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Simple app and debit card review

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

Aimed at the mobile-savvy, this fee-free account makes it easy to manage your money from your phone. Designed for budgeting and saving, this checking account is a moneymaker — you can earn up to 2.15% APY as long as you set money aside in a separate Protected Goals Account.

$0

Monthly fee

2.15%

APY

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APY2.15% on balances of $10,000+
2.02% on balances of $0 to $9,999
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
Nonsufficient funds fee$0

Expert review

Katia Iervasi

Review by


Katia Iervasi is a writer from Sydney, Australia. Her writing — and curiosity — has taken her around the world, and she now calls New York home. With a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

Expert review

Simple‘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 2.15% APY, you’ll need to open a separate account and keep at least $10,000 stashed away.

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 low costs.

  • 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 sky-high 2.15% APY that applies if you open a Protected Goals Account with a balance of $10,000 or more. Any balance in a Protected Goals Account under $10,000 will earn 2.02% APY. With only a Simple checking account, your balances will earn a 0.01% APY.
  • 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 2.15% APY, you’ll need to open a Protected Goals Account and keep a balance of $10,000, which may be a reach for some.
  • 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. The bank doesn’t support ATM deposits just yet.

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

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$0
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
0.05%
More than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$19/month
(can be waived)
A full-service interest checking account that offers automatic rebates of ATM fees. Earn a $200 cash bonus when you add direct deposit.
0.01%
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$25/month
(can be waived)
Get a $1000 welcome bonus when you join Sapphire Banking by January 17, 2020. Within 45 days of joining, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excludes any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking
Radius Bank Rewards Checking
1.20% on balances of $100,000+
1.00% on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99
More than 20,000 ATMs + unlimited ATM surcharge rebates
$0
Earn cash back with this high-interest checking account, plus get free ATM access worldwide.
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches nationwide
$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 nearly 5,000 branches.
0.01%
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$0
Linked checking and savings accounts from a mobile-first bank that’s light on fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much do I need to open an account?

The minimum opening deposit is $0. To earn the 2.15% APY, you’ll need to open a Protected Goals Account and deposit and maintain at least $10,000. Otherwise, you’ll earn 2.02% interest on any balance under $10,000 in your Protected Goals Account. Balances in your Simple checking account only earn 0.01% APY.

How do I apply?

Sign up in minutes online:

  1. Go to the Simple website and click Apply Now.
  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.

Case study: Ryan’s experience

profile pic

Ryan Brinks
Assistant Publisher

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 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

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