The interest rate paid on cash held in checking accounts is so low that it’s often not worth the hassle to chase a higher yield. After all, a 0.5% rate increase on a $10,000 balance comes out to just $50 a year.
Juno is the first bank in a while to make me reconsider this view, offering well above average checking yields and a 6% rate on USDC.
In this Juno review, I’ll highlight the key features offered by this fast-growing fintech company. Is it a great deal or is there some type of hidden risk?
Juno is an online banking platform that offers integrated checking and crypto management. As a standalone, low-fee/high-yield checking account, Juno offers many best-in-class features. On the crypto side, Juno allows you to convert dollars to USDC and several other crypto assets, including BTC and ETH. Layer 2 transfers offer crypto enthusiasts another way to save. Overall, the platform has a lot to offer those looking for a more seamless and cost-effective transfer between fiat and crypto.
- Earn 6% on USDC with the ability to withdraw at any time.
- Quickly transfer between USD and USDC with no fees.
- Transfer directly to Layer 2 (Polygon).
- Bridge USDC to Solana with zero fees
- Holdings in U.S. dollars are FDIC-insured.
- Limited number of cryptocurrencies available.
- No option to earn interest on Bitcoin and Ethereum through lending or staking.
Juno At a Glance
Juno is a financial technology company founded in 2019, with offices in Singapore, San Francisco and Bengaluru (India). It was formerly called OnJuno, but changed its name in June 2022.
What makes Juno unique is that account holders can receive, hold and spend both U.S. dollars and cryptocurrencies.
As is the case with many fintech startups, Juno is not a bank itself. Instead, it’s a tech platform with banking features provided through a partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust.
U.S. dollar deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
How Juno Works
To use Juno, you need to create an account and fund it with an electronic bank transfer (ACH) or a wire transfer. You can also transfer in one of the limited number of cryptocurrencies Juno allows you to trade. Juno provides you with both a BTC and ETH wallet address immediately after account approval.
To get approved, you’ll need to submit your Social Security number, along with either a driver’s license or another approved form of ID. When I signed up, the process took less than five minutes. Then, it took another two minutes for my account to be approved.
Once approved, you can access Juno’s array of features, including:
- A high-yield checking account that comes with a debit card that allows you to make purchases in either dollars or USDC.
- Up to 5% cash-back rewards on debit card purchases at specific retailers (10% when you pay with crypto).
- Transfers between dollars and crypto (including USDC, BTC and ETH).
- The option to have a portion of your direct deposits automatically invested in crypto.
Juno’s High-Yield Checking Account
Juno offers a high-yield checking account, with FDIC-insurance for cash deposits. This account is currently only available as an individual account, though the company plans to enable joint accounts in the future.
As with most standard checking accounts, you can use Juno to hold, send, receive and spend U.S. dollars. But Juno’s high-yield checking account also comes with a few other tools, which vary depending on your membership level.
Juno offers two checking accounts, known as Basic and Metal. Here are each account’s key features:
|Basic Membership||Metal Membership|
|Annual percentage yield (APY):||1.2% on balances up to $5,000. Balances above $5,000 earn 0.25%. No interest is earned on balances above $100,000.||1.2% on balances up to $50,000. Balances above $50,000 earn 0.25%. No interest is earned on balances above $100,000.|
|Cash-back:||Earn 5% on your first $500 in spending at select retailers when paying with cash, or 10% when paying with USDC (up to a maximum of $50 per year).||Earn 5% on your first $3,000 in spending at select retailers when paying with cash, or 10% when paying with USDC (up to a maximum of $300 per year).|
|Compounding frequency:||Accrues daily and is paid out on the first of the month.||Accrues daily and is paid out on the first of the month.|
|Direct deposit required?||No.||A minimum direct deposit of $250 per month is required. If no direct deposit is detected within a month, you’re switched back to the Basic membership.|
|Card quality:||Plastic debit card.||Metal debit card.|
|Out-of-network ATM reimbursements:||One per month, with a maximum of $4.||Three per month, with a maximum of $4 each.|
Both account tiers come with a debit card that can be used for purchases or to withdraw cash with zero ATM fees at the 85,000+ locations in the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks.
