Varo Bank Review [2024]: Get Your Paycheck Early

BANKING - CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Varo Bank is an online bank that provides faster access to your paycheck and charges very minimal fees. This Varo Bank review will help you decide if this account is for you.
Updated May 3, 2024
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Varo Bank Review

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We recommend Varo Bank for anyone looking for a streamlined online-only bank with accounts that have $0 monthly maintenance fees. We like that Varo offers checking accounts with a large fee-free ATM network, high-yield savings accounts, and early direct deposit1.

However, it’s worth noting that Varo lacks physical branches, which may be a drawback for those who prefer in-person banking. Additionally, while Varo’s savings rates are competitive, they may fluctuate and are not guaranteed. Overall, Varo Bank’s accounts are a solid choice for those seeking a modern, mobile-first banking experience.

In this Varo Bank review, we look into how this bank works and what it offers to help you decide whether Varo is a good fit for you.

Quick Summary

Get your paycheck up to two days early.

  • Minimal fees
  • Overdraft protection
  • Fully-functional mobile app for banking on the go
In this Varo Bank review

Key takeaways

  • We recommend the Varo Online Bank Account because it can provide access to paychecks up to two days early with qualified direct deposit.
  • We like that the High-Yield Savings Account offers a high annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 5.00% (as of Mar. 19, 2024) on balances up to $5,000 with qualified direct deposits2.
  • We appreciate Varo’s commitment to minimal fees - it has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly maintenance fees, and no foreign transaction fees.
  • One potential drawback is that Varo, as an online-only bank, doesn't have physical branches for in-person banking.

Varo Bank overview

Pros
  • Early paycheck access
  • High-yield savings with competitive APY
  • Minimal fees
Cons
  • No physical branches
  • Daily debit card transaction limits

Varo Money, Inc. is a legitimate financial technology company that was founded in 2015. It’s the parent company of Varo Bank, N.A., which offers checking and savings accounts that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per account holder.

The Varo Online Bank Account, which acts as a checking account, enables you to receive your paycheck up to two days early with qualified direct deposits. The Varo High-Yield Savings Account helps you earn an APY of up to 5.00% (as of Mar. 19, 2024) on balances up to $5,000.

Varo offers a user-friendly banking experience and is dedicated to financial wellness. This commitment is reflected in its minimal fees, high APY for its savings account, and its large fee-free ATM network.

However, Varo has a few drawbacks, including its lack of physical locations and the daily limits it applies to its debit card. These limits include a spending cap of up to $5,000 and an ATM withdrawal cap of $1,000. 

Varo Online Bank Account details

APY Doesn't earn interest
Minimum balance for APY N/A
Minimum deposit to open an account $0
Monthly maintenance fees $0
ATM access A fee-free network of 40,000 ATMs with a limit of $1,000 cash withdrawals per day
Transaction limits Spending limit of $2,500 to $5,000 per day on your debit card, depending on account age and transaction history
FDIC-insured Yes, up to $250,000 per depositor

Varo High-Yield Savings Account details

APY Up to 5.00% (as of Mar. 19, 2024) on balances up to $5,000 with qualified direct deposits
Minimum balance for APY $0
Minimum deposit to an open account $0
Monthly maintenance fees $0
ATM access No ATM access with the savings account
Transaction limits The limit of 6 withdrawals per month was removed in 2020 
FDIC-insured Yes, up to $250,000 per depositor

What we like about Varo Bank

  • Paychecks up to two days early with direct deposit: If you sign up for qualified direct deposits, Varo posts the money from your paycheck into your Varo Online Bank Account up to two days early. This makes it one of the best banks to get your payday money sooner.
  • High APY on your savings: The Varo High-Yield Savings Account pays you an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 5.00% (as of Mar. 19, 2024) on balances up to $5,000 with qualified direct deposits. High-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) help you grow your money faster by earning interest on your cash.
  • Very few fees: Varo has no minimum balance requirement and doesn't charge monthly fees on its Online Bank Account or High-Yield Savings Account. There is no foreign transaction fee and no debit card replacement fee. Transfers to other Varo accounts and ACH bank transfers are also fee-free with Varo.
  • Large fee-free ATM network: You'll get a Varo Visa debit card with your Varo Online Bank Account. You can use this debit card to withdraw funds from more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs in the Allpoint ATM network.
  • Mobile check deposit: Varo Bank offers the convenience of mobile check deposits via its app, with deposit limits determined by the length of your account history and past activity. This feature provides an easier alternative to mailing checks.
  • Highly rated mobile app: Varo has a mobile banking app for iOS devices and Android devices. The app has ratings of 4.9 out of 5 on the App Store and 4.7 out of 5 on Google Play. Varo's mobile app makes it easy to track spending, sign up for account alerts, transfer money to and from external accounts, and instantly send money for free to anyone who also uses Varo.

