Go Bank and Simple: What Consumers Should Know

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Updated 2.27.13

We obtained some additional information from Simple about their account.  Simple’s Visa card is a prepaid card but the account differs in that it is a hybrid since consumers who have a Simple account do in fact have a traditional checking account with Bancorp Bank.  We have made the following changes to our original blogpost to reflect this correction below:  

Go Bank and Simple appear to share much in common, including:

  • Both aim to attract consumers who are tired of their banks. 
  • Both focus on mobile.
  • Both strive to be less complicated than traditional banks.
  • Both have innovative tools to help consumers, such as tracking spending

There is a one significant difference we would like to point to and it is that one is attached to a deposit account and the other is a hybrid, providing both a bank account and a prepaid card.

It’s the same explanation we’ve provided again and again about the differences between a prepaid account and a checking (or deposit) account.

Go Bank’s bank is Green Dot bank and the account is a deposit account, so consumers have the same protections as one would have with a traditional bank account.

Simple’s bank is The Bancorp Bank which issues its Simple Visa Card, a prepaid card.  Simple customers also hold a bank account with Bancorp Bank and are issued a prepaid card.  Due to this hybrid nature, we were told that consumers have the full protections of consumers who hold traditional bank accounts.  Please keep in mind that other Although prepaid cards function much like debit cards tied to a bank account, but they don’t yet have federally guaranteed consumer protections, such as error resolution.

(Both banks ARE FDIC-insured, so consumers would be insured to the full FDIC limit)

Loading cash into these accounts is quite different from a traditional bank, where you can deposit cash into an ATM or with a teller.  This of course has its upsides, in which consumers can go to a number of contracted ATM networks and withdraw cash at no fee or use remote deposit capture to deposit checks instead of going down to a branch or ATM as is the case with traditional banking.  But, if one has a wad of cash they would like to deposit or are paid in cash, it isn’t as simple or even possible to do so with Go Bank or Simple. Go Bank allows consumers to deposit cash by using a MoneyPak (up to $4.95) and it’s not entirely clear how one might load cash into a Simple account.  (We want to clarify here that by “cash” we mean paper money, not electronic funds).

This goes without saying, consumers should also compare other attributes, especially fees, for these new types of financial products to decide if they will best suit their needs.

Have you tried these new banking services?  What do you think of them?

26 responses to “Go Bank and Simple: What Consumers Should Know”

  1. Angel says:

    Just opened an account with simple bank a couple weeks ago. They sent me my card fast and let me activate it. It seemed as all was well!! So I gave my employer the OK to start direct deposit. Then I sent simple an inquiry asking why me and the friend who referred me didn’t get our “promotional free wallets” in the mail as advertised for opening a new account through a link sent by a friend who had simple already. The guy responded by saying that they were having “trouble with my account in general” and that is had been locked. WHY hasn’t they told me this before I asked about a stupid free wallet? Isn’t that something I should probably KNOW? Especially being a day away from expecting a direct deposit???? These are all the follow up questions I had for the guy in my reply. He said someone from their maintenance department would contact me soon. So the next day (the day my direct deposit should’ve gone through) I still hadn’t heard anything so I sent them another message. Now THIS asshole says “having your account locked and suspended isn’t a fun place to be…..” (I shit you not. He really said that.) and simply told me AGAIN that someone from maintenance would contact me. So here I am with my cable shut off (I had promised them a payment by today and obviously was unable to follow through) and my proverbial dick in hand in electronic bank limbo helplessly awaiting the fate of my hard earned money. NO ONE should have to go through this!!! As if working people didn’t have enough challenged to overcome in America!! FML

  2. BETTY GREGORY says:

    Go Bank does a problem handling of depositors funds.I opened this account on 8/3/2106.I paid my car insurance on 8/3,using their online bill pay, received a cx notice from my insurance about 8 days later stating no pymt. received.I contacted Go Bank,and was told we need 2 days to check into this.So,after 2 days I called them back,and was told,you should have your money back into your account in 7-10 days,which was and is unacceptable.So,I called these people back,and told them about the problem with my insurance carrier,they again repeated 7-10 days.These people donot care and cannot speak fluent English.This bank card is affiliated with Walmart.I have filed a complaint with Federal Reserve and Bureau Of Consumer Financial Protection who handles these problems.So,if you have not done so,perhaps you can also file a complaint and we can obtain positive results.

  3. Anonymous says:

    They’re holding onto $1400 of my hard earned money and placed an internal block on my account, not allowing me to access my own money, which was deposited via cash at Walmarts.

  4. Lisa Dunn says:

    Lisa Dunn has a Masters in Psychology, to which many of you could use a referral.

