It’s not really a stretch to say that the big banks aren’t keeping up with the curve. Not only do they seem perfectly happy to ignore the needs of small customers, but these big banks aren’t really doing well trying to keep up with the mobile-centric lifestyles of today’s urban dwellers. Between the fees and the lack of mobile support from the big banks, it’s no wonder that alternative and mobile-friendly banking solutions are starting to emerge. If mobile payment systems are here to stay, maybe online and mobile-friendly banking is next in line.
These mobile banking services take advantage of the possibilities afforded by being online and mobile, providing cool features that you just won’t see in the online apps from your traditional big banks. These services aren’t actually banks themselves, and are still backed by traditional banks, but each provides an interface and features that are worlds apart from what you’d get from a traditional bank’s mobile offerings. Here’s a list of five that might pique your interest.
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Simple has been around for a while, and is one of the leading lights in this new generation of online banking services. Simple has easy to use web and mobile banking tools, which come with rich budgeting tools. For instance, you can set goals and request regular reports. You can even deposit checks using your smartphone. Simple is almost entirely free to use; the only fees Simple charges are a $2 International ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee, an $8 Treasurer’s Check Fee and a $1 Over the Counter Cash Withdrawal fee.
Simple also sends you a Simple Visa card, which can be used like any other card to make purchases. Simple is available by invitation only, and only to residents of the United States. However, Simple was recently acquired by BBVA for $117 million, and although this acquisition doesn’t seem to have changed much yet, there’s a possibility that this acquisition may lead to Simple expanding beyond the United States. The Simple app is available for both Android and iOS.
GoBank is a mobile-first bank that eliminates a lot of the fees and complexity associated with traditional banking. WithGoBank you can sign up straight from your smartphone, and it lets you send money and deposit checks straight from your smartphone. You can also use the GoBank app to create and send a paper check free of charge. GoBank has a large network of free ATMs, with 40,000 free GoBank ATMs spread across the United States. Deposits can be made at any Green Dot retailer, including Wal-Mart.
GoBank, like most online banking services, includes robust budgeting tools, such as letting you set custom alerts for specific situations. GoBank gives you your own debit card for free. For added personalization, for a fee of $9, you can even customize it with a photo from Facebook. GoBank is only available for United States residents. Interestingly, GoBank has a negotiable monthly membership fee that ranges from completely free up to $9. GoBank supports both Android and iOS smartphones.
Moven is a mobile banking service and app that has only recently left beta. The app provides a lot of useful real-time information, including real-time updates and spending alerts. Moven also has useful budgeting and bookkeeping features, such as the ability to analyse spending across all your credit and debit cards. Moven even lets you send money through the app using either Facebook, email or mobile phone number. The Facebook integration also lets you see a map of social events, which may come in handy.
One thing that sets Moven apart, though, is that you can manage other accounts and cards through the app. Moven accounts are almost completely free, with charges only incurred for international ATM withdrawals. You’ll also be charged if you with draw from non-STAR Surcharge-free ATMs, although this is charged by the vendor and not by Moven. Moven is invite-only at the moment, and is only open to residents of the United States. The Moven app is available for Android and iOS.
4. Avuba (Discontinued)
Avuba is a new mobile-first, completely-digital online bank. Avuba has an always-available 24/7 helpline, and promises that you’ll be able to start banking within 24 hours of signing up. Avuba also supports authentification via text message and all the easy money transfer options you’d expect from a mobile banking app. Avuba offers free credit and debit cards.
What’s more, Avuba waives withdrawal fees; even international withdrawals won’t incur any extra fees. Avuba also provides advanced analytics, letting users track their spending behavior thoroughly.
Avuba is invite-only at the moment, and is currently entirely free to use, although they are discussing a 7 Euro monthly fee. The site doesn’t seem to explicitly mention any regional limitations, but it’s safe to assume that Avuba is at the very least limited to German residents. Avuba is also one of the 11 startups that’s part of startup accelerator Techstars’ London 2014 intake, which should help raise funds to improve Avuba even further.
Holvi is an online bank that aims to help businesses, events and associations better manage their finances. Holvi works just like your conventional bank account, but with a clean interface designed for web and mobile use, plus a lot of tools and features that are usually associated with dedicated accounting software and services. For instance, Holvi has real-time invoicing built into the service, alongside budgeting and real-time bookkeeping features. You can also gather expense claims and pay them directly from your account.
In addition to these accounting features, Holvi lets you invite other users to manage the same account. Definitely something useful for businesses and associations. This is complemented by an account Feed that lets all users see exactly what’s been going on with the money. Holvi even provides an online store for each account. Holvi is currently only available for Finnish residents, but the company plans to expand its services to the rest of the European Union in the future.