In this age of smartphones and hyper-connectivity everywhere, all the time, the actual making and receiving of calls with our devices is one of the least common things we rely on them for. They replace dozens of other devices (alarm clocks, cameras, timers, maps, books, GPS units, MP3 players, notebooks, etc. One of the fastest growing trends right now with mobile devices is in the financial sector; that is, mobile payments, mobile wallets, loyalty and rewards programs, and last but not least: bank accounts.
If you’ve followed ZAGGblog for some time, you’ve likely seen a few of my posts about Simple, a virtual bank that you interact with completely online (or with your smartphone). I’m a huge fan of Simple and its intuitive, feature-packed mobile app. I have part of my paycheck deposited to my Simple account and after several months of using it daily, it makes my traditional bank’s mobile app look (and feel) like garbage. However, there’s another new contender that just launched to the public today: GoBank.
I signed up for a GoBank account and made my initial deposit. Right off the bat, there are a few things I really like that Simple doesn’t have.
First, the ability to customize my debit card. For a one-time $9 fee, you can put any picture on the face of your debit card. Some banks have offered that for a while, but not Simple, my traditional bank, or my credit card companies, so it’s a new thing for me. Like a typical parent, I used a photo of my son. GoBank says it’ll take about 2 weeks to arrive. Standard debit cards (without custom photos) are free.
Second, I like having the ability to deposit cash to my account, which Simple doesn’t currently offer. I don’t usually carry a lot of cash, but sometimes I need to cash a check (or I get paid for a freelance gig with cash) and instead of using Simple, it goes to my traditional bank account because, well, that’s my only option. With GoBank, it’s easy to load cash at nearly 4,000 Wal-Mart stores using the Rapid Reload service. Your cash is available instantly and there’s no fee. Nice.
Like Simple, you can use GoBank to create a budget and set goals for your spending and savings habits. You use the Money Vault like a savings account, and the amount you keep there is deducted from your Account Balance, which is the amount you can spend.
Most banks now give you the ability to remote deposit checks by snapping a photo of the check face. They analyze the photo and extract the account number, routing number and check amount and make the deposit to your account. Simple does this, and so does GoBank. Most checks written from a business or the government (under $5,000) are available the next business day. Personal checks have a maximum of $250 and take 10 days to post to your account. Pretty standard.
How much does GoBank cost? That’s up to you. Once you’ve opened your account, you can select how much you pay in monthly membership from $0 to $9. I’m a big fan of business models where the customer is left to decide how much the service is worth. Since GoBank isn’t going to be my primary bank account, I went with a nominal $1 monthly fee. If I start to use it more, I’ll gladly up the amount I pay. The fee for my traditional bank account is $10 a month.
In addition, GoBank has a network of over 40,000 ATMs where you can withdraw money for free. You can find the nearest one on their website and within the mobile apps. If you use an out-of-network ATM, they assess a $2.50 fee.
GoBank is open to the public starting today, so if this looks like something you’re interested in, even as a secondary / backup account, head over to GoBank.com and sign up. Then, depending on the phone you have, download the Android app or the iOS app. If you have any specific questions, let me know on Twitter and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.
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