Simple Banking Is Closing. Here's What Will Happen to Your Account.

You Have Time to Decide Your Next Move

A Simple customer calls an online bank to inquire about opening an acocunt.
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Yagi Studio / Getty Images

Simple, the online banking service best known for its payments and budgeting app, and fee-free accounts, recently announced that it will shut down operations in 2021.

So where does that leave you if you’re a customer? You won’t lose your account status or assets since Simple is owned by BBVA USA, the FDIC-insured bank that acquired Simple in 2018. For now, Simple account holders will go on using the app as usual and, later this year, BBVA USA will convert Simple accounts to BBVA accounts. 

What Will Happen to Current Simple Accounts? 

At least for the foreseeable future, it will be banking business as usual for Simple customers. They can still access their accounts via their app or through the Simple website, and the Simple Visa Debit card will continue to work. Once a transition plan is announced, BBVA USA will contact customers to let them know what to expect and help them migrate to a new platform. 

For those who receive direct deposits, unemployment checks, or who may be expecting a stimulus payment, those will also continue for now.

Will Account Services Differ Under New Ownership?

Simple is a subsidiary of BBVA USA, so, in that sense, the ownership of accounts technically will not change. What will be different is that customers will eventually transition to the BBVA USA mobile app. And since PNC is in the process of acquiring BBVA USA, BBVA USA accounts will eventually become PNC accounts, a BBVA USA spokesperson told The Balance in an email.

As far as what to expect regarding the features of their accounts, BBVA USA has not disclosed any decisions yet regarding policy changes, potential changes to fees/terms, or how the new app functionality may or may not differ. 

However, BBVA’s spokesperson noted, “as part of BBVA USA, Simple customers will have access to a much broader suite of products and services, alongside the bank’s award-winning mobile app, which includes BBVA Financial Tools.”

Simple checking customers had access to a free high-yield savings account with a 0.50% APY on balances of at least 1 cent.BBVA’s equivalent, a high-yield money market account has a 0.10% APY for the first three months and 0.03% after, and a $15 monthly fee you can waive with a $10,000 balance.

Alternatives to Simple

If you want to enjoy the benefits of online banking but aren’t interested in staying a Simple customer, there are alternatives. Here are a few popular online banks and banking platforms:

  • Ally: With more than 2.2 million banking customers, Ally is one of the better-known online banks out there. It offers a full suite of checking, savings, CDs, and investment accounts, as well as loan products.
  • Capital One 360: With no-fee checking and high-yield savings accounts, Capital One 360 is another leader in online banking. Though your account can be easily managed online or via the app, you can also seek basic help in person at a Capital One Cafe or branch. 
  • Betterment: This online banking platform offers a no-fee checking and high-yield savings (0.40% APY) account, as well as an ETF robo-advisor and retirement services. Betterment has been online for more than 10 years, has more than 500,000 customers, and oversaw more than $21 billion in assets in 2020.
  • Axos Bank: Axos launched back in 2000 when digital banking was still in its infancy. Its top benefits include low- or no-fee deposit accounts and interest rates that go as high as 1.25% APY.
  • Discover: Though best known for its credit cards, Discover also offers online bank accounts including checking, savings, and CDs. No fees, no minimum balances, and more than 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs in its network make it a solid choice.

How to Close Your Simple Accounts

For customers who don’t want to wait around and see what will become of their Simple accounts, closing an account requires three steps: 

  • First, withdraw your funds or transfer existing balances to another account. 
  • Next, put your request to close the account in writing, and then log into your Simple account to send your message. 
  • Finally, remember to switch any direct deposits or automated transactions over to another account.