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The Jan. 7 announcement that online banking service Simple would be shutting down led some customers to express dismay on social media over losing beloved app features. The closure means that sometime in the near future, Simple accounts will be transitioned to accounts at BBVA USA, the bank which held customer deposits behind the scenes for Simple.
Though BBVA has been Simple’s parent for some time, the bank currently doesn't have the same “Safe-to-Spend” and “Goals” features that Simple offered — indeed, the features are fairly unique even among other so-called challenger banks. And Simple’s customers are lamenting the loss.
“[I’m] working toward paying off debt, and Simple has a great setup to manage my money in ways that make sense for me to do that,” said Caitlyn Martin, a postpartum doula and Simple customer in Portland, Oregon. “So the news that I not only have to switch banks, but will likely lose app features that have completely changed my financial life, is truly upsetting.”
However, some accounts at other institutions do have strong features worth considering, including attractive annual percentage yields, early direct deposit and unlimited ATM reimbursements. Separate apps for budgeting, such as Mint and Pocketguard, are also an option that may appeal to Simple users.
Whether you’re a Simple customer who’s considering switching to a new bank or you’re thinking about sticking with BBVA, there are options for where and how to stash your cash. Here are some alternatives to consider.
LendingClub: Tiered interest, checking rewards
LendingClub, an online-only banking provider, offers tiered interest rates and no monthly fees on both its savings and Rewards Checking accounts, as long you maintain certain balances.
In addition to a 0.10% APY for balances over $2,500 (rising to 0.15% for balances over $100,000), LendingClub’s Rewards Checking account offers an unlimited 1% cash back on online and signature-based “credit” transactions made with a LendingClub debit card. The account also offers unlimited automatic ATM fee rebates.
Chime: High APY, savings boosters
Chime’s Checking and High Yield Savings accounts have no monthly fees, and the savings account offers a 0.50% APY. There are two optional features to help facilitate greater savings: Customers can round up every purchase on their Chime debit card to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference into their savings account, or they can opt to automatically transfer 10% of their paycheck into their savings account. Chime customers can also receive their paychecks up to two days early. Most traditional banks don't offer this option.
One thing to note: Cash deposits can only be made at third-party Green Dot locations and may carry a fee.
Chime says: "Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC."
Varo: Strong APY, savings tools
Varo’s checking and savings accounts are both free, and Varo has a large ATM network for withdrawals. However, like Chime, Varo only allows cash deposits at Green Dot locations, typically for a fee.
Varo’s checking account has no foreign transaction fees, and customers may be able to receive their paychecks up to two days early. Varo’s savings account offers a strong APY of up to 5.00% on balances up to $5,000 if certain direct deposit and balance conditions are met, and 1.20% if not. Its “Save Your Pay” and “Save Your Change” features encourage socking money away regularly.
Personal Capital Cash: Budgeting tools
Cash management accounts, a hybrid of savings and checking accounts that have risen in popularity over the past few years, are typically offered by nonbank financial service providers such as brokerages. The cash management account at Personal Capital, an automated investment management service, has tools to help customers budget and track their net worth online. It also gets high marks from users in Google Play and Apple’s app store.
The account doesn’t, however, offer a debit card or cash withdrawals or deposits; money must be moved in and out of the account by electronic transfer. Services like bill pay can be arranged by linking the account to a separate, external checking account.
Or stick with BBVA
BBVA’s online checking account has no monthly service charge and gives customers access to more than 64,000 free ATMs, but the account doesn’t pay interest. BBVA’s online savings account offers a 0.01% APY, lower than the current national average of 0.08% for saving account interest rates. BBVA has branches in a limited number of states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.
Though some of Simple’s features are hard to replicate among competitors, many banks and other financial services do offer good service, tech-savvy app features and solid interest rates.