Banking Savings & Money Market Accounts

Varo Savings Account Review [2024]: High Apy for Balances Under $5,000

Varo's high-interest savings account is great for those just starting to build savings, but be aware of the low balance cap for earning the top APY.

Updated June 14, 2024
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Varo

OUR VIEW

Varo is an online bank that offers checking and savings accounts — the Varo Bank Account and Varo Savings Account, respectively. If you’re looking to keep your money with one bank for both checking and savings, Varo is a solid option. The savings account's standout feature is the high 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY you can earn if you meet certain criteria.

However, that top APY only applies to balances up to $5,000. Anything beyond that earns a much lower 3.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY. So while Varo is a solid choice for beginning savers, those with more significant savings can earn more elsewhere. This Varo Savings Account review will help you decide if it's the right fit for your savings goals.

Pros

No minimum balance requirements
No monthly fees
Earn 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY with direct deposit
Automate saving with "Save Your Change" and "Save Your Pay" features

Cons

$5,000 balance cap for earning 5.00% APY is limiting for big savers
Can't access savings account without also opening Varo checking account
No physical branch access if you prefer in-person banking
How we evaluate products

Varo Savings Account basics

APY 3.00% (as of 6/14/24) at account opening, 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) once you meet certain criteria1
Minimum/maximum account balance for APY No minimum balance required, but the maximum balance for the 5.00% APY is $5,000
Minimum deposit to open account None
Monthly maintenance fees None
ATM access Only after transferring funds to your Varo Bank Account, which provides free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
Transactions per month Up to six withdrawals per statement cycle
FDIC insured Yes

The Varo Savings Account's main selling point is its high APY, but qualifying for the top 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) rate does require jumping through a few hoops. You'll need to open a Varo checking account alongside your savings, and each month you must receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits.

The $5,000 balance cap is the account's most glaring limitation. Once you exceed that threshold, the portion of your balance above $5,000 will only earn 3.00% (as of 6/14/24). While that's still a respectable rate, it's a notable drop from the headline APY and means this account is really best suited for modest savers.

On the plus side, Varo doesn't charge any monthly fees or require minimum balances for the savings or checking account, making it a low-cost option. You also get convenient features like mobile check deposit and automatic savings tools.

What we like about the Varo Savings Account

  • No minimum balance: You do not need a minimum balance to open a Varo Savings Account or earn the maximum APY.
  • A great interest rate: Varo’s APY is one of the highest available. It does come with caveats, but even those who don’t qualify for the higher rate will still earn a decent APY which is similar to many other online savings accounts. (More on what it takes to qualify for the higher APY in the next section.)
  • Saving can be automated: There are two options for automatically moving money from your Varo Bank Account (your “checkless checking” account) to your Varo Savings Account.
    • With "Save Your Change," you can round up every transaction made in your Varo Bank Account to an even dollar and transfer the change to savings.
    • With "Save Your Pay," you can choose to have a percentage of each direct deposit made into your Varo Bank Account moved to savings.
  • Putting money into your Varo accounts is easy: You can fund your Varo Savings Account with transfers from your Varo Bank Account, transfers from an outside financial institution, direct deposit, mobile check deposit through the Varo app, or through automated savings. And there’s no daily limit or maximum dollar amount on transfers to your savings account from either your Varo or outside bank account.

What the Varo Savings Account could improve

  • You can't just open a savings account: You must have a Varo Bank Account (a checking account) in order to have a Varo Savings Account. In addition, all your savings withdrawals have to go through your Varo Bank Account. You can’t transfer money directly out of your Varo Savings or access that money at an ATM. You must transfer your savings to your checking account before you make a cash withdrawal.
  • Big savers can't get the best interest rates with Varo: You only get the 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY on your first $5,000. For funds above that, you’ll be paid at the lower rate of 3.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY, which is a big drop down. There are many other savings accounts that offer more than 4.00% APY without a balance cap.
  • To get the best interest rate, you have to fulfill additional requirements: You also have to receive at least $1,000 per month in direct deposits from your employer or the government into your Varo Bank Account and have a positive balance in both your savings and checking accounts. For a savings account, I just want to set it and forget it, so I’d find these requirements frustrating.

Who is Varo Savings best for?

Varo is a great fit for savers who are just starting to build up savings and can easily meet the direct deposit and debit card usage requirements each month. If you tend to keep modest savings balances under $5,000, Varo lets you maximize your earnings on that money with minimal fees.

However, if you're a big saver who will quickly exceed the $5,000 threshold for Varo's top rate, you may earn more with a high-yield savings account that doesn't cap balances for its best APY. Since Varo is online only, it also isn't ideal if you strongly prefer having access to physical bank branches.

If you're going to use Varo, you also need to make sure you’re comfortable doing much of your banking on a mobile app. Varo's apps are feature-rich, but its desktop website is not.

How to open a Varo Savings Account

You’ll have to open both a Varo Bank Account and a Varo Savings Account to gain access to the savings options. You must also download the Varo banking app for iOS or Android to open, fund, or use either type of account.

