Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

Current Review — Mobile Banking App With Rewards


Current Logo

Our rating

4.6/5

Current

  • Minimum Balance/Deposit: $0
  • Maximum Balance: None
  • Monthly Fee: $0 1
  • Rewards: Up to 7x points 2
  • Additional Benefits: Early direct deposit, overdraft protection, mobile check deposit
  • Banking Services By: Choice Financial Group, member FDIC


Some traditional banks still offer truly free checking accounts, but it gets more difficult every year to find one. More often, you have to jump through annoying hoops to get those monthly maintenance fees waived.

Good thing traditional banks — and tradition-minded online banks — aren’t the only game in town anymore. Dozens of fintech apps like Current have stepped up in recent years to offer banking services for free with no strings attached.


What Is the Current App?

Current is a financial technology app that offers basic banking services through Choice Financial Group, member FDIC. It offers a checking account with a Visa debit card that earns rewards on select purchases and connected savings accounts that earn variable interest.

Current charges no monthly maintenance fee and has no minimum balance requirements. Notable banking features include early direct deposit with qualifying payers, optional overdraft protection, a broad fee-free ATM network, and mobile check deposit.

Current also has a crypto investing platform, but it’s totally optional to use and you don’t have to keep any of your funds in crypto if you don’t want to4.


What Sets Current Apart?

Current has several features that distinguish it from other bank accounts and fintech apps:

  • Open to kids as young as 13. You can open a Current account as soon as you turn 13, though teen accounts only work when connected to a parent account, meaning a Current account owned by someone 18 or older.
  • Generous rewards on eligible purchases. You can earn up to 7x rewards on eligible debit card purchases with Current. That’s far more generous than most rewards debit cards, though not all spending earns rewards.
  • Competitive yield on eligible balances. Current offers an impressive yield on eligible savings: Up to a 4.00% bonus on Savings Pods balances up to $2,000 in each pod. You can have up to three Savings Pods, for a total of up to $6,000 in balances across all pods.
  • No gas holds. Current automatically and immediately removes debit card holds placed by gas stations. These holds lower your available balance, which can be a big problem if you have little or no buffer in your account.

Key Features of Current

Current is basically a mobile-friendly checking and savings account package with a crypto investing platform attached. Overall, it works like any other online bank account, but it has a few features that set it apart.

Earning Rewards on Debit Card Purchases

Eligible debit card purchases earn rewards through the Current Points program. However, you don’t earn points on as many purchases as you would with a typical credit card.. According to Current, about 14,000 locations participate.

You can find eligible Current Points locations using the app’s rewards map. For each location, the map shows how many points you can earn per $1 spent — as little as 1x or as much as 7x, depending on the merchant. You have to activate each offer to earn points, which adds a step to the process but is easy enough to do in the app.

You can redeem points for cash or credits against future Current purchases. There’s no limit to how many points you can earn overall.

Early Direct Deposit

Eligible private direct deposits hit Current accounts up to two days early. Most private employers qualify. If you receive government benefits by direct deposit, your funds may come up to four days early4.

Savings Pods & Bonus on Savings Balances

You can set up as many as three savings subaccounts within your Current account. Known as Savings Pods, these are goal- or purpose-driven buckets that keep your funds separate as you work toward specific future plans.

Savings Pod balances earn up to a 4.00% bonus on the first $2,000 in each pod. That means you can earn on up to $6,000 in your Savings Pods.

You can save faster by taking advantage of Current’s Round-Ups feature. After you opt in, this automatically rounds up each debit card purchase to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference in a designated pod.

Overdraft Protection (Overdrive)

Current offers fee-free overdraft protection on checking balances through its Overdrive feature. You must set up direct deposit to qualify, then opt in — protection isn’t automatic.

Overdrive protection tops out at $25 to start, meaning Current allows transactions that would result in negative balances as large as $25. It ranges up to $200 per instance based on Current’s assessment of your risk of nonpayment. Generally, your limit increases over time, but Current has no set schedule for increases.

