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bank, bank review, investments

Current review 2024

Banna_studio / Shutterstock

🗓️

Updated: January 24, 2024

Partners on this page provide us earnings.

4.3

Wise Reviews™

Fees - 4.5

Features - 3.5

Ease of use - 4.5

Account types - 3.5

Interest and rewards - 4.8

Current is a financial services company that offers free personal and teen accounts. It currently pays 4% APY on up to $6,000, which is one of the main reasons to open an account. But it also offers an excellent teen account with parental controls, spending rewards, and overdraft protection.

4.3

Wise Reviews™

Neobanks. Challenger banks. Fintechs. Call them what you want, but this new crop of online-only banks are anything but your parents’ stuffy old financial institutions. Free from the constraints of physical branches, banks like Current, Chime, and Monzo and others are ditching the institutional overhead of blueblood national banks and replacing them with agile and app-friendly banking services. 

The rise of neobanks is making it easier for tech-savvy users to save, grow and budget their money. In this rapidly evolving space, Current stands out by addressing gaps in traditional banking, targeting younger and new-to-banking customers who seek efficient, accessible, and cost-effective banking and credit-building solutions.

One of Current’s most notable features is its user-friendly interface, which simplifies banking transactions and financial tracking. Customers benefit from real-time spending alerts, early paycheck deposits, and no minimum balance requirements. This makes it particularly appealing to younger, tech-savvy generations who prefer managing their finances on the go – which helps explain Current’s high rating on Trustpilot.

But the neobanking space isn’t without its limitations. The absence of physical branches celebrated by Current and its competitors might deter those who value in-person banking experiences. Additionally, Current’s product ranges trend narrower compared to traditional banks, focusing mainly on checking accounts and savings features.

For many customers, however, that simplicity may be exactly what they want. So, is Current for you? If you’re ready for your first bank or need to switch, read on to find out.

Current pros and cons

Current is acclaimed for its state-of-the-art features, such as real-time spending notifications and automated savings tools. These features not only enhance convenience but also empower users with better financial management capabilities. And the Current app’s intuitive design and easy navigation have earned praise from customers. Additional advantages:

  • No monthly account fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Robust credit-building program
  • No spending or direct deposit requirements to earn 4% interest
  • New members can earn a $50 signup bonus
  • Free teen account with numerous parental controls available
  • Available overdraft protection
  • Earn rewards from shopping at 14,000+ merchants
  • Invest in cryptocurrencies with just $1

Some of the cautions about Current are less about Current itself but more about the genre of neobanking.  Like other fintechs, Current's lack of physical branches may deter those who prefer traditional, in-person banking services. And compared to traditional banks, Current offers a more limited range of financial products. That is part of Current’s allure to younger bankers or those seeking a simple and straightforward banking solution, but others might find Current’s product range limiting.

It’s also important to remember that cash above $6,000 doesn’t earn interest with Current. Those with larger asset pools or who seek higher-yielding savings accounts or certificates of deposit may need to look elsewhere.

About Current

Launched in 2015, Current started as a neobank with an emphasis on fee-free banking accounts designed specifically for teenagers. Over the years, it has evolved into a formidable player in the online-only banking sector. Known for its competitive offerings, Current now provides higher interest rates, cash-back rewards and a credit-building focus – all without imposing customary fees or balance requirements.

While Current operates primarily as a financial services company rather than a traditional bank, it delivers its banking services in partnership with Choice Financial Group. This collaboration ensures that customers' funds are FDIC-insured and securely managed, offering peace of mind alongside innovative financial solutions.

Current bank accounts

Current primarily caters to two distinct customer groups: individuals seeking a personal account with no fees and competitive interest payments, and parents looking for a cost-free banking solution for their teens. 

Under these two broad categories, Current offers a plethora of features, including a rewards points system that incentivizes everyday transactions, savings accounts designed to encourage financial growth, and overdraft protection to safeguard against accidental overdrawn accounts. These diverse offerings make Current a versatile choice for a range of banking needs.

Personal account

Current’s main offering is a personal account, with no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees and no transfer fees when customers send money to other Current members. Other perks include free ATM withdrawals at 40,000-plus AllPoint ATMs, getting paid up to two days early when using direct deposit, instant gas hold removals (so your money isn't locked up for days after filling up your car), and mobile check cashing.

