Varo Banking | Debit Card Review 2019
Sign up for a totally fee-free Varo bank account with a Visa debit card
and get a $100 sign up bonus. Plus earn up to $500 in referral bonuses.

Rating: 5 / 5 by
Last Updated: July 3, 2019

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JULY 3 UPDATE: Varo has extended their offer until September 30 and has increased the bonus from $75 to $100. All the other offer details are the same. I have updated this review to change the $75 offer to $100, and the expiration date from June 30 to September 30. If you need a referral, comment and let me know.

I like saving money and I like making money. Having a Varo mobile bank account does both these things. Because a Varo bank account is free to open, it doesn't charge any fees, and it has no minimum balance requirements, Varo saves you money. And because Varo offers a $100 sign up bonus when you open a new account (if you use a referral link from an existing Varo customer) and Varo also has a referral program when you refer family and friends to Varo, Varo makes you money. I opened a new Varo account for myself in December (using a referral link I got from a *friend* and received a $100 sign up bonus (now the sign up bonus is $75). I just recently opened a second Varo account for my wife, using my referral link from my own account, and my wife received the $75 sign up bonus and I received a $75 referral bonus. Now the bonus offer is back to $100 again!

I like our new Varo accounts. Our Varo accounts are completely free and have no fees and no minimum balance requirements. We received a free Visa debit card for each account, and we can manage the accounts via the secure Varo Money app on our smart phones. The accounts are FDIC insured and Varo is backed by Bancorp. I especially like that there is no minimum balance requirement, so I can transfer a set amount of money into one of the accounts (for example, $200), and then let our teenage son or daughter use the Varo debit card when they needs to buy something (like lunch) instead of giving them our main bank account debit card or one of our credit cards.

Varo is a new startup company offering mobile bank accounts. Varo is backed by Bancorp, and every Varo account is fully FDIC insured, so your money is safe. When you open a Varo bank account, you then access and manage your account via the Varo mobile app on any iPhone or Android smartphone. You get a free Visa debit card with your account that you can use to pay for things at stores and online, or to withdraw cash at ATMs. You can link other bank accounts to your Varo account to transfer money back and forth, and/or you can add cash to your account at a number of retail locations using your debit card. You can also have your paycheck direct deposited into your Varo account. I recommend you check out Varo's website at for all the details.

 ✔  Pro: The account is FREE.
 ✔  Pro: The account has no minimum balance. You can have as little or as much money in the account as you want.
 ✔  Pro: Varo charges NO fees.
 ✔  Pro: The Varo Visa debit card is PIN protected. You have to enter your secret pin number to use the card (unlike a credit card).
 ✔  Pro: You can lock your debit card from the Varo app on your smart phone.
 ✔  Pro: You can manage your Varo account with the app (check balance, get instant notification of any transactions, set up transfers, etc)
 ✔  Pro: Varo has a $100 sign up bonus offer (when referred by an existing Varo customer)..
 ✔  Pro: Varo has a referral program that allows Varo customers to earn up to $500 in matching $100 referral bonuses (you should receive your own personal referral link a few days after you open your Varo account).
 ✔  Cons: Varo does not have a website account interface. While you can access and manage your account via the Varo app, you can't do this via their website. I wish they had website account access so I could access my Varo account via my computer like I do with my other bank accounts.
 ✔  Cons: Varo does not offer checking or checks. This is one reason I am keeping my main bank account, which is a checking account, since I sometimes need to write checks.

You must be invited by an existing Varo customer (like me) and then you need to use their unique referral link to register your email address for the $100 sign up bonus offer. If you open a new account without using a referral link, you won't get the $100 bonus. You need to know a current Varo customer (like me) who can give you their own unique referral link. When you click their referral link, it will take you to a page that explains the offer. You then enter your email address on that page, and Varo will register your email address for the $100 offer. You will receive an email from Varo titled "Here's how to get your $100". You then download the Varo app (from the Apple store or Google play) and sign up for a new account via the app. You must use the same email address when you apply for a new account. After your account is approved, you then need to receive a direct deposit for at least $200 within 45 days of the account being opened, and you'll get the $100 sign up bonus credited to your account.

