Chime Stock: When Will This Rising Fintech Company Finally Go Public?

Online-only bank accounts aren’t a new idea, but that doesn’t mean Chime isn’t disrupting the banking system. The financial technology (fintech) company—which technically isn’t a bank—offers its users a spending account with a direct-deposit option, a high-yield savings account, a consumer-friendly mobile app, and low fees. 

Instead of charging fees, the company makes money each time one of its customers uses their Visa (V) debit card, by collecting a small fee from the credit card company. Chime’s customers receive FDIC-insured deposits, which are run through Stride Bank (LRN) and The Bancorp Bank (TBBK).

Chime

IPO Interest

7.5

What is Chime?

Chime is a fintech company that makes it easy for its users to set up a spending account and savings account online. The company doesn't charge the typical fees associated with traditional banks and makes it easy to use a mobile device to manage a user’s finances.

Expected IPO Date:

Late 2021 or early 2022

  • The mobile-friendly financial services company has an estimated 12 million users.
  • Chime co-founder and CEO Chris Britt said in late 2020 that his company intends to go public in the next 12 months.

Bull Case

  • The company is growing fast, adding hundreds of thousands of new accounts every month.
  • Chime is tapping into the vast $26.5 trillion global financial services industry and is already profitable on an EBITDA basis.

Bear Case

  • Competition is fierce in the fintech space. Banks, technology companies, and other fintech players are all expanding further into this market.
  • The company doesn't have any durable competitive advantages right now that will keep its rivals at bay.

Chime was cofounded in 2012 by Chris Britt, who held senior positions at both Visa and Green Dot (GDOT), and Ryan King, who is a former Comcast (CMCSA) executive. The company’s focus on easy-to-use financial services has helped Chime grow at an accelerated pace and secure substantial private funding since its inception.

With the financial services market being such a massive opportunity and Chime’s valuation already skyrocketing to an estimated $14.5 billion, it’s no wonder investors are keeping a close eye on this company’s potential public offering.  

Top Chime Numbers for Investors to Know 

  • 12 million: The estimated number of Chime customers 
  • 97%: The percentage of millennials who use mobile banking 
  • $485 million: The amount Chime raised in its latest funding round 
  • $14.5 billion: The company’s most recent estimated valuation 
  • Late 2021 or early 2022: The potential timeline for Chime to go public

Four Quotes Indicating That Chime Is On the Cusp of an IPO:

Here’s what Chime CEO Chris Britt said recently to CNBC and Reuters about taking his company public:

  • The company will be “IPO-ready” in the next 12 months (CNBC, September 2020)
  • “I probably get calls from two SPACS a week to see if we’re interested in getting into the markets quickly.” (CNBC, September 2020) 
  • “When we get closer to make [sic] the decision to actually go public, we will evaluate all of the potential paths to do so, including direct listings, traditional (IPOs), and SPACs.” (Reuters, March 2021) 
  • Britt said his company has “every intention of being a large, independent public company” (Reuters, March 2021)

Bull Case: Why Investors May Want to Bank on This Stock 

Chime didn’t create the online-only mobile banking market, but the company is certainly carving out its share of the space. Chime offers a variety of financial services—including spending and savings accounts, automatic savings, a credit card, a credit-builder opportunity, and mobile payments—all from its easy-to-use app.

The banking industry is rife with fees and poor customer service, something that Chime is aiming to fix. The fintech company doesn’t charge any overdraft fees or monthly fees for its accounts. 

The company also doesn’t charge an annual fee or interest for its credit card. Instead, Chime users move money from their spending account to their Credit Builder account to cover the cost of charges placed on the credit card. This allows Chime users to safely build their credit history and increase their credit scores.

But Chime isn’t just for those looking to build their credit. The company is interested in customers who are looking for a simple, low-cost banking option that allows them to easily access their money, save money through automatic deposits, and have a debit and credit card. 

Chime’s ability to amass an estimated 12 million customers over the past few years—including adding hundreds of thousands of accounts each month in 2020—proves its capacity to grow in a hypercompetitive financial market that’s growing increasingly crowded each year. 

Chime is a private company so it doesn’t have to disclose any of its financials right now, but Reuters reported recently that the amount of money Chime users spent through the company’s platform increased 33% in 2020, compared to the previous year.  

And Chime’s CEO recently told CNBC that his company has more than tripled its transaction volume and revenue in 2020, though Chime hasn’t released the exact figures. Additionally, Britt says the company is profitable on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) basis. 

