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What It’s Like to Have an Entirely Online Banking System.

Update: After starting my full-time freelancing career, I realized that using Simple was not a scalable solution. The low mobile deposit limit was preventing me from depositing checks quickly and even after setting goals, I was having a hard time saving money without a savings account. I have since switched to Chase bank and wrote a huge article on my new way of managing finances. You can read that article here.

This is the original post from 2014:

It f***ing rocks. After almost 2 years of regular use, the name holds true. It’s the most simple banking experience I have ever had. This is perhaps due in part to the fact that I have not had to interact with a single human being or walk into a single bank for any of my banking needs in the last 24 months. I’m about to do a little marketing for Simple and walk you through my favorite things about their service.

Outstanding Design

As a full-time interface designer, I’ve been wildly impressed by the design in every area of this application and beyond. When you sign up for your simple card, you are gracefully walked through a simple process during which only your absolutely necessary information is collected. Even the process of linking your existing bank account so that you can transfer starter funds into your new Simple account is a breeze. You do this entirely online and without ever interacting with a person. When you receive your Simple card in the mail, the packaging and messaging reinforces the fact that you just made an awesome decision so strongly that you almost want to start the whole process over again. Once you have a few transactions under your belt, the true beauty of the design is revealed both online and in the mobile app which, by the way, work seamlessly together. It is so well designed that I actually find myself saving money because of the way I am required to use it.

Zero Human Interactions

Need to reset your pin number? Manage direct deposit information? Block your card? Deposit a check? Find a nearby ATM? Remember your damn routing number? Get a copy of last months statement? Simple has all of it handled already. I can do absolutely anything I would do at a normal bank except for walk into it and let’s face it, no one enjoys that part of their banking experience. It’s time-consuming and ironically, expensive when you start considering gas and trip planning. Should you ever need to deal with a real person, the Simple support team is nothing but friendly, knowledgable, responsive, and helpful. The web application includes a full support system and communication platform.

No Fees. Ever.

Amen. This is perhaps one of the most ridiculous penalties that exist in the world. Think about it… overdrafting your account means you have less than zero dollars in it. Then the bank immediately slams you with a ~$35 fee. Can anyone tell me how this makes sense? Sometimes, I still get charged an ATM fee, but not if I use the ATM finder in the mobile app which conveniently and intelligently locates ATM locations where I will not be charged a fee.

Transaction Management

I can hashtag every single transaction and use those hashtags to manage my money better than I ever could with a traditional checkbook. Besides, who uses pen and paper anymore?

Send a Check from Your Phone

My parents didn’t believe me when I told them it was possible to send them a physical paper check for $300 from the back seat of the car as we traveled back from our vacation. But by the time we got home 3 days later, there was a $300 check with my signature on it and a postage stamp made out to them waiting in their mailbox. This also means that in 3 taps I can send checks to companies when I need to pay my bills. For free.

Goals

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could subdivide your bank account into any number of sub accounts and transfer money between them instantly? Yes. Yes it would. That’s effectively what you can do with goals in Simple. One for my car loan fun, one for my college loans fund, one for my emergency fund, etc. My favorite part is that the money in your goals is not shown in your “Safe to Spend” balance which is displayed prominently throughout the application while the “goals” balance remains much lower in the visual hierarchy. This means the balance I see is the actual money I can safely spend without disturbing my other savings. Way cool.

I could ramble on about Bank Simple forever, but I think it’d be best for you to check it out yourself. Needless to say, all of these amazing features (and many more where they came from) make for one hell of an awesome banking experience. One I quite enjoy. If you want an invitation to this magical service, let me know. I have a few left. I have yet to meet a dissatisfied Simple user.

2 Thoughts

"What It’s Like to Have an Entirely Online Banking System."
  • Gerard Weinberg says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    • Matt Olpinski says:

      Hi Gerard! Thanks for the kind words. There are definitely plugins out there to pull tweets into your website. You can also just grab the widget right from the twitter website. If you don’t need any major control over the styling, this is pretty easy. If you want complete control over the styling, you’ll need to know some HTML, CSS, and a little Javascript. Let me know more specifically what you need and I’ll try to be as helpful as I can. Glad you like the articles!

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