9 Simple Bank Alternatives

Simple Bank was a favorite online bank for many due to its unique budgeting tools such as Safe-to-Spend and its excellent checking account options.

As the online bank closes its doors in 2021, existing customers (and would-be customers) need to find another bank like Simple Bank without fees but with powerful features.

Thankfully, there are several free Simple Bank alternatives to choose from with exciting features and each alternate banking option offers different perks that can fit your financial needs.

Table of Contents
  1. Ally Bank
    1. Interest Checking Account
    2. Online Savings
    3. Certificates of Deposit
  2. OnJuno
    1. Basic vs. Metal Checking
  3. Chime
  4. Varo Money
    1. Checking Account
    2. Savings Account
  5. LendingClub Bank
    1. Rewards Checking
    2. High-Yield Savings
  6. Aspiration Bank
    1. Aspiration Plus
  7. CIT Bank
    1. eChecking
    2. Money Market
    3. Savings Builder
  8. Axos Bank
    1. Rewards Checking
    2. High Yield Savings
  9. Synchrony Bank
    1. Money Market Account
    2. High-Yield Savings
  10. Summary

Ally Bank

Ally Bank Logo

Ally Bank is one of the most popular online-only banks that offers a suite of account options that earn interest.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Account options: Interest checking, high-yield savings and bank CDs

Interest Checking Account

The Ally Bank Interest-Checking Account requires a $0 minimum deposit and the entire balance earns interest. Ally can also round up debit purchases and transfer the savings.

Key benefits include:

  • Balances up to $15,000 earn 0.10% APY.
  • A minimum $15,000 daily balance earns 0.25% APY
  • 43,000+ fee-free Allpoint ATMs
  • Standard checks are available

You might also consider Ally Bank if you need to write a personal check for quick payment.

Online Savings

The entire Ally Bank Online Savings balance earns up to 0.50% APY.

Linking to an Ally Bank checking account unlocks these three savings tools:

  • Buckets: Dedicate a portion of savings for specific goals
  • Surprise Savings: Automatically transfer small “safe-to-save” microsavings
  • Round Ups: Round up debit purchases and transfer them to savings

Certificates of Deposit

Ally Banks offers three FDIC-insured interest-bearing bank CDs:

  • High Yield CD
  • Raise Your Rate CD
  • No Penalty CD

Each CD option has different yields, investment periods and redemption rules. The Raise Your Rate CD lets investors potentially increase their interest rate for 24- and 48-month CD terms.

Pros

  • Checking account earns interest
  • Automated savings features
  • Free standard checks

Cons

  • Buckets savings feature doesn’t create multiple savings accounts (which can be seen as a pro or a con)

Read our full Ally Bank review to learn more.

Learn more about Synchrony

OnJuno

OnJuno is a fully digital online bank that offers a higher yield checking account with a yield of up to 2.15% APY. There are two tiers of product, Basic and Metal, with similar features but a very attractive yield.

  • Monthly service fee: $0 for Basic, $9.99 for Metal (first 6 months free)
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0 for Basic, minimum direct deposits of $500 per month for Metal
  • Account options: Checking account

Basic vs. Metal Checking

OnJuno only has a checking account but the two tiers. For the Basic account, you pay no monthly fee and you get 2.15% APY on balances up to $5,000. With Metal, you get 2.15% APY on balances up to $30,000.

Both will give you access to no fee cash withdrawals via the Allpoint & Moneypass ATM networks. Basic offers one free out-of-network ATM withdrawal each month while Metal will give you 3 free.

The also give you 5% cashback on spending at five merchants that you select. For Basic, the limit is 5% on spends up to $500 per year while Metal ups the limit to $3,000 per year.

Pros

  • No minimum balances to earn a high yield
  • 5% cashback for five merchants
  • No monthly fees for Basic account

Cons

  • Metal has a $9.99 monthly fee
  • Only checking accounts available
  • Individual accounts only

Read our full OnJuno review to learn more.

Get started with OnJuno

Chime

Chime is an exciting option and with multiple features and account options.

Besides online checking and savings options, those needing to improve their credit score can open a Credit Builder account.

The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A. provides its banking services. Both are FDIC members and your account balances qualify for $250,000 in FDIC Insurance.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Account options: Spending account, Savings accounts, Credit builder account
Spending Account

The Chime Spending Account is a free online checking account.

Some of the best spending account features include:

  • Visa debit card
  • 38,000+ fee-free ATMs (MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs)
  • Free overdraft protection up to $100
  • Direct deposits arrive up to two days early

The free Chime SpotMe overdraft protection of up to $100 is unique. Members can qualify for SpotMe by receiving at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits each month. The overdraft limit starts at $20 and gradually increases to $100.

