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Friday, April 12, 2024

GO2bank Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

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GO2bank Review

Rated 4.1 /5.0 ★★★★

Mobile bank accounts allow you to manage your finances with a tap on your smartphone, eliminating the need to visit physical bank branches. They offer convenience by enabling transactions, balancing checks, and sending account alerts from anywhere at any time. These apps challenge traditional banks to innovate and integrate digital solutions to meet customers’ evolving preferences.

In this article, I’ll review the excellent GO2bank online bank account and debit card, as well as three top competitors. One of these online/mobile apps may fit your lifestyle if you favor convenient and inexpensive banking.

Main Points and Observations

    • Monthly cost: The checking account and debit card come with a monthly maintenance fee of $5, which covers account management and customer support services. The account may waive the fee if you meet its direct deposit requirements.

    • Cash back: You earn cash back when you purchase eGift Cards through its app. You can earn up to 7% cash back, depending on the merchant.

    • Optional features: Additional services, including overdraft protection, a secured credit card, and a high-yield savings account, are available if you opt in.

    • Fast direct deposit: The service offers early direct deposit, allowing you to access your paycheck up to two days earlier than traditional bank processing times.

The GO2bank account offers several useful perks, including easy deposits and convenient ATM access. But its fees are a little high. Be aware of its limits, including no money transfers out of the account and no additional interest on savings above $5,000.

The GO2bank Visa® Debit Card comes with the online bank account. It is not a reloadable debit card. Instead, the money in your bank account funds your debit card spending.

How to Qualify & Apply For the Card

One way to apply for the GO2bank account is to download its mobile app. You can also buy the debit card at a participating retailer. But it’s even easier to apply online. Simply click on the APPLY NOW link below to start the process:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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GO2bank Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

4.1

OVERALL RATING

  • Overdraft protection up to $200 with opt-in and eligible direct deposit*
  • No monthly fees with eligible direct deposit, otherwise $5 per month
  • Earn up to 7% cash back when you buy eGift Cards in the app
  • Get your pay up to 2 days early - Get your government benefits up to 4 days early.*
  • High-yield savings account, 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings up to $5,000.*
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
All Credit Types Considered

You must be 18 or older to apply and legally reside in the United States. You’ll have to provide your name, address, email address, phone number, date of birth, and Social Security number. The initial funding requirement is $20 to $500.

You will get a temporary debit card when you open and fund the account at a retail store. Regardless of how you apply for the account, the permanent debit card should arrive within seven to 10 days. You must activate the card, either online or via the app, by verifying the account details and establishing a PIN.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

It’s good to look at the pros and cons of having an online bank account such as GO2bank. Doing so helps you see if it’s easy to use and whether it provides what you need from a bank. It also shows you how safe your money is and whether you can get help when you need it.

Benefits

    • Low monthly fee: The account waives the $5 monthly charge when you receive at least one direct deposit of payroll or government benefits during the previous monthly statement period.

    • Visa® debit card: The GO2bank debit card is Visa®-branded, offering widespread acceptance both domestically and internationally. You can use your debit card for purchases, online shopping, and ATM withdrawals anywhere that accepts Visa®. The Visa® brand also adds an extra layer of security and support, including fraud protection.

    • Savings account: You can get an interest-bearing savings account with no minimum balance requirement and no startup or maintenance fees.

    • Fast direct deposit: It provides the ability to receive payroll or government benefits direct deposits up to two days early.

    • eGift card cash back: Earn up to 7% cash back on eGift Card purchases made through the GO2bank app.

    • All credit types are OK: GO2bank’s checking account is open to everyone, no matter their credit history. You can still get this account even if you’ve had trouble with credit cards or banks before.

    • Availability of a secured credit card to build credit: The account offers the option to apply for a secured credit card, which is a practical tool for building or rebuilding your credit history.

Drawbacks

    • Overdraft fees: While the optional overdraft protection feature can help avoid declined transactions, the cost is a $15 fee per incident, up to a maximum of 10 times per monthly statement period.

    • Savings account interest cap: The bank calculates the interest on the savings account on a maximum average daily balance of $5,000. Amounts exceeding this limit do not earn additional interest.

    • No physical branch access: As GO2bank operates online, you may find the lack of physical branches inconvenient for certain banking needs that require in-person assistance.

    • Daily and monthly deposit limits: While the account allows for cash deposits at participating retailers, these deposits are subject to a daily limit of $3,000.

    • Withdrawal restrictions: Daily cash withdrawal limits are set at $500 from ATMs and up to $3,000 per month, with a monthly teller cash withdrawal cap of $3,000.

    • Debit card spending limit: The account imposes a $10,000 limit on total daily purchase and cash withdrawal transactions using the debit card.

    • Inability to transfer funds to another bank account: This service restriction means you cannot use the GO2bank app to directly transfer funds from your GO2bank account to accounts at other banks or financial institutions.

    • 10-Day mobile check deposits: Mobile deposits through photo capture take 10 days to process unless you pay a fee to expedite the deposit. This is an unusually long time, and having to pay to access your money faster is… not great.

