Varo Reviews

Average Rating:
Based on 43 review

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Direct Deposit

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My employee's Direct Deposit information did not match. His account number was wrong. Varo bank did not send the money back to the sender. Varo deposited the money into someone's account and refused to reverse it. It says on the bottom of their form if the name and account number doesn't match they will return the money to the sender. They did no do that, they did not send the money back to the sender!!

Worst Banning App

This company has the worst customer service I've ever experienced. I just randomly get a notification that my account is closed. They locked my account the time I was buying lunch for myself. This Baking App is terrible. Never create an account to this company.

Very, Very Slowly Removed Funds And Ran As Far As Possible Form This Bank.

STEAR VERY CLEAR of this bank if you want any kind of access to your money. One of the worst banking experiences ever. Trying to close on a house using money in my Varo Savings. They have a $5000/day $7500/wk $10,000/month transfer limit. Hard move move 20k for closing costs when you have to wait 2 months to do it. After calling customer service they made me jump through a ton of hoops to increase my limit. I need access to that money immediately and after 5 days of calls, sending forms and waiting, they did not change the limit a dime. I had the same issue I had a week prior. We are now at risk of losing our house deal because we do not have access to our funds. Their solution to fix this is using paypal, or going to the ATM and taking out $250 at a time with a $1000, limit per day (2 days of ATM withdrawals) or using western union to send yourself money at their limits every day until you have your money...WTF kind of hockey-a$$ bank is this!!??


I made a mobile deposit (like I do every month) and they accepted it and then the day after they deposited it into my account they denied it and took it back out of my account and caused my account to go into the negative. Then, after I called customer service to make a complaint about it, they decided to close my account without giving me any notice or anything. I loved them until now..but now I will NEVER recommend them to anyone. There is something shady and not right going on with them!

The Worst Bank On The Planet

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I've been with them for 4 years only because of the early deposit other than that they're worthless I was with them before they actually became a bank customer service is zero and they make everything as difficult as possible you show them every documentation they need you give them IDs show them social security cards you show them everything and they still deny you depositing a simple money order that was actually cashed by me they denied my income tax and called a real problem and a several month delay in me getting my income tax return as well as other deposits I had coming they rejected have rejected the only thing they've done correctly is my direct deposit from my employer so far they haven't screwed that up if I could give them a below one star I would. If they were going to become a bank they should be acting like a bank and be more reputable and have better customer service and work better with the customer instead of making it such a headache and losing money.

Not A Good Bank - It's As Simple As That.

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When Simple bank was absorbed into a larger company, all the good things about Simple went away immediately - no more no-fee checking, no more quick deposit turnaround, no more friendly service. I moved to Varo after researching it and thinking it was a good replacement for Simple. Boy, was I wrong.

My biggest gripe with Varo is the mobile deposit scam they have going on. Depending on the day of the week you make your deposit, it can be anywhere from 5 to 12 days before you see your money in your account. I deposited a check on July 25 - it took until August 5th to show up. Deposited another check today, August 5 and just received notification that the money won't be available until August 16. I realize weekends are non-processing days for banks,but...really? This is ridiculous. There is absolutely no reason for them to sit on your money like this - no other bank does this. I've run across the occasional 3-day hold for large checks or ones that the bank has reason to be suspicious of (in their mind, anyway) - but 10 days or more to have a check credited - no matter the size - is insane.

Fast forward to today, November of 2022, and I'm still with Varo, but not for long. I just discovered they don't accept bank transfers, not even domestic ones. Seriously?? This is direct from their own website:

"Does Varo accept international wire transfers?
Wire transfers, both domestic and international, are not currently available with Varo Bank. But you've got plenty of other ways to make deposits!"

What kind of bank doesn't accept ANY form of wire transfer?? I'm so done with Varo.

Horrible Customer Service. Excessive Holds On Deposits

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Mobile deposits take up to 3 days or more to post. Their customer service is a complete joke. Go to Chime instead.

Do Not Bank Here!!!!

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I had large direct deposit credited on 7/13/22. On 7/14/22 they denied an automatic withdrawal. I called & told they put a “fraud alert” on acct. Agent said they removed. I have called 4 time, been told they removed alert & still can’t access my money.