Savings Account

Chime also offers a high-yield savings account. Its current interest rate is 0.50% APY (February 8, 2021), which is a competitive interest rate.

It’s also possible to automate savings with these two savings options:

  • Save up to 10% of direct deposits above $500
  • Round-up debit card purchases

If you invest with the Acorns app, you may be familiar with the benefits of micro-investing purchase roundups. Chime lets you round up each debit card to the next dollar and save the difference.

Credit Builder

Credit Builder is a free secured credit card account that reports the monthly payment history to the three credit bureaus. According to Chime, members can boost their credit score by up to 30 points (VantageScore 3.0).

Pros

  • Overdraft protection up to $100
  • Round-up savings feature
  • Credit Builder secured credit card

Cons

  • Must enroll in direct deposit to unlock some features
  • Spending Account doesn’t earn interest
  • No paper checkbook option

Read our full Chime Bank review to learn more.

Varo Money

Varo Money offers a Banking Account (checking account) and a savings account. The Bancorp Bank providers up to $250,000 in FDIC Insurance for this “neobank.”

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Account options: Checking account, Savings account

Checking Account

The fee-free Banking Account is an online checking account offering these perks:

  • 55,000+ fee-free ATMs (Allpoint network)
  • Receive direct deposit paycheck up to two days early
  • Cash deposits
  • Partner offers to save money on non-banking services

You can make cash deposits using GreenDot Reload @ the Register (up to $4.95 reload fee). But, it’s possible to deposit cash with an online-only bank.

Varo also partners with other fintech companies to help you save money on services. Discounts are available for insurance and credit score trackers. You may also see promos for side hustle apps.

Savings Account

The Varo Savings Account balance earns 0.40% APY which is competitive with other high-interest savings accounts.

Varo is one of the few banks that offer savings account interest rates above 1% APY these days – as high as 2.80% APY.

But you must meet several monthly benchmarks to earn the bonus interest rate:

  • Make at least five qualifying debit card purchases
  • Receive at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits

Varo also requires having an average daily savings balance below $10,000 – which is the opposite of what you might expect. Typically, banks have minimum balances, not maximum ones. Finally, the checking and savings account balances must always be greater than or equal to $0.00 to qualify.

Savers can also round up debit card purchases and transfer them to savings and automate direct deposits too.

Pros

  • Can earn above-average savings account interest rate
  • Green Dot at the Register cash deposits
  • Automated savings features

Cons

  • Debit purchases and direct deposit necessary to earn bonus yield
  • Cash deposits incur a retail fee

Read our full Varo Money review to learn more.

Get started with Varo Money

LendingClub Bank

LendingClub Bank, formerly Radius Bank, offers several banking options. Most people will consider Radius for its Rewards Checking and High-Yield Savings options.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $100
  • Account options: Rewards Checking, High-Yield Savings, CDs

Rewards Checking

Despite its $100 minimum opening deposit, there isn’t a minimum ongoing balance requirement for the LendingClub Rewards Checking account.

This account boasts these perks:

  • Debit card purchases earn 1% cash back
  • Balances above $2,500 earn interest
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements worldwide
  • Receive direct deposits up to 2 days early

The first $2,500 in checking account balances won’t earn interest which is one downside. But getting fee reimbursements from any ATM network is a nice tradeoff.

High-Yield Savings

The LendingClub High-Yield Savings account award up to 0.25% APY interest on deposits:

  • $0 to $2,500: 0% APY
  • $2,500 to $24,999.99: 0.15% APY
  • $25,000 and up: 0.25% APY

There are better high-yield savings account options than LendingClub. But the interest rate is higher than most brick-and-mortar banks.

Pros

  • Unlimited ATM refunds across the world
  • Debit card purchases earn 1% back
  • Checking account balance can earn interest

Cons

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • Only balances above $2,500 earn interest

Read our full LendingClub Bank review to learn more.

Get started with LendingClub Bank

Aspiration Bank

Aspiration is an online bank with a social mission to help create a cleaner environment. It’s possible to open a free account (or you can pay a monthly fee that you believe is fair).

There’s also an Aspiration Plus platform that costs $15 monthly but offers extra banking and environment perks.

  • Monthly service fee: $0, $15 or “pay what is fair”
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Account options: Cash management accounts

Technically, Aspiration is a cash management account but functions as an online checking account.

