BankSimple, the New York start-up that hopes to disrupt personal banking by designing a better online-only customer experience, is inching toward launch. “The first twenty BankSimple cards have been issued to our employees and we are testing them in New York, Portland, and San Francisco at some of our favorite places,” the company announced on its blog today, and implored the 50,000 people who have signed up for beta invites to be patient.
The cards being tested are “white cards,” unbranded versions of the fully-designed cards, that the employees are testing at ATMs, stores and online. Next, BankSimple will print the first batch of branded cards and go through the same tests, according to co-founder Joshua Reich.
“We will be taking the necessary time to ensure that our systems are rock solid and that our card fulfillment operations can handle the demand. It is critical that we get this right from the very beginning. As our testing progresses, we’ll add family and friends. We’ll then begin inviting those who requested a beta invitation, on a first-come, first-served basis,” the company said.
“It is difficult to change an industry. But we’re leaning into it and can’t wait to show you what we’re building. Thank you for your patience,” they said.
BankSimple is not a bank–FDIC-accredited institutions will handle the money. BankSimple just handles the cards, customer service and access to an online account with Mint-like features via mobile devices and the web. But in the process, the company promises to eliminate surprise fees, ATM fees and obtuse banking language, all from one account which is attached to one card.
Potential challenges include: Resistance from customers to switching their money to an unknown brand with no physical presence. Resistance from traditional banks with the ability to influence policy. Thin margins due to eliminating fees. Plus all the normal start-up speedbumps.