Updated: Feb 14, 2024

Experian Smart Money Checking Account 2024 Review

Our review of the Experian Smart Money checking account looks at the account fees, convenience, and standout feature that focuses on building good credit.
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Experian Smart Money offers all the features you'd expect from a checking account without the high fees. You also get the added benefit of building a positive credit history using your debit card.

Our Verdict

Experian Smart Money is more than just a debit card; it's a credit-building tool and a low-cost alternative to traditional checking accounts. You can spend and save while getting closer to your financial goals. 

This checking account may be a good choice for people who:

  • Are looking for a checking account with no monthly fee
  • Don't need branch banking access
  • Get paid via direct deposit
  • Regularly visit ATMs to withdraw cash

If you already have an Experian membership, your member benefits automatically include access to Smart Money. And if you don't have a membership, you can sign up for free online.

Experian Smart Money Checking Account Pros & Cons

  • No monthly maintenance fee or min. balance requirement
  • Surcharge-free access to 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs
  • Cash deposit available at participating retailers
  • Can build credit with debit card activity
  • FDIC-insured up to the applicable limits
  • No rewards program or interest earnings
  • No branch access
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Compared to Other Checking Accounts

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi Checking and Saving makes it easy to spend, pay bills and save from a single account. You can earn cash back on eligible purchases made with your debit card and get an outstanding rate on savings balances. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. 

Read our full SoFi checking account review

MyCBB Free Checking

MyCBB Free Checking has no monthly fee and earns interest with no additional hoops. If you live in California and prefer a traditional checking option, you might consider opening this account. MyCBB also offers money market accounts and CD accounts to help you grow your savings. 

Read our full MyCBB Free Checking review

LendingClub Rewards Checking

LendingClub's Rewards Checking account lets you earn unlimited 1% cash back on eligible debit card purchases, with no monthly fee. Rewards checking accounts are hard to come by, as many banks don't offer them. So you might give this account a look if you're interested in getting a little something back when you spend. 

Read our full LendingClub Rewards Checking review

Chime Checking

Chime's free checking account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. While you won't have access to branch banking, you'll be able to withdraw cash at more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide. You also have the option to deposit cash at more than 8,500 Walgreens locations, which is a nice plus. 

Read our full Chime Checking review

Interest Rates

Interest checking accounts let you earn interest on balances, similar to the way a savings account works. 

Experian's Smart Money account is not an interest-bearing account. So you won't get that benefit. 

You can, however, qualify for a $50 introductory bonus when you enroll in direct deposit. 

Is an interest checking account worth it? It depends on your goals and how you spend or save money. 

Interest-checking accounts typically don't offer rates that can match or beat high-yield savings accounts. If you'd like to get the best rate possible, you might be better off finding a savings account to go with your checking. 


Rewards checking accounts pay you back a percentage of what you spend with your debit card, usually either in points or cash. That's similar to how a rewards credit card works. 

Experian Smart Money is not a rewards checking account, so again, you won't get that benefit. 

If you're interested in rewards checking, you can compare options at online and traditional banks. 

Remember to look at:

  • Which transactions earn rewards
  • The amount of rewards earned per dollar spent
  • How you can redeem the rewards you earn
  • Whether they expire

Keep in mind that if you're paying a monthly fee for a rewards checking account, that might negate some of their value. 


Experian doesn't charge a monthly fee for Smart Money accounts but there are some fees to know. Here's how they add up.

Other Service Fees - Experian Smart Money Checking

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $0
In-Network ATM Fee $0
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $3
Direct Deposit Fee $0
Card Replacement $5
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% or $3.25, whichever is higher

Smart Money is included if you already have an Experian membership. Membership is free and includes access to Experian Boost. 

Experian Boost is a credit monitoring tool that you can use to track changes to your credit score. Your free membership includes monthly access to your updated FICO score. 

ATM Access

Since this is a digital checking account, it does come with a debit card. You can use your debit card to make fee-free withdrawals at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

ATM access is important when comparing checking accounts if you want to be able to withdraw cash on the go. A bank that offers a larger ATM network or unlimited ATM fee refunds could make cash withdrawals less taxing financially. 

Experian doesn't offer any foreign ATM fee refunds. Whether that makes a difference to you can depend on how often you visit the ATM and which machines you use. 

Account Access

Experian gives you multiple ways to manage your Smart Money account. You can:

  • Withdraw cash at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
  • Log in to your account online or through the Experian mobile app
  • Spend with your virtual or physical debit card
  • Pay bills with your debit card
  • Get cash back at the register when you pay with your debit card
  • Set up direct deposit and get paid up to two days early
  • Schedule ACH transfers between linked bank accounts
  • Deposit cash at CVS, Walmart and 7-Eleven locations

Being able to deposit cash is a nice benefit, as many online checking accounts don't offer that option. Ordinarily, you'd have to first deposit cash into an external bank account and then transfer it to your online checking account. 

When you use your debit card to pay bills, those transactions can help you build credit. Experian looks for payments that can help you build your credit score when you pay rent, utilities, and other expenses. 

That's definitely a unique feature, as you typically need a credit card to establish a credit history

If you need help with your account, Experian offers live customer service help seven days a week.

FDIC Insurance

FDIC insurance protects your deposits on the off-chance that your bank fails. Bank failures don't happen often, but if they do, the FDIC steps in to make sure depositors don't lose all their money. 

Experian is not a bank, so it doesn't offer FDIC insurance directly. Instead, you'll be covered through Experian's partner, Community Federal Savings Bank.

How much of your deposits are covered? The current FDIC limit is $250,000 per depositor. 

What You Need to Open

If you're ready to get started with Smart Money, you can open your account online. 

You'll need to create a free Experian member account first if you don't have one. And if you're already an Experian member, you can log in to set up your digital checking account. 

Experian will need some basic information to get your account set up, including your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

You'll also need a bank account number and routing number to schedule your first deposit. Or you can set up a direct deposit to add funds to your new account. 

Once your account is open, Experian will issue a virtual debit card you can use immediately. You'll also get a physical debit card in the mail, so double-check to ensure your address is correct. 


What is Experian Smart Money?

Experian Smart Money is a digital checking account that's included with a free Experian membership. Smart Money makes it easy to spend in person or online, and deposits are FDIC-insured. You can also use your debit card to build credit when you make eligible bill payments.  

Is Experian Smart Money good?

Experian Smart Money could be a good choice if you're comfortable with digital banking and want to be able to build credit with your debit card. It could also work well for someone who wants to avoid a monthly maintenance fee and prefers to get paid via direct deposit. 

Are there any transaction limits?

Transaction limits may vary based on the account, but the Experian Smart Money Checking account has these notable transaction limits from the very beginning:

  • ATM withdrawals: $505 per transaction, up to 3 withdrawals daily
  • Incoming ACH transfer: $2,500 per transaction, up to 2 transfers per day
  • Outgoing ACH transfer: $5,000 per day; $15,000 per month; $75,000 per year
  • Cash loading: $500 per transaction, up to 3 transactions daily; $5,000 per month, up to 8 transactions per month
  • Debit card purchase: $5,000 per day; $15,000 per month