Simple’s mission to help our customers feel confident with their money means building a banking business that doesn’t rely on revenue from fees.
This approach is a sharp contrast to the broader banking industry. Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it would require banks to disclose revenue from Overdraft fees. Based on this self-reporting, the top three banks are on pace to make at least $4.5 billion this year from overdrafts alone—that’s $20 per U.S. citizen.
We think this is ridiculous. So, to keep lifting the curtain on bank fee revenue and bringing transparency to an industry that needs much more of it, we put together the following list of ten common and completely unnecessary bank fees.
1. The Monthly Maintenance fee
The one you pay for the maintenance of…decimal points?
Did Simple ever charge this? Nope.
Why not? Because it feels like charging people rent on their own accounts.
2. The Out-of-Network ATM fee
The one you pay because you are not where your bank’s ATMs are.
Did Simple ever charge this? We did not. But it’s important to be clear: when you use an out-of-network ATM, while Simple will not charge you a fee, the owner of the ATM still might.
Why not? You’re probably using an out-of-network ATM because an in-network ATM isn’t geographically convenient at the moment. No matter what your bank tells you, this is not your fault.
3. Inactivity fee
The one you pay because you didn’t do anything.
Did Simple ever charge this? It was listed on our fee table, but no, we never charged it.
Why not? This fee effectively dings customers who don’t like using their accounts. If you liked it, you’d use it, and you wouldn’t be “inactive.” What if the other things you don’t like using charged you fees for not liking them? Uncomfortable shoes. Terrible movies. Lawn mowers.
4. Card Replacement fee
The one you pay when you’ve already been inconvenienced.
Average: $1.75 ($16.33 for rush delivery)
Did Simple ever charge this? This is another one we had on our fee table but never charged.
Why not? When you need a new card, it’s probably because yours was lost, stolen, or eaten by your dog. Rather than bother you for the postage to send you a new one, we want to help you get back in action as fast as possible.
5. Incoming Wire Transfer fee
The one you pay because you need money fast.
Average: $15.50 to receive a domestic transfer, $18.50 for foreign
Did Simple ever charge this? Nope.
Why not? Internal monologue of a bank that charges this fee: “Oh, someone’s trying to send you some money? And you need it right away?” yawns, stretches “Sure, we can do that. No problem. But you need to pay the toll.”
This does not strike us as a great customer service attitude.
6. Overdraft fee
The one you pay when you don’t have the money to pay it.
Did Simple ever charge this? No. Simple is designed so our customers can’t overdraft.
Why not? Overdrafts are often the result of unclear information about which of your transactions have cleared, or the order in which they will be processed. That’s not your fault. You deserve better information, better tools, and better banking.
7. Treasurer’s Check fee
The one you pay for making an important life decision.
Did Simple ever charge this? Yes. Simple charged this fee to cover costs. From now on, we’ll take care of it.
Why we stopped: Life doesn’t call for a cashier’s check all that often. They’re for big purchases and important occasions, like buying a car or making a down payment on a house. You deserve help and support in those moments, not a fee to use your own money.
8. Stop Payment fee
The one you pay to fix a mistake fast.
Did Simple ever charge this? Definitely not.
Why not? That’s a lot of money to correct a payment to the wrong person, or in the wrong amount. Plus, banking pro-tip: it doesn’t cost a bank anything to stop a payment, except the time of the bank employee that does the stopping. Which is usually less time than it takes to pick your next playlist.
9. Foreign ATM fee
The one you pay for going on vacation.
Average: $4.00 + 2.5% ATM transaction fee
Did Simple ever charge this? We used to charge $2 per transaction to cover our costs. Another fee that dies today.
Why we stopped: There are more fun and important things to spend money on when you’re in another country, like random adventures, meals you’ll never forget, or souvenirs for your cat.
10. Over the Counter Withdrawal fee
The one you pay when you need more cash than the ATM can give you, or you just want to interact with a human.
Average: Between $1 and $5
Did Simple ever charge this? Yes. Again, one of those fees to cover our costs. From now on, we’ll pick up the bill.
Why we stopped: Because it’s your money.
If you want to read a bit more about Simple’s fee philosophy and how it compares to other companies in the banking business, check out this post from our CEO Josh. Curious about how a bank (or banking service like Simple) can make money without charging fees? Check out this resource article.
Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple or our partner bank, BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.