Simple app and debit card review
If you’re comfortable banking online, this new-gen account may be a good fit.
finder.com’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Simple — a free bank account designed for budgeting and saving — will be shutting down soon. Check out Chime if you’re interested in an alternative.
$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
Expert reviewSimple‘s checking account is for the mobile-savvy. It rewards customers with low fees and an interest rate that’s much higher than most brick-and-mortar banks.
But if you want to earn the 0.3% APY, you’ll need to open a separate Protected Goals Account. Otherwise, you’ll earn 0.00%.
Attention: Simple has closedSimple officially ceased operations on May 9, 2021, and all active Simple accounts have transitioned into BBVA Simple accounts.
A good alternative to Simple is Chime, which offers free overdraft protection, early paychecks with direct deposit and an optional savings account that earns 0.5% APY. One Finance is another good option because it offers early paydays and a 3.0% APY on up to to 10% of each paycheck you receive via direct deposit.
Note that if you opened a Simple account in the months leading up to the BBVA transition, you may face a $25 fee for closing your account if it is less than 180 days old. If your Simple is more than six months old, you won’t pay a fee for closing it.
How do I open a Simple account?
Sign up in minutes online:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Simple website, click Apply Now.
- Create a username and password with your email address. Click Next.
- When you’re asked “What do you plan to use Simple for?” select an answer from the dropdown.
- Continue through the steps with your personal info and provide documents to establish your identity.
- Review and submit your application.
To open a checking account with Simple, you must be:
- A US citizen or permanent resident.
- At least 18 years old.
The application will ask for your:
- Social Security number.
- A valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.
Case study: Ryan’s experience – April 2019
I was excited about using Simple for a few months until they unexpectedly froze my account for more than a month without even notifying me, claiming that they needed more identity verification documents than what I provided months earlier when I opened the account. Unfortunately, it took them several weeks to even review the additional documents after I sent them in, and it was a mess to change all the automatic payments I had set up. You see, it’s important to me to keep track of where my money is going and when my bills are coming due, and I hadn’t found a personal finance website or app that showed me clearly what my future cash flow would look like … until Simple. It showed me what expenses were up next and automatically allocated my checking account balance to cover those bills ahead of time. With a quick glance, I could see where I was at for the month ahead.
Needless to say, that cool feature quickly took a back seat to the lack of trust I now have in Simple. To its credit, the company did apologize and reimburse me for two returned payment fees I incurred while my money sat locked up.
What are the benefits of a checking account with Simple?
Simple will be shutting its doors soon, but the account has these benefits:
- No fees. There’s no minimum opening deposit or balance, 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.
- Competitive APYs. Simple stands out for its 0.3% APY that applies if you open a Protected Goals Account.
- 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.
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’, Target, Hess, CVS and Safeway stores, as well as BBVA 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. Call 888-248-0632 daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT or complete an online form to speak with a rep.
- Requirements for high APY. To earn the widely advertised APY, you’ll need to open a Protected Goals Account. If you don’t open one, your balances will earn a 0.00% APY.
- No bill pay. Simple no longer offers an electronic bill pay service, and you’ll have to pay $5 for a pack of personal checks.
- 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.
If you prefer a high-yield checking account that doesn’t require the opening of a separate account, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.
Compare with other checking accounts
How much do I need to open an account?
The minimum opening deposit is $0. To earn the APY, you’ll need to open a Protected Goals Account. Balances in your Simple checking account only earn 0.00% APY.
What other checking options does Simple offer?
The bank is built on simplicity, offering only one checking account. Simple also offers a Protected Goals savings account that you can activate through your checking account.
Does this bank offer business services?
No. There’s a single checking account, and it’s designed for personal use.
Compare Simple to the competition
Frequently asked questions
Checking account ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.