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financial review, bank review

Chime vs. Simple: Which one should you choose?

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🗓️

Updated: August 04, 2022

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The world of banking is undergoing some serious changes thanks to digital technology. Banks now have the option of being completely online and are able to offer services that only 20 years ago would have been nearly impossible.

Two of the biggest finance-technology companies to enter the online financial space are Chime® and Simple. Both are entirely online financial services apps. You can't walk into a brick-and-mortar branch anywhere. Both aim to provide easier access to banking services than at traditional banks.

Chime vs. Simple quick comparison

Highlights
Simple
Rating
4.3/5
3.5/5
Accounts
Savings, Checking
Checking
Online Deposits
Physical Branches
FDIC Insurance 
ATM Reimbursement

Chime® and Simple are both online financial services apps. Chime was started in 2013 and founded by Chris Britt and Ryan King. Based in San Francisco, it aims to bring everyone financial peace of mind. Chime has grown rapidly since its inception, with millions of accounts.

Simple Bank was founded in 2009 by Josh Reich, Alex Payne, and Shamir Karkal. It's based in Portland, Oregon, and its mission is rooted in simplifying banking services for its customers. Simple works with national bank BBVA to provide FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts.

Both Chime and Simple have no physical locations. Their services are entirely online and best used via a smartphone. And both banks have partnered with larger banks to provide things like FDIC insurance and an ATM network. They each have large educational platforms, which include tools to help grow and manage your money.

General Features of Chime vs. Simple

Chime's services include the following:

  • Online checking and savings accounts
  • Pay friends directly from your bank account on the Chime platform
  • Get paid early — Chime processes direct deposits immediately, rather than with the standard two-day delay some traditional banks have
  • Optional automated savings and putting spending roundups toward savings

Simple's services include:

  • Online checking and savings accounts
  • Visa debit card with checking account
  • Check deposit from its app (Chime doesn't have this)
  • Free checks
  • Goal setting within the app
  • Joint accounts

When you sign up for Simple, you get not only a bank account but also a basic budgeting system. You have the option to set up goals and earmark money for them. Goals can be something like “Trip to Brazil” or as simple as “Rent.”

Chime sends notifications to your phone right after you spend, making it easy to stay on top of your budget. It also texts you your bank balance each morning, so that you can stay up to date on what you have to spend.

Cash deposits can be difficult with any online-only bank. If you work in a cash-heavy industry (such as a bartender or tour guide), being able to deposit your money might be a challenge.

Chime vs. Simple Fee Breakdown

Both Chime and Simple have built low or no fees at the core of their businesses, offering significantly fewer fees than traditional banks. Here we break down some of the main fees from each bank.

Fee
Chime
Simple
ATM
$2.50 if out of network
$0
Monthly Service Charge
$0
$0
Overdraft
$0
$0
Card Replacement
$0
$0
Foreign Transaction
$0
$0
Account Minimum Fee
$0
$0
Stop Payment Fee
$0
$0

Standout features

Chime offers a feature called SpotMe® - for eligible members to enroll - who receive a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. SpotMe® allows customers to overdraft their accounts without incurring a fee. Limits start at $20 and can be increased up to $200 for those who qualify.

And Chime offers customers who set up direct deposits the chance to access their paycheck up to two days early. For people who move money around a lot (like freelancers or people living paycheck to paycheck), this could be a valuable feature.

Simple offers a feature called “Safe-to-Spend.” This program subtracts your automatic monthly payments (like your internet bill, rent, and phone costs), plus any savings goals amounts from your total balance. Then it shows you how much is left in your account that is “safe” for you to spend. This feature is helpful for budgeting, especially for those who find themselves chronically overspending.

And Simple allows customers to tag purchases with photos and hashtags. This makes it easier to remember all your spending throughout each month and can make budgeting easier.

Simple is best for budgeting

Simple is best for people who need help managing their money. It focuses on integrating budgeting tools into its software, making money management part of the banking experience rather than something separate. Its special features help customers save, spend, and manage their money responsibly.

However, Simple doesn't offer early pay, as Chime does. Getting your paycheck two days early is a significant perk and could help with budgeting.

Chime is best for those who need their paycheck early

Chime is best for people who are living paycheck to paycheck and need more assistance than traditional banks will provide. With its SpotMe® feature and its ability to get customers their direct deposits up to two days early, Chime is excellent for people who need some financial help.

And Chime could be useful to college students or recent college grads. Chime is helpful to those navigating a paycheck or a personal bank account for the first time.

Both Simple and Chime have a clean interface. And both websites have blogs that help users learn more about finances in general.

Open Chime account

Customer service of Chime vs. Simple

You can reach Chime customer service by phone or by email. It also has a page with popular blog posts so users can find solutions to their issues.

Simple also can be reached by phone from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M., Eastern Time, on weekdays and 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., Eastern Time, Saturdays. You can also search for an answer to a problem on its help page. And customers can also message Simple via the app.

Security features

  • Simple has an in-depth FAQ on its website that walks users through how it uses customer info and secures bank accounts. If you notice a fraudulent charge on your account, you can block your card immediately from either the web or mobile app.
  • Simple account holders are also covered by the Visa Zero Liability policy. For transactions processed as a credit, users are not liable for fraud as long as they notify Simple within two business days. (After two business days, you can be liable for up to $500 in charges.) With debit transactions, users are liable for only the first $50, once again, as long as they notify Simple within two business days.
  • Simple performs regular security checkups on its systems and uses third party companies to perform security audits. And its web APIs and pages are secured by high assurance SSL certificates. You can read its security policies and practices on its website.
  • Simple shares your personal information with BBVA and its affiliates. You can opt-out of some of the information sharing, but not all. For example, you can opt-out of Simple's sharing your creditworthiness information with its affiliates but not out of Simple's sharing your personal information with other financial companies for marketing purposes.
  • Chime partners with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank to provide FDIC insurance for users. It uses 128-bit AES encryption to secure its bank accounts.
  • If you lose your card or find an unauthorized charge, you can block all further transactions on your Chime debit card. You can use the Chime app to disable transactions to prevent new debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals. Chime also requires two-factor authentication and supports fingerprint authentication.
  • You can read how Chime uses personal data on its policies page.

Alternative to Chime and Simple

Highlights
Wealthfront
Novo
Betterment
Rating
7.5/10
8/10
7/10
Accounts
Savings, Checking
Checking
Savings, Checking
Online deposits
Physical branches
FDIC insurance
ATM reimbursement 

Final thoughts on Chime vs. Simple

  • Both Chime and Simple are great options for people who want low fees and banking on the go.
  • Simple is a good fit for those who want a bank account that can also provide some support for them when it comes to tracking and saving their money. With its goals feature, users can practice both budgeting and saving their money. And since Simple offers joint accounts, it can be an excellent place for couples to stash their money.
  • Chime is good for single users who want to focus on saving. It also has low fees. And its roundup feature can be a fantastic way for people to begin their saving journey without having to micro-manage their money.
Open Chime account

Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.

^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.

Chime SpotMe® Disclosure - Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See terms and conditions.

About our author

Kara Perez
Kara Perez, Freelance Contributor

Kara Perez is a freelance personal finance writer. She is the founder of bravelygo.co, a company that connects women and money. Kara lives in Austin, TX and believes in the power of budgeting and peanut butter.

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