SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Complaints about a popular fintech company continue, about a year after Team 10 first covered Chime.
The chime was where Dayna Avelar kept her money. The company is touted as having an easy online banking experience, but some customers, like Avelar, said it doesn’t.
“I had two direct deposits before I started having issues,” Avelar said.
She said that somehow someone else was able to take control of her account and withdraw money. At this point, she doesn’t know how it happened. Avelar disputed this and said she was able to recover this amount.
“I changed my password. I had changed my login details. They sent me a new card. They assured me that everything would be fine,” Avelar told Team 10 in an interview. through Zoom.
However, she said that all was not well.
Her phone number was changed on her account and even now she doesn’t know how. She continued to deal with the issues.
“About two or three days later the same thing happens. They literally took all the money out of my account. Thousands of dollars,” she said.
After a police report and numerous back and forths with Chime, Avelar said she was able to reach a partial resolution. “They refunded me, but refused to close my account,” she said.
“I can’t speak verbally to anyone on the phone. I have to send an email for someone to answer me because I don’t know the number [on my account]“Avelar continued.
The fintech industry is growing, according to Dan Roccato, clinical professor of finance at the University of San Diego.
“It’s a competitive market,” he says. “They want a piece of your purse. There’s no doubt about it.”
Roccato said the technology, often known as “fintech”, allows consumers to access online financial services through the convenience of their smartphones.
However, customer service can be an issue.
“He has limited support in many cases. Many of these platforms have not really developed their customer support capacity to meet the needs of their customers. Roccato said.
Anaya is another Chime customer who said she suffered a huge loss of money. She declined to use her last name for privacy reasons.
“My money started coming out of my account,” she said. “It’s not just $20, $40 here and there. It’s $500…over and over.
She said the suspicious activity started after her tax refund was deposited into her account.
“[Chime] closed my account because I filed a dispute for my money,” Anaya said. “They denied all my differences during the day. With a normal bank it normally takes a few days, but with them it took them a day,” Anaya said.
In Anaya’s case, a spokesperson for Chime said the company “stands by the original decision” and said the member has been notified of the status of their account.
They would not share additional information to protect the privacy of their members.
Anaya said she was still looking for a better explanation and even tried to contact Chime via Twitter. They blocked his account.
She even tried to contact Chime on Twitter.
“They are very horrible. They don’t take the time,” Anaya said.
State regulators say Chime is a neobank — a non-traditional bank — that uses fintech to operate digitally.
Last year, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) wanted to make sure consumers knew this. In a settlement agreement, the agency banned Chime from referring to itself as a “bank” in any of its marketing materials. The agreement stipulates that the company must specify that it works with banking partners.
Even so, consumer advocate Ben Coughlin said people should be careful.
What are they marketing? It’s the same thing banks are marketing,” he said. “Although they are not a bank, they are in competition with banks and that is in a way very difficult for most consumers to understand.”
He encourages clients to document everything they do if they start having trouble with certain companies. While legal action is an option, Coughlin knows it’s not always possible for some.
“[Find] other avenues… writing reviews online, finding journalists who cover these things, and holding these companies accountable is incredibly important,” Coughlin said.
Consumers can also report issues to agencies such as the DFPI and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
From October last year to early November this year, a DFPI spokesperson told Team 10 that they had received 342 complaints about Chime. The spokesperson confirmed that they are “currently investigating Chime’s dispute resolution practices.”
For Avelar and Anaya, there is no solution. A Chime spokesperson told Team 10 in the Avelar case that “the Member Services team was in touch with her on August 19 and communicated to her Chime’s requirements to initiate account closure. “.
Avelar cannot give them the required information, such as the phone number connected to the account, because she said it was changed without her permission.
“Be careful. Be really careful not to put your money in this,” Avelar warned.