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Sable Review: Fees, Functionalities, Credibility, and Monito's Recommendation

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Sep 15, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

Sable is a good digital checking account and card (8.2/10) which our experts recommend, particularly for its easy signup process and very low fees and exchange rates (9.3/10). Although not a bank itself, Sable's accounts are offered by Coastal Community Bank, making it a reputable platform with solid backing (7.1/10), although still small in size. While it has good customer satisfaction ratings among its clients (9.2/10), Sable still has a way to go when it comes to its account functionality (7/10) where — despite offering a capable and flexible checking account, credit and debit cards, and mobile app — the platform is still limited in terms of the number of top-up methods and multi-currency functionality.

What We Like About Sable

  • Exceedingly low fees for day-to-day use;
  • Backed by Coastal Community Bank;
  • Offers both debit and credit cards;
  • Option to build credit history;
  • Partnered with Wise for international money transfers;
  • Integrated with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay;
  • Deposits insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC.

What We Dislike About Sable

  • The exchange rate margin is only visible post-transaction;
  • Deposits via credit and debit cards aren't supported;
  • No multi-currency functionality;
  • Contactless payments aren't yet supported.
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Due to its particularly low fees for everyday use and few registration requirements, we recommend Sable as a secondary low-cost bank account for US citizens or a primary bank account for newcomers and US Visa-holders who don't yet have an SSN. We also recommend the Sable ONE credit card, which provides an excellent way to manage your credit score goals with fewer risks and costs.

However, Sable isn't the best for foreign currency spending, so if you plan to use Sable for non-USD transactions, we recommend finding alternatives.

Where Is Sable Available?

Sable will be available to you so long as you're a US resident, regardless of whether you're a citizen or a visa holder. If you are a foreigner who needs a US bank account, you'll only need your home country's passport and a valid US visa to apply for a Sable account. If you are a US citizen, on the other hand, you will be required to submit your SSN.

How Monito Reviewed Sable's Services

As with all services reviewed by Monito, Sable underwent a rigorous evaluation to assess the quality of its service. To begin with, our experts analysed several key criteria, including customer reviews, the percentage cost of various transaction types, top-up options, access to customer service, as well as business and legal metrics such as revenue, appropriate authorisation, and company size. As with all Monito Scores, Sable's score was peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert.

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Trust & Credibility

7.3

Background check

Member FDIC and accounts are held by Coastal Community Bank.

Security & reliability

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Company size

Around 10 thousand customers and $5 million in annual revenue.

Transparent pricing

Pricing is transparent and easy to understand, but FX margins are only accessible after making an international transfer.

Is Sable Safe?

The short answer is a big yes: with Sable, you'll have access to a checking account, debit card and (optionally) a credit card that are functionally on par with those offered by registered US banks.

Although still a relatively small company in comparison to many other US neobanks, Sable is indeed a safe and secure checking account option that's duly licensed and regulated in the US, with FDIC-insured deposits of up to $250,000 per user through Sable's banking partner Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. In addition, Sable also offers Zero Liability Protection through its partnership with Mastercard, through which Sable credit and debit cards are issued.

As far as the user is concerned, what this means is that you'll be fully protected on all fronts; with up to $250,000 in deposits guaranteed to be paid back to you in the event that Sable faces financial difficulty and secure protection against any unauthorized transactions that take place using your card in the event of theft or fraud.

Service & Quality

7.0

Using the mobile app

Smooth and user-friendly with many interesting features, although lacking automatic spending categorization.

Managing the account

Basic features with a limited number of top-up methods and no joint account, overdraft, or interest.

Contacting support

A FAQ, live chat, and phone support are available but 24/7 service currently is not.

Making card payments

Online payments, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are supported but contactless payment are not.

Sable's Product & Service Quality

Building its company image on "inclusive banking," Sable stands out among most US-based digital banking solutions in that its checking account and debit card is available to all US residents, regardless of whether you're a freshly-arrived Green Card holder or a born-and-bred US citizen. In our opinion, this gives Sable a critical edge over some of its major alternatives, many of which require US citizenship.