  5. Mark Hayes says:

    I thought I loved simple, until I tried to transfer money to another account – Capital One, at least, will not accept or provide transfers to Bancorp as they say its a “pre-paid” account and not a checking account. My account also went negative once, and strangely, because my account was negative, was told I would have to transfer as they cant accept checks if the account balance is below zero. But, I am not allowed top transfer from my other institution! Ultimately, I had to mail in a check, and wait…

  6. F Gobank says:

    Fuck GoBank

    • Veronica Campos says:

      Omg I am about tour do the same SUE THEIR ASSES….I opened this acct online where they know my address and my identity or else how would of opened the account and gotten the stupid dumbass card in the mail. Well I received it 6/23 set up direct deposit with my employer. On 7/15/16 was my direct deposit that hit. Well I tried to pull monew out and my acct was frozen. I called the. On 7/15/16 multiple times to see what was goin on, they said they needed to verify my identity. Bunch of BS I told them I have rent due no gas and you guys have my acct frozen cause u can’t verify my identity, stupid assess for a reason my acct was open. And how is it that I was able to use my card before my direct deposit hit and had no problem but then all of sudden a large amount of money gets direct deposit into my acct it gets frozen. Well I continued to call them everyday and got nowhere. They said I need to send a color copy of my SSN with my ID, I don’t know where my SSN is so they said I can use a W2 a paystub checking acct statements my ID and a utility bill with my current address. I sent all that I don’t know how many times and still canthe seem to do shit. I can’t even count how many times I spoke to every single one of then in that office, not even that what kind of shit is it that they can’t return calls or give out their number. I spoke to a Natalie according to them she is a supervisor and I asked to her to put her manager on the phone and she said she didn’t have one BULLS HIT. It is now 8/2/16 and I still can’t access to my funds and rent is due once again and can’t pay it because they’re stupid assessment. So today I’m looking into a lawyer.

      • Grace Forrester says:

        The same thing has happened to me, although it is that they deactivated my card and now sending me a new one but it will take 7 business days and in meantime they are holding my money HOSTAGE! I cannot buy food, get gas, and I have a deadline on a bill tomorrow and will be in huge trouble if it is not paid. Same exact thing as you with not being able to get to a supervisor, etc. Was on the phone ALL DAY TODAY. Have you been able to resolve this and how, please?

  7. Krystal says:

    GoBank is full of shit!!! I called 2 weeks ago to report my card damaged. The card actually snapped in half. They told me they couldn’t expedite it because it was due to damage. Fine. The week after, I attempted to transfer my direct deposit from GoBank and the blocked my account per the email I received. How the hell else do I get my money with a snapped card??! Anyway, after finally reaching the group of off shore agents! I found out they closed my damn account for security reasons without my consent!!! My money was on hold for a week! I’m late on my rent as well!!! How can I sue their ass??!! And come to find out, I saw transactions I didn’t recognize dating weeks prior to all the confusion!!! Where was your damn security system then??? Fraud ass bank. Do not do business with these people and let them treat you any kind of way. They are rude and they don’t care that you have a crying baby at home with no milk and can’t use the money you work for every single week!! I’m going to sue their asses!!!

  8. Do u.go bank have a bank called escrow trust fund bank.i.aint never heard of this people and they have my money and wont let me transfer it the. Want 720 from me to do so i beleve this a scam bank tryimg get. U s dollers

    • KEITH S HARRIS says:

      Demand that they return your money and close the card.
      They are a scam of Green Dot and not worth the trouble.

  9. UNHAPPY FRAUD VICTIM says:

    a card, an account was issued under my name fraudulently. do you verify the information with ID?????????

  10. Candice says:

    I opened a go bank account and received my card after two weeks then my tax refund was deposited and before I could touch it a block was placed on my account I immediately sent the requested ID and waited the 2 business days I called on th 3rd business day and was told to wait until later that evening and there should be an update on the automated system. I am still at a lost as to how my tax refund is unusual activity. This company is a scam and only foreigners answer the line there is absolutely no real customer service line and everyone you get in the lost card department claims to be a supervisor.

  11. Go bank really does Suck the big one. I had an account with them and was depositing money with them and all of a sudden without notice they closed my account,using this BS.about account security. Apparently I wasn’t keeping enough money in my account so they closed it,I didn’t even have a chance to ask them Why they did it. They just told me to take my remaining funds out of the account,or they would mail me a check.
    They are full of S#$t.

  12. Khara says:

    I use GOBANK and had my tax refund deposited as well and I immediately went shop happy and was hit with a block but once I verified the transactions the hold was released. I also wasn’t able to make any online purchases for 10 days…..but after that it has been smooth sailing. These people that are having problems are not problems of GOBANK. It’s a persons own fault if their license expires or if they chose to make other purchases before paying a past due utility bill. None of the issues listed above are the fault of GOBANK. I understand in this day and age of technology that assuming someone else’s identity is as easy as pie so I applaud a company that takes the necessary precautions to protect my money. ◡̈

    • Melissa Graves says:

      Nice try Green Dot, if you can’t deliver this ‘superb’ innovative banking scheme to America’s third worlders (under-banked), why not just wrap it up and close up shop while you’re still ahead?

