Envel versus other neobanks: what's your experience been?

Hi friends,

Based on conversations we’ve had across our different forums, it seems like many of you have experience banking with at least one other neobank/challenger bank. As we work to improve our user experience, we would love to hear your thoughts about the pros and cons of other neobanks (or budgeting apps) you’ve used, as well as how they compare to Envel.

We are looking to get a sense of areas we could improve upon in our app, as well as pain points and gaps users are experiencing with other apps that we could potentially help solve. What features or aspects do you think are missing from other apps you’ve used?

We are aware of requests for mobile check deposit, a web app, and a replication of Simple’s Expenses. So feel free to mention these, but we are also looking for additional suggestions!

Cheers,
Jacqui + the Envel Team

When I was looking for a new bank, I liked what I saw at nbkc.com. When I saw they were Envel’s parent bank, that was another big plus in my decision to try Envel. They’ve got to understand what it is you’re doing. :slight_smile:

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A bunch of this stuff has already been mentioned, or already existing in Envel, so no worries about directly addressing it, just want to add my “vote”.

I like so so many am coming from Simple. Currently I am signed up for Envel, ONE, and SoFi.
I had signed up for Monzo as well, but quickly closed it as I never once was able to actually access my account, even after having activated my card.

I haven’t received my Envel card yet, but my direct deposit has already shown up in the account which is great!

Simple

What I loved:

  • Expenses! (Only one account number)
  • Web app
  • Uploading my receipts to transactions
  • Renaming transactions
  • No clutter in the app, its as “black and white” as it comes. Beyond easy to navigate
  • Searching transactions by time periods and by names
  • Easy and fast to get in touch with support via message or phone
  • ATM finder
  • Check deposit (although infrequent)
  • Fast transaction issue reporting
  • Having interest
  • Instant transfers to friends
  • 2FA over text, and it would send an email to let you know they sent a code
  • Card design

What I didnt use:

  • CD’s, Loans
  • Goals (beyond just the emergency fund)
  • Paper checks (I ordered them, but never had to write one)

SoFi

Currently my main bank

What I like:

  • While the app is cluttered, the actual UI is simple and easy to navigate. Web and mobile
  • I already had my Roth IRA and individual investing account with them
  • Vaults work well overall
  • Clear overview of my weekly spending
  • Transaction searches
  • Check deposit (although infrequent)
  • Fast transaction issue reporting
  • Live chat with a wait queue in addition to phone number
  • Can send money to anyone, regardless of if they have SoFi, and I don’t have to have their bank info - just a number/email
  • Relay to see my credit score and other accounts in one place
  • Having interest
  • ATM finder
  • 2FA choice between phone or email (wish it had OTP apps)
  • Card design

What I dont care for:

  • Interest being tied to direct deposit (I work freelance)
  • No way to auto transfer from vault to vault (so cant have “savings” auto distribute money to bills and such to replicate expenses. Though it can auto transfer to my spend account)
  • CONSTANT push to buy stocks, crypto, etc
  • App is super cluttered with news you can semi-hide, no ability to turn things off like credit cards and loans, which I don’t intend to ever sign up for
  • No dark mode currently
  • Notification time is wildly random
  • No ability to rename transactions (though I get more details, such as stimulus payments having the merchant list “TAXEIP3”)

ONE Finance:

What I like:

  • Map and icons for transactions
  • Card usage time in addition to posting time
  • Mobile app UI is nice, clean. Access on web too
  • No frills app, really easy to navigate
  • Great interest rates, both the auto save and regular savings
  • Scheduled transfers with pockets with frequency, amounts, notes, and even end dates
  • ATM finder
  • Early direct deposit (while DD isnt big for me, it works for all ACH transfers to the account, so most are posted same day)
  • Support is great. They have email, phone, live chat, and even schedule a call back. Easy and fast to get in touch
  • Virtual cards are awesome to have!
  • I can access my card number itself right from the app

Not crazy about:

  • Pockets in general (still not sold on multiple account numbers, though I appreciate the option)
  • Web app UI is the same as the mobile, so its tons of wasted space (though I love having a web app)
  • Lack of transaction search function
  • Lack of customization (such as pocket colors)
  • Credit line (I dont want it, wont use it, wish I could hide it completely besides just not enabling it)
  • Pay anyone requires you ask someone for their banking information.
  • Can only send quickly to friends with a shared pocket it seems
  • Lack of 2FA
  • Card design
  • If a pocket is deleted, the transaction history is gone

As for Envel, I am just getting started so don’t have much to test so far.