Just called again & told “engineering would have to look at it & they could not tell me a time frame. Meanwhile I have bills that are declining. It is unacceptable that the bank refuses to fix their problem and denies you access to your money! Do not bank here I repeat do not bank here!!!!!!

I would give zero stars if it was an option!!!! I will be reporting them to the proper regulatory authorities!!!

Varo Bad Business

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Something isn't adding up with this bank. The refused my mobile deposit 5 times stating that it didn't have my signature and it didn't say "For Mobile Deposits Only "....all lies! They accepted a $100 check, but not a $527.02 check from Computer Science Corporation, which everyone knows deals in checks. Something is going on and if I were you, take your money out of this bank! I keep seeing the owner absconding with everyone's money; on a beach in South America somewhere sipping on tropical drinks, living it up! Get your money out! Close the accounts! Contact the FCIC, FCC, and The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that deals with checking and Savings accounts! Go after them!

Avoid These Guys If You Deposit Checks

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This institution is only good for electronic transactions. They're garbage with everything else. Their check holds are excessively long and they will not release your funds early even if there's an emergency. Go literally anywhere else because I've yet to see another institution with check holds for established customer as long as Varo has. Most places even have shorter holds for brand new customers!

Check deposited the 2nd, funds not available until the 14th. I have bills DUE on the 11th.

-Online chat rep said they couldn't even look into it, that I had to email and can't get to the correct department from phone.
-Emails aren't addressed in a timely manner. Their auto response says to expect a response in approximately 24 hours. It's been over 48 now with no response.
-Social media support says to wait for an email.
-Telephone rep was nice, but couldn't do anything at all.

This institution doesn't care about you. They exist to take your money and screw you over.

A Bit Pissed Off At This Point

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I filed a dispute on my account back on April 26th 2022 I have contacted them on 3 occasions since i filed it with them . disputing a charge from a online company called AIETSY , OUT OF QUEENS NY . the company debited 89.00 that wasn't authorized by me I have since then tried to call the number given to me by Varo bank , to speak with someone at the company but line was busy all times of the day the company is a fraudulent company. i received a email from dispute dept. at Varo bank I will get a email on this dispute by July 26th , i have summited all paper work to the Dispute dept. and informed them that the company is in non existence . i just located the CEO OF VARO BANK Colin Walsh AND I ALSO LOCATED DIRECTOR OF DISPUTE DEPT. Charlotte Metro . i am sending then a email and having my attorney send them a letter IN regards to the dispute . it seems to me our funds are not protected from fraud charges and i will be filing a class action law suite if something dose get done . If my funds are not refunded . the company who took funds from my account in April is no a legit company . This is the 2nd time I've lost money from unauthorized charges and they are not protecting there customer's .


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I was in a bad car accident and have a disabled wife at home dependent on me well someone came in to take care of her for the few months I was in the hospital they used my varo card on 2500.00 worth of stuff for months when I got out of hospital all my money was gone even the money that was being paid to me for being out of work from accident I contacted varo and told them what happened I even sent documents proving I was in hospital for the months that the transactions were done I even got disability notes proving I was unable to do a thing at all for the months in question I sent it all they disregarded them and closed my case saying all charges were legit I appealed it 3 times yes 3 times even sent in all paper work 3 times and still same crap I even contacted the merchants that the charges were for they said no one contacted them what so ever and that to have my bank (varo) to contact them and they would be happy to fix this well i appealed for a 4th time and let them know that and varo once again opened the case and the next day closed it and did NOT once contact any merchant I have now contacted BBB and I suggest you all do the same so no one else gets robbed !!!

$200 FRAUD VICTIM - Let's Unite For Class Action

Like many of the reviewers here, I had an absolutely disastrous experience with Varo. I had an unauthorized charge on my transactions and I have no idea how this happened. My dispute was closed and I'm out $200.

I look and see so many people going through the same thing. I also saw that Varo Bank could run out of funds by year-end (Google this!).

