It’s been over two years since I signed up, but I finally received my invite for Simple (formerly BankSimple). Two years ago, I was fresh out of banking and excited by the prospect of an online-only competitor that would simplify the mess that banking has turned into.
The idea is “simple.” An online bank that allows you to budget like Mint, but with only 1 account. You don’t need multiple debit/credit cards, savings/checking accounts, etc. Everything is online/on your phone, so there are no branches, just take a picture of your check, or transfer money to a friend via the app. Love it.
- Notate your expenses while spending – for example, you can indicate where you made good choices and bad choices.
- Simple way to create separate folders or accounts to save for upcoming expenses like vacations or gadgets (or a new roof), for example. Breaks expenses down into daily savings goals to reach your total
- Transfer money to friends, real-time, for free
- Everything available online/over the phone. No more waiting in line at the bank branch.
However, after reading through the FAQ, I decided not to sign up. There were some big problems in the fine print.
- No interest paid. 0% – zero, zilch, nada. For a site that claims to “replace your bank,” they sure forgot about an important aspect – interest.
- MUST have an iPhone to sign up. I don’t have an iPhone, and I’m not getting one. The service should be enabled for phones, but it should not be a prerequisite.
- No Rewards. Simple pockets all the interchange and gives you nothing.
- No services other than debit/savings. Again, for a site that claims to replace your bank, they fall short of fully replacing everything a bank offers (or even the majority of what a bank offers). No Credit Cards/loans, brokerage accounts, CDs, mortgages, etc.
If you’re interested in a very, very “simple” bank that is tech savvy and can help you budget, you can sign up for it here. But, if you have any financial literacy, you’re best bet is to keep looking.