Pro (so far):

  • The overall animations for actions are nice
  • The ‘louder’ (and realistically, I mean colorful) design compared to other banks works decent! It feels consistent. (Though things like emojis need to tune down, which I know is being worked on)
  • Glad to see an update turned off the brain animation (I havent turned AI on yet).
  • Love that light/dark mode can be set by the system.
  • Notifications are seemingly instant
  • Transaction searching (though too new to see about long term searching, like over years)
  • Goals function is nice to have
  • Envelopes are nice to have around, excited for sub-envelopes though so I don’t have to track multiple account numbers
  • View external bank accounts (I havent set this up, but seems like it might be similar to relay)
  • Color customization (both for envelopes and the app theme)

Con (so far):

  • Send and transfer on my envelopes screen confused me, seems like they should be one button.
  • I know DD info is under “add funds”, would love this under personal information as well.
  • Based on the images of the card design, I’m not crazy about it.
  • The deposit account numbers for employers seems somewhat unnecessary to me. If a withdrawal cant be made, wouldn’t it be always best to use an envelopes information? I know you are already helping with my ticket for this, where I used the deposit account and they sent two trial deposits, and I am wondering how the trial deposits will get returned
  • No password, so no 2FA, so no plaid (externally)
  • Support doesn’t seem to have a response time frame. While everyone is friendly (thank you for responding to my ticket directly today, Jacqui!), even the chat I sent 24 hours ago in the app hasn’t been looked at yet. It’s concerning when the app says responses are typically less than an hour, but much more time passes. I’m excited you mentioned a phone number is in the plans, that will certainly help with urgent issues!

Budget apps such as DAS are really awesome, but I would much prefer to have a free version just built into my bank. Right now I just have a basic spreadsheet setup where I broke down all my expenses as: Monthly, yearly, Bi-annual, quarterly, Utilities, and long term. It breaks down the name, the cost, frequency/date, how I am paying (ACH, card, etc), and what the company will accept. Its basically a spreadsheet version of simples expenses, set up on a monthly “funding” schedule. Long term is of course just the goals section, not so much expenses (though I use it to track expenses only paid less often than yearly, like my domain renewals)

Anyway, I really am just getting started with Envel so I am looking forward to trying it out in the real world once my card comes, and giving things like the AI a try. I know things are still super new, so finding footing as you build is expected! Very excited to see where Envel heads for the future!

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I currently have envel, douugh, onjuno, and monzo lol. I signed up for hmbradley but couldn’t get my account setup so you’re already ahead of them :joy:

Onjuno isn’t planning on adding any budgeting to their app so I’m leaning away from them BUT I do put $500 of my paycheck into it still because they let you pick 5 businesses off a list they compiled that you get 5% cash back on (up to $500 or $3000 if you pay for premium which I’m doing for that metal card :sunglasses:) outside of the cash back. They also have the best customer care I’ve seen so far. (You guys are up there too lol) but I’ve had to contact them a few times and they answered within seconds every time. (I think that’s a selling point for them quick customer care) in contrast with monzo which took me 3 days to get a response they moved me to a different customer care team which took another 2 days for a response and my issue was resolved almost a week later.

Monzo I just activated so I can’t say too much about them but from what I’ve heard from their current US users is that they are just excited about the future of monzo because they’re from the UK and the UK monzo has a lot of the features that simple has. Their card is also the brightest card I’ve ever seen lol. Hurt my eyes when I first saw it.

Douugh is very promising but they’re also pretty silent on what they’re doing. And they’re missing a few basic things like transaction notifications. If you put in a direct deposit (which I admittedly haven’t done) in pretty sure they have something similar to envel organizing my paycheck. They recently sent out an email about helping people invest but didn’t go into much detail.

I like envel and onjuno because both teams have been pretty vocal with its users on what they are doing. Both teams talked to simple users to see what they can do better. So for me that makes me think that they’ll at least get somewhat close to a few things simple offered. Douugh hasn’t said anything.

I supported envel on wefund so I’m with envel for the long haul. Douugh and envel seem the most promising for what I want (good budgeting) but onjuno with the 5% cash back is pretty awesome too. I’ll probably keep all three for the rest of the year to see where they all go.

App wise I’d say I like the color scheme of envels app the best there’s a slight learning curve to find where everything is at but it grows on you. Douugh is a pretty basic app that I think needs a complete design overhaul and onjuno is somewhere in between the two. Monzo app is pretty barebones too.

