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Reviews

Synchrony Bank Review: CD, Savings Account, Money Market, and IRA Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1988
Total Assets$92.3B
LEARN MORE Synchrony Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC
Synchrony Bank is a relative newcomer to the banking scene, having opened up right around the same time as the World Wide Web was being developed in the late 1980s. Today, it’s one of the largest online-only banks around, offering a range of products including high-interest savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, and IRAs.

Big banks can have notoriously high fees and low rates, so since Synchrony is a smaller, online bank, we put them to the test. In general, they offered very high rates on their savings and CD accounts, but their money market accounts are a little behind in the rate department. Read on to find out the specific details. This will help you decide whether or not this bank is right for you.
Synchrony Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

2.25%

Savings

Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.70%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 12 Month CD

2.60%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.80%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

2.90%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Synchrony Bank CD rates

You might need a higher-than-average minimum deposit for these CDs, but you’ll earn a very good interest rate.

Term

APY

3-months

0.75%

6-months

1.00%

9-months

1.25%

12-months

2.70%

18-months

2.70%

24-months

2.75%

36-months

2.80%

48-months

2.85%

60-months

3.00%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of between 12 months up to 48 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs over 48 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

You’ll need to come to the table with a fairly hefty minimum deposit of $2,000 to open a CD at Synchrony. But, once you have it, this bank offers a fair amount of flexibility in how you are paid your dividends. You can elect to roll them over in the CD account, or have them paid out to you directly in the form of a check or an electronic deposit into another Synchrony, or other external, bank account.

Once your CD completes its term, you also have a few options. Your CD will automatically roll over into another CD of the same term length, but you’ll get a 10-day grace period to make any changes. During this grace period, you can withdraw the cash, add more cash, and/or open up a new CD with a different term length.

How to open a CD account with Synchrony

You can easily open up a CD account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s CD rates compare

While Synchrony doesn’t currently offer the highest rates, they’re still consistently among the top of the pack for the current highest CD rates. Specifically, their 12-month and 60-month CDs are among some of the best offerings out there right now.

The early-withdrawal penalties at Synchrony Bank are also right on par with many of their competitors. You can rest assured that you won’t be paying inordinately high fees should you need to withdraw your cash early.

Synchrony Bank savings account

Synchrony charges no fees and offers a very high interest rate to boot.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

2.25%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

This is one of the most accessible high-interest savings accounts for people looking for low fees and low minimum balance requirements. While most banks charge an overdraft fee if you overdraw your account, Synchrony Bank does something different: They may not honor the withdrawal, meaning that you won’t incur an overdraft fee.

Watch out, though: you’re limited to six withdrawals and transfers per month as per Federal Regulation D (not including ATM withdrawals). If you go over that amount, Synchrony Bank reserves the right to close your account for you for “misuse.”

How to open a savings account with Synchrony

You can easily open up a savings account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license. Finally, by signing up for an account, you authorize Synchrony to run your application through ChexSystems, which checks to see if you have any negative standings with other financial institutions.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s savings account compares

Synchrony currently has one of the best online savings accounts. For people looking for a no-minimum-balance account, or those looking to grow a small savings account balance into a larger one, you can’t go wrong with this account.

Synchrony Bank money market account

Synchrony’s money market account doesn’t offer very high interest rates, but does give you the power to write checks.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.20%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony Bank will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

Money market accounts technically work a little differently than savings accounts. But for you, the consumer, Synchrony Bank’s money market and savings accounts essentially operate the same way. One big difference is that the money market account offers a lower interest rate than their savings account. One other important difference is that you can actually request and write checks using your money market account, whereas the savings account doesn’t come with this option.

Otherwise, you can still expect the same withdrawal limits dictated by Federal Regulation D. You’re stuck with six transactions (minus ATM withdrawals) per month, lest the bank close your account for “misuse.” You’ll also incur few, if any, fees with this account. Given that these two accounts are so similar, we recommend going with the regular savings account, because that one offers a truly exceptional interest rate with the same terms of this money market account.

How to get Synchrony Bank’s money market account

You can easily open up a money market account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony’s money market account compares

Synchrony Bank offers exceptional rates on their savings accounts and CDs. However, their money market account is a little underwhelming in the interest rate department. If you’re looking for the best money market account rates, you can easily find better accounts at other banks and credit unions.

However, Synchrony Bank still does stand out in the fee department. This account — like Synchrony’s savings account — comes with very little fees attached.

Synchrony Bank IRA rates

These IRA CDs are virtually identical to Synchrony’s regular CDs — and still, the fairly high minimum deposit requirements may exclude some savers.

