Simple app + finance checking review 2021 | finder.com
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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.

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

Fee

0.30%

APY

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APY0.30% with a Protected Goals Account. Otherwise, 0.00%
Fee$0 per month
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 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 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 0.3% APY, you’ll need to open a separate Protected Goals Account. Otherwise, you’ll earn 0.00%.

Attention: Simple is closing

Simple will be shutting down soon, per a statement released on January 7. If you’re a current Simple user, this isn’t a cause for alarm. You’ll still be able to use your account and receive your stimulus check, unemployment benefits and other direct deposits as usual.

A good alternative to Simple is Chime, which offers free overdraft protection, early paychecks and an optional savings account that earns 0.5% APY.
Simple closing announcement

How do I open a Simple account?

Sign up in minutes online:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the Simple website, click Apply Now.
  3. Create a username and password with your email address. Click Next.
  4. When you’re asked “What do you plan to use Simple for?” select an answer from the dropdown.
  5. Continue through the steps with your personal info and provide documents to establish your identity.
  6. 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 – April 2019

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 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

    Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
    Chime Spending account
    Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
    Chime Spending account
    N/A
    $0
    38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
    $2.50
    Get rid of fees with this mobile-first bank offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
    Chase Total Checking
    Finder Rating: 2.8 / 5: ★★★★★
    Chase Total Checking
    N/A
    $0
    Access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches nationwide
    $2.50
    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 more than 4,700. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
    HSBC Premier Checking
    Finder Rating: 2.7 / 5: ★★★★★
    HSBC Premier Checking
    0.01%
    $1
    Free to use at all ATMs in the US
    $0
    Get a 3% cash bonus, up to $600 (max. $100 per month) during first six months after account opening. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by September 30, 2020, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
    BBVA Online Checking
    Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
    BBVA Online Checking
    N/A
    $25
    No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
    $3
    A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
    Axos Bank Essential Checking
    Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
    Axos Bank Essential Checking
    N/A
    $0
    ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
    No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
    Axos Bank Rewards Checking
    Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
    Axos Bank Rewards Checking
    1.25%
    $50
    ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
    $0
    Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    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.

    Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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