This month, it was reported that Chime had closed a $485 million capital raise. The financing gave the digital bank operator a valuation of over $14 billion making it the most valuable capital-backed consumer fintech company in the U.S., edging out trading platform Robinhood.
Catalyzed by the global pandemic, the popularity of Chime is in part a testament to the public’s growing reliance on, and trust in, electronic platforms as a means to access professional services. But, beyond its “works from home” convenience, the Chime brand reflects a broader set of features especially appealing in our new virus-defined normal.
Chime fits the bill for a social-contact deprived customer inclined to appreciate a company that seems genuinely concerned, relatable and client-centric. Chime’s stated mission to make financial peace of mind a reality for everyone is explicitly communal. Chime is built on the principle of protecting its members, making managing money easy and never profiting from customers’ mistakes or misfortunes. The promise of this mission is reflected in the following service features:
• Chime is almost completely no-fee banking. Chime makes money not from the customer, but from third-party firms like Visa who compensate Chime for transactions
• The Chime app allows customers to get paid up to two days early when they use direct deposit
• There are no minimum balance requirements, and the 1.00% rate on savings is well above the national average
• Saving is assisted by automatic purchase round-up and payroll savings functions as well as various account alerts
As the Pandemic wears on and people’s behaviors and sentiments adapt to new realities, we expect that consumer fintechs will increasingly project the type of relationship-centric brand evidenced by Chime, which promises electronic customers a safe and trusted social haven where they can transact business as respected and appreciated members rather than anonymous account numbers.