GoBank is a bank brand of Green Dot Bank, an FDIC-member bank that issues the GoBank debit cards and also operates under the name Bonneville Bank. While GoBank does provide basic banking services that all customers need, in many ways, it’s a bank of last resort.
GoBank doesn’t run a credit check or use ChexSystems when customers apply for new accounts, meaning those with a spotty financial history may be able to open an account here — and for this type of customer, the bank may be a good option. However, for most customers, GoBank simply can’t compete in the online banking space. GoBank accounts have fees that may be hard for some to avoid, and none of its accounts pay any interest. This one-two punch makes the bank a second-tier option if you have a clean financial history.
GoBank account features
GoBank provides a wide range of basic banking services that can prove valuable if you can maneuver your way around the bank’s fees. In addition to its checking account, which offers standard features such as bill pay and ATM access, GoBank has a separate savings account known as the Money Vault. This savings account is merely a placeholder account to segregate funds, however, as it doesn’t pay any interest, just like the checking account.
Some of the bank’s features, such as its Budget and Fortune Teller tools, are only available on the app.
GoBank checking account features
Direct deposit. Direct deposit provides access to your funds up to two days before payday or up to four days before your government benefits are paid. Any month you receive a direct deposit of at least $500, your $8.95 monthly fee is waived.
Cash deposits. You can deposit up to $2,500 per day, or $3,000 every 30 days, at more than 100,000 participating retailers nationwide. Fees at stores such as 7-Eleven, CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid can be up to $4.95. Cash deposits made at Walmart are free of charge.
Debit card access. GoBank accounts come with a free debit card and fee-free access to in-network ATMs nationwide. Out-of-network ATMs incur a $3 surcharge. ATM withdrawals are limited to $500 per day.
Spending rewards and limits. Card purchases are limited to $5,000 per calendar day; ATM withdrawals are limited to $500 in a single day.
Overdraft fees. None.
Paper checks. You can get personalized checks in two weeks for a $5.95 fee.
Free features. The bank offers budgeting assistance and a “Fortune Teller” tool to help prevent customers from overspending.
FDIC insurance. Yes, up to $250,000.
GoBank budgeting features
GoBank offers a budgeting feature that is mostly customer-driven. The interactive tool asks you to input your expected expenses across a variety of categories, such as rent, cable, car insurance and so on. At the end of the month, you can compare your budget estimates with your actual spending. You can set up alerts through the tool to notify you of upcoming expenses or income. The whimsical “Fortune Teller” feature makes projections based on the income and expense figures in your budget.
GoBank has an online checkbook feature that allows you to pay bills for free online. You can even have the bank send out a free paper check, if necessary. Money transfers to other GoBank customers are free and instantaneous. For other recipients, you can send between $20 and $500 in cash via MoneyPak for a flat $5.95 fee.
GoBank fees and fine print
In the era of free online bank accounts, GoBank’s $8.95 monthly fee is high. However, this fee can be avoided with a monthly $500 direct deposit. The lack of overdraft fees is likely important to the target audience for this card, and the fee-free ATM network is welcome, although out-of-network fees are not reimbursed. Additionally, if you sign up by purchasing a GoBank package at a retail store, you’ll pay a $2.95 fee, though you can also sign up for free online.
|GoBank package fee*||$2.95 or less|
|Monthly membership fee||$8.95. Waived in any monthly statement cycle in which your account receives payroll or government direct deposits totaling at least $500.|
|Cash deposit fee||$0 at Walmart. Other retailers may charge a fee up to $4.95.|
|Out-of-network ATM withdrawal**||$3|
|Teller cash withdrawal fee||$3|
|Foreign transaction fee***||3% of total transaction amount|
|Paper check fee||$5.95 for pack of 12 checks|
|Replacement card fee (for lost, stolen or damaged card)||$5|
* This fee is not applicable if you sign up online without a GoBank package.
** The non-network ATM operator may also levy its own fee, and you may be charged a fee for a balance inquiry even if you do not complete a fund transfer.
*** This fee is in addition to any other fees that may apply to your transaction.
Using the GoBank mobile app
GoBank feels like it’s designed for a mobile experience, as the app allows customers to manage all aspects of their banking experience. The home page has an innovative “Slide for Balance” key where customers can check their balance without having to log in.
Once past the log-in screen, you can use the app to check your account transactions, send money to other GoBank customers and search for ATMs.
If you’re looking to deposit money into your account, the GoBank app allows you to set up direct deposit or make a mobile check deposit. Mobile deposits are limited to $500 per personal check. The daily limit is $1,000 per day for personal checks. The per-check and daily limits for government and commercial checks are $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The Budgeting and Fortune Teller feature at GoBank can only be accessed via the app. You can use it to set a budget, using your actual income and expenses, and to set spending and saving goals. Once you’ve set up your budget, you can engage the Fortune Teller tool, which will “tell your future” and let you know whether or not you can afford a certain purchase. Obviously, this isn’t a real-life prediction tool, but it does give you advice as to whether you’re overspending or not based on the budgeting goals you have entered yourself.
The app is also the only place where you can move money into and out of the Money Vault, which is a place to stash money at no charge.
Overall, the app provides good functionality and offers all of the basic account services you might expect.
Opening an GoBank account
You can open a GoBank account either online or by purchasing a GoBank starter kit at a merchant and completing the process online. You can also open an account after downloading the Android or iOS app.You’ll need to provide identifying information such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. You may also need to provide supplemental information such as your driver’s license.
If you purchase a GoBank starter kit at a retail store, you must make your initial deposit of between $20 and $500 when you buy the package. If you open your account online, you can fund it with a direct deposit or a cash deposit at a Walmart store or another participating retailer.
Overall review of GoBank
GoBank is a good option for customers that can’t pass a ChexSystems review that is required by many banks. The account has no overdraft fees, and with an appropriate direct deposit, there are no monthly maintenance fees. A vast, fee-free ATM network makes access to cash easy, and the mobile app comes with features like mobile check deposit and budgeting tools. All in all, the GoBank account does a good job providing basic banking services, especially for an underserved population.
In a competitive financial services world, however, GoBank doesn’t match up with the best available accounts for most customers. Many online banks have no monthly fees and pay a high APY on their savings, in addition to providing the free bill pay, money transfer and fee-free ATMs that GoBank does. Some banks even reimburse out-of-network ATM fees and offer commission-free stock trading.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of competitor accounts with lower fees that pay higher interest rates. However, for customers that may have difficulty passing a credit check or a ChexSystems review, GoBank can be a solid choice.