Josh Reich cofounded Simple with an idea that was, well, simple: Banks suck.
Reich wanted to create a bank that prioritized customer satisfaction and ease of use, and ultimately reinvented the way we think about money. So rather than handling cash itself, Simple works by partnering with “back-end” banks, freeing up Simple employees to focus on keeping users informed and happy.
But are we ready to think about money through the lens of that other “m” word, mobile? Reich says if you’re living in America, the answer is probably not.
“Financial innovation occurs in a really weird way here,” he tells Fast Company‘s Christina Chaey. “If you look at what’s happening in Europe, Asia, or Africa, you see a lot more innovation around payments technology. Yet America is still really heavily dependent on checks.”
To Reich, that means your overstuffed, physical wallet isn’t going the way of the dodo within the next decade, even as big banks and upstarts alike are racing to push their swipe- or scan-to-pay mobile tech at American consumers.
“It’s kind of cool technologically, but at the end of the day, what’s it doing for the customer?” Reich asks. “If there’s no strong benefit for the customer, I don’t know why people would adopt it. Right now, it’s not really solving a problem.”