STEP ONE: Register your email address: You need to use an existing Varo customer's unique referral link. The link will take you to a page on the Varo website where you can register your email address for the sign up bonus offer.

STEP TWO: Sign up for a new Varo account: After you submit your email address, you'll receive an email from Varo titled "Here's how to get your $100" that will say...

How to earn your $100:
1. Download the Varo app.
2. Apply for and open a Varo Bank Account using this email address by September 30, 2019.
3. Receive a direct deposit of $200+ within 45 days of opening your account.*

*The qualifying direct deposit must be one (1) ACH electronic payment payable to the Referee consisting of payroll, pension, or government benefits from the Referee's employer or a government agency. A fund transfer from an account held in Referee’s name at an external bank or other financial institution or a peer-to-peer payment (such as through PayPal, Square, Venmo, or Apple Pay Cash, or similar services) will not qualify.

If you need a referral link so you can register your email address for the sign up offer, I would be happy to email you my referral link. Submit a comment below with your name and email address and ask me for my referral link, and I'll email you. I will not post your email address or your comment. I will only email you my referral link. Please note that one is only supposed to refer friends, family, and acquaintances. I consider any reader of my site CranialBorborygmus to be a friend.

Technically, the direct deposit is supposed to be your paycheck or other payment you receive, so actually receiving a $200 or more direct deposit or other payment into your Varo account is of course the easiest way to earn the $100 bonus. However, when Varo first started last year, it seemed almost any deposit, including a simple bank (ACH) transfer, would count and trigger the sign up bonus. I received the bonus for my first account in December with a ACH bank transfer from my Ally bank account. But when I tried that on my wife's new account this month (April), it no longer worked. I issued a bill payment from my business to my wife's new Varo account (my wife works for my business at times), and that counted as a direct deposit (payment) and triggered the bonus.
In order for your deposit to count as a "direct deposit", it must code as [Compensation Income] and and not [uncategorized deposit]. From my most recent research, it seems many bank transfers no longer trigger the bonus, but a few bank transfers still work. Specifically, bank ACH transfers from Ally, Capital One 360, Schwab, Incredible Bank, and Wells Fargo code as [uncategorized deposit] and do not count as a direct deposit, but bank ACH transfers from M&T, Discover, and Alliant do code as [Compensation Income] and do trigger the bonus.

After you open a new Varo account, generally within a few days you should receive your own personal referral link (you'll see it when you sign into the Varo app) that you can then use to invite your family and friends to also join Varo. Whenever someone opens a new Varo account with your referral link and qualifies for the bonus (by having a $200+ direct deposit), they will earn $100 and you will earn $100. The maximum you can earn in referral bonuses is $500, though you can keep referring people after that and they can still earn the sign up bonus.

Earn up to $500 for sharing Varo!

Right now, you have the chance to earn $100 for sharing Varo with a friend. Keep referring friends and you could earn a max of $500!

How to earn:
  Share your link (don’t forget your friends with Android).
  We’ll give you $100 when each friend opens a Varo Bank Account and receives a direct deposit of $200+ within 45 days of account opening.

Sharing is earning, — The Varo Team

This current $75 bonus offer is good through the end of this quarter (June 30). You only need to get the account opened by June 30. You then have 45 days after you open the account to have a $200 direct deposit and earn the bonus. I expect this offer to be extended for another quarter through September 30 since they had a referral bonus offer last year and also for the first quarter of this year. Of course, there is no guarantee they will extend the offer, so if you are going to take advantage of it, do it now. Varo has extended the offer until September 30, and the bonus is now $100. So you need to open the account by September 30 and you then have up to 45 days to receive a $200+ direct deposit.




. Comments / Questions / Feedback:

Comment by Tom on Friday, May 24, 2019
Thanks for letting me use your referral link. I applied the same day and was approved. Rather that wait to set up a direct deposit from my job, I have a Discover account and based on your info I did a $200 ACH transfer to my Varo account. The $75 bonus posted the same day as the Discover deposit! Wow, that was easy. And now I have my own referral code, so I'll be hitting up my family and friend to join. Thanks again.

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Tom, You're welcome. And thanks for your comment and feedback!


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