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Reviews, Strategies to Save

American Express® Personal Savings Account Review: A Solid Choice for Online Banking

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

American Express Personal Savings Account

This account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate without the withdrawal restrictions that come with a CD.

APY (%)

1.90% Variable

Minimum Deposit Amount to Open Account

$0

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

$1

Permitted Monthly Withdrawals

6

Annual Fee

$0

FDIC Insured?

Yes

Mobile App?

No

Transfer Time

Deposits will be available within five business days.
Transfers from savings to a checking account
take one to three business days.

In an American Express® Personal Savings account, your money earns 1.90% variable APY. It’s currently one of the best rates you can earn from an online savings account. The account does not have a monthly fee and they don’t require a minimum deposit, which makes it an affordable account to open. You will have to fund your account within 60 days of applying, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to full legal limit.

How the American Express Personal Savings account works

The American Express savings account compounds daily at a variable 1.90% APY, and interest earned is credited to your account on your monthly cycle date. The rate is variable, so American Express can raise or lower the interest rate at any time without notice to you before or after the savings account is opened.

Account holders must fund the account within 60 days, which you can do by setting up a bank transfer or direct deposit to the savings account, as well as by sending a check.

What we like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • High interest rate The 1.90% variable APY is better than what you would earn putting your money in the accounts most brick-and-mortar banks offer. While there are higher rates to be had, American Express has a good offer.
  • Automatic savings It’s easy to make saving automatic when you have an online savings account. With the American Express Personal Savings account, you can easily set up a recurring deposit to pull funds from an external savings or checking account. To make it even easier to resist touching your savings, you can even have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited to the account.
  • Discourages spending With your money in an online account like the American Express Personal Savings account, you can only get your cash after making a transfer to an external checking account to which you have debit card access. The inconvenience makes it that much more difficult to spend your savings.

What we don’t like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • No ATM card Not having card access is great when you need to prevent yourself from spending your savings, but the hassle of setting up and making an ACH transfer from your online American Express Personal Savings account can be problematic in a pinch. (American Express says transfers will take one to three business days for funds to become available in your checking account.) If you’re worried about this, you can instead turn to an online bank like Synchrony Bank that makes it easier to access your savings by issuing an ATM card tied to your high yield savings account.
  • Variable interest rate The annual yield rate American Express is offering on this savings account is high at 1.90%, but the bank can change that rate at any time for any reason, as the rate is variable. If you’re looking for a more predictable rate of return, consider a certificate of deposit.
  • Limited withdrawals Because this is a high yield savings account, banks are limited by Federal Reserve Board Regulation D to a maximum of six withdrawals and/or transfers from your online savings account per statement cycle without penalty. With that in mind, before you decide how much you’ll put away each month, make sure it’s not more than you can afford to, so you aren’t repeatedly reaching into your savings.

How the American Express Personal Savings account compares

As indicated earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account offer is strong, but how does it compare to other savings accounts?

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
American Express National Bank
High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank

1.90%

$1

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on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

Synchrony Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Synchrony Bank
High Yield Savings from Synchrony Bank

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Synchrony Bank and there are no monthly fees.

Savings accounts through Synchrony interest is compounded daily and is credited to the account monthly. An ATM card is offered through this account and you can still easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 1.90% APY* and $0 minimum to open

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Goldman Sachs Bank USA
High-yield Online Savings Account from Goldman Sachs Bank USA

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC


Goldman Sachs Bank USA currently offers an APY of 1.90% on their Marcus Online Savings Account. You don’t need to deposit a minimum amount to open the account, but you will need to have a minimum balance amount of $1* to earn the APY. Interest on the Marcus Savings Account starts accruing the business day you deposit funds into the account. Goldman Sachs Bank USA doesn’t apply any service charges to their savings accounts.

Barclays Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Barclays
Online Savings Account from Barclays

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC


With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Barclays. While there are no monthly fees, an account that has a balance that is less than $1 for 180 days or more may be closed by Barclays. Savings accounts through Barlcays will start accruing interest the day your initial deposit posts to your account, and interest is compounded daily. While an ATM card is not offered through this account, you can easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online through your account.

American Express CD Rates

These CDs are great for those who don’t have a lot of money to deposit, but the rates are slightly lower than the best CD rates available.

