6 Oct 2014

Why I’m leaving Simple Bank

I’m not sure if other posts have made their way to the Internet by now, or how much mine will resemble the others, but we need to talk about Simple Bank.

Earlier this year, on February 20, 2014, Simple announced that they were bought by BBVA, a huge international bank based out of Argentina. Their announcement was of course very enthusiastic and forward-looking – after all, of the two normal “favorable” results of a startup, getting eaten by a bigger fish is considered one of them.

Now, I don’t know if what’s happened over the past few months has been a result of the buyout, or if it’s just bad engineering, but let’s go over some issues.

Background: in August of 2014, Simple transitioned many of their payment processing bits to a new back-end. This enabled overnight ACH transfers to your other bank accounts, and much quicker bill payment. These were both welcome to me, because this made it less of a stressor when I needed to get a check to someone fast.

“But wait!”, you say. “Can’t you just write them a check yourself?”


This is Simple’s Achilles’ heel. You can’t write paper checks.

I’m sorry, I know that in 2014 the idea of giving someone a piece of paper with your bank account number on it should be unheard-of, but it isn’t. Mailing checks to payees is still something I have to do. So is handing a physical check to someone. Just saying “expect a check in the mail in about a week” isn’t too reassuring to an auto mechanic, church or other local business where dealing in checks is the norm.

Still, I was dealing with that okay. In the last 2 months though, things changed.

Remember the infrastructure upgrades in August? Well I guess they optimized out the ability to add up your balance correctly. They say it only affected a small number of customers, but I was never contacted and still noticed discrepancies. I think it affected everyone.

Their staff isn’t cut out for the task of manually tabulating everything. So their August statements are still delayed. And there’s radio silence on the September statements.

The support message queue is backlogged by “2-3 days” right now. Last week, I lost my debit card (it turned up in the wrong pocket in my wallet… derp). Went online, blocked it, and called them to order a new one. 7-9 business days until arrival. If you call them, they try to guilt you into using the online messaging facility.

And then Thursday, I got an email from my landlady: October’s rent hadn’t arrived yet. That was it.

I logged in and sent her a screenshot proving that the money was gone from my bank account on September 19. I have no idea where the fuck the check is, but the money sure isn’t in my account. As a remedial measure, I’ve moved October’s rent plus $1k in expenses to my old US Bank account, so that at least I can get cash and write checks. That landed on Friday and I was just barely able to pay my rent on time.

As a young company, I expect Simple to make mistakes. I work at a young company, and we’ve screwed shit up badly before. Botched product launches, missing datasets, that stuff happens on occasion. But when it does, we bend over backwards to make things right with our customers. We’ve sent tech support onto the customer site, put developers on the phone with customers, and done full network diagnostics to help customers solve their issues.

I’m sure that adding up bank transactions is more complicated than it looks. But Simple has had 2 months to solve this, and we’re still sitting here wondering where our statements and balances are. There is no ETA, no fix in test. I don’t know what they have in place for QA, but whatever it is, is not adequate.

As a result, I’ve picked another bank and am moving my money and my business there.

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One Response to “Why I’m leaving Simple Bank” (post new)

13 Dec 2014

Which bank have you now regiestered your account?
BBVA is a Spanish bank.

December 13th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

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