Simple Bank Review: No Fees and Helpful Budgeting Tools

Find out if online banking with Simple is right for you.

Simple Bank is technically a fintech company, not a bank. This means that it provides a user-friendly interface and various technological benefits on the front end while partnering with a traditional bank, BBVA USA, to handle its actual financial transactions.

Simple traces its roots back to 2009, so it’s a fairly recent entrant in the financial services world. But BBVA USA traces its origins back to 1964. Combined, the two companies offer the strength of a traditional bank with the cutting-edge features of a fintech company.

To help determine if Simple Bank might fit your needs, here’s an overview of the bank’s features and benefits, along with its pros and cons. 

You can skip ahead to a particular topic of interest regarding Simple Bank by clicking on one of the following links:

Who Is Simple Bank Best For?

Simple Bank only offers a single online checking account and a high-yield, Protected Goals checking account. It also provides budgeting tools. The entire Simple banking ecosystem is tailored to a no-fee, mobile banking experience with a sleek app that packages all of the bank’s budgeting, analytical and banking features into a single package. 

More from Your Money
Sponsors of

Pros

  • Fee-free ATM access at 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs 
  • High savings APY in Protected Goals account
  • Full-featured mobile app
  • No fees for virtually anything

Cons

  • Limited account offerings
  • No live chat customer service

Looking for a bank with no fees and a checking account with high annual percentage yields? You can go straight to Simple Bank’s website to open an account.  

See: Best National Banks of 2020

Back to top

Who May Want To Skip Simple Bank?

Simple doesn’t offer much in the way of different accounts, with essentially just two checking accounts. It’s also a completely online bank with no branches. Customer service hours are adequate, but they are not 24/7 and there is no live chat available. 

Who Is Simple Bank Suitable For?
Best ForWorst For
Online bankingIn-branch banking
High checking/savings ratesDiversity of account types
Low feesDepositing cash

Types of Accounts Available

Simple Bank’s primary account is its online checking account. Once you’ve opened a basic checking account, you can open a higher-yielding Protected Goals account. Beyond that, there are no additional account options at Simple Bank.

Online Checking Account

Simple Bank’s online checking account is its primary option. This account pays interest, but at a minuscule 1.20% APY. There are no fees with the account and there’s no minimum to open. 

The online checking account incorporates all of the primary features offered by Simple Bank. Every account comes with: 

  • 24/7 account access via the mobile app
  • A Visa debit card
  • Mobile check deposit from smartphone app
  • Ability to link external accounts
  • Instantaneous funds transfer to other Simple customers
  • Transfer compatibility with PayPal, Venmo and Square
  • Ability to block debit card if lost or stolen
  • Simple budgeting features

One of the main draws of the online checking account is that it has no fees or minimums. The only fee that Simple charges is $5 if you want a book of 25 paper checks. You might have to pay third-party ATM fees if you don’t use an Allpoint ATM, but those fees are not charged by Simple Bank. 

Here’s a list of transactions that often trigger fees at other banks but that carry no charge at Simple Bank: 

  • Insufficient funds
  • Penalty for extended overdrafts
  • Return of deposited item
  • Stop payment
  • Account closure
  • Dormant Account
  • Monthly service fees

With the exception of the paper check order fee, Simple Bank is an entirely no-fee institution.

In addition to a standard online checking account, Simple Bank offers the Shared account. You can use a Shared account in conjunction with individual accounts to set aside money for shared goals, such as a vacation. Money in a Shared Goals account earns the same as in a Protected Goals account. 

Pros

  • No ATM fees at Allpoint ATMs
  • No monthly account fees
  • No overdraft fees or services fees
  • Shared accounts available

Cons

  • Very low APY
  • No way to deposit cash
  • No branch network

Back to top

High-Yield Online Checking Account

The Protected Goals account can only be opened after you open an online checking account, and it’s where you’ll earn your high APY at Simple Bank. The idea behind the Protected Goals account is that you’ll set up a specific savings goal and transfer money from your online checking account for savings towards that goal. 

The Protected Goals account automatically comes with an Emergency Fund and Savings Goal built in, but you can add additional goals. The Protected Goals account is similar to the online checking account but is designed for long-term savings goals. The account has the same fee structure — $0 fees — as the online checking account and the same APY of 1.75%. It’s worth noting that those rates rival rates offered by the best checking accounts

You can establish “round-up” rules as a way of automating your savings with Simple Bank. When you opt in, Simple Bank will round up each of your debit card transactions to the nearest dollar. Once you have $5 or more in your account, Simple Bank will automatically transfer that balance to your Protected Goals account. 

