Few weeks ago, I got an email from Simple telling me that I am one of the new customers they are accepting into their private beta. To be honest, I was really excited. Simple’s main goal as I understood it was to make banking simple. It took me a while to discover this is not going to be the case, at least not for me.
After signing up, waiting for my card to arrive, and poking around their interface and list of services, I discovered that even trying to use Simple is not going to be that simple.
First of all, you have to transfer money from your bank to Simple. I knew that beforehand, but once I had the card in hand and had to do this for the first time, I realized that it is not as easy as I thought it would be. It takes time (ACH transfers take time) and it costs $3 per transaction (Wells Fargo charges for ACH apparently). Also, since this is a debit card, you would have to use all the money in your account, exactly, or simply transfer money back to your account if you decided the service is not for you.
$3 might not sound like a lot of money, but I currently pay $0 to use my debit or credit cards so there is no reason for me to pay in order to use another debit card especially that I am getting money management services from Mint.
What made this worse for me is that I would have to give up using my American Express and Visa card which earn me rewards and help me collect Miles. Again, this might not sound like a lot but once you start collecting rewards and redeeming them for nights at hotels or airlines tickets, you start realizing that since you are spending the money anyway, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be getting some sort of return.
Don’t get me wrong, Simple is off to a great start when it comes to simplifying banking in general, it is just that there are too many things to take care of before this becomes my main card.
Although the interface is great, the search functionality seems to be amazing, and the money mangement services they provide seem to be fantastic, I didn’t feel like it is worth the trouble, the cost, or the time.
Will keep an eye on the startup though, it looks like they have a great team of talented engineers and designers.