Despite its drawbacks, the GO2bank account offers enough value to earn a high Expert’s Rating from CardRates.com.

Other Debit Cards Worth a Look

Comparing the GO2bank account with top competitors is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps identify the best value for the fees and the features that most closely match your individual financial needs, such as lower transaction fees, higher savings interest rates, or better cash back rewards.

Second, understanding the variations in security measures and customer support services is essential. Some accounts may offer more advanced security features or more responsive customer service, coloring the overall banking experience.

Lastly, considering the different financial tools and educational resources each account provides can significantly impact your financial health and literacy. You can use these materials to make informed decisions on which account best supports your financial goals.

Discover® Cashback Debit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Cashback – Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month
  • No. Fees. Period. That means you won’t be charged an account fee on our Cashback Debit account.
  • Early Pay – Get your paycheck up to two days early with no charge
  • No Credit Impact - You can apply without affecting your credit score.
  • Fraud Protection - You’re never responsible for unauthorized debit card purchases. If you suspect someone else has used your debit card without your permission, let us know.
  • Member FDIC
  • Fee-free overdraft protection
  • No minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance
  • Add cash into your account at Walmart stores nationwide
  • Cash access at over 60,000 no-fee ATMs nationwide
  • 100% US-based customer service available 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0
No Credit Needed

Discover® Cashback Debit differs from the GO2bank account in several key ways. Discover® offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.

It has no monthly fees or charges for insufficient funds, which is characteristic of its fee-free approach. As with GO2bank, Discover® provides early paycheck access with direct deposit, fraud protection, and no-fee ATMs.

Brink’s Armored™ Account Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.1

OVERALL RATING

  • Brink’s knows Security! 24/7 access to a suite of security benefits to help keep your account armored.
  • Get access to over 100,000 Brink’s Money ATMs.
  • Get paid faster than a paper check with direct deposit.
  • Add funds to your Brink’s Armored Account and use Brinks Armored debit card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Account opening is subject to registration and ID verification. Terms & fees Apply. Deposit Account is established by Pathward®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
Not applicable

The Brink’s Armored™ Account stands out with features that include no monthly fees (with a minimum $500 deposit each month), one no-cost ATM withdrawal per month at Brink’s Money Network ATMs, cash back on eligible purchases, and the option to enroll in overdraft protection.

It also offers security benefits, including ID theft protection and purchase assurance, plus the convenience of receiving paychecks or benefits up to two times faster with direct deposit. You don’t need a minimum deposit to open the account.

Netspend® All-Access® Account

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

You can open a Netspend® All-Access® Account without a credit check, activation fee, or minimum balance. This mobile bank account lets you earn cash back offers on qualifying purchases with Payback Rewards.

The account offers an optional overdraft service with a fee per transaction, capped at five instances per month. Other features include Anytime Alerts, early access to direct deposits, and an optional high-yield saving account.

Cardholder Reviews Around the Web

Reading online reviews offers real-user experiences and insights that can help you evaluate the reliability, customer service, and overall satisfaction with a product or service. These reviews frequently reveal recurring issues that the provider’s descriptions omit.

I was surprised to see the many complaints from individuals who received an unsolicited GO2bank debit card. For example, cjm757 had a strong reaction:

“Junk mail is one thing. Opening an account using my SSN and sending me a debit card is another. I filed a complaint with the FDIC and FTC, including several links to online forums where people have had the same issue with GO2bank. I already received an email back from the FDIC saying my complaint is being investigated.”

Longjumping-Draw6345 advises:

“US banks are legally required to make significant efforts to verify the identity of a person opening a bank account and the reason for opening the account. As this [Reddit] thread highlights, GO2bank, aka Green Dot Bank, is clearly failing to perform basic checks that would show these accounts to be fraudulent. The fact that they don’t close the account when asked and when told it’s fraudulent is also very problematic.”

I was able to find a five-star review from a customer named Christopher:

“GO2bank digital banking app is by far the leader in the industry. The security features are vast, and there are incentives for saving and deposits, as well as a secured credit card to assist with credit rehabilitation. Definitely the new greatest of all time.

Customer experiences vary, but people are generally more likely to leave a review when they’ve had a bad experience, so maybe keep that in mind when sourcing cardholder reviews.

FAQs: How Do I Add Money to the Card?

You can add money to your GO2bank debit card through various methods. For a fee, you can deposit cash at participating retailers, including Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens.

The app lets you generate a secure barcode that you scan at the retail store when depositing cash. You can find your nearest cash deposit location in the GO2bank app or on the website.

GO2Bank service locations
Cardholders can search online for cash deposit locations.

Another way to add money to the account is through direct deposits. You can set these up in the bank’s app or through your employer’s payroll department. Once you complete the setup, direct deposits usually start showing up in your GO2bank account within one to two payroll cycles.

The GO2bank app uses the Ingo Money Service to cash checks remotely. All you need to do is endorse the check and photograph both sides. The basic 10-day service is free, but you can expedite the deposit for a fee.

On a personal note, 10 days is a long time to wait for a check to be deposited. And paying to expedite the transactions is not ideal.