How to add money to your account

There's no minimum deposit to open an account and no hard credit check. Once your account is open, you have several options to fund both your Varo Bank and Varo Savings accounts, including:

  • Transferring funds through an ACH transfer from an outside financial institution
  • Depositing checks using your iOS or Android app or by mailing a paper check
  • Moving funds from your Varo Bank Account to your Varo Savings Account
  • Setting up direct deposit
  • Depositing cash at one of 90,000 Green Dot locations (Note: Varo doesn’t charge a fee for this service, but the participating Green Dot location may charge you up to $4.95 depending on the deposit method)

How to withdraw money from your Varo Savings Account

To withdraw funds from your Varo Savings Account, your only option is to move the money to your Varo Bank Account.

Once you’ve done that, you can withdraw funds at an ATM, use your Varo debit card for purchases, issue checks from your account through the Varo app, or transfer funds to another financial institution.

Other account fees

Overdraft fee None
Stop payment fee None
ACH transfers None
Incoming wire Not supported
Outgoing wire Not supported

Varo customer service

Varo provides customer service to account holders via phone and email. You can contact Varo at:

There’s no online chat, and there are no local branches you can visit. You also must use the mobile banking app to access many features of your account(s), as you’re limited in what you can do on your website browser.

Alternatives to Varo Savings Account

While Varo's 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY on balances up to $5,000 is certainly attractive, there are other high-yield savings accounts that may better suit your needs, especially if you have a larger balance or prefer a bank with physical locations:

High Yield Savings Account from Customers Bank

The High Yield Savings Account from Customers Bank offers a compelling 4.76% APY,2 which is only slightly lower than Varo's top rate. Plus, you'll earn that APY on your entire balance with no maximum limit. The account also has no monthly fees and only requires a $1 minimum deposit to open.

If you live near one of Customers Bank's physical locations in a few states, this account is a good choice. You'll have the option of in-person banking while still enjoying a high interest rate on your savings.

Visit Customers Bank

SoFi Checking and Savings

If you're looking for a one-stop shop for your checking and savings needs, SoFi's Checking and Savings account is worth considering. With qualifying direct deposits, you can earn up to 4.60% APY on your savings balance, which is slightly lower than Varo's top rate but without any balance cap.

SoFi also doesn't charge any monthly fees, minimum balance fees, or overdraft fees. As an online bank, it offers perks like early paycheck access.3 However, like Varo, SoFi doesn't have physical branch locations.

Visit SoFi or learn more in our SoFi Checking and Savings review.

Featured High Yield Savings Accounts

CloudBank 24/7 Savings - 5.22% APY4

High-yield savings account. $1 minimum deposit. FDIC insured. Limited Time Bonus: Earn up to $2,000 when you refer friends and family to Raisin. Visit site to learn more.

Open Account
SoFi Checking & Savings - Earn Up to $300 When You Set Up Direct Deposit

Earn 4.60% APY5 and collect up to a $300 cash bonus with direct deposit or $5,000 or more in qualifying deposits.6 FDIC Insured.

Open Account
Barclays Online Savings - 4.35% APY7

High-yield savings account. No minimum balance.

Open Account

FAQs

Is Varo Bank safe?

Varo is covered by FDIC insurance through The Bancorp Bank, which means money deposited with Varo is safe. As of June 2024, Varo has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has been a BBB-accredited business since February 2018.

Does Varo offer joint accounts?

Varo doesn’t offer joint bank accounts (a bank account owned by two or more people), but has indicated that it’s actively working on bringing this feature to customers.

How do I deposit cash into my Varo account?

To make cash deposits into your Varo account, you need to visit one of the 90,000 participating Green Dot retail locations. These locations include certain Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Albertsons, Safeway, Kmart, and Kroger locations.

Unfortunately, there’s a fee to deposit cash, which could be up to $4.95 per deposit, depending on the method of deposit.

Does Varo have monthly fees?

Varo charges no monthly fees for either its checking account or savings account. There are also no overdraft fees or charges for ACH transfers.

Does Varo work with Venmo?

Yes, Varo is compatible with Venmo. You can use Varo as a payment method for Venmo and can also transfer money from Venmo to your Varo account using either instant transfer or ACH transfer.

Bottom line

The Varo Savings Account offers an industry-leading APY for savers who don't mind keeping balances under $5,000 and who can meet monthly direct deposit requirements. It's a strong choice for beginning savers looking to grow modest balances while avoiding common fees.

However, those with significant savings would be better served by an account with a high APY that applies to all balance tiers. And if you prefer in-person banking, Varo's online-only model won’t be a good fit. Consider your savings goals and banking preferences to decide if Varo's high-yield savings account makes sense for you.

No minimum balance requirements
No monthly fees
Earn 5.00% (as of 6/14/24) APY with direct deposit
Automate saving with "Save Your Change" and "Save Your Pay" features

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.

Author Details

Gabriela Walsh

Gabriela Walsh is an Editor at FinanceBuzz, where she uses her keen eye for detail and draws upon her academic background in literary research to ensure our content remains both reliable and up-to-date. With an M.A. in Modern English Literature from University College London, Gabriela combines her understanding of language and literature with her commitment to delivering content that empowers others to build healthy money management skills.