Betterment Checking Account Review 2021: A Simple, No-Fee Checking Account

Bob HaegeleBy: Bob Haegele

July 8, 2021July 8, 2021

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Betterment Logo

4.8/5

In a nutshell: Betterment checking is a no-fee, online checking account. With no account minimums and no overdraft fees, Betterment checking is ideal for those who would rather do without the fees.


That means you can use your debit card almost anywhere in the world without unwanted fees. Just be sure you don't need access to a branch.

In a nutshell: Betterment checking is a no-fee, online checking account. With no account minimums and no overdraft fees, Betterment checking is ideal for those who would rather do without the fees.


That means you can use your debit card almost anywhere in the world without unwanted fees. Just be sure you don't need access to a branch.

Fees

$0

Account Minimum

$0

Betterment, the popular robo-advisor, also offers an online checking account. This account can be used alongside your investment account, or it can be used on its own. Either way, this online checking account offers competitive rates and benefits that make it competitive. Fees are extremely low, including no ATM fees.

So, how does Betterment stack up to the competition? We’ll find out in this Betterment checking account review.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No ATM, foreign transaction, or overdraft fees
  • No minimum balances
  • No monthly fees
  • Up to 1 year free

Cons

  • No branch access
  • Accounts don't pay interest
  • No cash deposits

Betterment checking is best for:

  • Those who hate fees
  • Frequent travelers
  • Those who travel frequently

What is the Betterment Checking Account?

The Betterment checking account is a no-fee, online checking account from Betterment. This checking account is a great option for almost anyone because you’ll almost never pay any fees.


Betterment itself is not a bank; instead, it partners with
nbkc
 to offer its checking account.


The account is also FDIC-insured up to $250,000, so your money is always safe. If you ever lose your debit card, Betterment’s mobile app will let you change your PIN or even lock your card.


Plus, the Betterment checking account works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. As an added bonus, digital payments can be safer than using a physical card, especially a debit card. Another nice feature of Betterment checking is it allows you to earn cash back from popular brands.


One of the downsides of the Betterment checking account is you can’t deposit cash. The account is online-only, and you have no branch access. On the plus side, you never have to pay ATM fees, including when using your Visa debit card abroad.

How Does The Betterment Checking Account Work?

The Betterment checking account follows the trend of an app-based, mobile-first experience. However, it only uses one app for all of its products, including checking, cash management, and investment accounts. Of course, you can also see all of your accounts from a browser.

Because this is an entirely online checking account, most of your transactions will be digital. That includes managing your account through the app or paying for purchases with a debit card or an app on your phone.

If you use your debit card in another country, Betterment will also reimburse you for
foreign transaction fees. This fee is normally 1% to 3% of the transaction, but you won’t have to worry about that when using your Betterment debit card.

Overall, Betterment’s checking account is excellent for those who don’t need much more than the basics. Most of us hate fees, and if avoiding them is your primary goal, Betterment checking is a great choice.

Joint Checking Accounts

Betterment recently introduced joint checking accounts to its service. If you want to share your Betterment account with a spouse or partner, you can open a joint checking account with all of the same benefits as a “regular” checking account.


When you have a joint checking account, you will see “our net worth” when you log into the app instead of just your own. You’ll also see your joint checking account balance and shared savings goals.


In other words, Betterment combines everything into one when you open a joint checking account. Everything will be shared with whomever you share the account.

Cash-Back Rewards

Betterment partnered with Dosh for cash-back rewards, which means you can earn rewards from any retailers that are partnered with Dosh. The exact amount varies, but you can expect to earn around 1% to 5% when you use your Betterment debit card at participating retailers. That includes popular stores such as:

  • Dunkin’
  • adidas
  • Sam's Club
  • philosophy
  • Staples

All in all, there are thousands of participating retailers. But anywhere you shop that is a popular store has a good chance of being included. This is one of those features that is a no-brainer. Granted, in some cases, credit card rewards could be more generous, but not everyone wants to use a credit card. For debit card users, this is a nice benefit to have.

Betterment Customer Service

Although Betterment doesn’t let you physically visit a branch, it does have great customer service otherwise. It has both phone and email support Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. eastern. Unfortunately, you can’t reach them around the clock, but at least they give you an extra hour after the normal close of business to reach them.

Bottom Line

If you hate fees, there’s a good chance you will love the Betterment checking account. There are no ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no overdraft fees. There are also no monthly account fees or minimum balances.


Basically, anywhere you go, you can use your Betterment debit card without having to worry about fees. The card is a Visa, and it works with Google Pay and Apple Pay, which can be more secure than using a debit card.


Betterment also allows you to open investment accounts, retirement accounts, and joint checking accounts. The biggest downside to the Betterment checking account is there are no physical branches, and you can’t deposit checks. But if those are not deal-breakers for you, Betterment could be a great choice.


To learn more about Betterment, read our full Betterment review.



Bob Haegele

About the Author:

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer, entrepreneur, and dog walker. He's a money management expert and investing connoisseur. Bob has been writing about personal finance for three years and now manages several personal finance sites, including The Frugal Fellow and Modest Money. You can also find him contributing to popular websites such as GOBankingRates, Bankrate, and Insurance.com. You can see more of his work on Muck Rack and Contently, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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