CNBC Disruptor 50

25. Chime

Founders: Chris Britt (CEO), Ryan King
Launched: 2013
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
 $805 million
Valuation: $5.8 billion
Key technologies:
 Cloud computing, machine learning
Industry:
 Banking, fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

George Kavallines

Finding ways to offer consumers easy, quick and cheap access to their money is the focus of a growing number of banking start-ups, but Chime is managing to stand apart from the rest. This so-called challenger bank, based in San Francisco, targets customers with no-fee accounts, free overdrafts and early direct deposits on their paychecks. That formula has led to rapid growth. The company claims 8 million accounts, up from just 1 million in 2018.

Over the past two months, the company has been helping members get faster access to their stimulus checks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It quickly launched a program called ChimeCARES that gives members early access to their stimulus payment funds before the money actually arrives from the government. To date the company has made over $1.5 billion of stimulus payments available to members, and it's continuing to focus on helping members speed up the delivery of their stimulus payments and avoid the long wait for a paper check. CEO and co-founder Chris Britt says he's been hearing feedback from members about how getting their stimulus funds a few days early is impacting their lives, enabling them to buy groceries or pay bills.

One of the more beloved features of Chime is SpotMe. Members who have total monthly direct deposits of $500 or more are eligible for the service. If a member makes a debit card purchase that exceeds their balance, Chime will spot them the money up to a predetermined limit. The money spotted is deducted from the member's next direct deposit without any additional fees or penalties. This is in sharp contrast to the fees that legacy banks charge for overdrafts, many of which can be as high as $35 per transaction.

In a crowded field, Chime is being noticed by investors. To date the company has received a total of $805 million in funding, giving the company a valuation of $5.8 billion. 

A look back at the CNBC Disruptor 50: 8 years, 209 companies
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Chime CEO Chris Britt banks on no fees