Term

APY

3-months

0.75%

6-months

1.00%

9-months

1.25%

12-months

2.70%

18-months

2.70%

24-months

2.75%

36-months

2.80%

48-months

2.85%

60-months

3.00%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of between 12 months up to 48 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs over 48 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

These IRA CDs work just like Synchrony Bank’s regular CDs, with one exception: they play by the rules of IRA accounts. That means you can open them up within a Roth or traditional IRA, complete with all of the rules governing these two accounts.

Just like Synchrony’s regular CDs, these IRA CDs come with some fairly high minimum deposit requirements. This will exclude some people who can’t come to the table with a full $2,000 — but for those folks, Synchrony Bank has another option: the IRA money market account (discussed below).

If you need to withdraw your money early (if you decide to move it to another company to invest in the stock market, for example), you’ll still face an early withdrawal penalty. However, if you are at the age where you need to take required minimum distributions from CD money held in a traditional IRA, Synchrony Bank will waive the early withdrawal penalty.

How to open an IRA CD with Synchrony

You can easily open up an IRA CD account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

Synchrony’s IRA CDs are again very close to being the top IRA CD rates around. However, there are a few banks offering higher rates on IRA CDs, so if this is your preferred retirement savings option, it may pay to shop around.

Synchrony’s IRA money market account

This money market account — like Synchrony’s regular money market account — doesn’t offer very high rates.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.20%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony Bank will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

If you need a bit more flexibility in your retirement savings or can’t afford the minimum deposit requirement of Synchrony’s IRA CDs, you might want to consider their IRA money market account.

You can deposit or withdraw cash at any time, however you’re still subject to Federal Regulation D that limits you to six transactions per month. Since this is an IRA account, you’ll also need to stick to the rules of whichever IRA you choose — Roth or traditional — lest you end up paying a tax penalty at the end of the year.

However, in return for this flexibility and low cash requirement to open an account, you’ll pay for it with lower interest rates. You can earn much higher rates on your retirement savings with Synchrony Bank’s IRA CDs, or even with an IRA savings or money market account at another bank entirely. In fact, many of the best money market accounts out there also offer you the ability to open them as an IRA.

How to open an IRA money market account with Synchrony

You can easily open up an IRA money market account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of Synchrony’s banking products

We really like Synchrony Bank for their low-fee, high-yielding savings products, especially their savings account and CDs. These accounts are among the top contenders for highest interest rates available.

However, Synchrony’s money market account falls a bit short in the interest rate department. Once upon a time, money market accounts offered higher interest rates than savings accounts, but today that’s often not true — and Synchrony Bank is no exception.

On the whole, however, Synchrony is a great option for people looking for high interest rates on their savings — just skip their money market account.

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.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

WebBank Review: Savings and CD Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1997
Total Assets$0.8B
LEARN MORE WebBank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

If you’ve ever taken out a personal loan or have refinanced a loan with popular online lenders, you may have noticed a line in the fine print that refers to “WebBank” as the originating bank. While the Salt Lake City-based WebBank indeed does a large part of its business supplying the funds for these loans, you might not know that it also offers deposit accounts to consumers. Its repertoire is somewhat limited – just a high-interest savings account and a handful of CDs that it refers to as “time deposits.”

This bank has been around since the early days of internet commerce, established in 1997. Just like its name promises, it’s an internet-only bank. There are no branches you can visit to make transactions and you can’t even deposit paper checks or cash. All deposits into these accounts must be made either by wire transfer or ACH transfer. If you’re curious to learn more about this bank and whether it might work for you, read on.

WebBank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

2.50%

Savings

WebBank Savings

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.80%

CD Rates

WebBank 1 Year CD

2.60%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

3.10%

CD Rates

WebBank 5 Year CD

2.90%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

WebBank’s savings account option

Savings

This is a great savings account, as long as you don’t mind managing it entirely online and can keep at least $1,000 in it at all times.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

2.50%

$1,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

WebBank’s savings account is a great choice for savers looking to stash their money in a separate bank in order to earn a high rate. This bank doesn’t offer a checking account, so your money is somewhat isolated. This can be a good thing, however, especially if you’re often tempted to dip into savings for everyday spending.

Access to your money is more limited than with many other savings accounts. There are only two ways to add money to a WebBank savings account: by ACH transfer or wire transfer. Similarly, there is no access to ATMs, checks, or branches in order to make withdrawals. It does adhere to the six withdrawal monthly limit imposed by Regulation D. If you go over this limit, this bank can deny those extra withdrawals and even close your account.

Secondly, you’ll need to deposit — and maintain — at least $1,000 in the account in order to keep it open and earn interest. This isn’t a huge amount of money, but the account isn’t for those who are just beginning to save. If your balance ever drops below $1,000, the bank will close your account and return your funds “in a manner deemed appropriate by us.”

How to get WebBank’s Savings account

As long as you meet the following simple criteria, you can easily open up a savings account with this bank today:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a Social Security Number or other taxpayer ID
  • Have a physical address inside the U.S.

