Simple Review 2022 – A Better Way to Bank and Save

Advertising Disclosure This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services
Please note: Simple will cease operations in 2021 and account servicing will be transitioned to BBVA USA. Check out Investor Junkie's recommendations for the best online checking accounts in 2021.

Below is our review of Simple as it was in 2020.

SimpleThe financial systems are full of regulations, old-school ideas, and processes for saving money. But thanks to up-and-comers like Acorns, Digit, and now a new banking software called Simple, we have access to better banking and saving methods. I had a chat with Amy Dunn, who's the lead for the communications department for Simple and how they plan to revolutionize the world of banking.
Commissions & Fees - 6
Customer Service - 8
Ease of Use - 8
Education - 6
Savings Options - 6
Compounding - 2

7

Simple's free accounts give users a simple way to pay bills and set financial goals. You'll even get your own Visa debit card connected to the account. However, it has comparatively limited budgeting features and won't support any outside bank accounts.

What is Simple?

Founded in 2009, by Josh Reich and Shamir Karkal, Simple is a newly formed banking software that focuses on reaching financial goals through the creation and tracking of multiple savings goals via their website or mobile app. You start by signing up for a free account, creating a new goal with a custom name/purpose, and then setting up automatic savings transfers starting at $1 or more.

In addition, they offer spending and budget tracking features that allow you to view spending habits to find holes where you could be saving more money. Once you sign up to a free account, you’re given a Visa card that’s attached to your Simple bank account. From there you get access to all their features, including microsavings goals, and the best part is, it's free.

Simple Features

Minimum Investment
$0
FeesFree
Mobile AccessiPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App
Website Access
Accounts
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market

One unique thing they offer is a deeper look at your “available balance” which doesn’t always tell the whole story. Their “Safe-to-Spend” feature takes into consideration upcoming bill payments, outstanding checks, and pending transactions so you know exactly how much you have to spend without overdrawing your account.

It’s free to open and use a new Simple account. There’s no monthly charge or minimum balance that has to be maintained. And thanks to their new policies put in place September 2015, there are no fees of any kind. Not even an overdraft fee or return item fee.

Simple's other robust banking features include;

  • Safe-to-Spend – Simple’s improvement on the traditional account balance comes in the form of the Safe-to-Spend technology. This is the first thing customers see when they log in to their Simple account — the account balance minus any upcoming bill payments, pending transactions, or savings Goals. Safe-to-Spend gives users an accurate picture of what they can spend today without hurting themselves tomorrow.
  • Automated Savings – Simple's automated savings feature, or Goals, gives users a unique way to save money. Simply set a Goal for a specific expense or purchase and then Simple system automatically puts away a little bit of money every day towards this. You can also create a one-time saving amount using the “Save It Now” feature.
  • Customer Service – Simple prides themselves on offering great customer service. Their agents are empowered to work independently to solve problems and aim to do right by their customers. They offer in-app support messaging, Twitter and Facebook agent responders, and a grassroots customer appreciation program.
  • Online Bill Pay – You can use the Payments & Transfers features to pay anyone through your online Simple account. Most payees will be issued a check, which arrives to the destination in about 3-5 business days. Other larger businesses can be paid electronically, versus having a check issued. This is a service that's included with your account so it's completely free.
  • Expense Tracking and Budgeting – Aside from their savings and goals features, another strong option is their Mint-like budgeting section. Each expense is categorized for easy tracking, and you can export your information to a spreadsheet or download the transactions via a PDF.

We’ve created an environment wherein our customers keep 30% of their account balance in Goals. This is more than 6x the national average savings rate of 5%.

How Does Simple Work?

Although Simple calls themselves a bank, all the funds in your account are held by their partner bank, BBVA, Member FDIC. Your money is insured by BBVA up to the FDIC maximum (currently $250,000).

Basically, they've partnered with BBVA, who holds your funds so you can use their banking software for budgeting, goals, and bill-paying features. They look and operate like a bank but still use a partner to process the transactions. Simple's design is worlds apart from the other banking apps and websites out there.

“Customers who save and budget with our Goals save twice as much as customers who don't.”

