Mobile Banking App Simple Announces Shut Down

When it comes to FinTech services, the acquisition of a startup can either mean good news for customers thanks to an influx of cash and resources or it could mean deterioration of a product due to neglect. Additionally, while things may seem to be going just fine for an app on the surface, underlying issues may unexpectedly emerge. These realities are what customers of the mobile banking app Simple are discovering this week as the company has announced that will be shutting down as their parent company nears a change of hands.

In a blog post directed at customers, Simple says it plans to shut down its service sometime in 2021. Thus, there won’t be any immediate impact on customers’ accounts, with Simple making special note that this will not affect incoming stimulus payments. Concluding the post, the service stated, “While we’re all very sad to make this announcement, we’re grateful we’ve had the opportunity to help so many people build their financial confidence over the years. From all of us at Simple, thank you for being part of our community.”

As the Verge recalls, Simple was acquired by BBVA USA back in 2014 for a sum of $117 million. However, PNC Bank announced plans to acquire BBVA this past November with the transaction expected to close in “mid-2021.” Now, Simple advises that current customer accounts will be “transitioned” to BBVA USA (and remain FDIC insured). A timeline for this transition has yet to be announced.

While it’s unclear how many users Simple currently has, it reported having upwards of 100,000 when it was first purchased by BBVA. Also notable is that, when Google Wallet’s debit cards was shuttered in 2016, it recommend Simple as a potential alternative to customers. On that note, the good news is that fans of Simple will have no shortage of other FinTech options to choose from. While they might not have the same interface or features that users enjoyed from the service, startups including One Finance, Bella Loves Me, and several others have recently put their own spin on digital banking. Elsewhere, other financial platforms including the likes of Robinhood, Credit Karma, and Credit Sesame have all expanded into various cash management, checking, and savings products as well. Meanwhile, those looking for greater automation options may also be interested in the app Astra, which works across multiple accounts.

If Twitter reactions are any indication, Simple’s customers were abundantly happy with the service and are now mourning its impending demise. Yet, as the door closes on this service, it likely opens for several other startups also looking to simplify and enhance the digital banking experience. It may take some time before a frontrunner emerges in this field — but expect some players to become acquisition targets themselves as customers turn to these FinTech services.

Is there still any talk about Google’s partnership with BBVA now that it’s been they are being bought by PNC? I haven’t heard anymore about Google’s plan since Aug. Since they closed Wallet (which was fantastic in that funds were added instantly) and recommended Simple, it would be interesting to see what further connections everyone would have.

Martin,

That’s a really great point. I haven’t heard anything yet but I suspect we’ll hear more soon. Personally, I’d hope PNC would still see value in that partnership, but who knows?

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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