Term

APY

6 months

0.40%

12 months

0.55%

18 months

1.90%

24 months

2.00%

36 months

2.05%

48 months

2.10%

60 months

2.15%

CDs from American Express do not come with a minimum deposit amount. You’re free to deposit as little or as much as you want to begin earning interest on any of its CD terms. This is great for individuals who don’t have a lot of money to deposit in CDs offered by other online banks. The downside is that you won’t be receiving as high of an APY as you could at other online banks. While the rates aren’t terribly low, they just don’t compare to most of the best CD rates currently available.

How CDs offered by American Express work

American Express offers terms spanning from 6 months to 5 years. Interested is credited on a monthly basis and compounds until it matures. You can choose to have the interest transferred out of the CD and into the American Express Personal Savings Account on a monthy basis, transferred into a linked account, or mailed to you monthly, quarterly, or annually via a check. If you touch the principal, however, you’ll incur an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty is based on your CDs term:

  • For CDs with a term of less than 12 months: 90 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 12 months, but less than 48 months: 270 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 48 months: 365 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 60 months: 540 days worth of interest

If you’re able to keep your principal and interest within the CD, you’ll receive notice, either by mail or email, that your CD is about to mature in ten days. If you don’t tell American Express that you do not wish to renew your CD, they’ll automatically renew the CD with the same term unless they no longer offer that term. You can call American Express any time before your maturity date to tell them that you do not wish to have your CD automatically renewed.

Online banks vs. brick-and-mortar banks

Online banks have been having a moment not only because of the rise in mobile banking among consumers, but also because they can simply offer consumers more benefits because they don’t have to worry about as many overhead expenses as brick-and-mortar banks. An August 2017 study by DepositAccounts.com, another subsidiary of LendingTree, shows the annual percentage yield internet banks offer on savings accounts is more than four times what brick-and-mortar banks or credit unions offer. The same analysis shows annual percentage yields on internet bank savings accounts have surged 29 percent since January 2016.

Simply put, the main benefit of putting your money in an online savings account is your money does more for you. To show this, DepositAccounts provided an example, based on the average APYs in those savings categories: If a saver were to put $100,000 in a savings account and leave it alone for 10 years, they would earn $8,338.79 at an online bank versus $1,747.04 in a brick-and-mortar bank and $1,895.28 in a credit union, assuming a fixed APY.

Overall Review of the American Express Personal Savings Account and CDs

Overall, the American Express Personal Savings Account is a solid online savings option. The interest rate they offer is high and the features of the account are comparable to other online banks’ savings accounts. While there are certain aspects of the Personal Savings account that could use improvement, other online banks present the same obstacles. As was mentioned earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account is one of the best options available.

The CDs American Express offers, on the other hand, aren’t quite as good. The 6 and 12-month CDs are nowhere near the best rates offered by other online banks and the 18 – 60-month CDs fall short of the other rates offered. The only feature that makes American Express stand out from most of the other online banks is that this bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account or start earning interest. If you’re not quite ready to deposit a huge chunk of money into a locked account, you may want to start out with on of the CDs offered by American Express.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

SmartyPig Savings Account Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The SmartyPig Savings Account: At a glance

A SmartyPig account is a good way for new savers to get into the habit of saving little by little to meet timely goals

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.80%

$0.01-$2,500

1.80%

$2,500.01-$10,000

1.80%

$10,000.01-$50,000

1.80%

$50,000.01 - $250,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This account is your standard high-yield savings account tied to personal goal planning. As of this writing, the online-only savings account promises account holders a variable 1.80% APY on all balances (although its website claims to offer tiered interest rates.) To put that into perspective, the FDIC reports the average savings account earns only 0.08% APY.

This account is free to open and charges no fees. Each account is FDIC insured up to $250,000 via Sallie Mae Bank. SmartyPig limits account balances to $250,000.

This savings account allows account holders to set automatic biweekly or monthly deposits to a primary savings account by either setting up direct deposit to the account or linking an existing checking or savings account elsewhere. You can only connect one account to fund your SmartyPig primary account. You can then set automatic transfers from your primary savings account to fund specific savings goal accounts with target dates, for a little extra motivation.

The company’s policy is to delay the availability of deposits made by bank transfer for five business days, during which you may not withdraw funds from the account and the funds can’t be used to make any payments.

