Nowadays, it feels like they are many digital banking options in Canada.
If you’re in the same boat as many other Canadians, it may be hard to know which ones are good and which ones are a gimmick.
In today’s post, I’ll be doing a Simplii Financial review, the trademark, and division of one of Canada’s big banks, CIBC.
I’ll touch on who Simplii Financial is as a bank, its various financial products, and how it compares to some of the other digital banking options available in Canada.
I hope it’ll be helpful for you in making a decision.
Let’s dive in.
Digital-only bank owned by CIBC
No-fee banking and cashback credit card coupled with a range of investment and loan products.
- No fee banking, including free USD chequing
- Good investment options through CIBC Securities Inc.
- No annual fee cash-back credit card
- Good student account and student products
- CDIC protection on deposits
- Free access to CIBC ATMs
- No business banking is available
- Better savings account interest rates may be available elsewhere
- Not available in Quebec
A Brief Intro: Simplii Financial
Simplii Financial is a digital bank in Canada. Backed by CIBC, it has been in the running since late 2017 and serves more than two million clients.
While Simplii’s motto is to keep finances simple, this financial institution is a full-service digital bank.
They offer a full line of products that are usually associated with the big banks, including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investments.
Most of your banking is done online with Simplii through their user-friendly desktop service and mobile app. You also can get assistance over the phone and through email and visit the thousands of CIBC ATMs across the country for free.
If you ever need access to cash or want to deposit some into your account, this can be a great option.
Let’s dive into all the products this bank offers to determine whether it’s the right one for you.
Simplii’s goal is to keep its product offerings as simple as possible, so you won’t find 10+ account options as you might with TD.
Instead, they have four options that will serve most people’s needs: a no-fee chequing account, a high-interest savings account, a US Dollar account, and a student account.
Here’s what you get with this account:
- $0 monthly fees and no minimum balance
- Free daily transactions
- A joint account is available
- Overdraft protection is available
- Refer-a-friend bonus
This account is standard for a digital chequing option and is equipped with a handy mobile app to keep track of your finances.
There is a good reason this account made it on our Ten Best No-Fee Bank Accounts In Canada list. I’d definitely recommend it to you.
Simplii’s student account is quite similar to this no-fee chequing. You can learn more about it here. Check out their offerings for international students (including their no-fee GIC to satisfy the federal international student requirement) here.
Also, if interested, check out the best youth/student accounts in Canada here. It’s possible that there are better student options out there!
- No minimum balance
- No monthly fees
- Interest earned on the entire balance
The interest rate on this “high-interest” account is actually not very high compared to other digital banks. Head here to see the current interest rate on this account.
If making good interest in your savings balance is important to you, I’d recommend that you go with EQ Bank or Koho instead.
I’m a fan of this USD Account and would recommend it if you’re on the hunt for an easy-to-use digital US chequing account.
Here are some of the account features:
- No monthly fees or minimum balance
- Option to request USD money order or bank drafts
- Option to easily transfer funds between your CAD and USD balance
- Option to send money to more than 100 countries with the Simplii Financial Global Money Transfer service
Please note that you must be a Simplii customer first to open this account (i.e. have a chequing or savings account.)
Simplii has one simple credit card offering for its customers: the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card.
Here are the card features:
- No annual fee
- Earn 4% on eligible restaurant, bar, and coffee shop purchases
- Earn 1.5% on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore purchases, and pre-authorized payments
- Get 0.5% cashback on everything else
- A low-interest rate during the first six months (10%), then a standard interest rate after that (20%)
- Up to 4 cardholders
- Send money abroad using your credit card with no cash advance fees
I think that this card is great, especially given that there are no annual fees and great cashback potential. I’d definitely recommend it to you!
Please note that you need a minimum annual household income of $15,000 in order to be eligible for this card. Learn more about it here.
Now let’s cover Simplii’s loan and mortgage products.
Simplii has three borrowing options: a secured line of credit, a personal line of credit, and a personal loan. These all sound pretty similar, so let’s break it down.
The secured line of credit: this product functions a lot as a home equity line of credit (HELOC). The interest rate is quite low, but your home (which you must own) is your collateral.