How does Simple make money if they don't charge any monthly fees? Simple makes money through interest and interchange. The majority of their profits come from interest margin, which refers to the difference between the amount of interest earned on the reinvestment of customer funds in the community and the interest paid to customers for their deposits held.

The second way they earn revenue is through the interchange, which refers to the card processing service charge that is paid by a credit network to an issuing bank when a card is swiped.

It's no surprise that Simple bank's largest target market falls in the range of 18-35-year-olds who are technology savvy. However, they like to refer to their customers as “a group of people who want to interact with their money more intuitively through on-demand, mobile banking. As Simple grows, we're seeing our customer base spread across the US, with an age range that spans from 18-82.”

Simple Screenshots

    Mobile App

    Using their mobile app, you can take a picture of a check and have it deposited directly into your account, for a maximum of $5,000 per day (and a per-check limit of $2,000). The funds will be available between 1-9 business days after the deposit is processed. The check deposit maximum is 10 checks per week or a total of 15 checks per each 30-day period.

    Since Simple does not have a physical bank location, how do they process deposits? There are several options: direct deposit is the easiest way

    Direct deposit is the easiest way to fund your account. You can also transfer funds electronically from an account at another institution, or deposit a check by taking a photo of it with our mobile app. We can also accept deposits by mail. Cash is a bit trickier, but still possible. The easiest way to get cash into Simple is to get a money order at any USPS, or a local grocery or convenience store, and deposit it with the mobile app.

    Simple Pros & Cons

    [table “proscons” not found /]

    Summary

    If you're focused on making sure that saving money is an easy and streamlined process, then Simple's banking software will help you achieve this. It's by far one of the most intuitive websites and apps in the banking industry.

    I suggest you use Simple in conjunction with your current bank, as some of Simple's features can be limiting for viewing your overall financial picture and managing investments.

    Carrie Smith

    Carrie was an accountant for the past 10 years and has a background in editing. In 2011 she founded carefulcents.com a site that helps other entrepreneurs and small businesses make more money in less time. She puts her keen eye for detail and editing skills to good use, by managing all the blog posts and content here on Investor Junkie.

    Related Articles

    12 Comments

    1. Simple is not so simple. Useless to go through the trouble of opening this account. I constantly had photo deposits rejected … I closed my account. Support is dismissive and not helpful. I opened an account also for my Mom and she has the same issues and has got stuck also with photo deposits. I will be closing her account shortly. I found Discover is amazing. Bill pay, photo deposits, and support are alll amazing.

    2. The software for the Bank is great. Having “Envelopes” for each item you spend on money on monthly is a strong tool for budgeting. However, their customer service has been declining. It used to be a 10 minute phone wait and 1 day for an email. Now it’s 4+ days for email and while they say it’s a 30 minute phone wait I am at 45+ minutes with no assistance. This is a serious problem when you need assistance because they aren’t approving your address change when you move. I notified them of the address change over a week ago and it still isn’t taken care of. This caused a problem when I tried to update my address with the US Postal service as the billing did not match because Simple had still not “approved” it.

    3. Simple is trash. You can’t do anything with it. No bill pay, no nothing. On top of which, if you get hacked or have to dispute a charge you (as the victim) are GUILTY until you prove you are in the right. Terrible customer service and a terrible product. Save your time, go elsewhere.

    4. This is a customer review on simple banking.
      I thought that there were no fees for this account except for the withdrawal fees made that ATMs, there may be one or two other fees that they mentioned that they have. They don’t mention that if you select to save money by having a small amount put into your account on a daily basis from your safe to use into your goal accounts they take small fees for each one of those transfers. So if you’re having a small amount such as $2 being transferred into a goal account on a daily basis it adds up tremendously, as far as the fees. Each one of those transfers is something like $0.21. just one single fee such as this total $77 in a years time. I found out too late why I wasn’t reaching my goals, because they were skimming money out of the account.

