A Banking App Has Been Suddenly Closing Accounts, Sometimes Not Returning Customers’ Money
Chime, a “neobank” serving millions, is racking up complaints from users who can’t access their cash. The company says it’s cracking down on an “extraordinary surge” in fraudulent deposits. That’s little consolation to customers caught in the fray. ProPublica: Chime, which provides app-based banking services to an estimated 12 million customers, has according to experts been generating a high rate of complaints, with 920 filed at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since April 15, 2020. “For a company that most people have never heard of, I think that’s a lot of complaints,” said Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center. Many customers have told the CFPB that they can’t access their money or accounts, and that, among other things, Chime is slow to resolve problems. Of the 920 complaints filed about Chime, 197 were tagged as involving a “closed account.” The CFPB’s complaints are labeled inconsistently, and many of the other 723 also detail problems involving accounts that were closed against customers’ will.

By comparison, Wells Fargo, a bank with six times as many customers and a lengthy recent history of misbehavior in its consumer bank, has 317 CFPB complaints tagged for closed accounts over the same time period. Marcus, the new online bank created by Goldman Sachs, with 4 million customers, has generated seven such complaints. Customers have also filed 4,439 complaints against Chime at the Better Business Bureau, compared to 3,281 for Wells Fargo. Meanwhile, several Facebook groups have sprung up with names like “Chime Bank has FAILED” and “Chime Thieves.” They’ve attracted some 700 members combined. One group has more than 100 posts and comments, almost all of them saying some version of the same thing. “Chime stole my entire unemployment backpay,” reads one typical post. Another says, “I’m a single mom of 4 kids and they stolen $1400 from me and refuse to give it back and now we are about to be evicted.” Chime doesn’t look much better on Google, where, according to the site’s “People Also Ask” feature, two of the questions most often posed about Chime are “Is Chime bank a real bank?” and, at various points in recent weeks, “Is Chime a ripoff?” or “Does Chime steal your money?”

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