Online Banking Startup Simple Unveils Goals, To Help Users Save Up For Whatever

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Simple was launched with a pretty brilliant idea: Make banking easy. Uh, simple, even. To date, the startup has been doing that by allowing users to keep track of where their money is going, with a no-fee banking system, an intuitive iPhone app, pretty neat data visualization tools, and the ability to keep track of how much money is “safe to spend,” based on a user’s current balance minus upcoming bills. Now it’s nudging users to start putting money aside, with the launch of its new Goals feature.

In a blog post today, Simple (formerly BankSimple) announced the new feature, which is designed to help users put aside cash, without having to really think about it. It works like this: You tell Simple how much you want to save, and by what date, and it moves a certain amount of money out of your “Safe-to-Spend” balance every day. The money is still there, sitting in your account, it’s just set aside from the rest of what you can spend.

For those who want to set aside a certain amount of money immediately, they can create a Goal of that amount, and it’s automatically deducted from your Safe-to-Spend amount. And users can drag-and-drop cash from their Safe-to-Spend toward a Goal whenever they want to. They can also pause or resume saving toward a Goal whenever, even straight from the iPhone app.

The idea is to make saving seem seamless, basically by tricking the user into seeing Goal money as not a part of what’s “Safe-to-Spend,” even if the balance is higher. In doing so, users can better budget for major purchases (like the iPhone 5, available September 21). Simple sees the Goal feature as the “antithesis” to credit cards, by providing simple tools for budgeting around those big deductions. In a blog post, Simple’s Ian Collins writes:

“When success is easier to achieve, you’ll save more–and more often. You might even forget about the completion date, and one morning wake up to see that you’ve achieved your Goal. That would certainly be a good day.”

It sure would.