Varo Run Fast

Stole 1000 dollars from my account customers service lie lie lie when a bank steal your money and there is nothing you can do is wrong 2 weeks later no refund they closed the account and took my money now I have to get a loan to pay my rent Need help asap



Absolute Joke

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I would recommend everyone who is thinking about opening a viral account to look elsewhere... I work for GrubHub and when I try to cash out I have to wait anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days to get my deposit. That would be all right if they told you that when you called them to ask about it but instead you get lied to and told that GrubHub hasn't sent it yet only to find out varo is the one who is lying.... They don't have to do them instantly it's in their contract however why don't they just tell you that what else are they lying about is my question...STAY AWAY FROM THESE CROOKS.

Over $2500 STOLEN!

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I woke up to numerous unauthorized transactions on my account immediately calls Varo, and filed a police report. I sent the report to Varo and explained the situation thoroughly. They reached out soon after saying there was no fraud detected and will not be crediting my account. I am soooo beyond pissed and will be seeking legal advice. This Moby was saved for my procedures happening in 2 months. Not only am I likely not able to get the procedure I am loosing out on over $7,000 due to Varo neglect if they can not fix this before the date of my procedure. I WILL GET MY MONEY BACK! Do not do business with them!

Varo Dispute Transaction Situation

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Did not do the dispute correctly try to close out my account trying to do fraud activity instead of assisting the customer because these are disputed transactions was supposed to be clear for March 1st did not assist me with anything claiming they was going to reach out back to me did not receive response phony called information they're not assist me with the dismute transaction just try to throw the case out

Never Use Varo Again !!

Posted by: |

I deposited my hardship check that i needed immediately to pay my rent , and they did not release the funds causing me to lose my home

Horrible Scam Liars Run Avoid!

They are damn liar scammers! I opened an account and did everything they require and they lied saying I didn't use the link. I did and they refused to fix it and pay me! They lost my business and I hope yours! I will be filing fraud complaints with the Attorney General of my State and the Federal Consumer Protection Bureau! I am sick of these damn criminal companies. They don't even answer the phone for 20 minutes and can't find a supervisor!

Varo Lies And Does Not Care

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Varo lied and changed how mobile deposit is done. I work for a single person who has to pay me with checks, which means I cannot do direct deposit; without direct deposit, I cannot use mobile deposit and so now have NOW WAY to deposit my paychecks. And right for the holidays-- WOW. Thanks so much! Oh, and if you complain on FB, they just delete your comments and block you. They hide their reviews as much as possible.

Do Not Use Varo Bank

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On 10/30/2021 I deposited my payroll check in the amount of $360.00 into my checking account with Varo Bank. That evening I was notified that they detected suspicious activity on my account and froze my account. I contacted them the following morning, 10/31/2021 and was told that they detected fraud and the transaction was sent for review. I was given no timeline for the resolution.

I contacted them 11/1/2021 and told that my account information is with their fraud team, still no estimated time for resolution. But told review was taking place.

I contacted them on 11/2/2021 and was told that the fraud team reviewed my account and now they are awaiting a second review.

I contacted them 11/3/2021 and asked to speak with a supervisor. I was told that my account review has been escalated.

11/4/2021 I contacted them and told it would be resolved that evening and that my account had been escalated again.

11/5/2021 I contacted them, asked to speak to a supervisor and was denied. I was told neither supervisors nor members of the fraud detection team take phone calls. I was told, "it will take as long as it takes." The will not give me a date in which my funds will be available. They will only tell me that their fraud team fell behind last week and have been playing catch up. How long is this establishment allowed to hold my funds. I deposited a payroll check, this could be verified with one phone call to my employer.

Please help. I am a full time student and need access to my funds. I will be closing this account immediately once this has been resolved. Anything you can do to help would be much appreciated.

Never Use Varo Bank

Please DO NOT use this company. My daughter deposited her payroll check a 5 days ago. Upon making this deposit she was told there would need to be a fraud review of her account due to the payroll check deposit. We are now 5 days later and her funds have yet to be released. All their customer service agent can tell me is that their fraud team is behind and working to catch up. In the meantime my daughter, who is a full time college student and full time employee has no access to her funds. They can not give any time frame when this will be resolved, only that the fraud team is behind and as soon as they are caught up her funds will be released. Please DO NOT use this company. I have filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Agency but please do not become a victim of their horrible business practices. Please spare yourself hours of frustration trying to speak with their highly undertrained staff.