In addition, you’ll need to make your first deposit with an ACH transfer. The bank does use wire transfers, but you’ll need to wait for the account to be opened first before you can use this option.

Learn more Secured

on WebBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How WebBank’s savings account compares

Good news for those looking to max out their savings account interest rate: this bank currently offers one of the highest interest rates of any savings account available today. It also falls a bit in the “Goldilocks” zone for the minimum deposit: Some banks offering similar rates require a higher minimum deposit, while some offer less.

If you’re still shopping around, it’d be worthwhile to take a look at the best online savings accounts to compare other similar banks based on factors that may be important to you as well, such as the ability to use ATMs, or banks that also offers a checking account.

WebBank’s CD rates

Time Deposits

These CDs offer great rates, if you can afford to plunk down at least $2,500.

Term

APY

6 months

2.50%

1 year

2.80%

2 years

2.90%

3 years

3.00%

5 years

3.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your CD’s term length:
    • For the 6-month CD, you’ll pay three months’ worth of interest
    • For the 1-year and 2-year CD, you’ll pay six months’ worth of interest
    • For the 3-year CD, you’ll pay nine months’ worth of interest
    • For the 5-year CD, you’ll pay one years’ worth of interest

CDs are pretty well insulated from spending temptations by their nature, since they come with early withdrawal penalties. But if you’d like another layer of removal from your checking account or if you’d like to transfer money from an existing savings account at this bank, opening a CD with this bank is a great choice because it offers high APYs.

The downside is that it only offers four different term lengths. Still, the most useful terms — short-term six-month CDs and long-term, five-year CDs — are represented here.

Once you deposit the money into one of these CDs you generally won’t be able to get it out again until it matures without paying a penalty. Once the CD does mature, you’ll have a 10-day grace period to decide what to do with it. Lest you forget, this bank will also send you a notice in advance. If you don’t do anything with the CD, such as add more money or withdraw it, the bank will automatically roll over the funds into a new CD and you won’t be able to access the money again until it matures.

How to get WebBank’s CDs

It’s very easy to open one of WebBank’s CDs. Again, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, have a physical address within the U.S., and have a Social Security Number or other taxpayer ID. You’ll need to make your opening deposit with an ACH transfer from your current WebBank savings account or from another bank.

Learn more Secured

on WebBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How WebBank’s CD rates compare

WebBank’s CD rates are very competitive, and rank near the top of the highest-paying CDs nationwide for every one of its term lengths. If you’re looking for a higher APY, you can find better rates in some cases but not by much. The only downside is that this bank doesn’t offer a four-year term, so if you won’t be able to do a staggered set of one-year CDs as per a standard CD ladder. But if any of these term lengths fit, they’d be good options.

Overall review of WebBank’s banking products

Since it doesn’t offer a checking account, WebBank isn’t a bank for your everyday needs. But if you’re just looking for a place to stash your cash and earn some of the best rates possible, this bank is a fantastic choice. It may have made a name for itself as the originating bank for many online lenders, but it’s more than that. It can help you grow your own wealth, too.

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.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

Simple Bank Review — a Simple Way to Budget

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1964
Total Assets$92.6B

LEARN MORE Simple’s secure website

Like most things in the world of “adulting,” managing your finances isn’t always as simple as it should be. This is where online bank Simple stepped in seven years ago, providing customers with a mobile bank account rolled into a budgeting app.

Acquired by Spanish bank BBVA in 2014, Simple was founded in Portland, Ore. in 2009 and launched commercial operations three years later. The money in a Simple account is held by BBVA Compass, the American subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., and FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Though Simple offers only one type of bank account — consumer checking — it promises a simple way to save and budget while offering features found at bigger banks, such as photo check deposit, plus additional features, including Goals, Expenses, and Safe-to-Spend(R). In an effort to attract new banking customers, Simple is offering a 2.02% APY return on balances of $0.01 or greater in a Protected Goals Account.

We’ll review Simple’s bank account, its pros and cons and what else you need to know to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Simple’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

2.02%

Checking

Simple Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

LEARN MORE Secured

on Simple’s secure website

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+)

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 2.02% APY on balances of $0.01 or more in the entire Protected Goals Account. If you choose to set up an Emergency Fund or Savings Goal under the Protected Goals Account, the combined amount will earn the 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.

No checkbooks
Simple users are not issued checkbooks to write paper checks. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to send a personal check or pay a bill, you can use Simple’s free bill pay service to have Simple send a check on your behalf. The bill pay feature is found online and in the app. You may also request a treasurer’s check — similar to a cashier’s check — from Simple.

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 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

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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

2.00% 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 2.00% 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

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

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

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 of $0.01 or more is a huge perk as you don’t have to maintain a balance requirement to earn the high APY.

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]

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