Simple is shutting down, and there aren't really any great alternatives out there in the US. But what about the other side of the pond? Europe is a hub for financial technology (fintech) startups and some of the innovative new banks are looking to expand their business to the US (some already have). So let's run through what's available in Europe and see what you could soon have access to in the States.
We're learning more details about the bid to expand Google Pay's offerings beyond digital peer-to-peer transactions. Six banks have announced partnerships with Google that will allow new customers to launch accounts at their institutions through Google Pay.
More and more apps support Android 10's biometrics API, which means that they work with the Pixel 4's face unlock mechanism for authentication, saving you from typing in your password or PIN over and over again. One of the Big Four banks in the US is now getting ready to jump on the bandwagon for its app: Chase. After an initially extremely slow rollout, it seems that the feature is now in the hands of many more people.
When the Pixel 4 was launched last year, many people praised its fast face unlock system. It didn't do much good, though, unless it worked with the apps you used, and that wasn't likely at launch. Google introduced a new version of the Biometric API for Android 10 that worked with authentication methods such as fingerprints and faces, but it meant that developers had to add this updated API into their apps first. It took a while, but many bigger banking institutions are starting to support it, and now you can add Wells Fargo to that list.
Following in Apple's footsteps, Samsung recently announced that it wants to introduce its own debit card. Today, the company has finally shared more information on that enterprise, calling it Samsung Money by SoFi as it's backed by said institution (which notably isn't a bank, as it states itself). The account-fee-free service is slated to launch "later this summer" in the US and will offer higher-than-average interest rates and rewards for saving money.
Fingerprint sensors were the norm for a long time, but face unlock reentered the scene as the smartphone biometric authentication method a couple years back. Secure apps have been relatively slow to adopt face unlock, but TD Ameritrade has just become the latest finance-related app to support it.
Google Pay already supports a plethora of credit cards from a multitude of banks all over the world, but there are still many institutions left that don't work with Google's payment system. It's great to see that the number of compatible banks is rising internationally, and today, we can report a whopping 62 newly added banks — though about half of these are savings banks located in Denmark.
By now everyone should know that two-factor authentication via SMS is outdated and insecure. But in case anyone needs a reminder, here it is: Metro Bank in the UK was recently the victim of something called SS7 attacks, which basically allow anyone with access to reroute text messages and calls as they please, as well as track the location of a compromised phone. This is far from the first time this has happened, and it seems European banks are more at risk than US banks.