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Simple Checking Account Review: A Sky-High APY and Free ATMs

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Update

Simple's parent company, BBVA USA, announced on January 7th, 2021 that it will be shutting down Simple. Accordingly, we no longer recommend Simple. Offer details in this review may be out of date. Review our best checking accounts for current offers.

Though Simple is a bit of a misnomer, the high APYs and detailed budgeting tools with the Simple Checking Account make it difficult to pass over. Setting up your account requires jumping through a few unnecessary hoops. Additionally, you must have more than one checking account with Simple to earn the highest APY. But the digital envelope-style system and the lack of restrictions on transfers and withdrawals could win over some people. Is Simple for you? Find out in our Simple Checking Account review below.

Rates as of May 18, 2022

Simple (No longer available)

  • High APY
  • No monthly fees
  • $0 ATMs
  • High-yield checking account
  • Useful budgeting tools
  • Separate accounts for different goals
  • Joint checking accounts available
  • Low-interest checking account must be opened first
  • No savings accounts
  • Only a single CD term

Top perks

Earn a high APY: Simple has a high-yield checking account called a Protected Goal Account which offers you the opportunity to earn a high APY on your money. This bests most savings accounts and could make Simple an even better choice than a high-yield savings account for those who feel constrained by the monthly withdrawal limit the federal government imposes on savings accounts.

No monthly fees: This is a good checking account to consider as it cuts out-of-pocket costs with no monthly maintenance or minimum fees.

$0 ATMs: Simple doesn't charge ATM fees.

Tools to help you stick to your budget: Simple's mobile app enables you to list and track your expenses which will help you achieve your savings goals and stick to your existing budget. It can also help you figure out how much money you can safely afford to spend on wants and identify areas where you might be able to cut back your spending. It takes a little work upfront to input all your information, but once you get everything set up, there's no math required. Everything you need to know is there in the app.

Mobile app: Simple's mobile app for Android and Apple devices enables you to view your balance, transfer funds, pay bills, and remotely deposit checks. You can also access all of Simple's budgeting tools and send money directly to other Simple customers without going through a third-party payment app, though you can link third-party payment services as well.

FDIC insured: Simple's checking accounts are covered by the FDIC just like traditional bank accounts, so your funds are protected -- up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution -- in the event of bank failure.

What could be improved

Account setup: Simple does not enable you to open a Protected Goals Account directly. Instead, you must open a Simple Online Checking Account first. Once you've set this up, you can open a Protected Goals Account and fund it from your Simple Online Checking Account. You can also set up multiple savings goals to keep money for each goal separately. Juggling multiple checking accounts may not bother some, but it would be much easier if Simple just let you open a Protected Goals Account from the get-go.

Fees

Fees Monthly Maintenance ATM Withdrawal Overdraft Stop Payment Insufficient Funds
Simple Checking Account $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

How to access your money

Simple gives you the following options for depositing and withdrawing money from your Simple Online Checking Account or Protected Goals Account.

Deposit options

You can deposit money in your Simple checking accounts in any of the following ways:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Mailed checks
  • Mobile-deposited checks

There is no limit to the number of deposits you can make per day or per month. Direct deposits and wire transfers are available on the same business day while mailed and mobile-deposited checks are available on the business day Simple receives the check.

Withdrawal options

You may withdraw money from your Simple checking accounts in these ways:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Requesting a mailed check
  • ATM withdrawal
  • Point-of-sale cash withdrawal

Simple partners with Allpoint to offer over 40,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide to its customers. You can locate the one nearest you using the ATM finder tool on Simple's website or in its mobile app.

This checking account is right for you if:

If you don't like the idea of juggling multiple checking accounts and you don't need help budgeting, you might be better off choosing a more straightforward interest-bearing checking account or stashing most of your cash in a high-yield savings account instead.

Two kinds of people will be drawn to Simple checking accounts. Those who want to earn high interest rates on their savings without dealing with the government restrictions on savings account withdrawals. With high APYs, Simple offers some of the most competitive rates in the industry, plus unlimited account transfers and withdrawals.

The other kind of people who should consider Simple are those who want to leverage technology to help them create and stick to their budgets. Simple's envelope-style Protected Goal Accounts and comprehensive budget-tracking resources can help you reach your goals more quickly and feel more confident in your ability to meet your obligations.

RELATED: See The Ascent's guide to the best budgeting apps.

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