6 Things to Know About Varo Bank

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Varo Bank on tablet sitting on $100 bills
Image Credit: Dreamstime

Want an online bank that offers a high rate of interest, no monthly fees and the ability to get your paycheck early? Then you may want to give Varo Bank a look.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Varo Bank

In this article, we’ll examine how Varo Bank works, how you can access your money, how much interest you can earn and more.

Varo Bank: Table of Contents

  1. What Is Varo Bank?
  2. How Do I Open an Account With Varo?
  3. How Do I Withdraw Money From Varo Bank?
  4. How Do I Add Money to My Varo Bank Account?
  5. How Does the Early Direct Deposit Feature Work?
  6. How Much Interest Does Varo Bank Pay?

1. What Is Varo Bank?

Varo Bank is more than just a digital bank with no branches where you do you all your banking through an app.

Varo has also reinvented the idea of what banking should be like. It has eliminated a whole host of common bank fees from the equation. That means you’ll never pay any of the following with Varo:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees (up to $50)*
  • ATM withdrawal fees at Allpoint ATMs
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • ACH transfer fees
  • Debit card replacement charges

* To qualify, you must make a minimum of five debit card purchases in a calendar month and have at least $1,000 in direct deposits.

Meanwhile, Varo also gives you the opportunity to get your pay up to two days early. More on that in a bit.

The account services that Varo offers are provided by The Bancorp Bank. You get FDIC insurance of $250,000 on your deposits through Bancorp.

However, Varo doesn’t offer some common products you might expect from a bank — like CDs or money-market accounts.

Finally, if you’re wondering about reputation, Varo has a B+ with the Better Business Bureau.

2. How Do I Open an Account With Varo?

There are two kinds of accounts you can open with Varo: The Varo Bank Account and the Varo Savings Account. The first is a basic checking account. The second is a high-yield saving account.

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To open either account with Varo, you begin simply by downloading the app either for Android or iOS.

Then tap “Sign Up” and enter your info.

Varo Bank account sign-up process
Varo Bank account sign-up screen

The set-up process if fairly routine. You’ll enter your email and create a password. A six-digit verification code will then be sent to your email.

Next you’ll begin the bank account application in earnest. You’ll need to enter the following information:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • Social Security number
  • Occupation
  • Source of income

You’ll also be asked to estimate your expected number of ACH transfers per month and expected ATM withdrawals per month.

If you run into any problems along the way, you can either drop Varo an email at [email protected] or call their U.S.-based customer service number at 1-800-827-6526.

3. How Do I Withdraw Money From Varo Bank?

Varo gives you easy access to your money through any Allpoint ATM. With 55,000 machines and counting, Allpoint is the largest of the networks that are ATM surcharge-free in the nation.

You can find Allpoint ATMs at the following retail locations:

  • Circle K
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Speedway
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Winn Dixie

However, if you use a non-Allpoint ATM, you’ll be charged a $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee by Varo (effective February 19, 2020). And that’s in addition to whatever other fees are charged by the non-Allpoint ATM’s operator.

4. How Do I Add Money to My Varo Bank Account?

With Varo, money enters your account one of several ways:

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  • Direct deposit
  • Transfer from a linked external bank account
  • Digital wallet like Cash App or Venmo
  • Mobile deposit of a paper check
  • Cash deposit

That last method sets Varo apart from a lot of other online-only banks. You can make cash deposits at retail locations like 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart and more through Green Dot.

However, there is a charge for doing this that varies by retailer, plus a limit to how much you can deposit each day.

Fees to Do a Cash Deposit to a Varo Bank Account

Retailer Cost to DepositDaily Deposit Limit
7-Eleven$4.95$500
CVS$4.95$500
Dollar General$3.95$500
Dollar Tree$4.95$500
Rite Aid$4.95$500
Walgreens$4.95$500
Walmart$3.74$1,000

5. How Does the Early Direct Deposit Feature Work?

Varo Bank Early Payday screenshot
Varo Bank Early Payday screenshot

One really nice feature of Varo is that you have the ability to get paid up to two days early with early direct deposit.

The exact timing with which you get your direct deposit depends on when your employer submits payroll files to the Federal Reserve. When that happens, the Fed will let Varo know how much money you should receive. Then Varo will deposit your money into your account up to 48 hours early.

“For most Friday paydays, we get the alert from the Fed on Wednesday, so you may get your money faster than your co-workers,” Varo notes online.

6. How Much Interest Does Varo Bank Pay?

Varo offers a tiered interest rate on its savings account starting at 1.61% APY and going as high 2.80% APY. (Interest rates current as of May 12, 2020.)

However, if you want to earn that higher rate, you have to jump through a couple of hoops.

  1. You must have direct deposits of at least $1,000 each month
  2. You must use your Varo Visa debit card for a minimum of five purchases each month

The higher rate can only be earned on balances less than $50,000. Any balances above $50,000 will automatically earn the lower interest rate.

Final Thought

Varo Bank is a bank best suited to people who are already comfortable with online banking. The ability to be paid early is nice if you’re the kind of person who often feels like there’s more month than money. And the savings account has the potential to pay a very high rate of interest.

However, if you’re used to making cash deposits regularly — say, you’re a bartender, server or someone else who gets tips — you’re going to lose a lot of money paying deposit fees. You have to decide if that might be a deal-breaker when it comes to this account.

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The key is to know yourself and your banking habits. If Varo Bank doesn’t work for you, another online bank might. Be sure to read our piece on the Best Online Banks to see what’s available.

Meanwhile, you may also be interested in our articles on the 7 Best Free Checking Accounts and 8 of the Best Savings Accounts.

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