Simplii Financial’s online banking services have seen them emerge as one of the top online-only banks in Canada. Before evolving into Simplii Financial, it used to be known as PC Financial. In November 2017, it was rebranded to Simplii Financial and now serves as the direct banking arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
Unlike traditional banks, Simplii Financial is known for its “no-fee” chequing account feature and its savings account that offers higher interest rates than traditional banks do.
There’s also the fact that you can conduct almost every day-to-day banking transaction via online channels. Customers can also access customer representatives round the clock as well as use any regular ATM like you would with any other bank.
Simplii Financial is among the few online banks licensed to operate in Canada and they are doing their share to win over customers by offering competitive solutions to everyday banking problems.
If you are considering switching to an online bank and you are considering Simplii Financial, this detailed review will give you a good idea of what you’ll be getting with them so you can make an informed decision.
Simplii Financial’s No Fee Chequing Account
While big banks in Canada keep raising monthly fees on chequing accounts and keep trying to get customers to raise their minimum balance to qualify for rebates, online banks like Simplii Financial are going in the opposite direction.
Simplii Financial makes it completely free for customers to own and use a chequing account with them. Not only is their chequing account a no-fee account, but you also qualify for interests on your account balance.
Here’s a rundown of the things you get with this no-fee chequing account:
1. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance associated with using a Simplii Financial chequing account
2. You will be able to make an unlimited number of debit transactions daily: purchases, withdrawals, and bill payments using the Simplii Debit card that comes with your account
3. You can use Interac e-Transfer to send money quickly and also track your payment, all at no cost
4. Your chequing account will earn interest starting from 0.05 percent and going as high as 0.50 percent
5. Free and unlimited access to and usage of CIBC’s over 3400 ATMs across the country
6. You can own and use your own free personalized cheque
Simplii Financial’s High-Interest Savings Accounts (HISA)
Traditional Savings account interest rates have never really been that interesting. And in the last few years, they have been especially low, with the biggest banks in Canada offering exchange rates as low as 0.50 percent and topping off at around 0.90 percent.
Simplii Financial’s online banking offers High-Interest Savings Accounts with an interest rate of 1.10 percent. There’s also the promotional period for new account holders that give new savings account customers a promo interest rate higher than the standard percentage.
Also, as at the time of writing this, Simplii Financial was offering its customers a bonus interest rate of 2.80 percent for new deposits into their savings account.
Simplii’s High-Interest Savings Account is also operated at no monthly fees, no minimum balance, and with a feature to create and automate a savings plan.
Simplii Financial Cash Visa Credit Card
Simplii Financial’s Visa Credit Card gives customers cashback on their purchases
While they are not the first online bank to offer a cashback card, it’s still better late than never. Simplii introduced a “no-fee” Cash Back Visa Card that puts money back in your account for every purchase you make with it.
The cashback is not priced at a flat percentage rate though: it is dependent on the kind of debit transaction you make.
1. Cardholders receive a 4 percent cashback (on up to $5,000 annually) for all spending in eligible restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
2. Also, Cardholders’ll receive a 1.5 percent cashback (on up to $15,000 annually) for all grocery, gas, and pharmaceutical purchases
3. Cardholders receive a 0.5 percent cash back on all other purchases
4. The cashback card comes with purchase security and extended protection insurance. This can extend the manufacturer warranty on your purchase by up to a year
Qualifying for the card is not difficult either. Customers just need to have a minimum annual home income or a personal loan of $15,000. And you can also have up to 3 additional cards if you have dependents living with you. You can set spending limits on those cards too.
For new cardholders, Simplii Financial also offers a welcome 10 percent cashback bonus for the first $500 spend in restaurants and bars. The offer is only valid for the first 4 months, after which the cashback percentage reverts to 4 percent. Bear in mind though that your cashback is credited to you as one lump sum at the end of every calendar year.
Simplii Financial’s Variable And Fixed-Rate Mortgages
If you take out a mortgage, Simplii Financial offers two mortgage types at competitive rates. For the fixed-rate, the annual percentage rate (APR) is set at 2.96 percent (2.94 percent for special circumstances). The APR for variable-rate mortgages is set at 3.22 percent (3.20 percent for special circumstances).
Where it concerns mortgages, Simplii Financial also has a few mortgage prepayment strategies to help you save money on your mortgage and to pay it down faster. These strategies can help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you already have a mortgage from another provider and you want to port your mortgage to Simplii Financial, they lessen the financial burden on you by taking care of the appraisal fee and keeping your rates guaranteed for 120 days. The minimum mortgage amount you can have with Simplii Financial is $35,000. Of course, this is subject to credit approval.
Simplii Financial Investments
For people looking for ways to make money, Simplii offers seven investment options in the form of index mutual funds made available through CIBC Securities. These investment portfolios are designed to cater to clients with different levels of risk tolerance.