Saving pods

Current's personal account offers the convenience of spending with a Current Visa debit card, and it also presents an enticing opportunity to earn a substantial 4% interest rate on savings up to $6,000 through its savings pods feature. Each Current account includes three savings pods, where you can allocate up to $2,000 per pod to meet various financial goals, functioning akin to high-yield savings accounts

Apply for the Current Visa Debit Card

Notably, Current doesn't impose direct deposit or spending prerequisites to access the interest rate, unlike many online banks, though signing up for direct deposit with a Current account unlocks speedier payments.

Funding these pods is straightforward. You can transfer money from your main account balance whenever you choose. Additionally, Current supports ACH transfers and check deposits for account funding — features not always available in mobile banking apps. The round-up feature further enhances saving by taking transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference into a savings pod.

Current teen account

Current is an appealing option for parents seeking a reliable banking solution for their teenagers. Its teen account mirrors many features of its personal account but with added parental controls for enhanced oversight.

Teens receive a Current card that is accepted anywhere Visa is used, providing them with spending freedom. The account includes a savings pod and a round-up feature to encourage saving habits. Additionally, like the personal account, it offers free AllPoint ATM withdrawals and instant gas hold removals, making it convenient for on-the-go teens.

For parents, Current's teen account includes features to manage and monitor their teen's financial activities effectively:

Merchant blocking: Parents can restrict spending at specific merchants.

Chore assignments: Set tasks for teens to complete.

Automated allowance: Schedule regular allowance payments.

Spending limits: Control the amount your teen can spend.

Spending notifications: Stay updated on your teen's purchases.

Instant transfers: Quickly transfer funds to your teen’s account.

Family funding: Allow family members to contribute to the teen's account.

Setting it up is simple. Parents download the Current app, create their account, and then set up an account for their teen, which is accessible via the teen’s phone. Importantly, Current does not charge extra fees or subscriptions for the teen account, making it cost-effective to manage teen finances.

Cash-back rewards

Current's points rewards program offers an attractive opportunity for members to earn cash back or other rewards at over 14,000 participating retailers in the U.S. To start accruing points, members simply need to activate offers through the Points tab in the Current app and then use their Current card for purchases. Every 100 points accumulated equates to $1, which is credited directly to the member's account balance.

While many of the offers yield 1% to 2% in points, the program is still highly beneficial, especially considering it's a feature of a free debit card. Current has also partnered with a wide array of well-known brands, including Burger King, Forever 21, Rite Aid, and Subway, enhancing the program’s value and reach.

Overdrive

Current offers a fee-free overdraft feature called Overdrive, allowing qualifying members to overdraw their account by up to $200. This can be a more advantageous option compared to resorting to credit cards or personal loans for short-term financial needs. To be eligible for Overdrive, members must be at least 18 years old and have payroll or Social Security deposits totaling $500 or more in a 30-day period into their Current account.

The Overdrive limit begins at $25 and can increase to a maximum of $200, depending on the member's account activity and history. This approach is in line with the strategies used by apps like Floatme and Earnin, which provide cash advances to users based on their direct deposit history.

Cryptocurrency investing

Current has recently introduced a feature enabling account holders to delve into the world of cryptocurrency investment directly through their accounts. With an accessible starting point of just $1, this feature opens up digital currencies to a broader audience. Current supports investment in over 25 well-known cryptocurrencies, catering to the diverse interests of its users in the dynamic crypto market. Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Solana and others are on offer.

While Current's cryptocurrency offering doesn't match the extensive range found on major exchanges like Crypto.com or Coinbase, it includes significant cryptocurrencies and a selection of leading altcoins. The platform's low minimum investment is attractive, but it’s important to note that only those aged 18 and over can invest in crypto through Current.

Current does not impose trading fees, but it does apply a variable spread fee, which fluctuates based on the specific cryptocurrency and current market conditions. The exact amount of this spread fee isn't explicitly disclosed by Current, though it's stated to be in line with other exchanges.

