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I currently bank with Wells Fargo, and am gradually making the switch over to Simple. Couple reasons why:

– like most banks, WF have a ludicrously outdated web interface that makes doing the simplest thing inordinately painful.

– like most banks, WF suck at providing a complete historical transaction history and search. Case in point – a couple weeks ago I wanted to query a transaction on an older account, after checking online and being transferred between at least four different customer service agents in different divisions, I was none the wiser. The best they could do was offer to send me printed statements, at a $100 cost.

- like most banks, WF make obscene profits while engaging in shady practices - e.g., trying to upsell me every single time I call them, mailing me an offer for a "free" credit score service (that, if you read the small print, is actually a subscription) and not least discriminatory lending practices (c.f., recent settlement with Justice Dept)

Bottom line, they don't deserve my business.

Once I called Wells Fargo to ask about a fee on my account that didn't make sense, and when I looked back later I noticed they had added a charge of $2 for the privilege of talking to them on the phone about the original suspicious fee. They are not trustworthy at all.

I then moved over to ING. It has been great, but they were bought by Capital One and I am worried that things will go downhill (and I don't particularly want to do business with Capital One). Simple looks like a great alternative--I wish I could get a guarantee that they won't be bought by some shady megabank a year after I take the time to change over.

All of your reasons are common complaints, and I share them (with the exception of USAA). I work at such a bank, and can tell you from painful firsthand experience how difficult it is to do good UX design work inside of a traditional banking environment. I think Simple had the right idea to essentially decouple the "backend banking" stuff from the UX by partnering with a bank and somewhat removing many of the constraints a full-on bank has to wrangle with.

What's interesting though is that despite these complaints, consumers generally are averse to switching their banks.

I've worked at a bank for several years, and agree 100%. It's basically impossible for them to pull off something like Simple.

So the question is – how valid is that research given consumers haven't had a real alternative?

Now that we're (finally) moving away from paper payments, seems to me that it's a bad idea to bank on consumer complacency. Either way, I'm just happy that there's a decent alternative.

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