One of the first-ever mobile-first banks is shutting down. After an email notice started to circulate on Twitter earlier in the day, a spokesperson for BBVA confirmed to Engadget the company plans to shutter Simple. The move is part of an ongoing effort by the bank, one of the largest in the world, to streamline its business ahead of a merger with financial services firm PNC.
“BBVA USA continually evaluates strategic priorities and resources, including existing and potential partnerships with outside organizations,” the spokesperson said. “As a result, today we’re accelerating some changes and stopping work on others, including the closing of Simple. These reviews are part of our normal processes, and have resulted in other ventures being closed in the past year or so based on performance and the economic environment, including Covault (2020) and Denizen (2019).”
The company will migrate existing users to its BBVA USA app, but didn’t say when that will happen. Additionally, Simple users will become PNC customers once its merger with BBVA is finalized. BBVA promised to share more details with Simple customers in the future. It’s unclear how many people the shutdown will affect. When BBVA acquired the company in 2014, it had approximately 100,000 users.
While Simple users are understandably upset about the news, they do have alternatives. In the decade-plus since the company opened for business in 2010, a variety of other mobile-first banks such as Varo and Chime have come out to offer similar services.