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Not a Neo - but AMEX has quietly been beefing up it’s online offerings. AMEX Savings has a solid interest rate and fast ACH transfers - about 1 day faster than than ENVEL. AMEX Serve is a pre-paid card, also has fast transfers. In TX, no monthly charges. Best feature: teens can be added to sub-accounts and get personalized cards (same rules for AMEX credit cards). Serve does connect to PayPal for payments. AMEX big failure: they don’t have any current social media to explain their services - everything is 3+ years old.

Echoing what CMYK said but moved some things around. Since Simple announced their closing, I’ve only recently begun researching other neobanks…

Simple

What I loved:

  • Expenses! (Only one account number)
  • Web app
  • Goals being auto funded gradually at intervals I specified
  • Renaming transactions
  • Reclassifying transactions (so they pull from the expenses I setup)
  • Transaction Round Up
  • Instant notifications for transactions
  • Tip calculator suggestions for specific notifications (it’s like Simple knew I ordered from DoorDash for example)
  • No clutter in the app, its as “black and white” as it comes. Beyond easy to navigate
  • Searching transactions by time periods and by names
  • Easy and fast to get in touch with support via message or phone
  • Mobile Check deposit (although infrequent)
  • Fast transaction issue reporting
  • Having interest
  • Instant transfers to friends (my wife and I used Venmo since we couldn’t open a partner account; recently married and name changing seem to muddle things up? Or perhaps they knew the closing was happening soon??)
  • 2FA over text, and it would send an email to let you know they sent a code
  • Card design (I frequently got compliments on the card for some reason)
  • Partner Account - though we weren’t able to use it, it would have made managing funds together much easier than shared envelopes/pockets. My wife and I had planned for the direct deposits to go into the partner account, then siphoning money to our individual accounts afterwards.

What I didn’t use:

  • CD’s, Loans
  • Uploading my receipts to transactions
  • ATM finder
  • Paper checks

One Finance
I opened an account about a week after opening an Envel account, so I don’t have a lot to go on, other than what I’ve read on Reddit.

Pros:

  • Auto-funding of goals

Cons:

  • Credit line (I too will NEVER use this but there’s not a way to turn it off)
  • No dark mode on web or mobile
  • Card design, not a deal breaker, but options would be nice

Past that, just credit unions that I’ve dealt with.

Pros:

  • Mobile Check Deposit (not often used, but it’s nice to have when needed)
  • Interest gained on savings account (albeit low rates)
  • Web app

Cons

  • Boring web app
  • Lackluster looking mobile apps
  • Card design
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No dark mode?!!?!? That’s a 100% deal breaker for me lol

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Here are a few Neobanking apps I used.

  1. SoFi
  2. Credit Karma Savings
  3. PrizePool
  4. Novo (Business Account)
  5. Oxygen

While Novo is a business account, I’m putting it in here for comparing reasons.

What I like about SoFi is that I have free immediate ATM Refunds (I’m grandfathered into that. It’s not a current offering), cash deposits (but it’s a service fee), my investment portfolio is with them. The app is cluttered with promotion ads of their services, tho. While there is a “Relay” within the app that shows your connected accounts and the total balances of them and other useful tidbits, not all of my bank accounts are connected to it, making it somewhat a useless feature for me. Also, it’s hidden and requires you to go to the home page to see it. They also offer an APY of 0.25%. I’m locked into that APY even though I don’t have a lot of direct deposits into it. Also, there’s a “Vaults” feature where it works like Envelopes, but with limited control. Also, you can “Round Up” purchases and set money on the site. Lastly, there’s cashback offers.

Also, SoFi had some promotions that they keep engaging new and current customers, like if you use RoundUp, you’ll get a match for up to a certain dollar amount. I think this kept me in more. lol

Credit Karma is my one of my savings accounts. The only reason I signed up for it is to be part of sweepstakes. They actually over an APY that is LOWER than SoFi at 0.20%. Not a lot of features other than their main product, which has nothing to do with banking. Nothing exciting to talk about otherwise.

I could say the same for PrizePool, but the only exciting part is that it’s only recently starting to become a Savings account. It’s more of a random drawing app that is also a savings account with a “saving bonus” of 0.30%. You are entered into weekly drawings and win prizes. (If you want a referral, ask me. I’m not going to post a link here for reasons)

Novo is the other “true” banking app I got. While it’s business related, there are some noteworthy items.

  1. There are inspiring quotes. Not really a grand feature, but it helps to motivate you.
  2. A customized dashboard.
  3. A way to pay people or companies
  4. Mobile deposits.
  5. Invoices (with a way to charge a card on that end via Stripe)
  6. “Reserves” - like Envelopes, but even less static than SoFi’s offering.
  7. Integrations with Stripe, QuickBooks, Xero, Square, Wise, Shopify, Slack, and Zapier… for some reason.
  8. Perks… but all of them is business related.