Account holders automatically get a virtual debit card that is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Both Basic and Metal account holders can also get a physical debit card, but these are only issued upon request.
You can use your Juno debit card to pay for purchases with either the cash in your account or your USDC holdings, and the app makes it easy to toggle back and forth between the two payment sources.
Another key feature of the Juno debit card is the company’s cash-back rewards program.
With your Juno debit card, you can earn cash-back on purchases made at partners like Amazon, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Airbnb and Home Depot. You can choose ten merchants and earn either 5% when spending cash or 10% when spending USDC.
The maximum total cash-back you can earn with a Basic checking account is $50 per year. The maximum cash-back for Metal checking members is $300 per year.
You’re allowed to change your cash-back brands only once per month, but you’re free to switch between cash and USDC spending whenever you like.
Cash to Crypto Transfers
Juno’s crypto trading platform allows you to buy and sell the following cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- US Dollar Coin (USDC)
- LINK (Chainlink)
- MUSDC (Polygon USDC)
- Avalanche (AVAX)
You can store, buy and sell crypto directly starting from as low as $1.
Juno’s crypto trading terminal is straightforward to navigate and use. It’s similar to the “Instant Buy” feature found on exchanges like Coinbase, except it’s integrated with your checking balance to enable quick cash-to-crypto conversions.
Juno really stands out as a crypto investment platform because of its 0% transaction fees on your first to $250,000 in crypto trades. Considering that some exchanges charge a flat fee plus a percentage-based fee (often, as high as a few percentage points), this feature is unique within the industry and makes it an excellent crypto micro-investment platform.
Earn Bonus Rewards on Crypto
In addition to earning up to 1.2% on USD, Juno gives you a 6% bonus on USDC.
The bonus compounds monthly and is paid out in USDC on the first of every month. There’s no limit to how much you can earn in bonus rewards, but the rate is subject to change.
Additionally, your principal USDC balance isn’t locked when you deposit it into your wallet (you can withdraw it at any time). You can withdraw your USDC to an external wallet, or you can sell it and have the U.S. dollars deposited into your checking account.
Beyond USDC, Juno pays a 3% annual yield on both BTC and ETH.
Getting Paid In Crypto
Juno allows you to quickly convert your paycheck into crypto.
Employees who work for companies that use certain payroll processing providers, like ADP and Zenefits, can use Juno to automatically convert all or part of their earnings into Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDC.
Seeing that you can trade for free on Juno, what this process does is eliminate the step of money being deposited first to USD and then having to manually convert it to crypto.
You can decide how much of your paycheck you want to allocate to each of these three cryptocurrencies, and how much you want to receive as cash.
Juno lets you deposit your crypto into either your Juno wallet or any other third-party non-custodial wallet, such as MetaMask. (Keep in mind that you’ll pay network fees to deposit your crypto to a non-custodial wallet.)
Juno Fees and Limits
Checking Account Fees
There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements for checking accounts at Juno.
All ACH deposits and withdrawals to and from your checking account are fee-free. However, if you fund your account with a credit card or external debit card, the following fees apply:
- Credit card: $0.30 + 3.5%.
- Debit card: $0.30 + 2%.
Non-U.S. credit and debit card transfers incur an additional 1% fee.
Like most checking accounts, those provided by Juno have limits on how much you can send and receive. There are too many limits to list here, but the most important restrictions include:
- Daily ACH deposit: $10,000.
- Daily ACH withdrawal: $10,000.
- Daily wire deposit: $50,000.
- Annual direct deposits: $3 million.
Debit Card Fees
The Juno debit card is free to use for purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees.
If you use the Juno debit card, there are only two limits to be aware of:
- Daily ATM withdrawal limit: $2,500.
- Daily spending limit: $10,000.
