A New Bank On The Block: Fee Free Banking with Simple

By Christina Majaski on 24 June 2016 0 comments

Online banking has become increasingly popular not just with traditional banks that have added mobile and web capabilities to their list of features. Although the services have been updated and extended, however, brick and mortar banks have yet to compete with online banks when it comes to their fees. Simple is a relatively new Simple online bank chockfull of services but with no fees.

About Simple Banking

Simple was founded in 2009 out of frustration with the level of technology and customer service offered by traditional banks. The company aims to offer all the features you want from a bank -- only smarter, less complicated, and more accessible. You can’t step into a physical Simple branch (there aren’t any), but you’ll have all the tools you need to manage your money built right into your account.

Fee-free. The Simple bank account is entirely free of any fees. There are no minimums required to maintain a fee-free account. Use their services. Keep your money.

ATM Access. Use any of Allpoint's 50,000 ATMs around the country for fee-free ATM access.

Simple Visa card. Your Simple bank account includes a Visa debit card for making transactions. You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted and at more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs.

Photo Check deposits. Snap photos of the checks and deposit with your smartphone. No more trips to the bank to deposit a check.

Safe-To-Spend. It can be confusing determining when certain payments are going to clear and figuring out exactly how much you have in your account to spend. The Simple Safe-to-Spend feature calculates and subtracts upcoming bill payments and pending transactions to give you an accurate idea of how much money you actually have on hand.

Goals. Budgeting and saving can be difficult, usually requiring a completely different app to manage your finances. Simple banking, however, includes its Goals feature to assist you with saving money for certain events or payments and figuring out exactly where your money is going. If you choose, you can set up vacation or expense fund accounts, and Simple will subtract and set aside the amount you choose to go into those Goals accounts. You can also manage the money you spend in certain categories, such as restaurants, by only setting aside the amount you are allowing in that category and withdrawing when you go to eat.

Making payments. Simple provides a number of easy ways to make payments whether it's a payment to a friend or family member, utility, or rent. When making payments to other members, it's not only free but instant so you don't have to wait days or weeks for payments to clear like you would with other banks. If you need to send an actual check, Simple will print it, address it, and send it, at no additional cost. You can also transfer funds for free via ACH, between your Simple account and any account you have at a U.S. financial institution.

Advanced record keeping. While many banks still send out statements reporting the funds that have gone in and out for the month, Simple provides more comprehensive data, which is useful for budgeting and tracking finances. Simple's tools allow you to categorize and analyze data to allow you a clear picture of where your money is going. You can also personalize the information to meet your needs.

Interest. The Simple deposit account has an interest rate of 0.01%, with an APY of 0.01%. The daily balance method is used to calculate the interest on the account so that a daily periodic rate is applied to the principal in the account each day.

Considerations

No checkbooks. You can use their bill pay service to send a check, but you won't be able to order checks to write and sign yourself (and using a third party to print checks with your Simple account/routing number won't work). 

No other products. If you want a bank to hold all your various financial accounts, like CDs, brokerage, mortgage accounts, Simple doesn't offer them (at least not yet).

Competitors

There are a popular online banks in the marketplace. Capital One 360 is one of our favorites. It offers an interest bearing checking account with a 0.20% APY. There are no fees and no minimums. Get access to 38,000 fee-free Allpoint® ATMs and 2,000 Capital One ATMs. You'll also get a MasterCard debit card for purchases. They've been around longer, but Simple offers additional tools and services that will be helpful for anyone not just looking for a place to keep their money. 

Is Simple Banking Right for You?

Simple banking is best for those looking for an alternative to traditional banking that doesn't include any fees and offers tools for budgeting and saving money. In the world of financial institutions, fee-free banking is extremely limited. Simple offers one of the least expensive and most convenient banking opportunities available.

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