Posted by: |

Varo sent me an email on Saturday 10/30 at 6 pm stating that my account was suspended because of restrictions related to your recent Mobile Check Deposit. I have been left with no money no debit card and no way of fixing whatever issue Varo seemed to have. I called customer service at 8 am on Sunday and the rep stated there was no way for me to speak with anyone that I would just have to wait for an email from Varo. It has now been 5 days and I have no money to feed my family, no money to pay bills, bills are being rejected by the bank costing me fees and even though I have emailed the bank 10 times no answer has come from them. I need help they are holding over $8k of my money. The only checks I deposited were 2 checks 1 for $20 as a refund from the state and the other a check for $12 from Wells Fargo. They will not email you or call you back do not trust them.

Do Not Use Varo!!!!!

I had my first direct deposit go into my Varo account 10/23. By 10/30 my account was frozen and I have no access to my funds. All they will tell me is it’s something on their end and I have to wait until I get an email from them by 11/4. During this time I have no access to my money, I can’t pay bills, buy groceries, buy gas, go out to eat. Basically I am being held hostage in my home with ZERO money, all of it’s in my Varo account. I called to complain twice and each time I was hung up on!! There is definitely something shady going on!!! How can a bank freeze your funds for up to a week without any explanation on their part other than it’s not you it’s us and it’s happened to a lot of their customers. Basically I’ve been sitting here since Saturday unable to feed my family or pays bills. My electric will be shut off tomorrow if this isn’t resolved by then and it doesn’t appear that it will!!!

Danny Morgan

Worst Bank Ever

Posted by: |

This the worst bank I ever had I had a deposit of 353
It was stolen the next day with out me knowing
I would never recommend this bank to anyone
After I lost all my money

The Worst Bank

I have been with Varo for quite some time now. Never any issues with them. Had to call them a couple times to raise my deposit limit so that I could deposit income tax refunds. Never an issues. So yesterday for some reason I woke up after being sick all night. I recently moved from an apartment full of black mold and have been battling pneumonia for 7 months. I also am a cardiac patient. All that being said I check my email and there are two emails from varo stating they have close my accounts. ?? No reasons why. Like I said never any issues. I am two hours from home. Just had testing for heart surgery and I am stranded now with no way to get home. No way to get my heart medication of which I will run out of on Friday. They have left me stranded with my dogs two hours from home. No money for gas and no money for my medications. I work for an attorney who I have contacted and will be handing this matter. And I have contacted the FDIC and the Attorney Generals office. They can deal with the feds. And the customer service is a useless as tits on a board hog. No help. It is my hopes for Varo that they go bankrupt. I would give zero stars but not an option. All I get is security put my account t in review and decided to close it. No dispute ever. Neber asked for refunds on any purchases, no overdrafts. Absolutely perfect account since it has bern opened. Varo is the worst. Not recommended. Do not use.

So Convoluted, Gimmicky, And Low Interest Rate

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I had trouble getting the account set up and maybe that should have been a warning. I didn't get the micro deposits the first time and had to request again. Finally got them and got the account opened. At that time, the interest rate was 0.81%, which was fairly high for a savings account with a low minimum balance. I put in the $500 minimum. Almost immediately, the rate dropped to 0.4%, then not too long after, it went to 0.2%. When I decided to transfer the money out to my external checking account, there seemed to be no way to do it. Eventually, I figured out that I had transfer the money to the Varo Bank account, and transfer it from there to my checking account. The first transfer was immediate. We shall see how the second takes. They are saying 1-2 days. I have never had a savings account where direct transfers to an external account couldn't be done. Also, the rate drop was ridiculous, about a 75% drop in a very short time. There were also a lot of emails with gimmicky sounding "great offers" and lots of changing of terms that I was receiving while I had the account. I don't want gimmicks, just a savings account with a decent rate that's easy to manage. This was not it.


Posted by: |

Please please PLEASE heed my warning. I was eating a burger at home when I got a text saying that $460 was removed from my account. Then another $40. They drained the entire account which I of course disputed!!! To my surprise, they said I was at fault and they closed my account. This happened to 3 of my other friends as well. Please take your business elsewhere. They will not protect your money and they do not have to explain why.