    5. Simple is trash. I think the ui is absolutely awful, despite the name being “simple”. My biggest issue is I had a money order that I deposited. This besides a bank transfer is the only way to even get money into this stupid account. It is a money order. I don’t even understand what they need check and double check but it’s been almost a week. The deposit is still on hold. And my money is in limbo. It has cost me hundreds of dollars because I was unable to work at some point. I’m just infuriated because now I have so much to fix (hopefully) because of this lingering deposit!!!!

    6. Reading the comments here I realized simple is not simple infact it is a poor excuse for a bank. I had to wait 2 weeks for a card that never came and another 2 weeks for another one that also will never come opening a new bank account with desert bank credit union. One word of advice STAY AWAY!! Especially if you have bills to pay look for a credit union if you need. a second chance bank

    7. I banked with simple for almost a year. Their app is user friendly, they do have a Customer Service team that answers…sometimes after a week or 3. I closed my account after seeing a charge for $50 that I didn’t recognize. It appeared to be a merchant I often purchase from, but when I called the merchant and they confirmed they did not charge my account…I knew it was fraudulent. Simple sent me an automated message saying they were considering the case closed, and no funds would be credited to me. The “supporting documents” for their decision were nothing valid. There actually were NO documents! Only a statement someone wrote that obviously did NO digging into my case.

      Absolutely unacceptable from a “bank.” When I disputed their decision, someone wrote back to me, but just haggled back and forth about my logic in my messages. Bottom line is, a bank should be aware of what transactions draw from, and go to. If they can’t see where your money goes, they shouldn’t be called a real bank.

      I joined my local credit union. Also free. No fees, and has a user friendly app.

      Bye “Simple.” Simply unacceptable.

    8. Okay, so after my phone call today 10:00am MST 12/28/17 (which i was on hold for 32 minutes before someone named Magaly L picked up) I have decided to close down my, and my wife’s, Simple account. This is largely due to the incompetent and inexistent customer service that I, and by the looks of it, many others have experienced over the last 3 months. My frustration started when I decided to try using Simple again by having a new card sent to me. I didn’t hear back from the support message until a week later, which was someone confirming my address before sending my new card, then i confirmed it, didn’t hear back that it was sent until 1 more week went by. Then they say they only send it USPS which takes a couple of weeks to get to me. I never received it. So this is a process that has taken about a month to take care of. If I was a bank, you think I’d want my customers getting my card and using it right away. When I message AMEX about needing a new card, i have one overnighted ASAP.

      So I ended up communicating again by to a Sean J in the support section, expressing my of the website who mentioned that they were sorry for all the long delays with support and that they would be able to Expedite a new card to me with a tracking number if I would be willing to continue my journey with Simple. I eventually told them yes that i would be willing to give them another shot, because in truth, i really loved simple, they were a great company at the time i used them in the past. They offered great support, a great app, and a fun way to budget my money. Unfortunately, i never heard confirmation that my new card was coming in the mail.

      Fast forward to today, when i have time to call them on the phone and get some verbal confirmation rather than waiting weeks for a reply on my support message. I finally talk to someone on the phone. I saw some light out of the tunnel. Once i get new cards, i don’t have to deal with their support again! (or so i thought). The support representative saw the message from Sean J about expediting me a new card and understood some of my frustrations and put me on hold to get authorization to send me a new card. She came back with bad news, I was going to have to WAIT two weeks for a new card to be sent USPS. I laughed and told her how blown away i was with their support. I then mentioned i was going to close my account. I heard back from the support rep, “Just because you are closing your account, it doesn’t change my mind on expediting you a new card.” I told her that I actually felt bad for them, I originally ranted and raved about them, but they are now a garbage company, with garbage support. All it would have taken was to send me a new card in an expedited manner due to the frustration with support i’ve received over the last few months. They weren’t willing to do that, in fact, they seemed almost relieved that i was closing my account down. In case you are wondering, I was never rude, belittling, or raised my voice with the support representative. I understand that I was talking to a low-level representative reading scripts and procedures. So it wasn’t my goal to make her day worse than it probably already was. But to have two support reps immediately move toward helping me close my account seems odd. You should always have some sort of retention with your customers. Unless all you care about is your customer-base dying, so you can be faster with your support messages. See this message from their marketing team : “If you can hold off on contacting us unless something urgent comes up, we’d so appreciate it. That will help us catch up and get back to our normal response times.” When you are a bank dealing with money, you can’t expect to send a message like this. Poor taste.

