Simple is an online service that offers checking accounts with a competitive interest rate, a no-penalty certificate of deposit (CD), and personal loans. The Portland, Ore.–based mobile banking innovator launched in 2009 as a way for people to escape the frustrations of dealing with traditional banks. In this in-depth review, we’ll look at all of its accounts and features, so you can determine if Simple is right for you.
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No monthly fees
High-yield checking with competitive rate
No overdraft fees
No minimum balance requirements
No savings account
No cash deposits
No online bill pay option
Average CD rates
No monthly fees – One of the founding principles behind Simple is not having any hidden fees. The best way to do that is to not have any fees at all. There are no monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, or other fees charged by Simple.
High-yield checking with competitive rate – Checking accounts aren’t known for their savings rates, but a Simple Protected Goal account earns a 1.20% annual percentage yield (APY).
No overdraft fees – Simple also charges no overdraft fees if you end up with a negative balance on your account.
No minimum balance requirements – None of Simple’s accounts feature any kind of balance requirement.
No savings account – Although a Simple Protected Goal account features some elements you might find in a savings account, Simple doesn’t have a savings account option.
No cash deposits – There’s no way to make cash deposits with Simple. Your only options are electronic transfers, direct deposits, mobile deposits, or to send a check by mail.
No online bill pay option – With a host of useful online banking features, its surprising that there isn’t a bill-pay option available through Simple. Customers can set up bill pay through vendor options but not directly through the Simple online account.
Average CD rates for an online bank – Simple’s no-penalty CD only earns a 1.00% APY, which is decent but lower than other top online banks.
Who Is Simple Best For?
Simple is a great fit for people who like banking online with no monthly or overdraft fees. Simple gives customers a way to:
- Earn high-yield interest from a checking account
- Have access to budgeting tools
- Manage their money on the go through mobile services
- Share a joint account with another person
- Automate savings to reach financial goals
- Open a no-penalty CD account
What Does Simple Offer?
Simple lives up to its name, with only two account choices available:
- Checking accounts
A Simple account is the online service’s primary checking account. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It also earns a 0.01% APY. The account comes with a Simple Visa debit card, perfect to use anywhere Visa debit is accepted or at the more than 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs across the U.S.
Other Simple account features include:
- No overdraft fees
- Check writing ($5 fee for a book for checks)
- No out-of-network ATM fees from Simple
Simple accounts also come with several built-in tools to help customers manage their money effectively. These include:
- Automated Savings – Customers can set up financial goals, big or small, and by turning on round-up rules, every purchase you make is rounded up to the dollar. When that change reaches $5, it’s transferred to a Protected Goals account.
- Safe to Spend – A more advanced version of “available balance,” Safe to Spend is useful for things such as future bills and savings goals, so you know how much you can really afford to spend.
- Budgeting Tools – Not many banks offer built-in budgeting tools, but Simple does. Customers have access to expense tracking and budgeting right inside their checking account.
Customers who use their Simple Debit card internationally may be charged an international service assessment fee by Visa of up to 1% per transaction.
Protected Goals Account
A Protected Goals checking account operates similar to a savings account. You’ll need to open a Simple account first, though, before you can open one.
Perhaps its best feature is the high-yield interest customers can earn. With a 1.20% APY earned on all balance tiers (starting at one cent), your savings will add up quickly with this checking account.
Customers can set up savings goals in their Protected Goals account and enable automated savings to build up your goal balance quicker. Protected Goal accounts do not carry any monthly service fees.
Individuals who want to share a bank account can do so with a Simple Shared Account and a Simple Shared Protected Goals account. Both individuals need to first open an individual Simple account, which is used to fund the shared account.
Having a shared account allows couples, roommates, friends, and other people to pool their money together to use toward a mutual goal. Interest earning from these accounts mirrors that earned from individual accounts, with a Shared checking account earning a 0.01% APY and a Shared Protected Goals account earning a 1.20% APY.
|Simple Checking Accounts|
|ACCOUNT NAME||MIN OPENING DEPOSIT||MONTHLY FEE||APY|
|Protected Goals Account||$0||$0||1.20%|
|Simple Shared Account||$0||$0||0.01%|
|Shared Protected Goals Account||$0||$0||1.20%|
Certificate of Deposit (CD)
Simple also offers a CD with only one term option—12 months. It has a minimum opening deposit of $250 with a fixed rate of 1.00%, which is higher than many traditional banks but much less than you’ll find at the top online banks.
This is a no-penalty CD, meaning you get the benefits of a locked-in savings rate and the ability to withdraw all of your funds anytime after seven days since opening without facing penalties.
|Simple CD Rates|
Other Financial Products Offered by Simple
Besides personal and joint banking solutions, SImple has one other offering:
- Personal loans
Simple Customer Service
You can reach Simple’s customer service through two primary ways:
- Phone support by calling 888-248-0632 Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PST) and Saturday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST)
- Messaging through your online account
For general help unrelated to specific account information, customers can also get help via Simple’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Simple also offers mobile banking through its mobile app, available on iOS (4.3 stars) and Android (4 stars), giving customers account access along with all Simple’s budgeting and expense tracking tools. The app allows mobile check deposit and compatibility with mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
Simple’s banking services are provided by BBVA USA, a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), meaning that your funds are insured by the federal government up to $250,000.
How to Bank Through Simple
Customers can apply to open an account with Simple through its website or by calling 888-248-0632. You’ll be asked to provide some basic personal information to set up the account. You must be 18 years of age and have a Social Security number to open a bank account with Simple.
Simple is good for people who love mobile banking, no fees, and want budgeting and saving tools attached to their bank account instead of linking to other budgeting programs. It also provides a way to earn high-yield interest from a checking account, which is a rare service, even within the world of online banking.
To fully access all of the tools and features of Simple, you’ll need to use its mobile app, so you must be comfortable with online-only banking. In addition, Simple may not be the right choice if you want full-service banking or at least a traditional or high-yield savings account.
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