Simple has 3 specific offerings that make it the best consumer banking solution in the US.
1. Simple's financial incentives are in line with their customers. Simple makes money on interest and interchange. No fee revenue. While not the "sexiest" detail, this makes them fundamentally different from every other retail banking experience.
2. Simple is a technology company. Their web and mobile offerings are in a different class then any other bank. Design and UX are huge priorities.
3. Customer service. Contact Simple. Seriously, do it. (888) 248-0632 or @simplify on Twitter. Real people who really care. I know it's hard to believe, but try it for yourself.
I was an early simple adopter and loved it, and have used it as my primary checking account. But since they were acquired this year and have been transitioning their operations, i have had terrible problems with my account and the website that a bank should never have. My scheduled payments disappear or do not display (you never know which). My available balance is incorrectly reported.
A check for over $1,000 was returned by the post office and simple never notified me or credited the money back to my account (until i called them to ask what was up). Their customer service is good but without a reliable banking experience, sadly i have to leave it. Too bad because they still have the best online banking interface, although other banks like chase have begun to catch up.
I don't know where all these glowing reviews are coming from. My experience with Simple has been nothing but frustration. Here, in roughly the order I experienced them, are the problems.
- You can't write a check. Granted this isn't something most of us need to do very much anymore, but occasionally you need one, and can't wait for one to be mailed.
- They won't issue a check made out to a government agency. Renewing your license plates? Paying your taxes? Go buy a money order.
- They rejected my tax refund check deposit because it was joint-payee, in spite of their own policy allowing it.
- Payments come out of your account immediately but take ages to reach the payee.
- Recurring payments always count against your safe-to-spend even if they are a month away.
- They haven't issued statements since August (it is now late October) due to unresolved bugs.
- Lately the balances shown on the website are often incorrect, with outbound payment amounts being randomly added back in for a while and then removed again. The mobile app balances don't agree with the web app balances.
- They LOST my mortgage payment. It just never got there, and the money was dropped back into my account with no notice. I didn't know about it until my mortgage company called me looking for their money.
- They rejected a check deposit due to a signature crossing a digit. The phone rep could read the number fine but they told me to go clear it through some other bank anyway.
The customer service people are always polite and try their best to help, but I finally asked myself: if I keep having to go to other financial institutions to make up for Simple's shortcomings, why do I need them?
Statements, accurate balances, deposits, and correct transfers are all basic to banking, yet Simple did none of these things consistently. I give them two stars only because they are polite on the phone and in email, otherwise it would be one star.