When you reach your savings goal, the service automatically stops allocating contributions to the goal account — even if that’s prior to your predetermined target date — and you can transfer the funds out whenever you’re ready to use them.

Like most savings accounts, you are limited to making only six withdrawals per statement cycle from this savings account under Federal Reserve Regulation D. The company says it will not process any attempts to make excessive withdrawals. On the bright side, the limit applies to your primary account and each goal account individually.

What stands out about the SmartyPig account?

Goal planning

The account’s standout feature is its goal planning system. The feature can be helpful to someone new to saving or struggling to stick to their goal to sock away some money. The system allows you to set a deadline for their savings goals and make automatic recurring contributions to your primary account so you don’t have to think about saving.

Each savings goal must be a minimum of $50. You can set a target date for each goal, but no pressure — you won’t be penalized if you don’t reach your target date in time. You can always cancel the goal and the funds will be returned to your primary savings account, or you can reset the target date.

Automatic saving

Automation can make saving a painless and less-stressful practice. You can set biweekly or monthly direct deposits or transfers from a linked deposit account to fund your primary savings account. You’ll be able to schedule automatic transfers from your primary account to your goal accounts, too. If you choose to set a monthly or biweekly recurring goal contribution, it must be for at least $10.

Solid interest rate

This savings account rewards savers with a minimum 1.80% APY on account balances as low as a penny. That’s almost 20 times higher than the current national average interest on simple savings accounts. Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly.

Amazon connection

You can also use funds held in the account to order Amazon.com gift cards once your account has been open for at least 60 calendar days. The feature is useful if you want to make a purchase on Amazon but don’t want to wait up to three days for a transfer to an external funding source to post. Amazon gift cards can only be used on Amazon.com purchases and SmartyPig does not offer refunds or exchanges on unused gift cards.

Where the SmartyPig account falls short

We see four key shortcomings in the account.

Account holders can only link one checking or savings account as the external funding source for their SmartyPig primary account. The limitation can be a downside for anyone who uses more than one deposit account to manage their finances or wants to set recurring deposits from more than one account.

Another shortcoming is the $50 minimum that is required for the goal accounts. It can be a bit steep for some simple, short-term savings goals like birthday or holiday gifts.

SmartyPig is an online-only service, so you won’t be able to visit a physical branch to make changes to or address any concerns with your account in person.

Finally, account holders are not issued a debit card or granted ATM access to their funds. If you need to use your money, you’ll have to initiate a transfer from your savings goal account or SmartyPig primary account to your linked checking or savings account, which may take up to three business days to post.

How to open a SmartyPig account

You can open an account online where you will be directed to the online application form.

To open an account, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have an existing checking or savings account; and,
  • He a U.S. citizen, permanent resident with a green card and Social Security number, or a U.S. resident with a Social Security number.

When you link a checking or savings account to your SmartyPig account as an external funding source, you must verify you own the account before you’ll be permitted to transfer any money from your SmartyPig account to the external account.

To verify the source, you’ll confirm the amounts of two deposits of less than $1 that the company will make to the external account. If you don’t verify your external account within 14 calendar days, the funding source will expire and you’ll need to start all over. There is no minimum deposit amount required at account opening.

LEARN MORE Secured

on SmartyPig’s secure website

Member FDIC

How the SmartyPig savings account compares

magnifying glass

SmartyPig offers an APY slightly lower than the best offerings currently available, but— if you’re new to saving — its goal planning feature may be worth missing out earning a few basis points more from a competitor. Check out our ranking of the best savings accounts currently available if you’re looking to earn the highest rate possible on a simple savings account. Additionally, a simple savings accounts is the only account offered. The company does not offer checking, money market or certificate of deposit accounts.

Overall review of SmartyPig savings account

The SmartyPig account is a solid simple, high-interest savings account and it’s goal planning system makes it a good option for anyone who is needs a little help trying to establish a savings habit. That said, if you’re already used to saving your money there are competitors worth considering as an alternative to the SmartyPig account that currently offer higher rates and may offer easier access to your cash when you need it.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

Simple Bank Review — a Simple Way to Budget

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

What is Simple?

The Simple bank account is a checking account that incorporates budgeting tools into a consumer’s everyday banking.