      I think you put enough homeless people on skid row already, don’t you? Steve Streit, the only happy Green Dot Prepaid Carders you have are the criminals that use it to steal from innocent people!

      If Harvest hasn’t caught on to what you’re doing… they will. With all the data breeches – like Target (for instance), why would you block access to funds (hostage) of the financially vulnerable customers (victims)? For these people, having access to their funds it CRITICAL!

      But to block their accounts and send them an email alert (ransom note) that generally extorts (demanding photo-copy of I.D. card) the remaining identity information one would need to complete their whole profile… now, that’s a whole new creepiness I didn’t think could ever exist. Especially when no one from Green Dot will identify themselves appropriately yet, they require a person to blindly answer personal questions to a faceless and nameless stranger (unless everyone hired at G.D. is named Cortez).

      I think Harvest is on to you, I know I am.

      If anyone is having this “I.D. experience with Green Dot, contact me at: melissa.graves@mail.com for information on how to get help. You should know what you can do to keep yourself and your identity safe from ‘data miners’ like Green Dot. They will share and sell your personal information which is dangerous for you and also a national security risk.

  13. LaRasha Washington says:

    I have a bank account with GoBank and my tax return was deposited in my account on 2/3/16 and I started making transaction paying bills they then placed a hold on my account because they felt it was my activity was unusual I had to call the number on the back of my debit card to verify my transaction which I did and they removed the hold on my account so I went back to using my debit card. Later that night they placed another hold on my card without notice and I was not able to use my card at all and then next morning I received a email saying ….We’ve identified some unusual activity on your GoBank account. To protect your funds, we’ve temporarily blocked access to your account until we’re able to verify your identity. What you need to do to turn your card back on: Using your mobile phone or computer, submit a photo of your Driver’s License, State ID or Passport at the website listed below. (We’ll give you instructions on how to do this on the website.) When you submit the photo successfully, you’ll receive a confirmation, but we’ll still need up to 2 days to review it.
    I did what they asked that same day which was 2/4/16. As of today which is 2/10/16 the hold is still on my account and I have sent them email after email asking them why my account is still locked after the 2 business days. There is no way to contact the bank by phone and the last reply I received today was We apologize for the inconvenience. Your account is currently under review. We will call you as soon as we have an update. This has been such a horrible experience and I’m a single mother of 4 and I have no other money available on top of that I have a disconnection notice for my utility company if my payment is not submitted by 2/10/16 where I had to borrow money to pay it. I have contacted the Federal Reserve and I have a appointment with a lawyer I will be filling a law suit against this bank I hope anyone else that has had problems do the same.

  14. Lisa Dunn says:

    I opened a Go Bank checking account also and have had nothing but a positive experience thus far. I have direct deposit and have also deposited cash into the account with ease. The mobile app is simple to use and up to date with the transactions I make. I have emailed them a couple times with questions and they have quickly responded each time. So far, so good.

    • Melissa Graves says:

      Lisa Dunn, then why are surfing Green Dot consumer complaints? Get a little common sense on board before clocking in. And before getting into character (as a G.D. customer), remember that G.D. and Go Bank customers are poor, non-white and uneducated people so lose the ‘gringo lingo’ if you want to sound legit. SMH

      • Steve pieniazek says:

        “Go bank users are poor non white and uneducated ” you should probably get your facts straight because I’m white and make over $80,000 a year at 25 yrs old that don’t sound uneducated to me!!

        • KEITH S HARRIS says:

          If your so “educated”,then why don’t you have a Real
          Checking account with a real brick and mortar bank? If you have so much money?

  15. Gary says:

    ear Go Bank, Today I called the number given to me by Renia. 1-866-652-4611-2365 I talked to a guy. (Who was RUDE and acted like a real JERK) He says that they are returning my $20 in two or three weeks to my WellsFargo Checking account and they no longer want to do business with me. I assume they are going OUT of business. I was going to transfer a large sum as soon as they released my $20 which they have had since Nov 18th. I did receive the card in the mail. But it will not work because they have a hold on my account. This all started on Nov 18th. I used my business PayPal account to transfer $20 to open a Go Bank account. That did not work. So I transfered $20 from my WellsFargo checking account and they accepted that. But they put a hold on my account because of the PayPal. So I called every week but no one I talked to could connect me with a supervisor and could not release the hold. They said they would call me. They did but I was not at home. The girl Abby did NOT leave a number to call back.I never got any EMails until I left a message here. I have talked over 10 hours over 6 weeks and still do not have my $20. Thank GOD I did not transfer my Social Security and Pensions to them. Stick with a REAL Bank and beware. Avoid GO Bank at all costs. I really learned to HATE them. And all over $20

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