What Varo Bank could improve

  • No interest on Varo Online Bank Account's balance: While the Varo High-Yield Savings Account pays interest, the Varo Online Bank Account, which acts as Varo's checking account, doesn't pay interest on your balance. This is a difference commonly found between checking and savings accounts.
  • No physical locations: As an online-only bank, Varo has no physical locations or branches you can go to for in-person help. This can be a drawback for people who prefer in-person banking.
  • Daily limits on ATM withdrawals and debit card use: The Varo Online Bank Account offers a debit card that has a daily limit of $1,000 per day in ATM withdrawals and of $2,500 to $5,000 per day in debit card transactions, depending on account age and transaction history.

How to open a Varo Online Bank Account

If you’re ready to open a Varo Online Bank Account, you’ll be glad to hear it’s easy. In fact, it's all done through the mobile app.

To open a Varo Online Bank Account, you do need to meet a few basic requirements, including:

  • Being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Being 18 or older
  • Having a valid Social Security number
  • Having an iPhone 5s or newer with iOS 10 or greater, or an Android device with access to the Google Play store and OS 5.0 Lollipop or greater

If you qualify, there are just a few steps required to complete the signup process:

  • Download the Varo app from the iOS or Android app store
  • Tap "Sign up"
  • Follow the on-screen prompts, which will ask for some basic information, including your Social Security number (SSN) as well as your driver's license details - or information from another form of personal identification if you don't have a license.

The entire process can be completed within five minutes, and there's a support email (help@varomoney.com) you can use to seek assistance if you run into trouble.

How to deposit cash into Varo

Varo, as with most online banks, doesn't have physical branches you can go to in order to deposit money. But you can still put cash into your account. You just have to go to a retailer in the Green Dot network to make your cash deposits. There are thousands of retailers participating in the Green Dot Network, including Family Dollar, Kmart, Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, CVS, and Dollar General.

When you visit one of these locations, go to a checkout cash register and tell them you want to add cash to your Varo Visa debit card. Although Varo won't charge you to do this, it's possible the store you're at will charge up to $4.95.

You can also purchase a MoneyPak at any Green Dot location to deposit between $20 and $500 in one transaction. Again, Varo won't charge a fee, but the MoneyPak itself does cost $5.95 to purchase. You'll also have to create a secure login at www.moneypak.com, verify your identity, and link your Varo Visa debit card to your account in order to add cash.

How to withdraw money from Varo

You have a few options for getting cash from your Varo Online Bank Account:

  • You can make purchases with your Varo Visa debit card: You can spend up to $5,000 a day with your Varo account. Although this won't give you physical cash, it does allow you to use the money in your bank account to buy the things you need.
  • You can withdraw money from an ATM: You can withdraw up to $1,000 at an ATM each day. There are no ATM fees for withdrawing from an Allpoint network ATM. If you use a non-Allpoint ATM, Varo will charge a fee of $2.50 for cash withdrawals.
  • You can do an over-the-counter cash withdrawal: This is something you can do at most traditional banks or credit unions using your Varo debit card. You'll have to ask for cash from the teller, and you may want to call ahead to make sure this particular financial institution allows these sorts of transactions. You'll be limited to withdrawing $1,000 a day using this method.

Other Varo fees

Overdraft fee $0 if you qualify for no-fee overdraft
Stop payment fee $0
ACH transfers $0
Incoming wire Wire transfers aren't available with Varo
Outgoing wire Wire transfers aren't available with Varo

Varo customer service

Varo provides customer service via phone and email. Its contact information is:

The call center is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed on holidays.

Varo Bank FAQ

Is Varo a real bank?

Varo is a real and reputable bank. In fact, deposits made with Varo Bank are FDIC-insured, which means your deposits are protected up to at least $250,000.

Does Varo really pay early?

Yes, Varo may actually pay you early. If you receive your paycheck via direct deposit, Varo may be able to get you paid up to two days early. It does this by making your money available immediately after receiving notification from the Federal Reserve that your employer has started the direct deposit process. Most banks hold the funds during this time, but Varo doesn’t. So if your company's payday is Friday, Varo will generally get the alert from the Fed on Wednesdays, which means you can get your money two days ahead of schedule.

Can I load my Varo card at Walmart?

Yes, you can load your Varo card at Walmart. Walmart is part of the Green Dot network so you can visit your local store to deposit cash into your Varo account.

Does Varo do a credit check?

Varo doesn't check your credit when you apply for a bank account so you don't have to worry about having a hard inquiry on your credit report or getting denied for an account due to a low credit score.

Does Varo Bank accept ACH?

Yes, Varo accepts ACH payments. Varo also allows ACH transfers with no fees.

Varo Bank: bottom line

If you're looking for a bank account that provides overdraft protection, helps you get your paycheck early, and charges minimal fees, the Varo Online Bank Account may fit the bill for you.

Although you need to accept daily spending and withdrawal limits and you have to be prepared for limitations on how you can deposit cash, these sorts of downsides are common to online banking and shouldn't bother most users.

You'll need to decide if the perks are worth the downsides, but we think the Varo checking account compares with some of the best checking accounts out there.

Varo Benefits

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
  • Save more with a high-yield Varo savings account
  • Deposits are FDIC insured to at least $250,000

Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.

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