Green Dot Bank is an online bank that offers competitive rates through its high-yield savings account and unlimited cash-back rewards via its spending account. In business since 1999, Green Dot is part of the Green Dot Corporation.

This in-depth review of Green Dot can help you decide if it's the right online bank for your needs.

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Pros
  • Competitive APY on high yield savings account

  • Online and mobile purchases earn 2% cash back

  • Early access to direct deposited paychecks

  • No overdraft fees

Cons
  • Monthly fee if you don't meet minimum

  • Out-of-network ATM fee

  • Steep fee for paper checks

  • No joint accounts

Pros Explained

Competitive APY on high yield savings account: Green Dot's high yield savings account earns a 2% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances of less than $10,000, which is very competitive with the top online savings accounts.

Online and mobile purchases earn 2% cash back: The Unlimited Cash Back Account earns 2% cash back on select online purchases, including in-app purchases and other mobile purchases. There is no cap on cash-back earnings.

Early access to direct deposited paychecks: You can get your paycheck up to two days early with Green Dot's ASAP Direct. Eligibility for early access depends on your employer's payment processing.

No overdraft fees: You'll never pay overdraft fees with Green Dot. Instead, if you don't have funds to cover a purchase, the transaction is declined.

Cons Explained

Monthly fee if you don't meet minimum: Green Dot charges a $7.95 monthly fee unless you meet monthly spending requirements. The fee is waived if you spent $1,000 on your card the previous month. But spending doesn't include bill payments and other select purchases.

Out-of-network ATM fee: While Green Dot does have an ATM network, if you have to use one that's out of network, the bank charges a $3 fee on top of any charges from the ATM operator.

Steep fee for paper checks: An account comes with check writing privileges, but there is a $5.95 fee for a pack of 12 checks. That works out to about $0.50 each time you write a check.

No joint accounts: There are no joint or custodial account options.

Who Is Green Dot Bank Best For?

Green Dot is best for people who do most of their banking online or through mobile access. It may be a good fit for those who want:

  • A competitive interest rate on savings
  • Unlimited 2% cash-back rewards on most spending
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Monthly fees than can be waived through online shopping
  • Cash deposits at retail stores

What Does Green Dot Bank Offer?

Green Dot is not a full-service online bank, but it does offer two accounts and a secured credit card:

  • Unlimited cash back bank account
  • High-yield savings account
  • Credit card

Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

The Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is a spending account that earns rewards for card purchases. It's not technically a checking account but acts similar to one, including check writing privileges. Paper checks cost $5.95 for a pack of 12.

The main draw is the unlimited 2% cash back earned on select online purchases. Not all spending earns cash back, such as airline tickets, gift cards, and bill payments.

Besides a complimentary debit card, customers also get access to services including:

  • Free cash deposits at select retail locations
  • No overdraft fees
  • Mobile banking

A major drawback of the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is the $7.95 monthly fee, which is waived by spending $1,000 the previous month on your card. If you tend to use your debit card to pay for most purchases, this may not be hard to accomplish, but keep in mind that not all spending counts.

Another hurdle is depositing cash into your account. While you can access fee-free ATMs for withdrawals, that's not an option for deposits. For cash deposits, customers need to head to a participating retailer, which may charge up to $5.95 per deposit. Other options are direct deposits, mobile check deposits, and electronic transfers from another bank account.

To access your cash-back rewards balance, you need to keep your account open at least 12 months and it needs to be in good standing at the time. Any accrued rewards are redeemable once a year at the end of a 12-month period.

High-Yield Savings Account

When you open a spending account, you also get access to a high-yield savings account. This account has no monthly fee and currently earns 2% APY on all balances of $10,000 or less, much higher than the national average. 

However, interest is calculated differently than most other banks and is only applied to your account once at the end of a 12-month period. Interest is calculated by taking the average daily balance of your savings account for each day over a 12-month period, starting when you opened the account, and multiplying that by 2%.

Like all banks covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), money held in Green Dot accounts is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor. Keep in mind the $250,000 is for all accounts, including any you may have with Green Dot Corporation's other banking subsidiaries.

Bank transfers are subject to limits. The first is limited up to $100 but after that, customers can transfer up to $1,000 with a total monthly limit of $3,000.

Credit Card

Green Dot also offers a secured credit card designed to build credit and increase credit scores through responsible use:

  • Green Dot Platinum Visa credit card

Other Financial Products Offered by Green Dot

Along with its main product staples, the online bank offers some other banking products including:

  • Prepaid debit cards
  • Reloadable cash back debit card
  • MoneyPak⁠—allows those without access to traditional banking services to send money to family and friends

Green Dot Bank Customer Service

For help, customers can call 866-795-7597. For disputes on unauthorized charges on accounts, you need to fill out a dispute form.

Green Dot has no physical bank branches, but customers can access their account 24/7 online or through its mobile app, which is available for iOS (3.5 stars) or Android (4.3 stars).

How to Bank With Green Dot

To open an account with Green Dot, go to its website or download the app and fill out the account application. You also have the option to open an account in-store at participating retailers, which include Walmart, 7-Eleven, and Rite Aid, among others.

Similar to other banks, you'll need to provide personal information to open an account, like your mailing address, phone number, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Verdict

If you're in search of an online bank that gives you access to a competitive interest rate and cash-back earning, Green Dot might be a good fit. Keep in mind that your interest and rewards aren't accessible for the first 12 months.

If you plan to keep more than $10,000 in savings, other online banks may earn more in the long run. With a potential $7.95 monthly fee, only open a Green Dot account if your rewards earning will outweigh any monthly fees. Other banks might not have so many hoops for customers to jump through to earn interest all year.

Having to go to a retailer for much of your banking instead of an ATM might be a hindrance to many potential customers. If that's you, you're better off finding an online bank with more convenient methods for handling your money.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected over 20 data points across more than 80 banks including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.