Simple banking is provided through both desktop and mobile applications, although you will need to download the app to deposit checks using a photo. The free mobile app is available for Android and iOS-powered devices. You can complete all other necessary banking tasks on both platforms.

The Simple account

Minimum deposit amount to open

$0

Annual percentage yield

2.02% ($0.01-$9,999.99)


2.15% ($10,000+)

Overdraft fee

$0

Monthly service fee

$0

ACH transfer fee

$0

ATM fee

$0

Out of network ATM fee

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Simple’s secure website


Simple Visa debit
Simple customers are issued a Simple Visa debit card for daily purchases and to use at more than 40,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network. In-network ATMs won’t charge you a fee, and are easily found using the ATM finder both online and in the app. Simple doesn’t charge you a fee for using an out-of-network ATM, but you may be charged by other banks and ATM owners.

Simple bank review
Simple

Safe-to-spend
Simple’s Safe-to-Spend(R) feature helps you resist the temptation to spend every dollar in your bank account when those funds should be reserved for more important and urgent things. The budgeting algorithm sets aside funds for spending categories in your budget and your savings goals. The app subtracts the amount of money you’ve set aside from your total account balance so you can easily see how much money you have left to spend — your safe-to-spend number.

Goals
The Simple bank account makes it easy to set aside money for long- and short-term goals. The feature also serves as a digital envelope budgeting system for your monthly budgeting needs.

A warning to chronic overspenders: Although the amount set aside for goals is subtracted from your total balance so you know what’s safe to spend, the goal money is kept in the same account as the rest of your funds, so you can spend the money if you really need to. We will address how to use goals to save and budget in the following section.

Simple bank review
Simple

Analytics
Simple provides spending reports to give you more insight on how you’re spending your money. You can use the graphs and breakdowns Simple creates to analyze trends in your spending. With that information, you can evaluate whether or not your budget is meeting your needs or if you need to make adjustments in your spending habits. You can also add hashtags, notes and images to each transaction.
You will need to go online to view reports as the feature isn’t yet available in the Simple app.

Protected Goals
You can set up separate savings goals and an emergency fund within the Protected Goals account. Unlike the money for your short-term goals, money in the “protected” account is separate from your main Simple bank account. If you need to use your money, you can make unlimited transfers from a Protected Goals account to your regular Simple checking account. That means there’s no need to worry about hitting the six withdrawals per month limit most other savings accounts have under Regulation D, and the common fees associated with making excessive withdrawals.

If you are looking for a high-yield account, the Simple bank account may be the one for you. Right now, you can earn up to 2.15% APY on balances of $10,000 or more in the entire Protected Goals Account. If your balance is less than $10,000, you’ll still earn an outstanding APY of 2.02%. If you choose to set up an Emergency Fund or Savings Goal under the Protected Goals Account, the combined amount will earn up to 2.02% APY.

Although they may lack the bells and whistles Simple incorporates, there are many alternative high-yield checking accounts that earn a much higher yield on your money with no minimum deposit. You can also compare rates and terms on the best savings options currently available here that also have higher rates than this account.

Simple Shared
Simple offers joint accounts it calls Simple Shared accounts. The Simple Shared account is a separate Simple bank account that you co-own with someone else. The joint Simple Shared account allows pairs to plan budgets and complete savings goals together. Couples can even save for an emergency under the Shared account. Emergency Funds are now available for Simple Shared accounts.

Both co-owners of a Simple Shared account must have individual Simple accounts, too, and they have to keep the individual accounts open in order to have a shared account. Your individual accounts stay private.

Simple Instant
Simple Instant is a peer-to-peer payments system exclusive to Simple users. It’s the quickest way to send money to other Simple account holders instantly, for free. After you add the Simple user to your Instant contacts, you can send money to them using an email address or phone number.

Simple bank accounts work with most third-party p2p payment services like Venmo and Square Cash, too, so you can still send money to your friends who don’t use Simple, although you may be required to pay for instant transfers.

Where Simple falls short

A 1% fee for foreign transactions
Simple doesn’t charge you any fees for making foreign transactions, but Visa does. Each time you swipe your Simple card overseas, you may be required to pay a 1% International Service Assessment fee to Visa. That fee may not be a deal breaker for some frequent travelers, but it’s a bummer to pay any more than you have to, ever.

