Banking is complex.
There are overdraft fees, annual fees, cashier’s checks, money transfers, debit cards, credit cards, pin numbers, bank tellers, international transaction fees and, and…
Managing money is already difficult enough without the added stress of stipulations, hours of operation, and (let’s be honest) human interaction.
These five branchless banks make for less stressful money management. Why? Because they only require a card and a multifaceted mobile app.
Simple provides fee-free banking to its customers. The Oregon-based institution aims to be exactly like its namesake – simple. The white debit card, mobile app, and fantastic customer service are the only components of its checking accounts, which is why I love this bank the most.
Available on Apple and Android, the app has features including automatic saving, allocation of money to custom goals and categories, and instant transfers between other Simple users.
Let’s say you have money set aside for going out to eat. You can assign food-related purchases to a dining out budget, which will update your “Safe-to-Spend” balance or unallocated funds.
This branchless bank recently introduced joint accounts, meaning you and bae can start to make it rain together.
Since downloading Simple almost a year ago, I have paid off more debt, saved for more goals and learned to be more responsible with my money. I’ve gotten four other people to sign-up for Simple because I was in awe of how even a money dummy like me could have benefited so much from this bank.
The best part is swiping down from your “Safe-to-Spend” balance and see how much money you have. It made me feel like a boss.
Varo is another branchless bank that prides itself on having no fees, including foreign transaction fees – big deal!
But its app also has a few other important features. The first is that it shows you all of your other bank accounts including checking, savings and credit. That way, you can stay on top of all of your money from one app.
I particularly liked using Varo because of the clear picture it gives of your money. Before downloading, I was already using a checkbook app to manually track my balances. But Varo shows me how much debt I owe, so I can’t ignore it. It also allowed me to easily move around money so it’s always where it needs to be.
Soon the app will include a virtual assistant, Val, who will be able to answer questions about banking, track your bills and make sure you don’t run out of money. A big plus for big spenders!
Chime memberships come with both a checking and savings account. Like Simple, you can enable automatic savings while you bask in the bank’s other fee-free features. These include sending checks, transferring funds and real-time alerts for every banking transaction. You can also send money to friends and use more than 24,000 ATMs and 30,000 cash-back locations.
For Apple users: Chime also offers iMessage and Apple Watch apps.
You’ve probably heard of this branchless bank because it isn’t new to the online-only game. Ally’s online savings account offers 1.15 percent APR on all balance tiers, which is higher than most banks.
The account boasts no monthly fees and mobile check deposit. Remember learning about compound interest in math class? This branchless bank’s online savings account compounds interest daily, meaning more money in less time.
Another branchless bank with an Apple Watch app, Moven gives you access to 42,000 ATMs without any withdraw fees. The beautifully designed app features a “Spending Meter” that tells you how much money you’ve spent during the month (disgusting, I know). You can send money via email or text – even to people who don’t have a Moven account.
Spending spikes will send you alerts if you’re using money faster than usual. Interactive graphs make it easier for you to see where your money is going and how often.