Gadgets

If You Liked Simple, Try These Online Banks Instead

For much of the 2010s, Simple was a shining example of what the future of banking could be. It offered unique features to manage money that most major banks would take years to emulate. Unfortunately, on May 8, Simple will be closing for good. Customers will be migrated to a BBVA account, but for those who want to maintain the kind of experience they’ve had for years, there are a few options.

Simple’s appeal was centered on a few key features. Instead of showing users their total balance and making them mentally keep track of what money needs to go where, Simple let users divide their money into Goals that kept portions of their money separate. Expenses could then be used to automatically take bills out of certain goals, so that money is almost invisible. Any money remaining is shown in a Safe-to-Spend category.

This dynamic was unique when it came out, but in the time since, other apps have offered similar features. These are a few of the best options if you want to stay as close to the Simple experience as possible.

Hold On, BBVA Might Still Be Good!

Once the transition is complete, Simple accounts will become BBVA USA accounts, which use the same debit card and routing numbers, which means you won’t suddenly find yourself without the ability to pay for anything. Of course, if you were using Simple, you probably care more about the extra features like Goals and Expenses. Fortunately, those features aren’t entirely gone with a BBVA account.

BBVA has a collection of features creatively called Financial Tools. For long-time Simple users, some of the features might sound familiar. Savings Goals let you track money you’re saving for long-term goals, and Budgets let you categorize transactions and visualize whether you’re going over your budget for a particular category. They don’t work quite the same as Simple’s features, so it might take some getting used to. BBVA also has a lot more Mint-like features that let you integrate other accounts to view your net worth and track your debt payoff goals.

Some changes won’t be ideal, depending on your needs. While Simple didn’t offer any overdraft service at all, BBVA will allow overdrafts but will charge $32 per transaction. In general, BBVA has more fees for things like debit card replacement, wire transfers, and even paper statements (so be sure to sign up for paperless statements). However, you can make deposits from an ATM with BBVA, which you couldn’t do before with Simple, so that’s nice. In general, before you jump ship and move all your money out, it might be worth taking a little while to see if the BBVA account you’re going to get anyway is similar enough to the experience you’re used to.

Chime

If what drew you to Simple in the first place was a clean, modern app and straightforward saving features, then Chime might feel familiar to you. It doesn’t have the kind of Goals feature that Simple has, but it does have some useful features for saving money. First, it can round up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar and add the excess to a savings account, similar to the way investment app Acorns works. You can also set aside up to 10 percent of your paychecks whenever you get a deposit, so your money will be saved long before you have a chance to spend it.

Chime also offers Early Direct Deposit, which deposits your paycheck into your account up to two days earlier than it might normally appear. The service does this by depositing funds into your account the day that it receives the ACH instructions, rather than after the transaction has processed. Chime takes it on faith that your employer will pay the money, which for most transactions is generally a safe bet.


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