Additionally. there is a $1,000 daily spending limit for international transactions, but you can have that temporarily raised to $6,000 if you let Simple know you’ll be traveling.

Simple mobile app

When you don’t know exactly how much you have to spend on the things you want but don’t need, you’re either constantly running out of time, money or both. When you’re running around living your life most of the time, keeping track of your money can become a chore.

The Simple mobile app incorporates features that help you keep track of how much money you have left to work with for the month while on the go. You can even get instant push notifications that will send you spending updates in real-time.

Features that stand out

The goals feature is what sets the Simple app and account apart from other mobile-first fintech startups and online banks, which we will get into in detail below.

Using Goals to save money
When you create a goal in Simple — after naming it and adding an optional memo — you’ll set the amount and date by which you would like to complete it. You can fund the goal in two ways: (1) set aside money right away, or (2) elect to save over time.

When you save over time, an algorithm will calculate how much money to move over incrementally from your safe-to-spend amount to the savings goal so it’s fully funded by your preset completion date. You can move money each day, or set a custom funding schedule so the app only moves money on predetermined days.

Using Expenses to budget
You can use the Simple Expenses feature to mimic old-fashioned envelope budgeting. Envelope budgeting is a method in which you set aside cash in physical envelopes for each budgeting category. You set aside what you think you’d need to cover categories like gas, groceries or shopping for a period and if you run out of money for that category, you stop buying in that area. Simple offers a digital version.

You would create an expense and name them for each spending category in your budget for the month and determine how much to set aside for purchases made from that category. Here’s an example budget from Simple:

Simple bank review
Simple

Ideally, you would fund the expense immediately and not over time. That’s what Simple really focuses on doing. It’s a “set it and forget it” mentality. This feature runs off of “Funding Schedules”. So, once you create an expense through this feature, Simple will recreate the expense for you so that it’s paid off again the next month. You can set this up by creating an Expense and choosing the category you want the Expense to automatically come out of. You only need to set this up once. After you’ve set up all of your expenses, the funds will be automatically debited from the appropriate Expense each month.

What if I overspend?
As mentioned earlier, you can intentionally or accidentally spend money set aside for your goals if you go over your safe-to-spend amount. Of course, dipping into your goal money may cut into your progress. If you fall behind on saving or need to edit a goal, you can always edit the target date and/or amount, or delete the goal. On the flip side, if you complete a goal and want to save more money, you can choose to automatically save more over time.

Other features that deserve an honorable mention:

  • You can now order checkbooks Simple used to not offer checkbooks to customers, which we saw as a downfall. Fortunately, Simple now offers a book of 25 paper checks for $5. Before, if you needed or wanted to pay a bill via a personal check, you would have to do so through the bill pay feature. Simple would send the check on your behalf. Now, you’re able to order a checkbook online and write the checks yourself. The company says that once you order your checkbook, your order should arrive in five to seven business days.
  • You can deposit checks — This is the only feature exclusive to the app and may be in found in the “Move Money” tab. Simple recommends submitting the deposit before 5 p.m. EST, as it allows the bank to process the deposit on the same day. However, if you submit the deposit after 5 p.m. EST, the deposit won’t be processed until the next business day. Keep in mind that “processing” is not the same as “funding”. For example, if you make a Photo Check Deposit before 5 p.m. EST on a Monday, the deposit will be processed the same day, but won’t be posted to your account until Tuesday at 3 a.m. EST. If you make the deposit after 5 p.m. EST on a Monday, the funds won’t post to your account until Wednesday at 3 a.m. EST.The limit on how much money you can deposit using a photo check will depend on factors such as how long you’ve been with Simple and the number of checks you’ve recently deposited, so it varies by individual user. You can find out your current check limit under “Deposit a Check.” If the check is too large, you can deposit it by mail.
  • You can block and unblock your debit card — Blocking your card is useful if you lose your card or think it’s been stolen. Go to your profile and select “Your Simple Cards” then block the Simple Visa card. If you see any unauthorized transactions made on your account, you may be covered by Visa’s Zero Liability policy if you report it in time.

How to open a Simple Bank account

Opening a Simple bank account is a quick and easy process (see how I didn’t use the word “simple” there? I saved you from a very punny sentence). Signing up takes all of about five minutes. Simple requires applicants to be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older with a Social Security number.

