Debit Card Lawyer

Debit Card Lawyer

Chime Opened an Account Without My Knowledge

Chime is a financial technology (fintech) company that provides mobile banking services similar to traditional banks to its users. It provides a digital banking application which smartphone users can download to access their traditional physical bank accounts. Chime offers no monthly fees or minimum balance, no fee for overdraft on debit card purchases up to $200, early direct deposit of paychecks, automatic savings, credit card with no annual fees, and transfer of funds to other banks. 

Unfortunately, the ease and speedy access to Chime financial services go alongside skillfully maneuvering the pitfalls of online scams and protecting digital accounts.

A. Issues and Strategies

These are the four common issues raised against Chime banking applications and the possible strategies to avoid these: (1) fraudulent transactions and charges; (2) unreliable check deposit feature; (3) closure of accounts without notice; and (4) unresponsive Customer Support.

  1. Fraudulent Transactions and Charges

Chime has consistently warned its users about scams targeting them. Despite these repeated warnings, many of its users continue to fall victim to these scammers.

1.1 Strategy.  To avoid becoming a victim to fraudulent transactions and charges, follow these specific approaches.

1.1.1 Always verify requests for money from relatives, colleagues, and friends. When you receive these requests, communicate immediately with the requester to verify the validity of the request. Once verified, accede to the request or deny it.

1.1.2 Be vigilant about messages or emails. Check the sentence structure and/or sentence thought, spelling, grammar lapses, and incorrect use of punctuations and capitalization. Most scams contain these identified lapses; hence, block or report these as scam communication and delete these immediately.

1.1.3 Recognize legitimate Chime communications. Be very familiar with Chime official website and/or its authorized representatives. Chime sends blast communications that carry its official website address; its communications are short and specific. It does not ask for personal or digital information nor does it send hyperlinks with investment offers.

1.1.4 Always safeguard your personal information. Chime never asks for information to access your account. It usually sends notification for transactions recently done and provides your transaction history when you request access to it in the app.

1.1.5 Always enable security features in the app. These security features prevent any unauthorized access to your smartphones and to your Chime account. A few security features include the use of Personal Information identity (PIN), biometric authentication such as facial recognition or fingerprint recognition, multi-factor authentication like approval from a second gadget or personal questions with confidential answers. 

1.1.6 Whenever possible, use a secure network. For sensitive transactions using your Chime account, use your own Wi-Fi network or use a virtual private network (VPN). The safest place to conduct these transactions is in the privacy of your homes. Avoid public places and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi such as airports, bistros, cafes, and parks and amusement places.

1.1.7 Limit Peer-to-Peer or P2P money transactions. Only when you are certain of the security of these P2P apps such as PayPal, GCash, Maya, Venmo, or Apple Pay Cash can you link your debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts to send, pay, or receive money. Once the transaction is complete, remember to unlink your cards and accounts.

2. Unreliable Check Deposit Feature

    The unreliability of check deposit rests on poor image quality of the picture taken of the check such as the picture is blurry or unclear. This makes it difficult for the app to read the check correctly.

    2.1 Strategy. To counteract a check deposit unreliability, be alert and follow these reminders:

    2.1.1 Be certain that the picture of the check is clear and focused. This face information must clearly show in the picture: check number and date of issuance, payee, USD box, amount in words, purpose of the check, signature, bank’s contact information and/or logo, ABA Routing Number, your account number, and your bank’s fractional ABA Number.

    2.1.2 Follow diligently the check deposit process, which includes the criteria for deposits. Avoid missing any step in the process to prevent a failed check deposit situation.

    2.1.3 Ensure that the check is payable to your name and matches your Chime account with an amount in USD, signed on the reverse side, dated within the last six months, unfolded, and free from alterations. 

    2.1.4 While making a check deposit, religiously follow all the in-app prompts of the Chime app and accept that these deposits take five business days for the money to appear in your account.

    2.1.5 After the completion of the five business days, open your Chime app and see if the amount is in your account. Do not miss out on this because your prompt action to your non-receipt of the amount must be raised immediately to Chime Customer Support for assistance.

    3. Closure of Accounts Without Notice

      The users’ agreement with Chime contains a stipulation wherein Chime may suspend, freeze, or close accounts without notice to the users in instances of potential fraud, violation of the terms in the Agreement, identity verification issues, and loss of eligibility.

      3.1 Strategy. To avoid the closure of your Chime account without due notice, follow this process:

      3.1.1 Immediately act upon receipt of the closure of your account without notice. 

      3.1.2 Read your recent transactions. Identify any suspicious transactions, if any. If none, validate all transactions with proper documentation.  

      3.1.3 Contact Chime Customer Support through any one of these modes: (a) send an email to Chime at support@chime.com, (b) call Chime support at (844) 244-6363, or (3) use In-App Chat by tapping the question mark icon at the tap of the screen. Explain carefully the situation and ask the reason for the account closure.