You get one free out-of-network ATM withdrawal per month on your debit card if you have a Basic account, and three free out-of-network ATM withdrawals if you have a Metal account. The out-of-network ATM fee is $4 per withdrawal if you exceed these limits. All in-network ATM withdrawals are fee-free.
Crypto Trading Fees
Juno has a unique fee schedule for crypto trades. You get fee-free access to crypto trading on your first $250,000 in transactions. After that, each trade incurs a 0.50% fee, which is competitive for the industry.
Juno does not charge crypto withdrawal or deposit fees. While crypto withdrawals to external wallets usually incur a network fee, the network determines those fees, not Juno.
One Juno crypto feature that particularly stands out — as it’s a feature that is not available on many of the most popular exchanges — is that you can go right from Juno to Polygon (a Layer 2 network on Ethereum). With this feature, you can skip the fees you’d have to pay to go from Ethereum Mainnet to Polygon.
Similarly, you can instantly withdraw USDC straight to Soluna without paying any fees.
Juno does have some crypto buying and selling limits. Metal account holders can trade up to $15,000 worth of crypto per day, $155,000 per month, and $500,000 per year on the platform. Basic account holders have the same monthly and annual limits, but they can only place $10,000 worth of crypto trades per day.
Juno Security and Insurance
All U.S. dollar deposits on the platform are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000. However, there is no FDIC insurance on crypto assets.
The crypto in Juno accounts is held by BitGo in secure cold storage facilities. BitGo is a reputable, well-established and industry-leading cryptocurrency custodian, but there are still risks to keeping your crypto in your hosted Juno wallet.
As with any hosted wallet (i.e., a wallet where you don’t control the private keys to your crypto), there’s a risk that a hacker could infiltrate Juno’s servers and drain customer accounts. A hacker that gains access to your Juno login credentials could also quickly transfer your crypto to an external wallet without your knowledge.
Neither of these situations is particularly likely, but they highlight potential security issues worth considering when you trust your crypto to be hosted in a hot wallet like Juno’s.
No, there is no savings account option available from Juno. However, the Juno online checking account pays interest in excess of most savings accounts offered by banks.
Juno, which isn’t a bank but a financial technology company, refers to its interest rate as a “bonus rate” and not APY (annual percentage yield) because this interest is provided by Juno directly, not by Evolve Bank (its partnered banking services provider). Any interest rate that Evolve provides for account holders is called an APY.
You cannot deposit paper checks with Juno. You need to first cash your check at another bank that accepts physical checks, then transfer those funds to your Juno account.
Juno offers a $100 referral bonus for the first 10 people you refer to the platform. To get this bonus, your referrals need to sign up with your unique referral link and receive a direct deposit of $250 or more.
Here’s my personal link (available to the first 10 users). Alternatively, you can use the code: RJ5P8T58.
Juno is only available in the U.S. to citizens and residents who have a valid Social Security number. Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are not accepted for identity verification with Juno, so it’s not a viable option for many temporary residents.
The short answer is yes, you fully own your crypto with Juno.
Juno lets you buy, sell and hold crypto with your account. You can send any of the platform’s supported cryptocurrencies to an external wallet from your Juno wallet. Additionally, you can deposit cryptocurrencies to your Juno account.
But keep in mind that any crypto you keep in your Juno wallet is held by BitGo, Juno’s custodial partner. While you technically own your coins and can withdraw them to an external wallet, you don’t have control over your private keys while your coins are in your Juno account.
Is Juno Right For You?
Juno is an innovative fintech company that offers an array of features for people seeking a single platform for their banking and crypto investing needs.
There are many benefits to Juno, including its high-yield checking feature and beginner-friendly crypto investing fees. Juno also offers high-yield accounts for USDC holdings and allows you to convert your direct deposit paycheck into crypto without transferring to another brokerage.
But there are downsides to Juno, as well. Crypto is still in a very speculative stage and placing significant short-term funds — i.e., those that you use for everyday spending — in crypto investments carries substantial risk.
If you’re just looking to dip your toes into the waters of the crypto world, these issues may not matter and Juno could be a good place to get started.