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Financial planning for financial independence

Content, resources, and services to help people make intelligent decisions with their money in route towards financial freedom

A Review of SIMPLE

At the beginning of January, I made the decision to cut ties with my personal big brick and mortar bank and go completely digital.  My wife and I already have a joint checking account at the more commonly known digital institution, Ally Bank.  Therefore, I wanted to try something new.  SIMPLE has had my attention for some time now (they won me over with this advertising video), so I gave them a whirl.  Here is a quick review of the service based on what I've experienced thus far.

User Interface

The first thing you will notice when visiting the home page for SIMPLE is how welcoming the platform feels.  Everything is clean, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eyes.  There is not too much information to overload you, nor too little to seem lifeless.  The interface has a calming touch to it which is good, considering a lot of people tend to stress a bit when banking.  It also has that fintech flare about it, which makes you feel as though you are a part of something edgy.

Main dashboard

Features

Unlike your standard checking account, SIMPLE allows you to budget for current expenses and/or future savings goals.  This is a very nice touch.  Each time money is added to a goal, the "Safe-to-Spend" balance of the account is reduced which cuts down on accidental overdrafts.  This is a quick and easy savings process which circumvents the usual sloppiness involved with transfers between separate, outside savings accounts.

Goals tab

When moving to a completely digital bank, the days of walking into a local branch to conduct your money business are gone.  With their savings on rent, SIMPLE offers you a zero-fee checking account (no minimum balance, no overdraft fees).  For customer service, they present you a toll free line that will connect you to a live representative.

The SIMPLE app is a good sidekick to have on hand for banking on the go.  It follows suit with the web interface, as it is also very clean and intuitive.  Obviously, mobile payments, transfers and deposits are included in the app, but my favorite functionality is the "ATM Finder".  It will show you the closest no-fee ATMs to your present location (because I absolutely hate paying these fees).

ATM finder

Summary

Overall, I have been very happy with my switch to SIMPLE to this point in time.  For personal banking, it does everything I need without any of the hidden fees you can experience with more traditional banks.  And it does this all with a style that makes me feel a little more hip.  All told, I will not be returning to my brick and mortar institution for personal banking.  SIMPLE has won me over!

Cons

  • Cannot initiate wire transfers
  • No paper checks
  • Mobile deposit limit of $3,000
  • No face to face customer service
  • No more free Dum-Dums

Pros

  • Excellent user interface
  • Allows for goals and budgeting
  • Zero fees
  • Customer service line with real humans
  • Over 50,000 free ATMs
  • Great app functionality
  • Slick all-white VISA debit card

 

Of note:  I currently have two other checking accounts: one for my real estate investment properties and one for my business.  If SIMPLE opens up a business banking platform in the future, I will certainly give them a look.  For the real estate account, property purchases often require you to wire funds for closing (especially for out of state acquisitions), so SIMPLE would have to add this feature before I would consider switching that account.