The Banking Alternative Simple Fizzles



The banking alternative is Simple, and revenue is generated by Simple. The idea of Simple is the fizzle in the sizzle.I was one of the lucky customers to be invited to become a Simple customer, but Simple could not replace my current institution even with the sizzle. Simple had to really find a niche to support such innovation for customer experience to be seamless and no stress.  Simple is not a bank but a banking alternative without all the frustrations but requires a bank to conduct transactions as Simple is the vendor to the customer. The lofty ideals were reality in the field of technology. Real time deposits would see real-time credit of deposits with technology to give the institution immediate access to the funds via another bank for credit to customer accounts. That was the idea, but Simple holds check deposits for 9 days on a new customer account.

Duke Energy is an electrical power company in North Carolina, and I can give check information to the company with instant deduction of funds from a personal account. This a check transaction, and Duke has the real-time feature. Why hold a customer’s money for 9 days anyway? That example is one of many cons of using Simple for banking. provides the following list of cons.. The young tech savvy focus of Simple is understandable. The list of cons show not an alternative with no frustrations, but Simple is complex because it is the system of today.

Cons of Using Simple Bank:

  • Account denials. Though the website states that your information won’t be used to pull your FICO score, your credit is still a qualifier. If you have poor credit, Simple may not be for you.
  • No Windows Phone app. The only mobile apps available are for iPhone and Android. Some features are only available through the app, such as photo deposits.
  • Don’t bother if you don’t adore your smartphone. Simple is obviously geared toward the young tech-savvy population. Without a smartphone, you run into the same issues I listed above – you will never be able to deposit a check without mailing it in.
  • Holds on checks. New customers can deposit checks via smartphone, but they won’t see that money for nine days. Nine days is a long time to hold a check in this day and age. Apparently this constraint is removed after the account has been live and in good standing for thirty days.
  • Limits on Deposits. No check over $3000 can be deposited via the Simple Bank app. For large sums of money, the check must be endorsed and mailed to Simple’s Portland offices. Of course, Simple staff suggests a workaround or two – one could simply cash the check, buy some money orders, and deposit those via the app… But who wants to go to that much trouble, when your old bank would just put your check in your account?
  • Quirks with direct deposit. In October 2013, Simple customers were shocked to find that their expected direct deposit payments weren’t in their accounts. Upon contacting customer service, they were told that it was a problem with Bancorp. No matter where the fault lies, any bank must be careful when keeping customers and their money apart, especially a brand new bank.

The oxymoron of Simple is the FICO Score requirement to open an account, for we want customers with good credit customers with smaller check deposits. Anything over $3000 cannot be accepted via smartphone scan, and this situation is really simple. Direct Deposit is an issue in banking that varies per institution, and bank employees are aware of the differences and the minor program adjustment to solve quirks. Direct Deposits are in a file for manual credit into a Simple account the morning of payday? Midnight is not the time of credit for Direct Deposits? My first bank would deposit payroll at 8pm the night before payday. In addition, check holds are 9 days at Simple.

I have a smaller bank to conduct banking activities, but they have a manual Direct Deposit process. They are not the savvy bank except in their facilities. I have a personal banker that handles all requests for the family. I signed my Mom’s check upon her request, and the bank did call to inquire about paying the check. Why give the personal service and convenience to an online institution with credit score requirements but a restriction on large dollar deposits.

I was very excited when Simple came into the public domain of discussion, and the fact is Simple has to bend to the demands of Bancorp with no flexibility to make things Simple. A stronger leverage must be agreed into a partnership to set opening requirements with credit score or initial deposit requirement if score falls below minimum to provide access. I had an employer that did require checks $3000 and over to have a signature guarantee, and I was floored that this bank had this requirement in place. Risk and Liability are reduced by the guarantee or smaller deposits. Real time processing should give immediate availability to some of the funds or all depending on relationship. I can continue on the way Simple should operate, but these negatives do hurt the launch of new products and new business model for the future. Revenue is a sizzle, so the few fizzles would stop Simple.

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About Donny Wise

Writer, Publisher, Personal Finance Advocate, and Business Owner Donny Wise & Associates LLC and Finance Dynamic

View all posts by Donny Wise

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