The seven investment portfolios are:
1. Conservative income
3. Income plus
5. Balanced growth
7. Aggressive growth
You can invest in any of these portfolios using a registered or non-registered investment account. And if you operate a bank account with Simplii Financial, you are eligible for a discount on the fee you pay for your investment management (MER). With the exception of one of their mutual funds, you can start investing in the others with as little as $25 every month.
There is also another investment opportunity which is the Guaranteed Investment Opportunity (GIC). This no-risk investment option is available for a minimum investment of $100. Your investment is also protected by the CDIC up to the tune of $100,000.
Simplii Financial – Personal Loans And Line Of Credit
Simplii Financial offers personal loans as a lump sum or a line of credit
Perhaps you do not need a mortgage but are in need of some personal cash infusion. Simplii Financial also offers personal loans. Depending on your particular situation, you can take out the loan either as one lump sum amount or as a line of credit.
Bear in mind that unlike a personal line of credit, if you opt for a secured line of credit, Simplii Financial will require you to pay a one-time fee of $150 for processing, appraising and registering the security.
Simplii Financial – Global Money Transfer And Foreign Exchange
Simplii Financial has a Global Transfer Money Transfer Service and a Foreign Currency Service Canada, having so many citizens and permanent residents from different parts of the world have a high demand for international money transfer. If you need to send money to loved ones and friends in other parts of the world, you can check out if Simplii’s global money transfer solution will work for you.
As at the time of writing, they currently support sending money to over 60 countries at no cost to the sender. The money sent usually gets to the recipients in 1 – 3 business days. For heavy transfers, Simplii allows a send transaction of up to $30,000 in one 24-hour period.
All you need to make a global transfer is the name and address of the recipient and those of the bank they use, their account number and bank code.
There is also a foreign cash service that lets you have foreign currencies physically. When you make a foreign cash order in any of their 65 available currencies, they will deliver it to your doorstep or to the post office closest to you.
The maximum foreign cash you can order in a 24-hour period is $2500.
What Is The Institution or Transit Number Of Simplii Financial?
If you want to transfer funds from another bank to your Simplii Financial Account, you need the Institution or Transit Number of the branch.
Simplii Financial’s Institution number: 010
Transit number: 30800
Simplii Financial’s – Fee Associated Services
Simplii Financial and other online banks strive to make their relationship with their clients as free as possible.
However, there are cases where fees have to be stipulated for a service. These can be called “disruptive services”. Some of them include:
1. You’ll need to pay a fee of $10 –$16.50 for stopping an already initiated payment
2. A Fee of $7.50 for money orders and bank drafts
3. The Minimum overdraft fee of $4.97
4. The fee of $1.50 for non-CIBC local ATM withdrawal
5. A fee of $3.00 for non-CIBC international ATM cash withdrawal
6. A fee of $3.50 for recalling an already initiated Interac transfer
7. Fees of 2.5 percent for foreign currency conversion
8. An annual fee of $20 for account inactivity
9. A $50 per transfer fee for TFSA on RRSP investment accounts
Simplii Financial – Pros
For those who are more tech-savvy and progressive in terms of their financial behaviour, Simplii may just be an option worth considering.
Here’s a rundown of some of the pros again
1. No-fee chequing accounts and high-interest savings accounts
2. Being able to get unlimited amounts of cashback on all your spending with a Simplii Financial cashback card
3. Being able to send and receive funds via Interac for free and depositing cheques using your smartphone
4. Getting through to a customer rep all-day, every day
5. Having all your Simplii Financial deposits insured by the CDIC up to $100,000
6. Sending huge sums of money via their global currency transfer service in 1 – 3 business days
7. Competitive loan and line of credit rates
8. Being able to start an investment portfolio with as little as $25 per month
Simplii Financial – Cons
Like I said before, Online banks are a breath of fresh air. Still, they are not for everyone.
In the case of Simplii Financial, there are a few reasons why you may not opt for them:
1. If you are uncomfortable with faceless banking
2. If there are no CIBC ATMs close to you
3. If you don’t like the idea of depositing money via ATMs
4. If you live in Quebec (Simplii Financial is not available to residents of Quebec
In conclusion, Simplii Financial is clearly a better option than most traditional banks, thanks to some of their really great and diverse offerings like their investment plans and their no-fee chequing account.
However, depending on your situation, it may not be what you’re looking for, especially if you’ve discovered another online bank that gives you better service for your particular needs. Either way, the ball is in your court.
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Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger from Canada. His genuine passion for personal finance coupled with his unique style of writing is what stands out. Professionally, he is a computer engineer, agile certified and has a master’s degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in the leading Canadian publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. While he is juggling between his day job and blogging, he is the main author on this blog and has miles to go before making the final pit stop.