Worse Experience Ever

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They closed my account with no explanation when I had well over $1000 in it. I called them to see what the problem was and was given no explanation. They don't have a direct line for the fraudulent department so I had to email them. They were not responding to any of my emails so I had to go through the BBB. After waiting a week I still have no explanation other than they can close my account whenever for whatever reasons because that's in their "terms and conditions". If you bank with Varo, don't. This is the worst experience I've ever had with a bank and the fact that they are not BBB accredited, speaks volumes.

Horrible Upper Management!

My daughter was killed in a car accident and I needed to close her account and gather all funds possible for a funeral service. I cooperated and provided everything they asked for to close the acct. Now they have gone ghost with sending us her funds that were in the account. Every time you call you are on hold 45 minutes to an hour and all they say is they will check on it or it is "escalated" to upper management who nevers call ors emails with any updates or info. How difficult can it be to cut a check? If they need more info why has it been 68 days without a call or email? They are just making a heartbreaking situation even worse!

Don't Expect To Get Refunded If Hit By Theft

On February 27th, 2021, I made a $400 withdrawal at an allpoint ATM at a duane reade. Minutes after that transaction, I received a withdrawal notification for $503.00, $43, and another $43, each with a $2.50 atm fee.
I immediately tried to contact varo, but customer service was closed for the weekend. I sent them an email instead.

The following Monday I called to report the theft and was told that an investigation will take a few days. My current card was cancelled and a new card was being sent out as a result.

On March 5th, 2021, Varo replied to my claim :
"Based on our
investigation, we do not find that an error occurred. Therefore, no funds will be credited to your account as a result of your dispute and this matter is considered closed."

If you want your money to be safe, don't do business with this bank.

AWFUL Experience In Every Way

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Deplorable customer service, call wait times exceed 1 hour. Representatives are not knowledgeable, Email responses take days. I wanted to transfer my funds and close my accounts and it is taking weeks. To close your account they want you to withdraw funds first but you can't. External transfer limit is $875 and by check is $5,000. They have to increase those limits by request but they refuse to. Closing the account is by request also and they refuse to do that as well. Filed my complaint with the FDIC and the Federal Reserve. This is a nightmare please steer clear.

Fraud Bank. Pease Stay AWAY From This Bank.

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It took only 2 days to transfer our money into Varo, but getting the money out is another story. Varo has been delaying access to our money for over three weeks now with no sure sign of when it will ever arrive. This has forced us to take out a 401k loan to avoid forfeiting our earnest money deposit on a house purchase.

First they said it would take 14 days. After 14 days passed, they clarified and said it would actually take 14 *business* days, so 20 real days. Now it's been 21 days, and we still have no confirmation that the money has been sent. Instead, they said they've sent a request to Galileo, who is apparently the company that actually has our money, to send it us. But this was 4 days ago with no updates since. Since the check hasn't been sent yet, it looks like it will take at least 27 days to get our money.

The representatives say different things, contradicting each other and sometimes making up tales. One representative said that our original check had been sent but the USPS failed to deliver, which we find very difficult to believe. Another representative said the money is still in the (closed) account, so no check had been sent yet, but some other representative said that money being in the account doesn't mean the check hasn't been sent.

Anytime we call the representative can't do anything, instead they put us on hold and try to contact someone in another department who actually has more information and authority. Then they invariably fail to contact that other person and say we'll get an email by the end of the day. Then we get some sort of unhelpful email a few hours later. So there are three levels of people involved, (1) the representative that talks to the customer, (2) the Varo backend employee whose authority extends to sending requests to (3) the third party banking platform (Galileo). And Galileo doesn't seem to be in any rush to make things happen and there's no way for customers to contact them.

We would give Varo less than 1-star if we could. Please stay away from this unreliable financial firm.

Declined Application???

I have good credit, am current on my bills, have no problems with my local bank or online brokerage account. But got this terse email message when I filled out the online application:

"Your Varo account application has been declined. Thanks for applying, and we wish you the best finding a bank that fits your needs."

Never had that happen to me before...