      3.1.4 Communication through email requires copies of all messages, letters, and attachments sent and received. Create a folder, save these and arrange them chronologically. If possible, print these.

      3.1.5 If the communication with Chime Customer Service is through a call, ask the representative’s name and Chime employee ID. Explain the reason for your call and inform the representative that an email of the same will be sent to Chime, detailing the key points discussed and the action suggested.

      3.1.6 Be diplomatic, patient, and respectful in dealing with the reason for closure without notification of your account. If the closure falls within any one of the instances of closure mentioned in the Agreement, dispute this, and request for an investigation. 

      3.1.7 Formally file your dispute claim of erroneous closure of account without notification and wait for its resolution. The investigation and resolution process generally takes between 45-90 days. Present your evidence to support your dispute.

      4. Unresponsive Customer Support

        Most often this concern rests on the following reasons: long waiting time, delayed refunds, unaccommodating responses, insufficiency of explanation, and tardy responses to inquiries. These often cause the users undue anxiety and tension, frustration, and loss of trust in Chime.

        4.1 Strategy. To avoid being a recipient of an unresponsive Chime Customer Support, use these steps to deal with this concern.

        4.1.1 Use Chime’s In-App Chat for a smoother and speedier response to your concern. Tap the chat icon, type your concern or issue, and connect with a Chime representative directly. The best part is that you can always review your chat and this conversation will help you focus on your concern.  Take a screenshot of this conversation and when necessary, use this to substantiate your concern should you need to escalate it to a dispute claim.

        4.1.2 Read the Chime FAQs for possible answers to your concern. Generally, it contains the common or frequently asked questions across the different topics directly related to Chime services and the terms of the Agreement. All these will have specific answers, written simply and concisely. If it contains a process, follow it. 

        4.1.3 When necessary, call Chime Customer Service for a direct conversation at 1-844-244-6363. Document the conversation through ensuring you have the following information: date and time of the call, duration of the call, name of Chime representative, details of your concern, and response of the representative.

        4.1.4 Be prepared for waiting time while on-call with a Chime representative. Be proactively patient. When necessary, call again. Remember, there are many callers with more nearly similar complaints as yours, so make your call repeatedly until you get through.

        4.1.5 When you successfully connect with a Chime representative, be direct with your concern, speak clearly and concisely. Maintain proper decorum; modulate your voice and tone; and be conscious of call-time. 

        4.1.6 To guide your conversation with the Chime representative, prepare a detailed outline of your complaint. Have all the documents with you, which you will need should the representative require more particulars of the complaint.

        4.1.7 Escalate the unresponsiveness of Chime and its representatives. File your complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Ensure that your complaint contains all the specific details of your complaint. Use concrete words, avoid abstract, graphic, and emotional words. 

        B. Chime’s Compliance Program

        Currently, Chime continues to focus on its compliance and security to guarantee the required protection of its users’ financial accounts and data. Among these are (1) Infrastructure and Application; (2) User Data Encryption; (3) Regular Monitoring; (4) In-App Security Features; and (5) FDIC Insurance.

        1. Infrastructure and Application

        Chime uses industry frameworks that outline a set of standards for security and compliance of financial services. These include National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF), ISO 27001, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), and System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC2). 

        1. User Data Encryption

        Chime uses ciphertext to transform sensitive information into a code, which guarantees privacy and unauthorized access during data storage or transmission.

        1. Regular Monitoring and Incident Management

        Chime consistently and regularly monitors its application, servers, and networks to identify any breaches in the system. It detects, diagnoses, and resolves performance issues which disrupt services. The fusion of monitoring and incident management creates a proactive environment for immediate and real-time responses to enhance Chime reliability.

        1. In-App Security Features

        These features assure the users’ control of their Chime accounts. It includes alerts of unauthorized use and blocking of their lost cards.  

        1. FDIC Insurance

        Chime deposits are insured with FDIC up to 250,000 USD through its bank partners.

        Ensuring the safety and protection of Chime and its users’ financial data from potential threats of scammers requires both parties to be alert, cautious, and vigilant. 

        The common threats identified here coincide with strategic actions, which if followed wisely may reduce the threat to a significant level. First, Chime and its users must always be a step ahead in identifying fraudulent tactics and developing strategies to thwart these. Second, Chime users must regularly monitor their accounts and transaction history and report immediately any suspicious activity. Third, Chime users must enable transaction alerts or push notifications so that they can receive real-time updates on their account activities. Fourth, Chime must regularly check and update their industry infrastructure to increase Chime security for the benefit of their users. Fifth, Chime must listen to their users’ concerns and promptly act on them to increase its reliability, thereby attracting more users to its mobile application and services.

        When both parties work together, they will reap the benefits of growth and stability with online banking and be more comfortable operating the digital financial world.

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