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Simple Review – A No Fees Bank Account

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Simple

8.8

Customer Support

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Fees

10.0/10

Simple is a no fees bank that is part of the BBVA Group. In contrast with traditional consumer banks, Simple has no physical branches. Instead, account-holders are issued Visa debit cards and have access to an online banking system accessible through Simple.com or mobile apps for Android or iOS. Simple earns revenue by collecting interest on customer deposits and through the collection of interchange fees.

Simple Features

  • Mobile Banking – Allows access to the following from your app:
    • Visa Debit Card
    • Photo Check Deposit
    • Direct Deposit
    • External Account Linking
    • Instant transfers to other Simple customers
    • Third-party payment services like Square, Venmo, and PayPal
    • Block your card online if it’s been lost or stolen
  • Fee-free – Here is what you won’t pay fees on with Simple:
    • Minimum Deposit Needed to Open Account – $0
    • Monthly Service Charge (Monthly Fee) – $0
    • Requirements to Waive Monthly Service Charge – $0
    • Interest-Bearing – $0
    • For using an ATM in BBVA Compass’ ATM network – $0
    • For using an ATM outside of BBVA Compass’ ATM network – $0
    • Insufficient Funds (NSF) Charge – Returned Item – $0
    • Extended Overdraft Penalty Fee – $0
    • Deposited Item Returned Fee – $0
    • Stop Payment Fee – $0
    • Account Closing Fee – $0
    • Dormant Account Fee – $0
    • Other Service Fees – $0
    • Replacement Card Fee – $0
    • Wire Transfer Fees – $0
    • Staff-Assisted Call – $0
  • Goals – Easily setup emergency funds and other goals.
    • Emergency Fund – Emergency Fund is different from other Goals, because it’s set up as a new and Protected Goals account, so you won’t accidentally spend it.
      • Easily know how much to save. We’ll help you figure out what to save by taking a look at how much you make and how fast you want to build up your fund.
      • Automatically contribute. As soon as you set it up, we’ll do the work of saving for you a little each day.
      • No temptations. Your Emergency Fund is separate from the rest of your money, so you won’t accidentally spend it.
      • There when you need it. Your Emergency Fund is always ready to use. Just move the money you need into your Safe-to-Spend.
    • Other Goals – Easily setup and daily contributions to any goal you desire.
      • Setting Up Goals is as simple as:
        • Hitting the Add New Goal button
        • Choose a name (like, “taxes” or “sweet treats for being such a responsible and good saver of money”), the amount you’d like to save, how often you want to fund the Goal, and pick a completion date.
        • That’s it! If you choose to save over time, money will be incrementally moved from your Safe-to-Spend to the Goal, in whatever frequency you choose.
  • Expenses – Expenses work in a similar fashion as Goals. You set up your expenses and can automatically save for them each day until the expense is covered.
  • Safe-to-Spend – Safe-to-Spend is your total available balance minus your Goals and any Scheduled Activities that will be withdrawn from your account in the next 30 days. It’s your own smart budgeting tool that, together with Goals, is the heart and soul of your Simple account. To calculate Safe-to-Spend, we take your account balance, subtract the amount you have earmarked for recurring bills and financial goals, and tell you exactly how much money you have leftover to spend on whatever you want.  Say it’s payday, and you just want to know how much money you have left over after paying bills and setting some aside for your savings Goals. It can be even harder to keep track of that leftover amount as payments and spending money start to go out of your account. Safe-to-Spend updates in real-time—no more manual spreadsheet budgets or calculations scribbled on napkins.
  • Trackable Spending – Track your spending with detailed reports, label, and manage transactions without needing to rely on multiple apps. Your Simple account is smart enough to reveal your financial habits in graphs, charts, categories, and more, so you can easily identify where you should cut back or lean in.
    • Add photos, notes, and hashtags to every purchase.
    • Speedily search every transaction in your checking account by merchant name, keywords, custom labels, and hashtags.
  • Shared Accounts – One account to share, two to use solo. A notification will let you know every time one of you spends from your Simple Shared account, keeping you well-acquainted with your finances. Want to share everything? Go for it! Want to keep some stuff private? Sure! Find a balance of transparency and boundaries that works for both of you.
  • Security
    • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
    • Fingerprint unlock for iPhone and Android devices
    • Simple checking accounts are FDIC-insured
    • Your Simple card is protected by Visa’s Zero Liability policy
    • Chip technology in your card for extra protection
    • Photo Check Deposit to help you go branchless
    • Easy money transfers, including Instant transfers to fellow Simple customers
    • Our friendly Customer Relations team waiting to help you if problems arise.
    • Instant notification on Simple Android and iOS apps when your card is used.

As you can see, Simple has quite the feature list for a bank account that doesn’t knock you on fees every chance it gets. I do want to point out somethings that fall short from my experience using Simple so far:

  • The obvious, no branches. If you deposit a lot of cash this can be annoying to find other ways to get your money into your Simple account. Also, if you lose your debit card there is no going to the branch to get cash out or get a new debit card immediately. Relying on Simple as your only banking account and not having access to other funds (a cash stash or a local bank) can be dangerous. Especially when traveling. According to Simple they can only send a new debate card to a verified residential address and the process can take up to two weeks. This is the biggest reason for taking their customer support grade down to an 8.
  • As Simple is just a checking bank account, essentially, you will still need to rely on 3rd parties for investment funds. Not a huge deal for me, as I already do this but some may like to have everything in one location.

Conclusion

I like Simple. I’m 32 years old and very tech savvy, I don’t handle much if any cash so I have no need for local branch access to deposit it. I do, however, love traveling so I feel like I can not safely do so having only Simple as my banking account due to the inability to find a local branch for either a cash withdrawal or a replacement debit card should mine be stolen.

Simple is a breath of fresh air in the banking world though and it can be a great solution for many out there looking for a more honest upfront banking company. For those that wish to open a Simple banking account, you can use my link and you will get $20 the first time you use your debit card.


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