Varo Bank Makes Unauthorized Debits

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Varo Bank has made an authorized debit from my cashapp account and is refusing to give it back. For 3 days I have been told I would have access to my money by the end of the closing time. I have yet to recieve it. I have placed a complaint with the BBB and hope that a class action lawsuit is taken against this organization. This has caused me a terrible inconvenience as well as a excessive amount of stress. I have repeatedly been lied to just to pacify me. With a click of a button they stole my money and with the click of a button they should've returned it immediately when they were notified. I have been told I am not the only customer this has happened to and it is my hope that me and the other parties Involved can join together and seek just and rightful compensation for this unacceptable business practice. What has taken place is not only unacceptable it is against banking policy and I hope that Varo Bank is revoked from all banking business in the future.

Incompetence Vs Interest Rate

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5/2/2021: If everything else I've written doesn't convince you of this institution's incompetence, this final event should: They sent me a check for the balance of my account - weeks AFTER I had already ACHed that amount to my new bank and closed the account with a zero balance. Even I was astounded by the depths of their incompetence.

4/15/2021, and final, update: I have closed my accounts

1) Typical customer service first response time: Three to five days by email and over an hour by phone
2) Problem resolution: There is a worryingly cavernous lack of competence and follow-thru at all levels. This reminds me a former co-worker who worked under me. When I complained to my boss about the quality of his work, I was told to reset my expectations because my subordinate wasn't being paid enough.
3) Joint accounts? Nearly six months after receiving its own banking charter, Varo shows no sign of offering the convenience and safety of JTWROS.
4) Beneficiary designation? Still no, so don't plan on dying as an accountholder.
5) Paper checks? Bill pay? No.

I wouldn't be at all surprised in the future to learn that Varo has become insolvent.

*****2/18/2021 update: I raise my rating from one star to two. Varo earned my upgrade by 1) obtaining their banking charter in October 2020 and 2) recoding their app and website. Varo will earn a higher score when it offers 1) beneficiary designation for an account, 2) joint accounts, and 3) better-trained service reps. See updates to my original critiques below for details on the above.*****

Varo isn't the only fintech that uses borrowed credentials (via Plaid) to access third-party accounts - I allow my HSA fintech to access my brokerage in this manner.

Varo, however, is a different story altogether.

First, Varo uses Bancorp as their back office (transaction processing), so there are actually three potential security targets. Three! Varo claims that they are moving to have their own banking charter (so they don't have to rely on Bancorp), but in the meantime... *****2/18/2021 update: Bancorp (and Plaid, if you create an external link using the website) is out of the picture, as I can now link accounts external to Varo with micro-ACH deposits.*****

Second, I have never experienced such a level of incompetence/dereliction in staff and systems in a financial institution. Example #1: I received an automated email stating that I would begin to earn the lesser rate because I failed to meet the requirements of the higher rate. After I inquired as to which requirement, I received the normal automated email congratulating me on earning the higher rate. Two days later, a rep responded to my email, saying that my earned rate will be lower because I had kept my savings account balance under $10K. Can you believe that I had to tell him that that IS one of the three requirements for earning the higher rate?*****2/18/2021 update: Responses to email takes FOUR TO FIVE days and when you get a response, it often requires multiple exchanges where one or two is warranted.***** *****2/28/2021 update: Example #2: Varo replied to my 1099-INT inquiry with, "Tax forms are sent via USPS. Your 1099-INT tax form should arrive by February 14, 2021." The responder couldn't care less to notice that the 14th had come and gone.*****

Third, neither the checking ("Bank") or savings accounts can be jointly held (eg, by spouses). Another future feature, I was told. *****2/18/2021 update: No change.*****

Fourth, and critically important because of the previous point, there is no way to indicate one's beneficiary designation. *****2/18/2021 update: No change, despite the portal overhaul. Why not? Seems easy enough to implement.*****

Fifth, the web portal has limited function compared to the app. You can't transfer money; you have to use the app. The checking and savings balances match those shown in the app, but the transaction detail has a one-day lag so you have to use the app to see what hit the accounts. Speaking of their app, what kind of dev puts the logout function in Settings rather than on the main page? *****2/18/2021 update: You can now accomplish the same task either within the app or the website. Website access, however, now requires two-factor authentication via an access code over mobile. (It is annoying, and an overreaction.) Lastly, the app is now responsive and better designed.*****

Sixth, my brokerage rejected my attempt (in July) to create an ACH link because Varo/Bancorp could not be found in their universe of financial institutions. *****2/18/2021 update: I was initially unable to create a link to the newly chartered Varo accounts from another bank, but that was resolved after I requested that that bank update their ABA database.*****

Seventh, it goes without saying that, because Varo can't provide as basic a feature as joint accounts, they don't allow for an account held in a trust. *****2/18/2021 update: No change.*****

*****2/18/2021 update: Eighth, Varo removed, in the Fall of 2020, the ability to send paper checks to a third party. Since Varo doesn't have bill pay either, you cannot pay a third party (eg, government agency) that only accepts paper checks.*****

If you do decide to pursue an account with Varo, keep one eye open at all times and have lots and lots and lots of patience.

Insecure And Flaky Banking System

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So I opened an account with them and wanted to play with their system after transfer $100 in to it to see if I would really want to transfer all my savings in to their account for 1.92% annual yield. Here's what I thought about them

1. It is a security glitch if they are linking to your external accounts by taking your external account credentials. That should never be the case. This is just a quick work around for implementing something more robust. Being a computer software architect, I can vouch for this. I am sure they won't store your credentials but they do have access to your external accounts which is a BIG BIG NO NO NO. Keep in mind that if they system is compromised (easy to do I think), your external accounts will also get compromised. There are ways to work around it but, how many of you are tech savvy people who would want to spend time around working around their flaky security system.

2. Their iPhone app is pretty flimsy. I tried to transfer my $100 back to my external account from their savings account and I wouldn't let me. So I transferred the money to their checking account first and tried to transfer money to my external account from their checking account. The moment I would hit submit, it would reset "from account" selection field. I had to log out and log in multiple times to make it work.

3. I tried to link another account of mine and it would always throw errors. I called their customer care and they suggested to send them a screen shot for their engineers to take a look at. They were not able to see my tries to link to this external account in their system. Any decent bank would have an audit trail of literally anything and everything to your account. These guys are far away from such a thing.

Apart from the above, I found the following really weird:

1. You can't wire money from an external account in to varo accounts.

2. You can only deposit $1500 max per week. This was as per the phone rep I spoke with.

In lieu of above, I can say with authenticity that their systems are flaky and not at all secure. Even though everything is insured by FDIC, do you really have time to be on call with them so frequently?

Please check frustration shared by many other at this website:

Beware Severe Privacy Invasion

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Varo allows only one method to link your Varo checking account to your checking or savings accounts at another bank for electronic transfers. Instead of using test deposits and verification thereof like other banks do, Varo requires that you give them your sign-in ID and password at the other banks website. This is especially dangerous because Varo does not even do the account verification itself. Instead it gives your ID and password to some third party named PLAID.

Furthermore, PLAID's disclosures admit that they will be able to view all your various accounts at your other bank including your credit cards. They will be able to view the details of every credit card purchase, every payment by check, and every electronic payment you have made as well as all personal data which your other bank has. Your records may indicate your medical conditions when they show what medical specialists you have paid. It is completely unnecessary for PLAID to have all your records in order to do the account verification. This is evidenced by PLAID's own disclosures which describe a much more limited amount of data collection for persons who reside in Europe.

Then you have to trust PLAID not to use all your records that they have collected for their profit or reveal it to yet other companies for them to use (if they really won't use your records, then why do they collect them?). PLAID is not a bank and therefore not subject to the extensive federal regulation and oversight that most US banks are. You have to just trust PLAID to protect all your records from hackers and from their own employees abusively using all this information from your banking and credit card transactions. All this by a company that hides from consumers as PLAID's website reveals no phone contact, no email address, and no physical address. The only way to contact them is in text on their website (even that is designated for commercial sales, not for consumers).

There is a way to avoid PLAID while still having an electronic link of your bank accounts. Set up the electronic link to your Varo account at your other bank and initiate all transfers in either direction between the 2 banks at your other bank's website.

UPDATE: New California law gives California residents new opt out rights regarding use of data collected by companies. Some companies are now offering those new opt outs to all Americans rather than just Californians. Other companies are offering those opt outs only to Californians, thus giving treating Californians better than other Americans. It seems that Varo is one of those companies that treats Californians better than other Americans.

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