You can also imagine this as a second mortgage. The loan is deposited into a no-fee chequing account which comes equipped with free and unlimited transactions.
The personal line of credit: this is a flexible borrowing account with monthly repayment options and relatively higher interest rates (in comparison to the secured loan.) The loan is deposited into a no-fee chequing account.
The personal loan: this is a good option for consolidating your existing, high-interest debt. The loan features consistent payments and the ability to pay in a lump sum when you want.
Simplii offers both fixed and variable-rate mortgages. The amortization is 25 years or less.
I’d recommend Simplii mortgages to you if you are comfortable with the interest on the loan. These are constantly changing at all banks, so please make sure to do extensive research before signing any papers.
You can find out more about the Simplii mortgages here.
Simplii’s final offering is its range of investment options. They have both registered and non-registered options available.
Let’s explore some of these options to figure out whether they are worth it or whether you should go another route.
Simplii offers both registered and non-registered mutual funds through CIBC Securities Inc.
There are a total of seven portfolio options that range from conservative to high growth. As is the case with nearly all mutual fund options, however, there are management fees associated with this type of investment.
If you are comfortable with this and value the advice and direction that comes along with this “hands-off” investment option, I’d definitely recommend Simplii’s mutual funds to you, specifically because they are offered through CIBC Securities.
CIBC is a huge financial force in Canada, and you would be getting a good investment product coupled with investment advice from this company.
Want to avoid the risk but make a bit more than you would in a high-interest savings account?
You can go with Simplii’s GICs.
Simplii offers GICs ranging from one to five-year terms. The product can either be non-registered or registered for an RRSP.
The interest rates on these GICs are comparable to other digital banks out there and better than most brick and mortar banks. Check out the current Simplii GIC interest rates here.
Simplii is one of the many digital banks in Canada. Let’s see how it compares to some of its competitors.
Tangerine is the digital subsidiary of Scotiabank. This means that, much like Simplii, it’s backed by one of the big five.
Right off the bat, this gives both Simplii and Tangerine a competitive edge. They can offer their customers access to their ATMs and have an immense amount of resources in the back end of their operations.
As such, Tangerine and Simplii’s offerings are quite comparable. Tangerine does have some additional offerings when compared with Simplii, however, such as its “premium” credit card called the “World Mastercard” as well as its account offerings for businesses.
If you are on the market for a digital business account or are interested in a premium credit card, I recommend Tangerine. Otherwise, both are fantastic options.
To learn more about Tangerine, you can head to this post.
There are plenty of resources on EQ Bank on Wealth Awesome already, so you might already be familiar with the fact that we’re a big fan of the interest they offer on their savings account.
Beyond this, however, EQ fails to deliver as a full-fledged bank. Its offerings are comparatively limited as it focuses purely on high-interest savings and GIC accounts – it won’t replace your existing bank as Simplii or Tangerine would.
As such, I believe that it’s unfair to compare Simplii and EQ to one another. You can have your daily banking needs met at Simplii while parking your savings at EQ to take advantage of their great interest rates.
So, why not go with both?
You can sign up for Simplii Financial online on their website or over the phone at 1-888-723-8881.
Signup is easy and quick as long as you are able to provide all of the necessary information and documents. After account opening, you will get your banking card and personal cheques (if you requested any) in the mail within a couple of business days.
Please note that Simplii Financial is not available in the province of Quebec.
As a division of one of the biggest banks in Canada (CIBC), Simplii Financial is both safe and legit.
Your deposits are protected by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) for up to $100,000. Please note that as your deposits are held with CIBC, this $100,000 limit will include your deposits in both CIBC and Simplii Financial.
It’s not always obvious whether something is actually good or a gimmick, especially with digital banks.
With so many no-fee offerings, it’s easy to wonder what the catch is.
As the digital arm of CIBC, however, I’d say that Simplii Financial is one of the good ones.
Its offerings are simple and significantly cheaper than its brick-and-mortar counterparts. I also really appreciate that it has the power and resources of CIBC behind it, specifically when it comes to its loan and investment products.
If you’re on the hunt for a new digital bank, I would certainly recommend that you check them out.
If you’re still in your digital bank research phase, you can continue learning more about them in this EQ Bank review.