You can link another bank account or debit card to transfer money into your GO2bank account. Alternatively, you can initiate a transfer from another bank’s website or app. If you transfer money from another debit card, it must be from a US bank, and the name on the card must match the name on your GO2bank account.

In What Ways Can I Use the Card?

The GO2bank debit card is versatile and easy to use. It lets you access the money in your account in several ways, including:

    • Purchases: You can use the card to shop both in physical stores and online. It’s a convenient payment method without the need for cash or credit.

    • Bill Payments: Manage your monthly expenses efficiently by using the card to pay your bills online or through automatic payments.

    • ATM Withdrawals: Access cash at any in-network ATM for free. You can check the mobile app to find an in-network ATM. There is a fee for withdrawing money from an out-of-network ATM or a teller.

Note that the account does not support outbound transfers to other banks.

What Are the Card’s Fees?

The GO2bank account charges several fees for purchasing, owning, and using the account. The GO2Bank Deposit Account Agreement lists fees for the account.

While the account’s fees may be higher than those of some competing online bank accounts, they are less expensive than most reloadable prepaid cards.

Does GO2bank Affect Credit Scores?

Opening and using a GO2bank account in itself does not directly impact your credit score, as the bank does not report typical banking activities (e.g., making deposits, withdrawals, or using a debit card) to credit bureaus.

However, GO2bank offers an optional secured credit card that caters to consumers looking to build credit. If you opt for this secured credit card, your usage and payment history on that card can impact your credit score because the bank reports your activity to one or more major credit bureaus.

How Does the GO2bank Debit Card Differ From the GO2bank Secured Visa® Credit Card?

GO2bank offers an optional secured credit card for customers who wish to improve their credit profiles. You can get one after you receive direct deposits totaling at least $100 in the previous 30 days. Upon approval and receipt, you can activate your card and transfer at least $100 from your GO2bank account to make your security deposit and set your credit limit.

FEATURE GO2BANK DEBIT CARD GO2BANK SECURED VISA® CREDIT CARD
Purpose Access to bank account funds for transactions. It helps build or rebuild credit history through use.
Reporting to Credit Bureaus No reporting to credit bureaus. Yes, it reports your activity to help build your credit score with on-time payments.
Required Deposit Minimum $20 initial deposit. $100 minimum security deposit that sets your credit limit.
Impact on Credit Score There’s no direct impact on credit score. Responsible use can positively affect your credit score.
Interest on Balances Not applicable. APR for purchases: 22.99%; for cash advances: 26.99%, as of March 2024
Fees Monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees, etc. There is no annual fee, but cash advance and foreign transaction fees apply.
Spending Freedom You get direct access to available bank account funds. Credit limit determined by security deposit.
Rewards Programs Cash back on eligible purchases of gift cards. None

Getting the GO2bank Secured Visa® Credit Card gives you a way to establish or rebuild your credit, as it reports your activity monthly to at least one credit bureau. You can obtain this no-annual-fee card without a credit check by applying online. To avoid interest charges, pay your credit card balance in full every month.

Is GO2bank a Legitimate Bank?

GO2bank is one of the brand names of Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. You receive deposit insurance of up to $250,000 per account. The bank has managed more than 67 million accounts over the last 23 years. Newsweek named Green Dot one of the Most Trusted Companies in America for 2023, so you can presume the bank is legit.

The Better Business Bureau has not accredited or rated Green Dot Bank. Customer reviews on the BBB website give the bank a score of 1.05 out of 5. The bank closed 6,638 complaints in the last three years and 1,756 in the previous 12 months.

Trustpilot gives the bank a “Bad” rating with a score of 1.1 stars out of 5. 95% of its reviewers gave the bank one star.

One legal services firm summarizes the legal problems Green Dot Bank has faced:

“Past Green Dot lawsuits include failing to refund unauthorized transactions, charge disputes, unreasonable blocks or holds (including tax refund holds and Social Security SSI holds), hidden fees, excessive charges, deposit issues, account errors, service issues, downtime, balance errors, duplicate charges, and transaction problems.”

As discussed earlier, many online reviewers have complained about the bank’s allegedly unfair business practices, mostly revolving around unsolicited debit cards. If you receive one, I advise you to practice extreme caution.

This Card May Be For You If…

    • You’re looking for a straightforward way to manage daily expenses: The GO2bank debit card provides direct access to your account funds, making it simple to make purchases and pay bills online or in stores without interest charges or debt.

    • You want to earn rewards on your purchases: With the GO2bank debit card, you have the opportunity to earn cash back on eligible eGift card purchases, which can provide savings of up to 7%.

    • You seek convenient cash access without high fees: The debit card allows for fee-free cash withdrawals if you use in-network ATMs.

The GO2bank account offers perks such as early paycheck access and cash back on certain purchases, which are attractive features. It also includes an option for a secured credit card that can help individuals aiming to build their credit over time with on-time payments.

When compared to similar products from Discover®, Brink’s, and Netspend, GO2bank presents a competitive package, although the best choice depends on your financial needs and preferences. That’s why you should compare features and fees across rival offerings.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank