GoBank Review | What You Need to Know about GoBank (Fees, Cards, Deposits…)

Today’s consumers have more banking options than ever.

Brick and mortar or online? Bank or credit union? Local or big name? 

There are positives and negatives to any banking system, and this GoBank review will look at all of the features honestly and provide information to help consumers decide if GoBank is right for them.

With the opportunity to utilize a GoBank debit card, GoBank prepaid card, GoBank app, and GoBank direct deposit, there will be plenty of information to explore.

GoBank is an online bank that takes face-to-face interaction out of the banking experience.  Founded in 2012, GoBank offers services online and by phone, with most transactions geared toward paper-free, people-free experiences.

GoBank was started by Green Dot Corp., an issuer of prepaid cards.  Though GoBank is a checking account option, the GoBank debit card has much in common with prepaid cards.  The GoBank debit card, or GoBank prepaid card, lets users load money onto the card, and there’s no overdraft protection offered on the GoBank debit card,  so consumers cannot overdraw the account. 

GoBank’s approach is great for those who are comfortable with online transactions or those who might have trouble opening a checking account if approval from ChexSystem or a credit report is required.  As long as consumers hold a valid state ID and have the minimum deposit, they may open an account with GoBank.

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How to Get Started

Our aim in this GoBank review is to help readers understand everything they can about GoBank, so we’ll start with how to open an account. Just how do you open an account with a bank that has no physical branches? 

The first way is to purchase a starter kit for $2.95 from Wal-Mart. This kit offers a temporary debit card and instructions on how to get started.

The other obvious option from an online bank is to open an account…online.  This option is free, and users can choose between opening an account from the GoBank website or using the GoBank app to get started.  A minimum deposit of $20 is required at the time of opening, and the initial deposit may not exceed $500. The option for GoBank direct deposit will also be made available since this is the only way to avoid a monthly fee.

gobank app

Photo Courtesy of Google Play

Once the account is open, consumers should expect a GoBank debit card to arrive in about a week.

Putting Money in the Account

  • GoBank Direct Deposit

GoBank direct deposit is a simple, free way to put money in a GoBank account.  This is also the best way to make sure a deposit is quickly accessible since GoBank places long holds on many personal checks attempting to clear.  GoBank direct deposits from payroll accounts are usually available a day or two before pay day.

  • Mobile Deposit

Using the GoBank app, it’s possible to deposit a check using a mobile device.  Taking a picture of the check and then following GoBank’s instructions offers another free way to put money in a GoBank account.

  • Wal-Mart Stores

Since GoBank is a Wal-Mart creation, GoBank customers may deposit funds at Wal-Mart locations for free.  There are other retail locations that take GoBank deposits, but there is a fee of $4.95

  • Bank-to-Bank Transfer

Money can be transferred for no charge between a GoBank account and accounts at other banks.  However, the transfer will need to be initiated at the other bank since GoBank does not offer electronic transfers using their GoBank app or online features. 

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Withdrawing or Spending Money

A GoBank debit card is issued when the account is opened, and that allows consumers to shop anywhere debit cards are accepted.  The starter kit from Wal-Mart contains a card for temporary use, and then a permanent GoBank Mastercard debit card will arrive about a week later.  

  • ATMs

GoBank offers free ATM withdrawals at over 42,000 locations. 

  • Online Bill Pay

Since the idea behind GoBank is fewer paper transcations for the consumer, GoBank allows users to make online payments for no charge.  Simply set up payees, and GoBank will either send them a paper check or put the payment through electronically.

  • P2P Payments

GoBank users can send cash to individuals using the GoBank app or online system.  Users who have GoBank accounts are also able to send and receive cash from each other instantaneously.  Those with PayPal accounts also have the ability to receive funds from GoBank account holders. 

GoBank Fees

GoBank seeks to be a lower fee option for consumers, but even a bank without much physical overhead charges some fees.  GoBank fees depend on many factors, so this GoBank review will break GoBank fees down into categories to give readers a better understanding of how much they should expect to pay if they have an account with GoBank.

  • GoBank Monthly Fee

To avoid a monthly fee of $8.95, consumers need to set up a GoBank direct deposit for at least $500.  The $8.95 fee will continue to be taken from the account every month unless a GoBank direct deposit is set up for the appropriate amount.

  • GoBank Fee for Cash Deposit

Due to GoBank’s set up, free cash deposits can only be made at Wal-Mart.  Depositing money using another location, such as CVS or Walgreens, will cost $4.95.  Mobile check deposits and bank transfers are free.

  • GoBank Overdraft Fees

Because GoBank’s debit card makes it impossible for an account to be overdrawn, there are no overdraft fees.  Transactions that exceed the amount available on the card will simply be declined. 

  • Out of Network ATM GoBank Fees

ATMs that are not in the GoBank network cost $2.50, and that doesn’t include what the ATM owner or bank charges for using their machine. 

  • Minimum Balance GoBank Fees

There are no required minimum balances with GoBank.  Therefore, there is no fee regardless of how low the account balance falls.

  • GoBank Check Fees

While paying bills electronically is free through GoBank, those who want paper checks will pay a hefty price for them.  Twelve checks cost $5.95.

  • Customized GoBank Debit Card

If consumers want a personalized GoBank debit card beyond the regular one offered, they cost $9.00.  If the card needs to be replaced, that is an additional $9.00.

  • Foreign Merchant Charge

There is a 3% charge when a purchase is identified as being made from a foreign merchant or website. 

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GoBank’s Limits

Besides fees, this GoBank review seeks to explore the limits unique to GoBank accounts.

How Safe Is Money Deposited with GoBank?

GoBank is insured by the FDIC.  FDIC protection means that if the bank fails, consumers will not lose their money.  There are necessary amounts to stay under to ensure FDIC protection, but GoBank’s decision to limit consumers to no more than $50,000 in their account means they are always fully covered by the FDIC.

The Up Side of GoBank

  • Built-in Protection from Spending Too Much

GoBank guarantess consumers cannot spend more than they have.For those who have struggled with budgeting properly in the past, this banking option is a way to ensure no more overdraft fees or bounced checks.

  • Budget Tools

GoBank offers consumers a chance to use budget tools through the GoBank app. Budget and Fortune Teller allow users to create a simple budget and compare what they spent to what they budgeted in to spend.

  • Great Option for Those with Credit Problems

Banks that use ChexSystems and credit scores to qualify applicants don’t accept everyone who wants an account.  GoBank accounts and GoBank debit cards are available to anyone with a valid ID, making it more accessible for many people.

  • Online Banking Convenience

Digital natives and those who are comfortable in the online world will love having access to everything they need using the.

Drawbacks of the GoBank Approach

Some GoBank reviews focus only on the good.  While there is plenty to appreciate about a potentially low-fee checking account that’s available to almost anyone, not everyone is a good candidate, and there are definite drawbacks to the GoBank approach. 

  • Long Hold Times

If or cash are a consumer’s main mode of putting money in their account, GoBank is no problem.However, personal checks are held for a long period of time, at least 10 days.  For those whose income comes mainly from personal checks, this inconvenience could prove hard to overcome.

  • Limits on How Much You Can Deposit

Deposits must be at least $20, but they cannot exceed certain amounts.If a consumer ends up with a large amount of cash at one time, they may not be able to deposit it all at once.

  • No Interest on Savings Accounts

GoBank offers Money Vault, a place for consumers to save money.It’s easy to transfer money back and forth between these two GoBank accounts, but Money Vault offers no interest on savings.For those who wish to draw interest on their money, they’d be better served by finding savings products at another bank.

  • No Joint Account Options

Only one user can be on a GoBank account.

  • Check Preauthorization

If you choose to write checks, checks must be preauthorized to make sure you can’t overdraw your account.

GoBank Customer Service

This GoBank review seeks to look at the effects of online banking when it comes to customer service. 

While those comfortable in the digital world are accustomed to customer service taking place online or over the phone, it’s important for GoBank customers to understand that those are the only ways to receive help from this company. 

If a GoBank debit card is lost or stolen, the fastest way to report it is online, and it can take up to four weeks for a replacement to arrive. 

There is a FAQ page on the GoBank website, as well as a a contact page that allows users to choose their mood and then send a message to customer service.  Customers can also make contact using the GoBank app.

However, there is no physical location to visit if customers are unhappy with the help they receive from these other sources.

gobank review

Photo Courtesy of Gobank.com

GoBank products, such as GoBank debit cards and GoBank direct deposit, are standard options that consumers expect from any bank.  However, our GoBank review thoroughly presents the advantages and disadvantages of using a bank that does not offer face-to-face customer service. 

Some GoBank reviews make it sound like GoBank is a good fit for everyone, and while it is a convenient, simple option, consumers should assess their individual banking needs before committing. 

Overall, GoBank seeks to give its customers banking options without having their account requests denied.  For those who love the conveniences the online world has to offer, GoBank may be a good choice.

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