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Finding the right place to keep your money can be difficult. You want an account with low fees and useful features that make it easy to manage your money.
Current is a mobile-focused option offering some useful features like early paydays and cashback and could appeal to customers looking for an easy-to-use online bank.
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These are some of Current’s top features.
Sometimes, you need money quickly. Waiting for payday when you only have a few dollars in your account can be painful. With Current, you can get paid as soon as two days before your actual payday.
If you sign up for direct deposit, most employers send your paycheck to your bank a few days before your official payday. This gives your employer and the bank a chance to handle fund transfers and deal with issues.
Instead of making you wait for your payday, Current releases your paycheck to you when it receives the funds, up to two days before payday.
Another perk for people who frequently have a low account balance is fee-free overdraft. With Current, you can spend money until your account reaches a balance of -$100 without incurring any overdraft fees.
To be eligible for this service, you need to sign up for direct deposit. When you get your next paycheck, Current automatically applies it against your negative balance, repaying the amount you owe.
Related: Best No-Fee Banks
One of the drawbacks of using a debit card over a credit card is that debit cards typically don’t offer rewards. With a rewards credit card, you can get as much as 5% of the amount you spend back as rewards, if not more.
Current changes things up, giving you rewards when you make purchases using your debit card. Current partners with different brands and merchants to offer these rewards.
When you buy something from a participating merchant, you can get as much as 15% back in rewards. You can redeem your rewards for cash back directly to your Current account.
Learn More: Current Visa Debit Card Review
When you use your debit card to make certain kinds of purchases, the company you’re paying might place a hold on some of the funds in your checking account. This is especially common at places like gas stations, where you swipe your card before you know exactly how much you’ll owe.
For example, when you buy gas, you swipe your card before filling up your tank. The gas station might put a hold of $50 on your checking account. This is to make sure that you have at least $50 in your account so that you can afford whatever amount of gas you wind up purchasing.
Once you finish filling up your tank, you know how much you actually have to pay but the $50 hold remains. With most banks, it can take a day or two before the gas station takes the amount owed and releases the hold on the rest of the money in your account. During this time, that money is sitting in your checking account but you can’t spend it.
Current instantly release funds held by gas stations when you finish filling up your tank. This means you’ll have less money stuck in your account, unable to be spent, and more freedom to use your money as you need to.
Current also aims to make it easier for people to save money by offering savings pods. You can set up multiple savings pods so you can keep track of different goals.
For example, you can set up one pod to hold your emergency funds and another you can use to save for a vacation.
Current lets you automate your savings, making regular transfers from your Current account into your savings pods. You can also sign up for debit card round-ups. If you do, each purchase you make will get rounded up to the next dollar and Current will deposit the round-up to one of your savings pods.
For example, if you buy lunch for $14.39, Current rounds the purchase up to $15 and puts $0.61 into one of your pods. This makes it easy to save without having to think about it.
Banking for Teens
Teaching teenagers about money and how to manage it is difficult but important. Current offers a debit card designed for families with teenagers that gives parents tools to help them teach their kids about managing money.
You can instantly transfer money to your teens’ spending accounts and receive a notification each time that they spend money. You can even set up chores in the app and automatically pay your teen as they complete them.
If you want to, you can set spending limits or block certain merchants, helping you ensure that your children spend their money responsibly.
Teens get access to many of the same features as their parents do, including early paychecks and automated savings, as well as the financial freedom of having their own debit card and checking account.
Pricing and Fees
Current does its best to make sure that its pricing is transparent and easy to understand. It advertises itself as offering an account with no hidden fees or surprise charges.
The basic account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. There are no overdraft fees and you can make fee-free withdrawals from more than 50,000 ATMs nationwide.
To unlock most of Current’s features, including early paydays and multiple savings pods, you need to subscribe to Current Premium. This costs $4.99 per month.
There is an additional charge if you want to take advantage of Current’s teen banking features. You’ll pay $36 per year for each teen you sign up for a card.
Signing up for Current is easy. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store, open it, and register with your email address or phone number and a password.
Like any bank account, Current will ask you to provide some personal information, like your name, address, and Social Security number.
You’ll also need to link an existing bank account so you can fund your Current account. Transferring the funds usually takes a few days.
Once you get your account set up, Current will mail you a debit card. When it arrives, you can activate and start using your new account.
Current’s mobile experience is great. In fact, you can’t sign into your account through a computer’s web browser. You have to manage your account through the Current app.
The app is well-designed, sleek, and easy to use. It has been reviewed positively on both the App Store and Google Play Store, earning an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars across the two stores.
Related: Best Mobile Banking Apps
Any time you trust a company with your money, you want to make sure that it takes security seriously. This is especially true for online banks that have a lot of personal information and access to the money you need on a day-to-day basis.
