When Simple blasted onto the scene in 2009, its approach to banking was both unique and innovative. It was one of the first fully-digital banking sites to build a solid customer base.
But Simple is only one of many options when it comes to online banking. A 2014 purchase by BBVA brought $117 million and 100,000 customers to the platform, but BBVA is a thriving online banking solution on its own.
So it wasn’t a big surprise when BBVA announced that the Simple app would be shutting down. The announcement left customers with plenty of questions, including whether they need to start shopping around for a new bank.
If you’re a Simple customer, here are some things you need to know, as well as some alternatives that will give you the same convenient, easy-to-use banking experience.
Simple accountholder options
Anytime a bank announces a closure, account holders will want to know what happens next. If they take no action, will their funds be transferred somewhere? Should they withdraw it or move it?
As a Simple customer, you have a few options to consider before the May 8, 2021 deadline.
Leave your money with BBVA
On May 8th, any funds in your account will be transferred to BBVA.
If you choose to leave your money with BBVA, all of your account numbers will stay the same, and you can even keep your Simple debit card.
But there are some things that will change. Here are a few improvements you’ll see when you move to BBVA:
- Free online bill pay for checking accounts. (Simple didn’t offer online bill pay).
- A full suite of financial tools, including spend tracking, cash flow forecasting, debt management, and budgeting. BBVA also has a tool that helps you manage your recurring subscriptions.
- Overdraft protection is available with BBVA. You can connect your savings, money market, or secondary checking account to cover any overages. You can also set up notifications so that you’ll know when your account is reaching its limit.
You will lose the fee-free out-of-network ATM transactions Simple provided, but the list of in-network ATMs has expanded. You’ll now get fee-free transactions at Allpoint® Network and BBVA USA ATMs.
Transfer your Simple funds
Your other option is to move your money elsewhere. If you’re ready to make a switch, it’s important to note that you have until May 8th to move your funds. BBVA isn’t transitioning the accounts until that date.
Whether you start now or closer to the deadline, it’s always a wise idea to keep at least a little money in the old account until all outstanding payments have had time to clear. This means keeping up with two bank accounts for a short time, but you can finalize things once you’re sure everything is paid.
If you’ve decided to move your money elsewhere, here are the steps to take:
- Start shopping around for a new bank account. There’s a handy list of great Simple alternatives below to help you get started.
- Set up your new account, including switching any direct debits and credits you have going to the old account to this new one.
- Go through your recent transactions on your Simple account to make sure you haven’t missed any recurring payments that you’ll need to have shifted.
- Once you’re sure there are no more payments coming through your Simple account, log into your Simple account on the website.
- Hover your mouse over your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner.
- From the drop-down menu that appears, choose “Account Settings.”
- Click “Close account.”
- You will see a prompt that lets you know if your account is eligible to be closed immediately. If so, click “Continue.” If not, follow the instructions.
- Confirm you want to close the account by selecting the checkbox, then choose “Close account.”
Online banking alternatives
If you’re ready to make the switch, your first move should be to shop around. Here’s a list of some other great online banking platforms.
- Monthly fees: none.
- Minimum balance requirement: none.
- Interest offered: 1.20% Bonus on up to $5,000 (subject to change at any time).
- ATM fees: fee-free transactions available at 85,000 ATMs.
Juno offers a pretty good deal. Not only do you get the fee-free services you’re used to with Simple, but you’ll also earn a 1.20% Bonus on your deposits. Once you reach a balance of $5,000, you’ll earn 0.25% until your balance reaches $100,000. There’s no interest paid on amounts above $100,000, unfortunately.
With Juno, you get fee-free mobile banking, including services like mobile deposits and a debit card for your in-person purchases. You can withdraw cash at any of the 85,000 ATMs distributed worldwide without paying fees, and you can use your card at one out-of-network ATM per statement period without fees with the Basic account. With the Metal Membership, you get three fee-free out-of-network transactions a month.
But what’s really great about Juno is their cash back on purchases. You’ll pick five merchants from a list of partners – a list that includes top retailers like Walmart and Target, as well as Starbucks and Netflix, among many others. You’ll earn 5% back on up to $500 of purchases per year with the Basic plan. Metal Membership holders get 5% back on up to $3,000 purchases a year, which is annual earnings of up to $150.
- Monthly fees: none.2
- Minimum balance requirement: none.
- Interest offered: 2.00% APY for savings.7
- ATM fees: fee-free transactions available at 60,000 ATMs.6
Chime is an online-only financial app that provides checking, savings, and a Chime Visa® Debit Card. You’ll get all the benefits you enjoyed with Simple, including no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement.
One thing will give you that Simple didn’t is overdraft protection. Chime will cover up to $200 in debit card overages without charging a fee.5 You’ll also get access to your paycheck up to two days early if you have direct deposit set up.3
Where Chime really stands out, though, is its automatic savings feature. You can set it up to automatically transfer money from every paycheck into your Chime savings account.1 Best of all, you can set it up to round up each transaction on your Chime Visa® Debit Card.^ That means every time you swipe, a little money is moved to your savings account.
Learn more about Chime or read our full review.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
- Monthly fees: none.
- Minimum balance requirement: $100 to open.
- Interest offered: Up to 1.00% APY (requirements apply).
- ATM fees: Your account will be reimbursed up to $30 at the end of every monthly statement period.
If you need some motivation to save money each month, the CIT Bank Savings Builder is worth considering.
You’ll earn an interest rate of 1.00% APY as long as you deposit at least $100 per month into your savings account. If you have at least $25,000 in the account, you’ll enjoy 1.00% APY no matter how much you deposit. Otherwise, you’ll earn 0.40% APY on your balance. See details here.
Although there are no monthly maintenance fees on your account, you will be limited to six transactions per month. You can use the CIT app to deposit checks remotely and transfer funds between accounts.
Learn more about the CIT Bank Savings Builder or read our full review.CIT Bank. Member FDIC.
- Monthly fees: you decide.
- Minimum balance requirement: none ($10 to open).
- Interest offered: 5.00% APY.
- ATM fees: fee-free transactions available at 38,000 ATMs.
Aspiration is a unique app in that it prioritizes social impact. For starters, you’ll earn $150 on your Spend & Save account when you spend $1,000 within the first 60 days of account opening. With Aspiration, you can also round up with each purchase and have that money go toward planting a tree. This helps reduce your carbon footprint while also giving you the peace of mind of knowing your money’s in good hands.
But Aspiration’s social consciousness doesn’t end there. You’ll get up to 5% cash back when you spend with socially-conscious retailers. If you upgrade to an Aspiration Plus, that cash back increases to as much as 10%. Eligible retailers include companies like TOMS and Warby Parker.
Aspiration customers earn 0.25% APY on balances of at least $10,000. With a balance of more than $10,000, you’ll earn 5.00% APY. You must be enrolled in Aspiration Plus to qualify to earn interest.
Aspiration’s philosophy on fees is that customers should pay what they want. If you want to pay $0 in fees, they’re fine with that. You’ll also enjoy fee-free transactions at more than 55,000 ATMs.
Learn more about Aspiration or read our full review.
Banks come and go, but thanks to online banking, it’s easier than ever to find a fee-free alternative that gives you all the amenities you need. Even if you plan to stay with BBVA, it can help to research other options. Then you’ll know how the deal you’re getting compares to what other online platforms are offering.
^ Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.
1 Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account.
3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
5 Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
6 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
7 The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of May 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.