Key features of the basic Aspiration account include:

  • 55,000+ fee-free ATMs (Allpoint network)
  • Up to 5% back at Conscience Coalition shopping partner purchases
  • Can roundup debit purchases to plant trees
  • Deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production

Aspiration Plus

Aspiration Plus costs $15 per month ($12.50 month/$150 year when billed annually) and offers these extra benefits:

  • Savings deposits earn up to 1.00% APY
  • One out-of-network ATM reimbursement per month
  • Up to 10% back with select shopping partners
  • Carbon offsets for gas station purchases

Pros

  • Free banking options
  • Earn cash back on select shopping purchases
  • Environmentally-friendly social mission

Cons

  • Up to $15 monthly fee
  • Basic account doesn’t earn interest

Read our full Aspiration review to learn more.

Get started with Aspiration

CIT Bank

CIT Bank Logo

CIT Bank offers some of the most interest-bearing account options for the online-only Simple Bank alternatives. There is a $100 minimum initial deposit for accounts.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $100
  • Account options: Checking, High-Yield Savings, Money Market, CDs

eChecking

The CIT eChecking account has these features:

  • Up to $30 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements
  • Balances under $25,000 earn 0.10% APY
  • A minimum $25,000 balance earns 0.25% APY

Money Market

The Money Market account currently earns 0.45% APY. You may consider opening a savings account and a money market account as the interest rates are competitive yet vary.

One advantage of the CIT Bank Money Market Account is that you don’t have to maintain a high daily balance or make a minimum monthly balance to earn the best interest rate like CIT’s better-known Savings Builder account.

Savings Builder

The Savings Builder account is a high-yield savings account paying up to 0.40% APY. You will need to make a minimum $100 monthly deposit or maintain an average $25,000+ daily balance to earn the highest interest rate.

Pros

  • All accounts earn interest
  • Up to $30 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements

Cons

  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • Savings Builder requires recurring deposits or a high balance to earn the best rate

Read our CIT Bank review to learn more.

Get started with CIT Bank

Axos Bank

Axos Bank offers several checking account options and two high-yield savings options. You won’t pay a monthly service fee but some accounts require a minimum initial deposit.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0 up to $1,000
  • Account options: Checking and high-yield savings

Rewards Checking

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is probably the best account option for most. It’s also one of Axos Bank’s most popular free checking account options.

Here are the account highlights:

  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • Earn up to 1.25% APY
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees

The entire account balance can earn interest and enjoy free domestic ATM withdrawals too.

To earn the full interest rate (1.25% APY), you must complete three actions each month.

Each action earns 0.4166% APY interest:

  • Receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits
  • Make at least 10 debit card purchases ($3 minimum purchase)
  • Make at least 15 debit card purchases ($3 minimum purchase)

High Yield Savings

The Axos Bank High Yield Savings accounts yields an attractive 0.61% APY. But you need to make a minimum $250 opening deposit that is higher than most online banks.

There are no tedious hoops to jump through to get this rate like the Rewards Checking rate.

Pros

  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Checking account can earn up to 1.25% APY
  • Many account options

Cons

  • Minimum initial deposit is likely
  • Must complete special activities to earn checking activities interest

Learn more about Axos

Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank can be another attractive Simple Bank alternative that tends to yield a higher interest rate than many high yield banks.

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Account options: High-yield savings, Money Market

Money Market Account

While they don’t offer a checking account, a money market account can fit your needs if you make less than six withdrawals per month.

The Money Market account earns up to 0.45% APY on the entire balance. You can write paper checks, make debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals.

Synchrony Bank reimburses up to $5 in domestic ATM fees per month.

High-Yield Savings

The High-Yield Savings account yields a competitive 0.50% APY on the entire balance.

An optional debit card is available but you can only make up to six monthly withdrawals.

Pros

  • Up to $5 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements
  • Money Market account offers a debit card and paper checks
  • Competitive high-yield savings interest rates

Cons

  • No checking account option

Read our full Synchrony Bank review to learn more.

Learn more about Synchrony

Summary

Each Simple Bank alternative offers fee-free banking access. Many accounts pay interest on deposits and free ATM access is also common. It’s easy to have your savings and checking at the same place and avoid the frustrations of brick-and-mortar banks.

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  1. Katherine says

    Let’s admit it. To date, there is no alternative to Simple Bank. All of the others fail. Fail to offer even the most basic, easy-to-understand showing of what’s “safe to spend”. Fail to offer even the most basic way to designate funds for specific purposes without complication. Fail to provide an easy-to-execute payment system – especially if you don’t have your mobile device with you at the store! It’s simple. There isn’t yet a single true alternative to Simple Bank. Why doesn’t someone take up the sword and do what they did? Like they did it? WTF?! That’s all.

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