re looking to maximize your savings by earning a competitive interest rate, you may be better off opening a high-yield savings account through another online bank or credit union.
For an additional $4.99 monthly charge, members can upgrade to a Premier account. This account offers many of the same features as basic accounts, but with greater access and fewer limits. For example, Premier members can create Budgets for every spending category. Also, instead of one Savings Pod, Premier members can create three.
Premier members can receive direct deposits up to two days early depending on funds availability from their employer or payroll provider. The account also comes with an exclusive premium debit card enabled with Tap to Pay technology.
Another feature only available with a Premier account is Overdrive, Current’s overdraft protection program. Overdrive allows qualified Premier members to overdraft up to $100 on card purchases without paying overdraft fees. To enroll in Overdrive, you’ll need to:
Current will notify members and automatically enable the feature once qualified. Members who don’t want to use Overdrive have the option of disabling it.
Current doesn’t offer checkbooks or check-writing services with its accounts. Customers can still utilize vendor bill payment services by plugging in their Current account and routing numbers.
Parents can also open a Teen account through Current for their teenager. Teen accounts provide some financial freedom for teens while still giving parents control of several features to put guardrails in place.
Parents can transfer money to teens through the app, set up chores to complete, create automated allowance payments, set spending limits, block purchases at specific merchants and receive notifications of all purchases.
Teen accounts come with a debit card and access to similar features as the other accounts, like Round-Ups and Budgets. Teen accounts come with one Savings Pod and one Giving Pod for individuals interested in making charitable donations.
As mentioned, the only way to access Current accounts is through its mobile app. The highly rated app is available for both iOS (rated 4.7 out of 5 stars at the App Store) and Android (4.6 out of 5 stars at Google Play) and comes packed with helpful features like:
Parents can also control settings for Teen accounts from within the mobile app, including pausing debit cards, automating allowance payments and setting chores to complete.
Providing digital banking services, Current has no physical locations you can visit. While in-person support isn’t an option, customers still have other ways to seek help, including 24/7 live chat support within the app. Other support options include email and sending secure messages online. Phone support is currently limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Current isn’t a bank and, in many ways, it operates differently from many online banks and other nonbanks. A Basic account offers enough features to suffice for basic banking needs.
You’ll need to pay extra each month to access most of the premium benefits promoted on its site. There are online banks that offer similar features without the monthly fee, many of which earn competitive interest rates. That said, Current Premium accounts are great for individuals who want budgeting and saving tools built into their bank account.
Current’s Teen account is an interesting offering with a lot of upside, but several solid teen and child accounts are available at banks and credit unions without an annual fee.
Yes, Current is FDIC insured through Choice Financial Group (FDIC# 9423). The federal government protects your money up to $250,000 per depositor, for each account ownership category, in the event of a bank failure.
Current’s banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Members FDIC.
You can deposit money into your Current account through mobile check deposit, direct deposit or electronic transfer from a linked bank account. You cannot use a mobile check deposit for your initial deposit when you open your account. After you have successfully received a deposit from a linked funding source, you can access the mobile check deposit feature. You can add cash to your Current account at participating retailers—up to $500 per transaction or $1,000 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000 per month—for a $3.50 fee per transaction.
Yes, Current account holders have access to over 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs across the U.S. Current charges a $2.50 fee per transaction for out-of-network ATM use. ATM operators may also charge a fee for out-of-network ATM use. While you can withdraw cash at an ATM, you cannot deposit cash at an ATM. You can add cash at participating retailers, as identified in the Current app.
You can open a Basic account through Current for free. A Premier account costs $4.99 per month and comes with access to premium features, including early direct deposit. Current Teen accounts cost $36 annually.
Kevin Payne is a personal finance and travel writer who writes about credit cards, student loans, debt, credit, and family finances. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and four kids.
Daphne Foreman is the Banking and Personal Finance Analyst for Forbes Advisor. She has worked as a personal finance editor, writer, and content strategist covering banking, credit cards, insurance and investing. As a small business owner and former financial advisor, Daphne has first-hand experience with the challenges individuals face in making smart financial choices.