One of America’s most valuable fintechs, Chime, has hit a home run with users as the big banks are falling behind in providing the much-needed stimulus checks to many desperate households. This is just the latest win in an ongoing battle between big banks and fintechs that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Since President Joe Biden signed on the historic economic relief packages, big-bank customers were left waiting over a week for their stimulus checks. The complaints rolled in as customers were left with the amount pending in their bank accounts. For many customers, timing is crucial for the release of these much-needed funds, which highlights a shortcoming on the part of traditional banking when it comes to speed of payment.
Conversely, Chime’s customers had access to the funds almost immediately. By Monday afternoon, following the announcement of the stimulus check, Chime had already paid out approximately $3.5 billion in stimulus payments to over 1 million customers. This instant relief for families sidelined by the pandemic and households living paycheck to paycheck was received incredibly well, resulting in more signups to the platform.
Chime’s dedication to being “member-obsessed” became readily apparent where stimulus checks were concerned. It was able to achieve this level of customer satisfaction by committing to its promise of paying out things such as stimulus checks, paychecks, tax refunds, and even payroll early. This speed has contributed significantly to the company’s growth and adoption.
Today Chime is valued at $14.5 billion and providing stimulus checks early isn’t just a PR stunt (according to the company). According to a spokesperson from the company, Chime made its biggest splash last year by giving members early access to $1.5 billion in stimulus payments which resulted in the biggest enrollment day the startup had seen.
Whether or not it was a strategic move to grow the company by offering early access to stimulus checks, Chime’s success story underscores the importance of being agile in delivering finances when and where customers need it the most. The flexibility with which it can and will do so sets it apart from traditional banks and sets a high bar for customer expectations.