Chime Banks on $200 Million Funding Haul

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Add another member to the growing unicorn club: online banker Chime.

It did it by securing $200 million in Series D funding, boosting its valuation to $1.5 billion. The new funds come from lead investor DST Global, a veteran of previous Chime funding rounds, with new investors General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital, Coatue and Dragoneer Investment Group. Returning investors Menlo Ventures, Forerunner Ventures and others also participated.

Chime now boasts three million customers, up from one million last summer.

Chime’s fast growth comes thanks to those mostly millennial customers enjoying it’s no-fee debit card, free checking, earlier paycheck posts and other perks. Chime meanwhile earns revenue from debit card transaction fees that merchants pay. Chime accounts are FDIC insured through its Bancorp Bank partnership.

“There’s pent-up demand for more consumer-friendly banking services,” said Chime CEO Chris Britt in an interview with business TV network CNBC. “We think there’s a better way to do this that’s actually aligned with the best interests of our members.”

Chime is one of a rising tide of fintech startups that are challenge traditional financial institutions, boosted by low (or no) fees and conveniences brick and mortar banks can’t match. Chime plans to add to its staff at its San Francisco homebase, to put its headcount up to 200 employees.

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