Pros

  • High APY
  • No fees
  • Automatic savings via the round-up feature

Cons

  • Can’t be opened as a standalone account

Back to top

Savings Accounts

Simple Bank doesn’t currently offer any savings accounts. But the Protected Goals account can act as a proxy for a high-yield online savings account, as it requires transfers from the online checking account or the Shared checking account and carries a high APY that is more typical of an online savings account.

Read: Best Online Banks of 2020

More from Your Money
Sponsors of

Money Market Accounts

Simple Bank doesn’t offer a money market account. 

CDs

Simple Bank doesn’t yet offer CDs, but they are in the works. Simple Bank plans to offer online CDs with a 12-month term. 

Individual Retirement Accounts

Simple Bank doesn’t offer IRAs.

Investment (Nonbank) Options

Simple Bank doesn’t offer investment accounts. 

Loans

Simple Bank doesn’t offer loans.

Back to top

How To Bank With Simple Bank

You’ll have to open your Simple Bank accounts online. The entire process is straightforward and only takes a few minutes. You’ll need to provide a username, password and email address to get started. Once you’ve begun your application, you’ll also need to provide personal information such as your date of birth and residence address, and verify your identity. You must be at least 18 years of age with a valid Social Security number. 

Technology

As an online-only financial institution, Simple Bank was built for use on a mobile device. Simple Bank has apps for both Apple and Android devices. All banking and budgeting features are included on both apps, but they differ in a few ways. Here’s a comparison of the Apple and Android mobile apps for Simple Bank. 

Comparison of Simple Bank Apps 
iOSAndroid
Compatible with Apple PayCompatible with Google Pay and Samsung Pay
3D-Touch enhancedCompatible with Android Wear
Mobile photo check depositMobile photo check deposit
Widgets for Expenses, Instant Transfers, Safe-to-Spend® and GoalsWidgets for Expenses, Instant Transfers, Safe-to-Spend® and Goals
Real-time push notifications instantly for all transactionsReal-time push notifications instantly for all transactions
Ability to personalize transactions with notes and photosAbility to personalize transactions with notes and photos

You can log into the app with the same username and password you use on the bank’s website. 

Customer Service

You can reach customer service at Simple Bank at (888) 248-0632. Phone service hours are 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturdays. 

When you’re traveling internationally, you can reach the bank at (424) 652-5294. 

On social media, Simple Bank operates both Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Check Out: Best Mobile Banking Apps and Services

Back to top

Fees

Fees — or the lack thereof — are one of the hallmarks of Simple Bank. Simply put, the bank has no fees to speak of. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no fees for a wide variety of typical banking transactions, from overdrafts to stop payments and dormant accounts. 

When you bank with Simple, you only really need to be aware of two potential fees. The first isn’t a “fee” as much as a service charge — $5 for an order of 25 paper checks. The second is the ATM fee that third-party ATMs outside of the Allpoint network might charge. But this fee isn’t charged by Simple, so it perhaps shouldn’t be counted as a strike against the bank. 

Availability of Funds

Simple Bank allows up to $500 in withdrawals daily. The bank provides an ATM locator on its website to help customers find fee-free ATMs. 

For accounts open less than 30 days, mobile deposits are placed on hold for nine business days. After accounts have been opened for at least 30 days, most deposits are only held for one business day, although that might extend up to five business days in certain circumstances. 

Back to top

Simple Bank in a Nutshell

Simple Bank lives up to its name. The bank offers a simple lineup of accounts, and it delivers its services without fees. That said, no bank is right for every single person. Here’s a quick rundown on the pros and cons of Simple Bank to help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

Benefits

Simple Bank offers the two main benefits that most customers search for in a bank: a high APY and low fees. The Protected Goals account pays an APY of 1.75%, and none of Simple Bank’s accounts charge fees, even if you overdraw your account. 

Drawbacks

The main drawback with Simple Bank is that it has a limited roster of accounts. Although the bank’s two accounts act like checking and savings accounts, there are no other options available at Simple Bank. You’ll have to go elsewhere to buy CDs, open an IRA, take out a loan or invest in stocks with Simple Bank. Also, with an APY of just 0.01%, the bank’s basic online checking account pays essentially no interest at all. 

The bottom line is that Simple Bank offers limited options, but what it does, it does very well. 

Back to top

More from Your Money
Sponsors of

More On Simple Bank

More Bank Reviews

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of March 30, 2020.

This content is not provided by Simple Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Simple Bank.

Related Video

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.