Investors looking for a stock that could grow further into the online banking market might have just what they’re looking for in Chime. If the company does go public soon, Chime investors will be tapping into a unique aspect of the fintech space that’s only just getting started. 

Bear Case: Why Investors Should Hold Off on Buying Chime Stock

While Chime could offer investors an opportunity to tap into the vast online banking market, the company could face some major challenges. 

First, the fintech space is getting very crowded as both banks and technology companies rush to offer payment services in an increasingly online banking world. 

For example, banks like Ally (NYSE:ALLY) and Capital One (NYSE:COF) offer their own simplified online banking services that compete with Chime. And even more traditional banks like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) have their own online banking offerings that include free checking accounts.

Other companies, including Alliant and Axos, offer very similar services to Chime’s, and some of them even have higher annual percentage yields for their savings accounts. 

There’s no need to get into the details of each company and what they offer compared to Chime because there are simply too many similarities between what Chime offers and what many other online banks and fintech companies offer. That’s not great news for potential Chime investors. Neither is the fact that technology companies are increasingly moving into this market as well.

Consider that PayPal’s (NASDAQ:PYPL) popular peer-to-peer payment app, Venmo, has its own debit card users can reload with money and use at ATMs, and users can easily manage their accounts through the app. Venmo already has 70 million users, far more than Chime’s estimated 12 million

Adding to the competition are other fintech companies, like Square (NYSE:SQ) and Robinhood. Square offers services similar to Venmo’s and Robinhood—which started as an investing app—now offers Robinhood Cash. This service includes direct deposit, bill pay, paid interest on unused cash, and free ATM usage. Sound familiar?

Robinhood is exploring an IPO as well and already has 13 million users. In addition to some overlapping services with Chime, Robinhood also has a popular stock investing service. 

All this means that while Chime is making a lot of headway into the online banking business right now, the company is facing huge competition from both banks and other fintech companies. 

Who Owns Chime? 

Chime is a private company held by the many venture capital firms that have invested in it.  

The fintech startup has a total of 26 investors and has gone through 9 investment rounds, totaling $1.5 billion. 

Chime has had many lead investors over the past few years, including DST Global, Menlo Ventures, and Cathay Innovation, and its latest investment round was comprised of investments from ICONIQ, Tiger Global, Whale Rock Capital, General Atlantic, Access Technology Ventures, Dragoneer, and DST Global. 

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What is Chime’s Current Valuation?

Chime’s valuation has skyrocketed over the past few years, soaring from just $1.5 billion in 2019 to its current $14.5 billion valuation.

During the company’s latest funding round, a Series F which occurred in September 2020, Chime raised $485 million. That influx of cash caused Chime’s valuation to jump to $14.5 billion. 

The company’s current valuation puts it ahead of another highly popular fintech company, Robinhood, which has a valuation of about $12.5 billion as of February 2021. 

How Much Is Chime’s Stock Right Now?

Chime isn’t publicly traded, so the company doesn’t have a stock price right now. 

What Is Chime’s Stock Symbol? 

Only companies that are publicly traded on a stock exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, have a stock symbol. Because Chime isn’t publicly traded right now, it doesn’t have a stock symbol. 

When the company goes public, whether through a traditional IPO, direct listing, or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), it will then have a stock symbol.

Should You Buy Chime Stock When It Goes Public? 

Whenever Chime decides to go public, it might be best to wait to buy the company’s stock. Chime is facing a lot of competition in this space that simply can’t be overlooked. 

Every market has competition, but Chime doesn’t appear to have any significant advantages over its rivals. Any of the companies we talked about in this article could add to their existing services to match Chime’s, or users could simply piece together services from a few competitors to match their online banking needs.

Consider that even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) offers its own credit card and a mobile-focused way to pay in-person and online through its Apple Pay service. 

The second reason investors may want to hold off on buying Chime stock when it goes public is for the simple reason that it’s usually best not to buy shares of a company right when it goes public.

Let the other investors fight over the initial IPO rush. If Chime turns out to be a great company with lots of long-term investing potential, there’s no need to buy shares in the days or weeks following the public offering. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Chime Publicly Traded?

No, Chime doesn’t have any shares publicly traded on any stock exchanges right now. The company’s CEO has indicated that Chime could go public in late 2021 or early 2022.

Can I Buy Chime Stock?

You can’t buy Chime’s stock right now because the company isn’t publicly traded. 

What Is Chime’s Stock Symbol?

Chime doesn’t have a stock symbol right now because the company’s shares aren’t publicly traded. If/when the company goes public, it will choose a stock symbol to be listed under.

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