All told, Sable offers several unique products to customers, and we review the major ones below:

Sable Checking Account

Sable's account is a fully-fledged checking account held in deposit by the Coastal Community Bank, meaning it is functionally on the same level as checking offerings at any traditional bank, but for a fraction of the price. This gives you the following day-to-day financial services:

  • Deposit processing: Top-up money into your bank account.
  • Withdrawals: Withdraw cash at ATMs.
  • Direct debits: Set up recurring ACH transfers in which funds are automatically deducted from your account.
  • Debit card: Use a debit card to make cashless payments and withdraw money (more on this later).
  • Bank wires: Send and receive domestic wires and receive international wires (though it's not yet possible to send international wires with Sable).

In essence, this means that you can take advantage of all the basic features of an ordinary bank account through Sable, making it an excellent banking alternative for new arrivals or a second account for US citizens who may already have a primary bank account elsewhere.

However, the one major drawback of Sable's checking account is that it doesn't offer top-up via credit or debit card, leaving bank deposits into your Sable account as the most accessible top-up method. However, it does offer cash as a top-up method* and integration with hundreds of different financial apps (more on this below).

Furthermore, Sable is not well-geared toward travel and foreign currency spending, offering no multi-currency functionality and processing all payments in the US dollar only. While your Sable credit and debit card will still most certainly be usable overseas, this means you'll be paying additional currency conversion fees if you decide to use the service on your next trip abroad.

Finally, it's worth being well aware that Sable's checking account offers only the essential financial services we discussed above and does not offer more specialized financial services or credit-related services such as interest, overdraft, investments, joint accounts, or personal loans.

Sable Mobile App

Offering a slick and widely-praised mobile app that's available for download on both Google Play and the App Store, Sable provides an easy-to-use and clean user experience with a straightforward interface and a lack of information overload. It offers several interesting features, including:

  • Virtual contactless card payments via the app;
  • Automatic spending categorization;
  • In-app international transfers, powered by Wise;
  • Credit history and credit limit management;
  • Blocking and unblocking cards;
  • Access to live chat customer support.

Sable

A significant advantage of the Sable app is that it comes integrated with the mobile payments platform Plaid, which means you'll be able to make convenient in-app payments to and from your Sable account and other mobile bank accounts (e.g. Chime, Varo, etc.), money transfer apps (e.g. Wise, Cash App, Venmo, WorldRemit, etc.), as well as many major investments, savings, and personal and business finance apps such as Acorns, Expensify, Truebill, Stripe, and many others.

Sable Debit Card

Sable offers a physical debit Mastercard that arrives in the post between five and seven working days after a successful application. You'll also receive a virtual card automatically as soon as your Sable account is approved. Like the physical card, the virtual card is a Mastercard with a dedicated card number, meaning you'll be able to use it for online payments and link it to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Sable debit cards don't yet come with contactless payments built-in, meaning you'll need to use a mobile wallet to make contactless payments at stores, cafes, and restaurants, for example.

Sable

A major perk of the physical debit card is that it accrues 1.00% cashback on most purchases, including major brands such as Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Whole Foods. Furthermore, as we touched on earlier, all purchases made through your debit card are purchase protected via Mastercard and extended warrantee with Sable itself, giving your purchases world-class security.

In addition, the Sable debit card also gives you a dollar-for-dollar match on all cash back at the end of your first year with Sable’s Double Cash Bonus.

Sable ONE Credit Card — Is It Any Good?

In addition to the debit card and checking account offered by Sable (which is the main subject of this review), customers have the option to apply for a Sable ONE credit card, which allows you to build your credit history and spend money with a black credit Mastercard.

Like many credit card offerings, Sable's credit card offers cashback on most purchases, with 2.00% cashback applying to everyday purchases at popular retailers such as Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Netflix, and Spotify and 1.00% cashback on everything else. What's more, the credit program comes with no annual fee, no additional currency conversion costs when spending abroad (only the base Mastercard exchange rate), and requires no minimum security deposit — you can move as much or as little as you like from your regular Sable account into your credit account.

