BankMobile Vibe Review: Digital Checking Account for Students
Quick Take: BankMobile Vibe looks to meet the demands of students more directly, with features built around the needs of young adults currently matriculating at colleges and universities. In fact, attending a college that’s partnered with BankMobile is one requirement for opening up a BankMobile Vibe account.
How did we calculate this?
- Interest checking
- Paycheck up to two days early
- Rewards program with chance to win cash
- Fee-free access to Allpoint ATM network
- Features for easy bill pay and budgeting
- Monthly service fee
- Only offered to students at colleges partnering with BankMobile
BankMobile Vibe Overview
BankMobile Vibe is a checking account marketed directly to students. BankMobile is a company that partners with universities to help them handle financial aid and refunds, and it also offers consumer banking to those same students who might already be familiar with their services.
But does BankMobile offer enough in the way of perks to make it a better choice than one of the many other options for online banking? Here’s a deeper dive into the benefits, features and drawbacks of banking with BankMobile Vibe and whether or not it might be the right account for you.
To make an informed decision about whether this account is right for you, it can be helpful to learn about its key features.
BankMobile Vibe’s checking rate isn’t the highest, but it also isn’t the lowest. You’ll earn 0.50% APY on balances up to $1,000.99 and 0.50% to 0.06% for balances over $1,000.99
The amount and types of fees you’ll have to pay when you open a checking account are important, and the most notable fee that the BankMobile Vibe checking account charges is the $2.99 monthly service fee. This fee applies if you don’t make deposits of at least $300 per statement cycle, which could add up to $35.88 annually. Qualifying deposits to the account include direct deposit, transfers from external bank accounts, check and cash deposits and point-of-sale deposits.
ATM fees can also be a concern. If you use an Allpoint ATM, no fees apply. However, use of an out-of-network ATM will incur a $3 fee.
Beyond those charges, BankMobile fees are relatively low. In particular, there are no overdraft fees.
Among the more interesting features offered is the Passport Recognition Program. Through this, BankMobile Vibe offers “stamps” for things like performing in the classroom or meeting certain financial goals. You’ll earn stamps based on your GPA, as well as for paying bills, budgeting and saving.
Once you earn 10 stamps, you’ll have “Adventurer Status,” which means you’ll be eligible for special deals and discounts. Every stamp you earn will also allow you to enter the semiannual drawing of up to $10,000 along with other BankMobile Vibe customers to put toward your student loans.
The BankMobile Vibe digital checking account comes with a variety of features that make it easy to manage your money, including the following:
- Mobile deposit
- A network of over 55,000 free ATMs
- Money Meter and SnapShot budgeting tools
- On/off switch for the BankMobile Debit Mastercard
- Bill share
- Direct deposits up to two days early
- Tax refunds up to three days early
How BankMobile Vibe Stands Out
BankMobile stands out mainly because it is student-centered. You must be a student to open this account. The checking account also pays interest and has attractive features like early direct deposit and budgeting tools. Plus, it has a unique rewards program and offers the chance to win up to $10,000 to pay towards your student loans.
When deciding whether to open a bank account, it’s helpful to compare other options. Here’s information on a couple of banking accounts that are appropriate for students but don’t have the application restrictions like BankMobile Vibe does.
SoFi offers a checking and savings account package to college students. It offers fee-free ATM transactions at all ATMs in the Allpoint network plus overdraft protection. One of the biggest differences is that it does not charge any service fees. However, it also doesn’t pay interest like the BankMobile Vibe account. All you need is your .edu email address to get started.
LendingClub offers Rewards Checking that allows account holders to earn unlimited 1% cash back with the use of the account’s debit card. There are no monthly service or overdraft fees and no requirements regarding a minimum balance or number of transactions. Another advantage is that LendingClub will give you unlimited ATM rebates if you use an out-of-network machine. However, while this account does earn interest, it’s only 0.10% APY, which is not as good as the rate BankMobile Vibe offers.
How To Sign Up
Signing up for a BankMobile Vibe account is more difficult than it is for most normal accounts where you could simply visit the bank’s homepage and follow the instructions. Because the accounts are limited to students at participating colleges or universities, you’ll need to get your BankMobile login and password before you can sign up for an account. Inquire with your school about whether they have partnered with BankMobile and how you can sign up with them.
However, once you do have a login, you should find it easy to bank with your BankMobile Vibe account. BankMobile offers a mobile app that can be downloaded from either Google Play or the App Store, and you can also bank online through the website.
Who BankMobile Vibe Is Best For
BankMobile is best for students attending one of BankMobile’s partner schools. For students with good financial habits, a strong academic ability and who have a regular source of income, BankMobile Vibe offers a lot of great features. Your existing habits in the classroom and with your budget will help you rack up stamps, earn special deals and discounts and improve your chances of winning the semiannual drawing — which can be for as much as $10,000.
Additionally, the checking account’s 0.50% APY on balances up to $1,000.99 is nothing to scoff at.
For the vast majority of consumers, BankMobile Vibe is simply not going to be an option.
To open a BankMobile Vibe digital checking account, you’ll need to be attending one of BankMobile’s partner schools, which include over 700 colleges, universities or community colleges. It has some good features and benefits, but you might be able to find an account that fits your needs better elsewhere, including one that doesn’t require you to deposit $300 monthly to avoid monthly service fees.
Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of Oct. 26, 2022.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.
Is this your bank?
Take Advantage of our Best Offer(s)