Online Bank: Deposit Checks, Make Withdrawals & See Which IRA Your Friends Liked?

There couldn’t have been a better time for me to hear the news that Twitter API guru Alex Payne is leaving the little blue bird to join social media banking startup BankSimple. Yes, you read that right. A social media banking startup. Mom, you might want to stop reading right now. You’re not going to like what comes next, and I’m really not in the mood for a lecture on privacy and identity theft tonight.

According to today’s article in ReadWriteWeb, the startup actually sounds pretty cool. “Imagine a Web-based bank that lets you deposit checks by simply photographing them with its mobile app. It lets you make cash withdrawals from ATMs all over the country at no cost, sometimes even reimbursing you for fees you get charged by other companies. As a social Web application, the bank offers you all kinds of recommendations and value-added services based on analyzing your private data.”

So why was today such an opportune time for me to read this seemingly innocuous piece of social web news? Well, because on Friday I got notice from my bank that – for the third time this year – my debit card had been used for an absurdly ludicrous purchase by some douchebag in Texas who apparently decided they were so desperate to spend $400 at Wal Mart that they had to steal the money from me to do so.

You’d think that since this keeps happening to me, I’d be so over online banking it’s not even funny. After all, the amount of times this happens per a year has increased exponentially since I started banking – and shopping – online. But, no matter how annoying dealing with debit card theft has been (and trust me, with my bank’s hold music, it’s plenty annoying), it’s still not enough to make me wanna quit doing everything on the interwebs. And, in fact, I’m really excited to see what happens with BankSimple, and other ideas like it.

After all, even though the hold music makes me crazy, and I truly loathe having to trek down to the nearest bank branch before 2pm on a Saturday afternoon (why do banks insist on only being open when working people are actually, um…working?), the amount of time and energy I spend dealing with these debit card frauds is still only a fraction of the time online banking/shopping saves me. And, I may not be an accounting whiz, but I do know that’s one cost-benefit ratio that really adds up.

Do I need to also see my friends’ socially shared savings accounts? Probably not. Do I think that the guy behind Twitter’s groundbreaking developer ecosystem probably has at least a few other nifty tricks up his sleeve when it comes to this new startup? Definitely. And do I look forward to the day when I can do all my banking from the comfort of my couch (or wherever my handy iPhone happens to be)? Absolutely. Although, on behalf of potential customers everywhere, I do ask that Payne and his BankSimple cohorts seriously consider their hold music before launching. #JustSaying

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