I used to have Oxygen, but the service behind it is so far removed from SoFi and even Envel, that I dropped them quickly, like 2 months later. They have some unique features, such as receipt scanning and categories. The app is even got a “comical” mode, so it gets sassy at times. But all in all, the customer service wasn’t the best.

Update 4/3 - Serve has added a “Goals” feature - which is not available in AMEX Savings. But, with interest rates so low, it might be easier to skip a cup of coffee and beat out any interest accrual.

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Hey there,

Thank you so much for this detailed list! This provides us with a ton of valuable insight about where we stand compared to our competitors, and how we could help fill in some of the gaps. I’d definitely like to hear your thoughts on Envel if you have the opportunity to play around with the app so far.

I will be summarizing feedback from this thread to our developers next week, so feel free to add anything else you can think of!

Has your card showed up? Were you able to get your issues resolved with help from the support team? If not let me know, and I can check up on your tickets ASAP!

Best,
Jacqui

Hey Billy,

Thank you for this detailed response! I haven’t heard of Onjuno, but the 5% cash back sounds wonderful. Thank you for bringing to our attention!

If you end up playing around more with Monzo and Douugh, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Our team values your support and constructive criticism a lot, and we are looking forward to chatting with you in person at our focus group. In addition, I am summarize insights from this post and conveying to the team, so let me know if you think of anything else.

Best,
Jacqui

Hey CTC,

Welcome to our forum, we are super excited to have you on board! AMEX is definitely a valid comparison, especially since we aim to be much more than just a bank. I am compiling and summarizing the replies from this post to our development team, so let me know if you can think of anything else. We are currently working on implementing quicker ACH transfers!

Best,
Jacqui

Hey Allen,

Thank you so much for providing these points of comparison! This is super useful information for us right now, and I definitely recommend bringing some of these points up at our focus group. In any case, I am compiling and summarizing feedback from this thread into a google sheet to share with our management team, so let me know if you can think of anything else!

Best,
Jacqui

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Yep! I have my card, came on Monday! I am kind of holding off on fully diving into Envel until the micro deposit thing we have been emailing about is figured out (I sent you and Alwyn a response yesterday too, Alwyn had sent some good information over!).

BUT now that AI is on and I had my DD come in, it was quite nice to see it auto distribute. Daily cash is basically nothing, but I have only had my small DD in the account so far, so not unexpected. I would probably turn off any of the spending limits once the micro issue is fully resolved - I like being budgeted enough that it isn’t of concern. I’m very excited to try sub-envelopes whenever they come though, I think that will really streamline things for me!

Ideally right now my DD will go to an account that has an interest rate, and then I will push money to Envel from them once a month to organize it all for my expenses and such and use Envel for any actual spending. Let Envel do all the organization, and not worry about being un-budgetted. Im quite excited about going about it that way actually, I think Envel is going to fill a big amount of what I was worried about leaving Simple. As the weeks continue my usage will absolutely go up and up! I’m glad to be with you all!

If you need any more feedback, feel free to reach out - I am always happy to beta test as well if that need ever arises

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Hey @nufuturepro ,

Thank you so much for these insights! The only one you mentioned that I was really aware of was SoFi, so thank you for bringing up these other ones. I love SoFi’s idea of promotions that engage users: will definitely bring this up at our marketing team meetings! As well as Novo’s inspiring quotes, we are definitely aiming to do more with our notifications. I plan to summarize this information to our management team next week, so let me know if you can think of anything else, or have any feedback on how Envel compares to these!

Best,
Jacqui

Hey there,

So glad to here about your card, and that Alwyn has been helping you out! (he’s the head of engineering and always has the best answers to technical questions, since he’s been leading the development of the app!) Keep me posted if you have any support tickets that haven’t been resolved, and I can follow up with Alwyn or the support team.

In terms of the daily cash, you can always switch your limit to weekly or no limit until more funds good in.

That sounds like a great plan! I really wish I had an account with a better interest rate, myBoA accumulated a total of 2 cents in interest in 2021 :expressionless:

In terms of beta testing, I will definitely keep this forum posted on opportunities! We are having some focus groups next Wednesday at 12pm EST and 3pm EST, so let me know if you are interested and able to join and I can email you some follow up information!

Best,
Jacqui

Oh, one more thing about Oxygen that I liked about it…

They have virtual cards, similar to Privacy.com

Thank you! Virtual debit cards seem quite popular