With a debit card, unlike credit cards, you can’t spend more thanyou’ve got — which makes them a great choice for tight budgets.Traditional debit cards still leave a window for you to getoverdrawn, however, if you’ve got pending transactions that haven’thit your account yet. Simple helps your fiscal transparency byshowing your “Safe to Spend” funds number, which incorporates yourunreconciled transactions and docks your available cash asappropriate. The integrated Simple iPhone app provides immediate feedback andapproval on your transactions as they’re made; in fact, you can’t sign up for a Simple account if you don’t have an iOSdevice. You can use an iPad or iPod touch, as long as you also have acellphone that accepts SMS text messages. The app is protected by asimple PIN code, rather than the username/password pair common forbanking apps.
Since your card transactions are immediately reflected in the app,you can do a lot of easy tracking and tagging to keep track of yourmoney. The app and the website offer powerful search tools so youcan figure out where and when you did your spending; the site alsoincludes Gmail-style keyboard shortcuts for power users. One feature that’s not ready at launch is check depositing via theiPhone camera. Right now, to add funds to your account you usedirect deposit, EFT from your current bank, or mailed deposits.
Asfor sending money out, you can direct payments to companies orindividuals right from the iPhone app, but you’ll need their fullmailing address as Simple defaults to sending a check if it can’tdo an electronic transfer. I’ve only had my Simple account for a few days (card unboxinggallery above — it’s very nicely packaged, in a linen bag) and I’mnot sure how much utility I’ll get out of it. For anyone with amoderately complicated financial life, such as a joint account witha spouse or multiple sources of income, Simple may be too simple to gain much traction. For basic banking and debittransactions, however, it might be just the ticket. I’m going totry using my Simple card instead of cash for daily spending so Ican get a better sense of how much money is going into coffee andsundries (and how much I could be saving for a new MacBook Air instead).