In just a few years, Chime has built a bank that has almost as many primary checking customers as U.S. Bank and two times that of Huntington, according to NPS Prism℠ benchmarking data. And Chime has managed to attract a mix of younger, low-balance customers and older, more affluent customers without a single branch, ATM of its own, or even a core banking technology platform.
Instead, Chime has built a sleek mobile app focused on “Spending Accounts,” with features such as early direct deposit and easy cashless payments (although it offers a vast network of free ATMs if customers need them). Opening an account at Chime takes an average of 15 minutes—significantly faster than competitors—and before customers even fund the account, there is a notice that a debit card is in the mail. In addition, Chime touts having no fees, and makes moving money simple.
Chime is making real inroads with these offerings: More than half of its customers are over the age of 35 and have substantial assets. Across all customers, Chime’s Net Promoter Score℠—a measure of customers’ likelihood to recommend a store or brand—is among the highest in the industry at 66. And this loyalty leadership persists in the more granular data. NPS Prism’s episode-level data reveals that for the episode “opening an account,” Chime’s Net Promoter Score of 80 far surpasses the average for digital players at 54, regional banks at 48, and national players at 42.
Digital banks have been trying to chip away at the traditional model in the US for more than 10 years, but the industry may have reached a turning point. If Chime successfully takes some of the next steps—such as obtaining a banking license, like some other neobanks have, and moving from low-margin deposit accounts to more profitable products—the pace of their disruption could rapidly accelerate. However, as Covid-19 risks subside, it will also be important to keep an eye on consumer preferences: Will they return to traditional bank branches or stick with digital offerings?
Net Promoter Score℠, Net Promoter System℠, and NPS Prism℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter®, NPS®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.