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Online bank Simple makes things harder by removing bill pay

With a growing number of challenger banks taking on the U.S. market, one of the original startup banks, Simple — now owned by BBVA — has taken the unusual step of removing a core banking feature: bill pay. The company claimed the feature was under-utilized and usage was trending downwards, which is why it decided to sunset the option to pay bills through its app. That decision, not surprisingly, has angered a number of customers who are taking to social media and online forums like Reddit threatening to switch banks as a result.
It’s likely true that fewer people today use bill pay than in the past.
The feature is something of a holdover from an earlier era before electronic payment options and auto pay became as ubiquitous as they are now. And many customers may still have bill pay set up even though another electronic option has since become available. Or they may not want to take the time to reconfigure things, when what they have works.
But despite bill pay’s waning usage, it’s odd to shut down such a commonplace banking feature. It’s rare to find a bank that doesn’t offer bill pay services, in fact, outside of a handful of smaller up-and-comers that aren’t full-service banks.
Even new most of the newer U.S. fintech players like Chime, Qapital, SoFi Money, Varo, Aspiration, and others offer bill pay services where they mail a check for you. And it’s common among more traditional online banks like Ally, as well.
Removing bill pay also greatly impacts those who pay their rent by way of a mailed check, as many landlords are not set up for electronic payments. This is a recurring complaint among the customers who are lambasting Simple for its decision.
Instead, these customers will now have to purchase Simple’s newly available paper checks (sold in packs of 25 for $5 — oh, what a timely launch!).
They’ll then need to buy stamps, address envelopes, fill out checks and actually mail them.
Postal mail, of course, is not a preferred by today’s younger generation — many of whom never had to write letters, having grown up in the internet age. Millennials have even complained that the very act of having to mail things gives them anxiety, due to all the steps involved and their overall unfamiliarity with the process.


I use bill pay to support a family member.
You’re saying “paper checks will put me in control” but really what that means is that I now have something that previously was automatically handled and no I have to manually do it.
I was in control prior, you’re just taking it away
— Jonah Moses (@jonahmoses) May 19, 2019
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