ATM Access

Current has a network of more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs. ATM withdrawals outside this network may still incur surcharges Current can’t control.

Gas Hold Removal

If you use your Current debit card at a gas station that normally puts a hold on the account until the transaction settles, Current removes it with no action needed on your end. That frees up any cash that would have been tied up by the hold — up to $50 in many cases.

Spending Insights

Current’s Spending Insights feature helps you track your spending and saving patterns over time. Based on your activity, Current may suggest positive changes that can free up room in your budget or increase your savings pace.

Mobile Features

Current is a mobile-friendly app. Notable mobile capabilities include:

  • Fee-free mobile check deposit
  • Instant transfers to external bank accounts and linked Current accounts, including teen accounts
  • Chore assignments with custom payment amounts for linked teen accounts
  • Real-time notifications when a teen user swipes their debit card
  • Customizable spending controls for teen accounts, including the ability to block specific merchants or merchant categories

Crypto Investing

Current has a built-in crypto investing platform where you can buy and sell popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It’s only available for adult accounts at the moment. And crypto pricing is extremely volatile, so be cautious if you choose to use this feature, and never invest more than you can afford to lose.


Advantages of Current

Current ticks many of the boxes you’d hope an entry-level checking and savings package would.

  • No monthly service charge. Current has no monthly service charge, regardless of your balance or transaction activity. It costs nothing to open and maintain your account.
  • Fee-free overdraft protection. Current’s Overdrive feature is a fee-free overdraft protection program that covers negative balances up to $200. Many fintech apps also have overdraft protection, but a fee-free option is rare5.
  • Competitive bonus on eligible balances. Current’s Savings Pod bonus are on par with the best high-yield savings accounts on the market.
  • Early direct deposit with eligible payers. If your employer qualifies — and most do — you can get paid up to two days early with Current. That’s Wednesday instead of the usual Friday payday.
  • No need to wait until you’re 18 to open an account. Current is open to kids as young as 13 as long as they link their accounts to an adult account owned by someone 18 or older. With built-in chore and allowance features, it’s an ideal first bank account for older kids.
  • No gas holds. Current releases gas station holds as soon as the station imposes them. That can free up as much as $50 (and sometimes more) immediately without the customary two- to three-business-day wait.
  • Strict parental controls for teen accounts. Current’s parental monitoring and control features include real-time debit card transaction alerts, customizable payment blocks on merchants or transaction categories, and a chore management interface that lets you assign chores and then mark them complete. If your teen is ready for more freedom and flexibility but still needs financial training wheels, Current has your family covered.

Disadvantages of Current

Current has some meaningful downsides, including a relatively low maximum balance to earn annual bonuses and significant limits on the rewards program.

  • Many Current purchases don’t earn rewards. Current only earns rewards on certain debit card purchases. To find participating merchants and see how much you can earn at each, you need to use the Current Points map. That adds time and friction to the process — and even with careful planning, Current can’t match the efficiency or earning potential of a general-purpose rewards credit card.
  • Must activate offers in the app to earn rewards. Current purchases don’t earn rewards automatically. You have to activate each opportunity in the app. While the app is user-friendly enough, that adds another step that’s easy to forget.
  • Only $6,000 in savings balances eligible to earn bonuses. Savings Pod balances only earn bonuses on the first $2,000, and you can only have three Savings Pods at once. That means the biggest balance you can earn bonuses on is $6,000.

How Current Stacks Up

Current isn’t the only mobile-friendly checking and savings solution on the market. Chime is a popular alternative — one that shows up in multiple product comparisons on Current’s website. So before you go to open an account with Current, see how the two stack up.