The company also recommends you have access to a device that can run its mobile app. The device will need to be running on either Apple iOS 10.0 or higher or Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.

You can open an account online or on the Simple mobile app. The application requires you to create a username and password for your Simple bank account, and indicate how you plan to use the account. Then, it asks for personally identifying information like your name and Social Security number.

Simple bank review
Simple

LEARN MORE Secured

on Simple’s secure website

Who could benefit from the Simple bank account?

The Simple bank account would be most beneficial to individuals and household budgeteers who want to be able to manage their budgeting and bank account in one place, in real time.

Most household money managers are well aware how much their bills will come up to each month and what their short- and long-term monetary goals are. However, it’s naturally difficult to keep the numbers you’re juggling on the top of your head when you are busy and often on the go. Other budgeting apps may keep you organized, but you have to make an effort to keep them on track with your actual spending.

Simple makes keeping up with bills and savings goals effortless.

Simple’s safe-to-spend feature allows even the busiest among us to easily keep track of how much money you actually have available to spend freely. You can use Simple from virtually anywhere, desktop or on your phone, so there are no excuses. Just checking your bank account balance and seeing the difference between the total balance and your safe-to-spend will remind you of your budget and savings goals.

With Simple, you can create and automatically contribute to an emergency fund account, one separate from your other financial goals, so that it actually gets done this time around. The amount you want to save in your Emergency Fund is based on how much money you want to save in a certain period of time. Based on those two things, Simple will put together a daily contribution amount.

Simple’s Goals system can help you stay organized, compartmentalize your budget and keep your financial priorities straight. If you don’t immediately fund a goal, the app has your back. It calculates and makes small transfers to get you closer to your goal for you.

Alternatives

Simple is one of many fintech companies that have recently released a mobile-first or mobile-only banking option. Next, we take a look at how Simple compares with its peers: the Aspiration Summit account, Chime, Beam and Finn by Chase. Rates are as of  the date of publication.

Simple vs. Aspiration Summit account
 SimpleAspiration Summit

Overdraft fee

$0

$25

APY on Checking

2.02% APY ($0 - $9999.99)

1.00% APY

APY on Savings

n/a

n/a

The Aspiration Summit account is the mobile-only banking option for those trying to be a bit more socially conscious. Aspiration’s standout feature is its Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), which measures your social impact based on where you spend your money.

You get a personal AIM score, calculated based on the businesses you choose to support, which also each get an AIM score. For businesses, the AIM score is split in two: a “people score” based on factors like employee pay and access to health care, and a “planet score” based on things like the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to knowing how the money you spend affects the world around you, you can feel confident knowing Aspiration donates $0.10 of every dollar it makes to financially-focused charities.

Like the Simple bank account, the Aspiration Summit account is a checking account. While the Simple bank account earns up to 2.02% APY, the Aspiration Summit account earns a slightly lower 1.00% APY on all balances. But, Aspiration doesn’t give you the opportunity to open a separate account to set aside savings like Simple does. Aspiration also doesn’t provide any budgeting and goal-setting features on its account, while Simple does. Aspiration requires a $10 minimum deposit to open an account, but no minimum balance to maintain the account.

Aspiration charges is a $25 overdraft fee and a $5 daily fee for each day your balance remains negative. Meanwhile, Simple charges no fees but won’t allow a transaction if it will overdraft your Simple bank account. Like Simple, Aspiration doesn’t charge its users a fee to access ATMs anywhere in the world but goes a step further by fully reimbursing you (on the 10th of each month) if you’re charged a fee by an out-of-network ATM. If you’re traveling overseas, you’ll be charged a fee equal to 1.1% of the transaction using the Aspiration Mastercard debit card.

Simple vs. Chime Bank
 SimpleChime Bank

Overdraft fee

$0

$0

APY on Checking

2.02% APY ($0-$9999.99)

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

0.01% APY

Chims is a fee-free, mobile-first banking option that features automated savings, but doesn’t come with the analytics and goal-setting features that Simple has.

With Chime, you can automatically save 10% of each paycheck in a savings account and, if you’re enrolled in direct deposit, you can get access to your paycheck up to two days earlier than the money would become available with most other standard checking accounts. Once enrolled in Chime’s automatic savings program, Chime will automatically round up each purchase made with your Chime Visa Debit Card to the nearest dollar and save the difference in your savings account.

