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Behind the scenes: Chime® Launches Chime Deals

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“We were discussing how to deliver lifetime value for our members when the idea for Chime Deals came up,” says Grace Hayes-Larson (she/her/hers), our Product Manager on one of Chime’s most recent features. “Our members have often told us that the early part of the Chime member journey is full of excitement. We wanted to create a Chime feature that would continue to bring excitement — and help them unlock financial progress™ — long after they enroll.”

So, the team started where we always do at Chime: with our members. “We learned that every member’s experience is different — and everyone handles their finances in their own way — but a few things emerged as universal,” Grace explains.

Our research shows that Chime members experience changes in income and want to reduce spending during those times. We thought, “What better way to do that than to help them save money on things they’re buying regularly?”

And so Chime Deals was born. Read on to take a peek at the process behind bringing it to life and its impact on members from two Chimers on the feature’s large, cross-functional team.

Taking a look at the landscape

As the team began to examine the landscape of money-saving, they noticed that financial institutions often offer small-volume cashback on infrequent purchase types. “These are cashback offers, but not on brands consumers regularly shop with, and they come with a lot of fine print, making them less compelling,” Grace explains.

The team also learned that there are many other places for consumers to find deals outside financial institutions. “There are so many options that all work differently, which makes it difficult for users to find consistency for the types of savings they want,” Olivia says.

They found that members want savings on everyday purchases, like gas and groceries — and they want those savings to be easy to access. “Many cashback features are buried and involve multiple steps to complete,” Olivia says. “In talking to members, we heard about how inconvenient existing apps and features can be.” They set out to reduce such inconvenience and simplify access to savings.

When considering Chime Deals’ success, the team referred to — you guessed it — our members’ success. “In the short term, we hope to deliver real value to members,” Grace says. “In the long term, we hope to see that cascade into success for Chime’s business — a symbiotic cycle that’s critical to our mission.”

Introducing Chime Deals

Chime Deals brings localized merchant rewards to members in a way that uniquely meets their spending needs, helping them save on the everyday purchases they already make. By partnering with Upside® (an external merchant rewards network), Chime brings tap-to-activate deals on everyday purchases at over thirty thousand locations to members. Through the partnership, members can enjoy cashback opportunities, including up to $0.22/gal back on gas, up to 11% back on grocery purchases, up to 24% back on dining, and more — with all cashback delivered seamlessly to their Chime checking account.

To access savings, members just have to follow a few simple steps:

  • Open the Chime app
  • View the map of deals near them, where they can see the quality of the deals (% cashback or cents off the gallon for gas and total sign price)
  • Once a member identifies a deal, they activate it and have 4 hours to use it
  • Then they visit the Deal location and swipe their Chime Visa® Debit Cards or Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Cards.
  • Cashback is delivered to their account within 10 business days

On a history screen, members can review their past deals (both redeemed and expired) as well as their lifetime savings through the feature.

Bringing Chime Deals to life

“Chime Deals was a unique launch,” Grace says. “One of our biggest milestones was, in fact, getting internal support. As a completely new feature that relies on an external partner, we had to help people understand how it would work and the benefit to our members.”

To do that, the team built out user insights, explored the partner structure for the feature, and fleshed out benefits for both Chime and our members. Once everyone saw the value Chime Deals could provide, they were on board — and it was all hands on deck. The team paralleled the internal design work and concepts with engineering and architectural investments to support the designs, all while navigating negotiations with our partner.

“As it sometimes does with a feature, everything coalesced around the same time, final designs and a signed contract. We enlisted marketing and support operations partners to help build the top and bottom of the feature’s funnel, shifting into the build and approvals phase,” Grace says.

When marketing came onto the scene, they had to figure out a name and positioning. “Our priority was how to talk about Chime Deals consistently across channels,” Olivia explains. “The first step was to build on our existing research and understand member needs, behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions.” The team used all of those inputs to develop a name that resonates, fits within the Chime portfolio, addresses a member need, and would be clear when they heard it: Chime DealsTM.

The effort was a cross-functional one, to say the least, involving many Chime teams:

  • Business Development, who sourced our partner and built the deal
  • Security and Legal, who provided counsel on vendor approvals
  • Compliance and our Bank Partnerships team, who made sure we respected the rules
  • Marketing, who developed positioning and plans to help members discover the feature
  • Product Engineering and Incentive Platform Engineering, who helped architect and build the full stack feature
  • User Experience Design, who made the feature seamlessly easy to use for all members
  • User Research, who helped us understand the member need behind the feature.
  • Operations and Member Experience, who devised a plan for supporting members using the feature
  • Analytics, who drove the design of our experiment and helped us establish the metrics we’ll measure for the feature.
  • Product, who coordinated across functions to bring Chime Deals to life
  • Creative and Content Design, who designed assets and wrote the content to support the feature both in-app and through member support channels.
  • Corporate Affairs and Communications, who supported the PR plan and launch communications preparation.
  • All employees at Chime contributed to our testing experience, providing valuable feedback on the experience and communications.

The key to launching a high-quality product on the first try

“We wanted to make sure we launched a high-quality product on our first try,” Grace says. “So we did a round of employee testing before opening it up to member testing. We saw over 300 Chimers redeem deals and gathered feedback through our internal channels. We got a lot of messages that simply said, ‘No feedback,’ which felt great. Some testers also picked up small edge cases and provided feedback on marketing copy — all of which was hugely helpful. A launch like this really does take a village.”

The village pulled through, launching Chime Deals to a subset of members first and then to all Chime members in March of 2024. “Putting money back into members’ pockets feels really good,” Olivia says. “The alignment between our members’ needs and Chime Deals makes it obvious that we built a good feature that offers real value,” Grace adds.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team that built the feature,” Olivia says. “It’s exciting to see not just what we accomplished — but how we accomplished it,” Olivia adds.

Cheers to the entire Chime Deals team! We can’t wait to see how much our members save.