Simple Finance checking + budget app review March 2019 | finder.com

Simple app and debit card review

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Simple
  • Earn up to 2.02% APY
  • Online checking account
  • Built-in budgeting and saving tools

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If you’re comfortable banking online, this new-gen account may be a good fit.

If you’re the type who’s on your phone all day, Simple’s digital-only checking account could be what you’re looking for.

Aimed at the mobile-savvy, its fee-free account makes it easy to manage your money from your phone. Designed for budgeting and saving, this checking account is a moneymaker — as long as you set aside at least $2,000 in a separate area of your account to earn the high 2.02% APY.

APY2.02% on balances of $2,000+
0.01% on balances of $0 to $1,999
Monthly fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0
ATMs40,000 AllPoint ATMs in Simple’s network
ATM transaction fee$0
Out-of-network ATM fee$0
Overdraft fee$0
Deposit methodsMobile/remote check deposit
Bank transfer
Wire transfer
Direct deposit
Cash Check Transfer
  • Cash by teller
  • Check by teller
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash by ATM
  • Check by ATM
  • Wire transfer
  • Mobile/remote check deposit
  • Direct deposit

What are the benefits of a checking account with Simple?

In Simple‘s words, “you shouldn’t pay to use your own money.” But you’re in for more than a high APR and low costs.

No hassles

  • No fees. It’s free to open the account, and there are no monthly maintenance, overdraft, transfer or card replacement fees.
  • Complimentary ATMs. The fee-free theme continues with the 40,000 AllPoint ATMs in Simple‘s network. For outside and international ATMs, Simple won’t charge a fee — but the ATM operator might.
  • No minimum balance required. You don’t need to maintain a minimum balance, and there’s no minimum opening deposit.

Competitive advantages

  • Competitive APYs. Simple stands out for its sky-high 2.02% APY that applies to Savings Goal balances of $2,000 or more. If your Savings Goal balance dips below that, you’ll earn a low 0.01% APY on your total balance.
  • Built-in budgeting. Unique to Simple, Safe-to-Spend is designed to help you stick to a budget. Rather than showing your full balance online, it deducts your scheduled bills, savings and transfers from your checking balance so you don’t spend money that’s earmarked for other purposes.
  • Sophisticated online and mobile banking. Simple‘s tech tools support self-serve banking. Sign in to your online account or the app to transfer money, deposit checks, download statements, block and unblock your card, pay bills, set up direct deposit and notify Simple when you’re traveling overseas.

Security and convenience

  • Visa debit card. When you open this account, you get a chip-enabled Visa that’s accepted worldwide. And you can dip it into 40,000 ATMs across the US for free.
  • Fraud protection. To safeguard your fund, sign up for transaction notifications. Your card is covered by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy, which means you aren’t liable for unauthorized transactions. You can also block or unblock your card online or on the app.
  • Multiple payment methods supported. The account accepts wires, direct deposits, checks, and external and interbank transfers. It also supports preauthorized withdrawals. Need a cash advance? Contact Simple to withdraw up to $5,000 a day.

Simple‘s ATM network and fees

Dip your Simple Visa Debit Card into any one of the 40,000 AllPoint ATMs across the country to withdraw up to $500 every 24 hours. They’re free to use, and you can typically find them in Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, Dunkin Donuts, Target, Hess, CVS and Safeway stores, as well as BBVA Compass bank branches.

If you choose to use ATMs outside the AllPoint network, Simple won’t charge a fee but the ATM operator might.

What should I look out for?

Simple is staunchly modern and might have its downsides if you like the comforts of a traditional account:
  • No physical branches. The bank — and the checking account — is purely online.
  • Requirements for high APY. To earn the widely advertised 2.02% APY, you’ll need $2,000 or more in your Savings Goal account at all times, which may be a reach for some.
  • No checks. Simple doesn’t offer personal checks. Instead, you can use the fee-free bill pay service or money orders.
  • No cash deposit. To deposit cash into your account, you’ll need to link an external account, use a third-party payment service like Venmo or deposit a money order or check through the app. The bank doesn’t support ATM deposits just yet.
  • Limited support. Get in touch with the team by calling 888-248-0632 daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT or completing an online form.
  • Restrictions on bill pay. Simple‘s bill pay service can’t process some payments, including taxes and court-appointed fees.
Prohibited payees
There are some types of payments that can’t be sent with this service, including:
  • Tax payments.
  • Payments to city, State or Federal government agencies.
  • Court appointed fines or fees.
  • Collection agencies.
  • Payments sent outside the US.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
2.00% on balances of $10,000+ or deposit $1+ each calendar month into any Aspiration banking or investment account
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$0
A high-interest account that operates like a checking account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world and deposits insured by the FDIC.
1.01% on balances of $0.01+
Use any of the 32,000+ MoneyPass ATMs in the US for free
$0
Forget the hidden fees and fine print — this checking account has neither.
You’ll get fee-free access to over 56,000 ATMs around the world
$0
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
HSBC Choice Checking
HSBC Choice Checking
Access to HSBC ATMs worldwide, most with no withdrawal fees
$15/month
(can be waived)
Get a $200 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open a new HSBC Choice Checking account with qualifying activities by March 29, 2019
Nationwide. Access to 16,000 ATMs and 5,100 branches.
$12/month
(can be waived)
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and 5,100 branches.
1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
$0
Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA Compass ATMs.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much do I need to open an account?

The minimum opening deposit is $0. To earn the 2.02% APY, you’ll need to deposit and maintain at least $2,000 into your Savings Goal account. Otherwise, you’ll earn 0.01% interest on your total balance.

How do I apply?

Sign up in minutes online:

  1. Go to the Simple website and click Apply Now at top right.
  2. Create a username and password with your email address. Click Next.
  3. When you’re asked “What do you plan to use Simple for?” select an answer from the dropdown.
  4. Continue through the steps with your personal info and provide documents to establish your identity.
  5. Review and submit your application.

Eligibility

To open a checking account with Simple, you must be:

  • A US citizen or permanent resident.
  • At least 18 years old.

Required information

The application will ask for your:

  • Social Security number.
  • A valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.

What other checking options does Simple offer?

The bank is built on simplicity, offering only one checking account. At this time, there are no savings accounts or CDs available.

Not that this checking account can’t help you save. You can take advantage of in-built savings tools, like Safe-to-Spend and Saving Goals feature.

Does this bank offer business services?

No. There’s a single checking account, and it’s designed for personal use.

Bottom line

If you don’t mind a digital banking experience, Simple‘s checking account is worth looking into. It rewards customers with low fees and an interest rate that’s much higher than most brick-and-mortar banks. It’s free to open and maintain an account, and you don’t need to maintain a minimum balance — though if you want to earn the 2.02% APY, you’ll need at least $2,000 stashed away. The app is excellent, as are the in-built budgeting tools.

If you prefer face-to-face transactions or make frequent cash deposits, you might find Simple too frustrating.

To find the right checking account for you, compare your options our guide to checking accounts.

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