CurrentChime
Monthly Fee$0$0
Debit Card RewardsUp to 7x at eligible merchantsNone
Savings YieldUp to 4.00% on up to $6,0002.00% on all savings balances
Early Direct DepositYes, two days earlyYes, two days early
Overdraft ProtectionYes, up to $200Yes, up to $200
Deposit InsuranceYes, up to $250,000Yes, up to $250,000

Final Word

Current has a number of advantages over traditional bank accounts, including no monthly service charge, fee-free overdraft protection, early payday with qualifying direct deposit, a potentially generous rewards program, and a very competitive savings yield. That makes it an ideal account for people who live paycheck to paycheck and younger folks transitioning into the workforce after finishing school.

It’s also useful for teens and their parents thanks to a teen-friendly account with parental monitoring and controls.

Current does have some drawbacks, though. Many purchases earn no rewards at all, and you need to activate offers before each transaction, which adds friction to the process. Current has a relatively low maximum balance to earn a bonus as well — just $6,000 across all eligible savings subaccounts.

For most would-be users, Current has more to like than dislike. But before you rush out to apply, make sure it fits your needs.

1 Some fees may apply, including out of network ATM fees of $2.50 per transaction, late payment fees of 3% of any total due balance outstanding and past due for two or more billing cycles, foreign transaction fees of 3% of the full transaction amount (minimum $0.50), card replacement fees per card of $5 for regular delivery and $30 for expedited delivery, cash deposit fees of $3.50 per deposit, and third party processing fees.

2You may earn Points in connection with your everyday spending and by completing other actions that Current designates as subject to the Current Points Program. The amount of Points granted for different actions as well as the purchase requirements necessary to earn Points will vary, and is subject to Current’s sole discretion. After qualifying, please allow 3-5 business days for points to post to your Current account. The Current Points program is not available to Teen Account holders. See Current Points Terms and Conditions.

3 Cryptocurrency services are powered by Zero Hash LLC and Zero Hash Liquidity Services LLC, and may not be available in all states. Terms and conditions apply. When you buy or sell cryptocurrency, a difference between the current market price and the price you buy or sell that asset for is called a spread. However, unlike most other exchanges Current does not charge an additional trading fee. Cryptocurrency transactions are a form of investment, and all investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested. Cryptocurrency is not insured by the FDIC or any other government-backed or third-party insurance. Your purchase of cryptocurrency is not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, Choice Financial Group or Cross River Bank. The cryptocurrency assets in your Zero Hash account are not held at Current, Choice Financial Group, or Cross River Bank. Current, Choice Financial Group, and Cross River Bank are not responsible for the cryptocurrency assets held in any Zero Hash account. Neither Current, Choice, nor Cross River Bank is involved in the purchase, sale, exchange of fiat funds for cryptocurrency, or custody of the cryptocurrencies. Terms and Conditions apply (platform and user agreements). Crypto on Current is not currently available in HI. Licensed to engage in Virtual Currency Business Activity by the New York State Department of Financial Services. This does not constitute investment advice.

4 Faster access to funds is based on comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds is subject to timing of payer’s submission of deposits.

5 Actual overdraft amount may vary and is subject to change at any time, at Current’s sole discretion. In order to qualify and enroll in the Fee-Free Overdraft feature, you must receive $500 or more in Qualifying Deposits into your Current Account over the preceding 30-day period. For more information, please refer to Fee-free Overdraft Terms and Conditions.

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, and Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. The Current Visa® Debit Card is issued by Choice Financial Group pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Current Visa® secured charge card is issued by Cross River Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your Card for its issuing bank. Current Individual Account required to apply for the Current Visa® secured charge card. Independent approval required.

The Verdict

Current Logo

Our rating

4.6/5

Current

  • Minimum Balance/Deposit: $0
  • Maximum Balance: None
  • Monthly Fee: $0
  • Rewards: Up to 7x points
  • Yield: 4.00% on eligible balances
  • Additional Benefits: Early direct deposit, overdraft protection, mobile check deposit
  • Banking Services By: Choice Financial Group, member FDIC
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.