If you ever need to split a bill, Chime does the math for you and lets you send a text to a friend with a link to pay you back using Venmo, or Chime’s in-app peer to peer payments feature (Pay Friends) if the friend is a Chime Member. Money sent between two Chime members is received instantly. Simple doesn’t do the math for you, but you can send money instantly to other Simple users using its built-in p2p system, Simple Instant.

Chime offers both a checking account and a designated savings account, unlike Simple, which offers a checking account and the option to save emergency funds in a “protected goals” account.

If your savings are in a Chime savings account, you won’t be granted more than a 2.02% yield on your funds. On the other hand, if you place your savings in Simple’s Protected Goals Account, you earn up to 2.02% APY on balances of $0.01 or more. Neither Chime nor Simple charge overdraft fees. While Simple doesn’t charge you for using out-of-network ATMs, Chime charges $2.50. You can find more than 38,000 in-network ATMs using the ATM map in the Chime app.

Simple vs. Beam
 SimpleBeam

Overdraft fee

$0

n/a

APY on Checking

2.02% APY ($0-$9999.99)

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

2.00% APY; up to 4.00% APY

Beam is a fee-free, mobile-only high-interest deposit account. You can earn a much higher yield on your savings with Simple than you would with Beam. Beam accounts promise a minimum 2.00% APY compared with Simple’s 2.02% APY. However, Beam gives its customers the opportunity to claim rewards that can earn them up to 4.00% APY on their funds daily. Beam calls its rewards “billies” and they can be earned by engaging with the app and doing things like referring a friend to Beam. The “billies” are awarded daily between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. Neither service requires a minimum balance to earn interest on funds.

Beam doesn’t issue users a debit card or give users ATM access like Simple does. Beam is intended for use alongside a primary checking account as a supplementary bank account, while Simple is intended to be used as a primary checking account. If you want to use your money in a Beam account, you must first transfer it out to a primary checking account, which can take up to two days. Beam also doesn’t have any special saving or budgeting features and doesn’t show you spending analytics like Simple does.

As of this writing, Beam is not yet available for widespread use, but Simple is. Beam is still in a “private beta” stage, so it can only accommodate a limited number of customers. If you want to use Beam, you’ll have to sign up on the waiting list, which currently has more than 126,000 names.

Simple vs. Finn by Chase
 SimpleFinn by Chase

Overdraft fee

$0

$0

APY on Checking

2.02% APY ($0-$9999.99)

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

0.01% APY; up to 0.04% APY

Finn by Chase is a free mobile-first banking option from Chase Bank. Finn by Chase offers checking and savings accounts, and you are required to have both types. For comparison, Simple only offers a checking account. Finn by Chase users earn 0.01% APY on balances below $10,000. For balances that are $10,000-$25,000, Finn users earn 3%, then 0.04% APY on higher amounts. Simple doesn’t offer increased interest on larger balances. Finn does not offer joint accounts, but Simple does.

Both banks issue users Visa debit cards for daily purchases and to use at the ATM. Finn charges $2.50 if you use an out-of-network ATM, while Simple doesn’t charge a fee at all. Finn says its users have access to more than 29,000 in-network ATMs while Simple advertises more than 38,000 in-network ATMs.

The banks both show users’ spending analytics and offer automatic saving features but differ in how their features work.

Finn lets users rate each transaction as a “want” or “need” and how it makes the user feel. Users can choose happy, sad or indifferent faces. Finn also provides users analytics via charts and graphs that summarize their spending habits.

Finally, Simple lets you send money instantly to other users using Simple Instant, but Finn by Chase lets you send money to anyone in the Zelle network, even if they are with a different bank, instantly for free. Both services let users send money with third-party platforms like Venmo, Google Wallet and PayPal.

The bottom line

The Simple bank account is a solid one-stop shop for hassle-free banking and budgeting. Simple, the company, doesn’t charge any fees, but BBVA Compass may charge fees. Make sure you to read the Simple Deposit Account Agreement. Fortunately, it won’t cost you to use their budgeting and analytics system if budgeting and saving is what you’re really after. Additionally, the 2.02% APY on balances up to $9999.99 is a huge perk as you don’t have to maintain a balance requirement to earn the high APY.

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Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]