What's more, after as little as four months of spending only the money in your secured credit account (which can be added via your Sable bank account), the Sable ONE credit program also allows you to gain access to unsecured credit (provided you have a good payment history).

Additionally, the credit card also gives you the following perks:

  • Dollar-for-dollar match on all cash back at the end of your first year with Sable’s Double Cash Bonus.
  • Auto-review to an unsecured card in as little as four months (which is around three times faster than anywhere else) with Sable’s graduation promise.
  • Up to $10,000 credit limit.

All in all, considering you won't pay a dime in monthly fees for the Sable ONE credit card and taking into account the decent cashback and good credit-building functionality, Sable ONE is an excellent credit card and a real advantage to the overall Sable product, in our opinion. This is especially true for newcomers in the US who are looking for an easy way to get on track with their financial lives, including credit history.

* Up to $500 every 24 hours via CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Dollar General, etc.

Fees & Exchange Rates

7.8

Everyday use

Zero everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees.

ATM withdrawals

No fees charged for ATM withdrawals (although ATM networks could always charge their own fees).

Online spending

Ordinary online spending comes at no cost in USD but incurs a 2% charge on average for foreign currencies.

International spending

A 2% foreign exchange fee is charged for all currency conversion operations.

Sable's Fees & Exchange Rates

All things considered, Sable is an exceedingly cheap digital banking option, charging practically no fees for day-to-day use. As such, you can expect to pay no fees for monthly account management, ACH transfers, ATM withdrawals, and bill payments. Furthermore, there's no minimum initial deposit or minimum average monthly account balance needed to keep things up and running.

However, while cheap, Sable is not entirely free. If you happen to use any of the services below, Sable will charge you these fees:

  • Incoming domestic wire: $3.00
  • Outgoing domestic wire: $5.00
  • Incoming international wire: $15.00
  • Sped-up card delivery*: $20.00

In addition, Sable also charges a 2% fee for every foreign currency conversion it makes from the US dollar balance in your account. This fee, known as an exchange rate margin, is the difference between the mid-market exchange rate (i.e. the one you see on Google). This fee applies to all card spending in a foreign currency, whether at the ATM or a restaurant abroad.

On the other hand, when it comes to making international money transfers, you'll be able to take advantage of Sable's integration with Wise's money transfer platform to transfer money abroad at around 0.30% to 1.80% above the mid-market rate, making it one of the cheapest ways to move money abroad.

* Card delivery from standard 4 to 7 working days to 1 to 4 working days.

Fees Overview: Sable vs Alternatives

To get a better idea of how Sable's pricing compares to those of other providers for managing a checking account and processing everyday spending, take a look at the table below, which compares Sable with Chime (a digital bank alternative), as well as with Wells Fargo and Bank of America (two of the US's most prominent banks):

Sable

Chime

Wells Fargo

Bank of America

Account Name

Sable

Chime

Everyday Checking

Advantage Plus

Monthly Fees

$0.00

$0.00

$10.00

$12.00

Minimum Deposit

$0.00

$0.00

$25.00

$100.00

Overdraft Fees

$0.00

$0.00

$35.00

$35.00

Outgoing Domestic Wire Fees

$5.00

-

$30

$30

Currency Conversion

0.18%

0.00%*

3.00%

3.00%

Try SableTry ChimeTry Wells FargoTry BoA

Last updated: 22/11/2021
* Only Mastercard exchange rate applies

Customer Satisfaction

9.2

Customer review score

Average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Play and the App Store.

Number of positive reviews

Fewer than 6,000 four- and five-star reviews to date.

Sable Customer Reviews

As of 2022, Sable is still a relatively new app and as a result, has not yet racked up the kind of customer feedback volumes as some of its alternatives have. Despite receiving fewer than one thousand four- and five-star reviews on the App Store and Google Play combined, Sable has performed well so far, scoring an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on the two platforms taken together. Some of the most frequent sentiments users have voiced included the following:

Sable Positive Customer Reviews

  • An excellent option to build or repair your credit score;
  • The app is straightforward and easy to understand;
  • Easy to use with Cash App or Venmo.

Sable Negative Customer Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions About Sable

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