The Joys of Online Banking

Remember when Google started Google Wallet? It came with a debit card that you linked to your bank and could transfer money to in seconds. I loved that and used it quite a lot. Simple to use and to manage.

Then it became Google Pay and the banking portion was moved to the online bank Simple. Now transfers took 3 days unless you used Simple as your bank. I set up direct deposit and put in some money each pay check to use as my spending money, but I stayed with my old bank.

Today Simple is no more. The bank behind it, BBVA, has shut it down and moved the accounts to BBVA, and automatically enrolled everyone in paper statements for $3 a month. I transferred out my money last week and will not activate my empty account at BBVA.
The auto enrollment in paper statements is what soured me on using them any more. It is just a blatant money grab. I was going to close the account at Simple, but they will not let you do so until 30 days after the last money transfer.

Also, the use of the cards and apps has gotten more complex over time. My old bank app is easy to use and has gotten better over time, but the Gwallet to Simple, and now to BBVA, the process gets more complex each time these things move. They should be getting easier and more intuitive, not backwards and complex.

Google pay in the USA must be a REALLY different product that it is here in Canada. For me, to set it up, it took a picture of my banks debit card, and then I logged into my bank to authorize the connection. All it allows me to do is to pay at a cash register, or to use Google Pay to pay for stuff online (mostly Google stuff.) In essence it’s just a front end to my bank card (with, I believe, tokenization to provide some extra anonymity to the vendor, but of course Google still knows what you’re spending where.)

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Google Pay is like that now for me as well, but it used to be its’ own debit service. And Google is changing it again to GPay soon, but not sure how they will change things.
I like being able to use a separate card for purchases from vendors I don’t have full trust in, thus wanting to keep my main bank account fire-walled off.

Also really liked Wallet. When they shut it down, I never went back. Why go back to the company that’s going to pull the rug out from under you?

I do use the e-wallet portion of Google Pay, but I’d never trust them with any kind of checking account at this point.

It is similar in Europe, which is why I never understood the appeal. Just someone else in the chain that can see your transactions.

I stick with the mobile payment app from my bank.

ApplePay, Apple Card, Apple Wallet

In Europe, the banks are locked down with secrecy laws - they can’t use your transaction history, other than assessing applied for loans. They can’t sell the information to third parties etc.

The exception, of course, is to law enforcement, when they are served a valid warrant.

The other thing is, in Europe, the banks have been doing contactless payments since 2007. It really took off in 2016/2017 in Germany, but Apple only started in 2019, with the support of 2 German banks and 2 non-German banks, none of which were high profile banks. Apple still only supports a handful of banks and none that we use.

On the other hand, nearly every bank has a contactless payment app on Android, which is directly linked to your current account. That keeps the number of eyes on your transaction down to the minimum.


Yeah, that’s a shame cuz here in in the US ApplePay is fairly ubiquitous, I use it constantly

Only one of my banks has a contactless app, so I do use Google Pay to pull it all together and store my loyalty cards too instead of carrying a wallet full of cards around. You always need one payment card, as they seem to randomly ask for a card/PIN now and again.

Open Banking is something I keep meaning to look into - you can share financial info between providers. Have all your accounts in one app, for example.

Loyalty cards aren’t big over here. You get a “Stempelkarte” (stamp card) from the bakers or car wash, but that’s about it. But real loyalty cards are few and far between.

Pay Back and Deutschland Karte, which work through groups of retailers, did try and make a go of it, but I don’t know anyone who uses them. We used our Deutschland Karte when we bought the house and refurbished it… All the furniture we bought was enough to get a week’s groceries. We could use it for furniture, fuel, food shopping and a few other places, but they were usually more expensive than the places that don’t use the scheme.

I lost the card about 7 years ago and never bothered to get it replaced.

The ontological nightmare of online banking.

When I started this post, it was mainly just an unfocused rant. Now my thoughts have congealed into just my disappointment that what started out as simple and easy to use, got more complex while it added more features, then changed and only added hoops to jump thru in order to avoid a totally unneeded ‘service’ that has a fee.

It seems like that describes a lot of the internet now days. And these kids keeps walking on my lawn too.