Simple, the Popular Banking Service, Is Shutting Down

After more than a decade in business, online banking service Simple is shutting down. News reached customers by email Thursday that their bank accounts under the Simple banner will soon be transitioned to Simple’s parent company, BBVA.

Accounts will continue to be housed in these FDIC-insured deposit accounts but under the full-time account servicing of BBVA USA instead of Simple. In the email, BBVA called this move a “strategic decision” and said that customers can expect to receive additional information in the near future about when their accounts will be fully transitioned.

The decision comes not long after the late 2020 acquisition of BBVA USA by the PNC Financial Services Group. In a press release from PNC on Nov. 16, 2020, PNC CEO William S. Demchak said that the acquisition of BBVA would “accelerate [the company’s] growth trajectory and drive long-term shareholder value.”

Customers were told they can continue to use the Simple app for the time being. According to an email from a BBVA USA spokesperson, “As part of BBVA USA, Simple customers will have access to a much broader suite of products and services, alongside the bank’s award-winning mobile app, which includes BBVA Financial Tools.”

The email to customers advises that BBVA’s customer service representatives won’t be able to address questions about Simple’s closure at this time, although customers can still reach out about regular banking needs.

Alternatives to Simple

The abrupt news of Simple’s closure led some customers to take to Twitter to express their dismay, concerned that they’ll lose its ease of use and budgeting tools. For those soon-to-be former Simple users who are looking for other online banking options, there are alternatives that offer solid interest rates and tech-friendly features; Simple’s rivals in the space include institutions like RadiusChime and Varo.

BBVA changes also include the closing of the Azlo business banking platform. Customers were notified that there would be no immediate changes to their business checking accounts or service, but initially received no additional updates.

Well-known for its fee-free, online business checking accounts, Azlo has been a leader in the digital banking space since 2017. Small-business owners looking for alternatives to this account might consider BlueVine, Novo or Radius for their banking needs.

NerdWallet writer Randa Kriss contributed to this report.