Current uses industry-standard practices and technology to keep your information safe. Current has also partnered with Metropolitan Commercial Bank, an FDIC-insured bank, to offer its banking services, which means that your account is fully insured by the FDIC.
This means that even if Current goes bankrupt or is unable to return the money you’ve deposited, the FDIC can reimburse you for any money you lose, up to a limit of $250,000 for individual accounts.
Related: Best Online Banks (and Safest!)
When you’re looking for an online option to manage your money, it’s important to understand how customer service works. You can’t just walk into your local branch and ask a person for help. You’ll have to get assistance over the phone or through online chat.
Current has a knowledge base that you can use to answer basic questions about your account and how the different features work.
If you need more personalized support, you can send Current a message through its website or do a live chat through the app. Chat representatives are available 24 hours a day on weekdays and from 9 AM to 8 PM Eastern time on weekends.
If you want to get support by talking to someone by phone, support is available weekdays from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern time. No phone support is available on weekends.
Pros and Cons
Before signing up with an account at Current, it’s worth considering its pros and cons.
Useful features — These include early payday and fee-free overdrafts.
Great for families — Current offers tools to help teach teens about money and help parents track spending.
Mobile-focused design — Access your account on-the-go via the Current app.
Not the best option for everyone — Many features only benefit people who regularly have low checking account balances.
Fees — Unavoidable monthly fee for advanced features like early paychecks.
Limited product offerings — While there’s an account to manage funds on the debit card and even accounts for savings, there are no lending or other banking services available.
Current has features that may be helpful for some people, but the people who will get the most out of Current are those that are living paycheck to paycheck. If you have a healthy balance in your checking account, getting paid a couple of days early or being able to overdraft your account by $100 won’t be a big deal.
Given that these features are locked behind a $4.99 monthly fee, it’s also hard to recommend the bank to people who are living paycheck to paycheck. Choosing a fee-free bank will let them use more of their money for important things like paying their bills.
What Others Are Saying
Here are what some other top review sites are saying about Current.
Finder – “Current is best for those looking for an innovative checking account packed with money managing tools and resources. With a Current card and checking account you’ll get insights on your spending and savings. You’ll also earn up to 15x the points on debit card purchases, which can be redeemed for cash.”
FinanceBuzz – “Current adds some novel features to mobile banking that other financial institutions might not offer, including its parent/teen accounts. But you should consider if you’re willing to pay almost $40 per year for each teenager in your family that needs access to checking versus potentially opening a free checking account for your child at your traditional bank.”
If you’re looking for a place to park your money but don’t think Current is the right choice for you, consider these alternatives.
Chime is an online financial app with no monthly fees and offers a checking account, savings account, and secured credit card that can help you build strong credit.
Chime has many features that can help people save money or get out of a financial bind. For example, SpotMe® lets you overdraft your account by up to $200, fee-free. You can also automate your savings by signing up for debit card purchase round-ups. That savings account earns a solid interest rate and you can use your savings balance as a security deposit for a secured credit card.
Chime is a great choice if you want no monthly fees and an experience that is similar to Current’s, minus the features that help you teach teens about managing money.
If you want a more full-service banking experience, Ally is a solid choice. Ally is an online bank that offers checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, lending, and investing services. You could feasibly use Ally for all of your financial needs.
Ally doesn’t have minimum deposit requirements or monthly fees for its checking and savings accounts. It also offers ATM fee reimbursements, up to $10 per statement, so you can easily access your money, wherever you are.
Ally is a more traditional banking experience, so it lacks some of the features offered by banks like Current and Chime, but it’s a great choice for people who want a fee-free online account.
Axos First Checking
If you’re looking for an alternative account that you can use to teach your kids about money, Axos First Checking is designed to be a child’s first checking account.
It’s designed specifically for teenagers between 13 and 17. It offers interest on the balance of the account and up to $12 in ATM fee reimbursements each month. There is no monthly maintenance fee.
To help make sure that your teen doesn’t overspend, the account comes with a daily $100 ATM withdrawal limit and a $500 debit card purchase limit.
Parents can sign up for account alerts so they can see how their teens are spending their money and use that information to educate them on good financial habits.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about Current.
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Who Is It For?
Current is designed for two different groups.
One is people who regularly have low checking account balances. Things like instant releases of holds from places like gas stations, fee-free overdrafts, and early payday can make a big difference if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
It’s also designed for people with kids. If you want to get a checking account for your teen so you can teach them about money, Current offers a few useful tools that can make it easier. However, you have to be willing to pay for those tools as they cost $36 per year per child, which can add up quickly.
Current is mobile-focused with a slick user experience and some powerful features. However, it locks most of these features behind fees that make it hard to justify opening an account. If some of the tools offered by Current seem especially useful to you, and you’re willing to pay the fees, Current might be a good fit. If you’re just looking for a solid online bank, you’ll probably be better off elsewhere.