For those deeply invested in the world of cryptocurrency, a dedicated exchange and a personal wallet, which offer control over private keys, might be preferable. However, for those looking to casually explore or invest in popular cryptocurrencies, Current's platform offers a straightforward and accessible option.

Credit building

Younger bankers often ask how they can build credit without the financial impact of, say, a traditional credit card or something like a car purchase to create a monthly payment cycle and build credit. Current points to its Current Build card account feature, which allows members to build credit while using their Current account just like a regular checking account. 

How it works: A Current customer uses their Build card as they would a regular debit card, even at the ATM, to build credit with everyday purchases and using only the money in their account. When automatic payments are enabled, payments are never missed and a credit history is established. The cards are available to all Current users regardless of credit history and Current doesn’t require credit checks during the application process.

How do I contact Current?

To contact Current, you have several options:

In-App support: Current offers in-app support where you can chat with a customer service representative. This is often the fastest way to get help and can be accessed directly through the Current mobile app.

Email: You can reach out to Current's customer support team via email at support@current.com.

Help center or FAQ: For general inquiries or common issues, Current's website has a help center and FAQ pages that provide immediate answers without the need to contact customer support directly.

Best alternatives

Several key players have emerged in the neobank space, each with unique features and services. Major alternatives to Current include:

Chime

Known for its user-friendly approach and lack of traditional banking fees, Chime offers features like early direct deposit, automatic savings tools, and an overdraft protection service called SpotMe.

Ally Bank

An early entrant in the online banking space, Ally offers a full range of banking services, including high-interest savings accounts, checking accounts, and a robust mobile banking app.

Read our review of Ally Bank to learn more.

SoFi Bank

Initially focused on student loan refinancing, SoFi has expanded into the neobank territory, offering cash management accounts, investment products, and loans.

Read our review of SoFi Bank to learn more.

Quontic Bank

With a variety of checking, savings and rewards options, Quontic is a safe and relatively long-standing digital-only bank. No monthly account fees and competitive interest rates on cash balances make it an attractive option.

Read our review of Quontic Bank to learn more.

Varo

As one of the first neobanks to receive a national bank charter in the U.S., Varo offers a range of banking services including high-yield savings accounts, no monthly fees, and early direct deposit.

Read our review of Varo Bank to learn more.

Monzo

A UK-based neobank that has expanded to the U.S., Monzo is recognized for its budgeting and savings features, as well as international money transfer services.

Why choose a neobank

Neobanks, or digital arms of traditional banks, operate exclusively over the internet without physical branches. This digital approach allows for a more streamlined and cost-effective operation, often resulting in lower fees and higher interest rates on savings.

Neobanks banks provide a high level of convenience, allowing customers to perform transactions, monitor accounts, and apply for services anytime and anywhere via mobile apps or websites. Advanced features like real-time notifications, automated budgeting tools, and easy peer-to-peer transfers cater to tech-savvy users.

Customers opt for digital banking for several reasons:

Convenience: The ability to manage finances on-the-go is a huge draw, especially for those with busy lifestyles or digital natives who prefer online interfaces to physical branches.

Lower fees and better rates: Without the overhead costs of physical branches, online banks often offer lower fees and better interest rates on deposits.

Innovative features: Digital banks frequently lead in deploying innovative technologies like AI-driven financial insights, personalized budgeting, and user-friendly apps.

Integration with digital ecosystems: Online banks seamlessly integrate with other digital financial services, providing a more cohesive and efficient financial management experience.

Current bank FAQs

  • Is Current safe?

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    Current's website states the bank uses encryption methods to safeguard your data, both during transmission and when stored. The app also offers features like transaction blocking and the option to enable fingerprint and facial ID for enhanced account security. In essence, Current adheres to the same rigorous security measures commonly found in other leading neobanks, ensuring a safe and secure banking experience for its users.

  • Is Current FDIC-insured?

    +

    Current provides the reassurance of FDIC insurance, safeguarding deposits up to $250,000.

  • How do I contact Current?

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    To contact Current you can use their in-app support or reach out via email at support@current.com.

Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.

^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.

About our author

Chris Clark
Chris Clark, Freelance Contributor

Chris Clark is freelance contributor with MoneyWise, based in Kansas City, Mo. He has written for numerous publications and spent 18 years as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press.

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