      They are a different company after being bought out. They are not the same company I was used to dealing with. I will be closing my account and my wife’s account down ASAP. If you are reading this thinking it’ll be a fun company. Think again. They are nothing but a flashy, trendy app and website.

    9. I’ve been a customer of Simple for a few years and at fist I loved them. They had a new thing going and had great customer service.

      Over the last year, their customer service has gone down the toilet.

      But first, the good:
      The best thing about simple is their website. It is modern and easy to use, and has a special feature built in that allows you to automatically and mindlessly save money.

      Thats about all they have going for them. Even that money saving feature is half-baked and I’m waiting for them to build in functionality that I need, rather than features I have to twist to fit my needs.

      Simple likes to throw around branding that they are NEW age and COOL and hip. Unfortunately, they are in the dark ages when it comes to banking process and policy.

      I have bank accounts with 5 other banks and have had bank accounts with 2 others previously. Simple is the SLOOOOOOWEST when it comes to online deposits and transfers. I cannot understand why it takes 8-10 days for a transfer to clear from one bank to another when every other bank I use, the longest is 3-4 days. Most banks these days are implementing deposit technology that is nearly instant, clearing within 24 hours or less.

      Their customer service has been combative and non-existent the last 8 months.

      We recently moved and I had to change our address. Instead of being able to just fill out the address settings on the website like EVERY OTHER BANKING INSTITUTION IN BUSINESS – I had to submit a “request” and it had to be reviewed and approved. It was rejected because I had a 2nd line address (Apartment, Unit, etc.). This took 2 weeks to resolve by email and they were very uncooperative and incompetent.

      Worse, they like to use a “cool hipster” tone when replying to emails about technical issues with their product which is just annoying as hell. Instead of writing 3 paragraphs of brand-fabricated muck, just fix the problem.

      Recently I had a problem with a fraudulent transaction on my atm card. They shut it down and promised I’d get a new card within 14 days. (Really? Most banks will deliver a new card in less than 48 hours. My GOD how did they get so bad at this?) 14 days later, I still did not have a new card. I sent in a new email ticket… no response. 3 days later, I poked them again. Still no response. Almost 2 weeks later after no response I called them and found out the person who ordered my card never finished the process.

      I won’t even get started on the time they stole $10 from my account with no explanation and no cooperation because I can’t even explain it myself.

      I am just flabbergasted at how bad Simple has become. All I can say, as that when BBVA Compass bank bought them, I think that’s what did it.

      I’m looking for a new bank that can help me save like Simple does without the rage.

      1. You are exactly right about all of this, nailed it on the head. They started out with free ATM fees for all ATMs, then reduced it to some, now none. Also, now that they are with BBVA Compass, you can only have ONE card active at a time. So basically if you need a new card sent, you are out of the ability to use your funds until “within 14 days,” until your new card arrives. Absolutely ridiculous.

    10. Worst bank ever!!!! STAY AWAY!!!!! Customer service reps are horrible and not helpful at all. After being a customer for two years they froze my account for no reason. I had $1,000 in transfer from BofA and they would not give me access to it unless I supplied 2 months of bank statements from my funding bank and a copy of my social security card. They wanted me to send them this info digitally which made me uncomfortable. Keep in mind I already used this account for two years. My money got stuck in transfer for over a week. I had to dispute the transfer with BofA to get my money back. Then I get a message from Simple yesterday. This account has been closed because your account use does not meet the requirements of Simple’s account agreement. Your card and account are blocked so no further deposits, transactions or transfers can be made. If your balance is currently greater than $1.00 your balance will be remitted to you by check once all transactions on the account have settled. Any balance lower than $1.00 will be forfeited. Simple Support

    11. ongoing system glitches. incompetent service reps. they went from cool startup to an absolute train wreck. dig beneath the glittering reviews about the pretty white debit card to get to the truth. they are not to be trusted.

    Back to top button