Simple is closing, and I am sad

On January 7, Simple announced they will cease operations this year and transition all account servicing to BBVA USA. This is an intensely disappointing turn of events, but unsurprising after the November 16, 2020 that PNC is buying BBVA USA. Thus, an ode to Simple is due.

I started following Simple when they were still BankSimple, probably in 2010 or 2011. When I got my first job with direct deposit, it went to Simple. The customer service, especially early on, was top shelf. The mobile app and website were useful and provided actual insight into my cash flow.

Simple’s digital envelopes, called Goals, were killer. I was stashing money away for bills and travel. I could actually see what money was already spoken for, with the remaining dollars shown as Safe-to-Spend. Some people liked Goals that automatically pulled money from Safe-to-Spend each day until a target date. I preferred manually moving funds each payday.

Later, they added Expenses and Funding Schedules. With these two features, I could set up recurring expenses (car payment monthly, car insurance every 6 months, domain and webhosting annually) to have money automatically set aside on a regular basis (coinciding with my bi-weekly direct deposit). It was auto-pilot budgeting that actually helped me plan ahead and grow my savings.

Speaking of which, Simple introduced a Protected Goal for emergency funds – a goal that would not be affected if you tried to make a purchase your spending account could not cover. It paid interest at 2.2%, easily one of the highest savings rates available prior to the pandemic.

Simple’s banking experience is superior to every other bank or fintech company. I had built-in budgeting and analysis tools, mobile deposit, and even paper checks for the occasional time travel episode. No one comes close.