If you’re interested in doing most of your banking via smartphone, Moven and Simple offer all-digital checking accounts complete with debit cards, bill pay, tap to pay and more. These two startups are similar — and they may appear to be two of a kind.
We compared their features closely, though, and found Simple to be more consumer-friendly.
|Savings & money market||Not available||Not available|
|CDs||Not available||Not available|
Based on certain features of the accounts and the overall customer experience, Simple came out ahead of Moven.
Moven and Simple are alike in that they charge virtually no fees and don’t allow overdrafts — which means no overdraft fees. You get a free online checking account, with your deposits backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and with mobile tools that automatically track your money. This type of mobile checking account may not be the best fit if you get paid in cash, though: There are no branches, and the ATMs can’t accept cash deposits.
|Minimum opening deposit||$0||$0|
|ATMs||42,000 free ATMs||55,000 free ATMs|
|Overdraft fee||No overdrafts allowed. Transactions that exceed your balance are declined.||No overdrafts allowed. Transactions that exceed your balance are declined.|
Using the mobile bank accounts
Both services are essentially free to use. Simple charges no fees and pays a tiny annual percentage rate — 0.01%. (If you deposited $1,000 for a year, your interest would be 10 cents.) Moven charges only a few fees for occasional items like expedited card shipping, account closure or multiple replacement cards. It also offers certain services — like depositing cash at participating retailers and same-day check clearing — through third-party providers that charge substantial fees.
Simple’s customer service is much easier to contact than Moven’s. Simple offers phone support seven days a week, including holidays, as well as chat. Moven customers need to submit a support ticket by email.
|Link external bank accounts for transfers||One account||Multiple accounts|
|Cash deposits||Deposit cash at MasterCard rePower merchant locations. Participating retailers typically charge $4.95 for this.||Must convert cash into money order to deposit|
|Digital wallets||Tap to pay at MasterCard PayPass terminals||Supports Apple Pay. Also supports Android Pay for some customers.
|Bill pay||Bill pay through third-party provider Prism ||Yes
|Send paper checks||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile check deposit||Yes||Yes|
|Clearing check deposits||10 days; quick-clearing option available through third-party provider Ingo for a fee of at least $5 per check||Up to $200 available in one day; remainder the next day
|App store rating||3.8 stars (out of 5) by Android app store users*||4.5 stars (out of 5) by Android app store users and 4 stars (out of 5) by Apple store users|
*Moven app currently not rated by Apple users
Spending money with Moven and Simple
Both accounts come with widely accepted debit cards — MasterCard for Moven and Visa for Simple — and sizable ATM networks. They don’t charge you for using out-of-network ATMs, but neither do they reimburse any fees charged by those ATMs.
Both offer free bill pay via paper check or electronically. Simple supports Apple Pay and Android Pay, and Moven provides a contactless payment sticker so you can pay with a tap of your card or phone at MasterCard PayPass terminals.
Depositing money with Moven and Simple
For transferring money into or out of your digital bank account, Moven lets you link only one non-Moven account. You can link additional external accounts for the express purpose of seeing your balances. Simple allows you to link multiple accounts for transfers.
When you deposit a paper check with Moven, it may take 10 business days to clear. Moven does provide users with a paid option for same-day clearing, through third-party provider Ingo Money. Ingo charges a 1% fee for payroll and government checks and 4% for other checks, with a minimum fee of $5 per check. With Simple, check deposits are available in one to two business days.
Using the mobile budgeting tools
Moven’s app is designed to help you budget by automatically categorizing each purchase under “wants” (dining out, shopping, entertainment), “needs” (housing, groceries, utilities) or “other” (one-offs like gifts, donations, taxes). It displays a real-time Spending Meter of your account and alerts you if you’re spending more than you normally do.
Simple’s budgeting tool continually calculates how much of your account balance is “safe to spend.” The app shows you how much you have left after taking your preset savings goals, payments or transfers into consideration.
Both Moven and Simple provide a modern, all-digital mobile checking account solution. Both offer similar products and features, but Simple edges ahead of Moven in consumer-friendliness. With no fees or possibility of overdraft, they are likely to appeal to consumers who don’t — or can’t — use a traditional bank. On the flip side, these services are fairly pared down and might be too limited for some consumers. If you’re looking for a wider range of services, check out NerdWallet’s list of best checking accounts for other options.
Updated March 14, 2017.