Simple Bank Review

TLDR

I love this bank. The app is simple (ha), the Goals feature is great for saving money, the company is honest, and there are very few fees. There are some downsides, like the pain of depositing cash and the low interest rate.

Overall, I recommend it. It’s almost fun to write about the purchases you made so you’re not scrolling through later in the month wondering what the hell “47Msjr4At8fSJ” is from PayPal. Since there’s no minimum account balance, monthly fee, dormant account fee, or account closing fee, it doesn’t hurt to try it out if you’re curious. Check it out here.

And here’s a free wallet if you make an account.

Simple's Refer a Friend, Get a Wallet program. Free wallet!

Longer Version

Before the pros and cons, I want to talk about ATMs. Mostly because it’s a neutral topic and I don’t know where to put it. If you ever need cash, just open the app and click ATM finder to see the free-to-use ATMs around you. There might be a fee if you don’t use one of those ATMs, but I think it’s from the ATM and not Simple.

Simple's ATM finder
ATMs somewhere in Nebraska

So leggo!

Pros

Few and low fees

Check out the link for the full list because it’s really long. Just to list a few, there’s no account closing fee, dormant account fee, stop payment fee, deposited item returned fee, or replacement card fee. That’s pretty cool.

No Minimum Account Balance

You can be broke as hell and that’s fine.

Great App Features

While the bank is pretty cool by itself, what really sells it is the app, which is full of cool things you never knew you needed.

Goals

This is a great tool for saving money. Basically, you set up a goal with a name, amount, and deadline. The app will tell you how much you need to save per day and automatically put your money from “Safe-to-Spend” to the goal. You can choose to transfer more money in, out, or pause the goal, as well as update, change the color (to differentiate it from your other Goals), and delete it. I’m kind of in love with this.

Simple Goals example
I made a fake Labor Day trip to Australia/New Zealand for this post. I wish.

Memos and Photos and Tags, oh my!

Sorry, that was cheesy. Moving on…

Ever wonder, “where the hell is money going?” Well now you can find out! Tag your purchase items and go online to search for you tags. Of course, you could do this manually. In fact, if this was ten years ago, I might’ve used Excel to keep track of how much I’m spending on things like groceries, coffee, or eating out. Luckily, it’s not 2007 anymore.

Rickroll
The first instance of rickrolling occurred in May 2007
Simple purchase example of a Chipotle burrito
Chipotle is love. Chipotle is life.

Simple purchase example of Mozzarella Arancini CroquettesYou can also upload photos and write little memos. It’s nice to read what I got at Wildberry Cafe in Chicago with my friend instead of just seeing where I ended up spending $23.00 for breakfast.

Scheduled Payments

You can do an instant transfer, mail a check, pay a bill, transfer to another account, and deposit a check at a later time or on a recurring schedule Never forget a rent or bill check again!

Block Card

If you’re like me, you lose things a lot. Hopefully, you’re not like me. But if you are and you’ve lost your Simple card, you can just block it from your phone. I use this a lot because I’m paranoid and I misplace things all the time (meaning I think I lose it when it’s really just in my other bag). I block it, wait a few hours to see if it turns up, and then unblock it. Or block it and ask customer service to send a new one. It’s only happened once, I swear.

Simple Block Card feature

Instant Notifications

Not everyone will like this, which is fine since there’s an option to turn it off. Every time a purchase goes through, you get a notification. I usually write in my memo and tag as soon as I get the notification. If I see something wonky, then I can immediately block my card and figure out what’s going on.

Photo Check Deposit

I think most banks have this in their apps now, but Simple’s app is just so nice. This feature is nothing special anymore, but convenient nonetheless.

Clean and Simple (ha)

Both the app and site are true to their name. I had no issues finding features and learning how to use them. Incoming transactions are green and outgoing transactions are red to make it easy to tell.

Great Communication and Transparency

I just respect this so much. I remember asking when they would come out with the photo attachment feature that was already out for iOS and customer service replied that they were working on it. Sure enough, I saw it not long after. Whenever I let them know that I would be travelling internationally, they were always upfront about the fees and told me without having to ask. And look at this for another example.

Great Customer Service

I have contacted several times for travel and random questions and each person was so professional.

Beautiful Card

Not that important, but I get a comment every time a friend sees my card for the first time. It really does look nice.

Cons

Debit Card, not Credit

Which means you can’t build your credit. I can’t imagine that having no credit card can be good for your credit score. I guess the pro to this would be that you can’t go into debt, but still.

Low Interest Rate

As of 7/12/17, the current APY is 0.01%, which isn’t competitive.

No Savings Account

Or any other type of account, for that matter. If anyone asks, it’s a checking account, though according to their site it’s not that either.

Depositing Cash is a Pain

You can keep an account at another bank open and send money over, buy money orders, or find some way to figure it out. There are definitely work-arounds, but it’d be a lot more convenient if you could do cash deposits at their ATMs.

No Checks

You can deposit checks, but you can’t write them. You have to ask them to send one for you. I’ve used this feature once and don’t remember everything, but I don’t think there was an option to track the check or know when it was received. I guess when you mail a check it’s the same idea, but there’s no way to hand someone a check.

No Physical Location

I’ve never really had to go to the bank, so this isn’t an issue for me. My mom still comments on this like it’s a crazy concept, though, so here it is in the cons.

Summary

I’ve enjoyed this app since December 2013 and aside from having to buy money orders once in a while and a few issues with Venmo, PayPal, and RobinHood when they changed to BBVA Compass, I haven’t had any complaints. I use the Goals feature constantly to save up for trips and gifts and it’s so convenient to keep track of how much I’m spending on coffee and eating out. If you’re looking for an account where you can dump money and leave it, I’ve heard good things about Ally. If you get a lot of cash, you’ll have to get used to buying money orders or figuring something out. Otherwise, there are no fees for trying it out.

That’s everything I can think of at the moment. If you currently do use or have used it, what do you think? If you haven’t, would you?

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