If you are someone who prefers to do all their banking from the comfort of their home and doesn’t mind not being able to deal with face-to-face help if required, then online banking and high interest savings accounts are a good choice for you. One of the newest names in online banking is Simplii Financial, though as you will learn in a minute, the company itself has actually been around for a number of years. In this Simplii Financial review, we are sharing our take on this online bank in terms of products, safety, and reputation so you can better determine if it’s the best online banking option for you.
TL;DR Simplii Quick Rating
Overall Simplii Financial Rating:
Simplii Financial Review
Initial Savings Account promotion
High Interest Savings Rate
No Fee Credit Card
GIC Interest Rate
Low Bank Fees
Ease of Use and Customer Service
Simplii Financial Review Summary
Simplii Financial is a fine online banking option if you’re a current CIBC customer, and they do offer a wide variety of banking options. That said, we have a hard time recommending them on any level. For more details on our #1 online bank, please check out our EQ Bank Review, and our #2 option (perfect for people who want an online bank that offers a full range of services) with details on our Tangerine Bank Review. Overall, Simplii isn’t bad, and looks to be improving relative to their rocky start (judging by their online reviews), but we just can’t see what they offer that is superior to what EQ and Tangerine bring to the table.
About Simplii Financial
The name Simplii Financial is new to Canada’s banking scene, but this company has actually been around for longer than you think.
Simplii Financial used to be PC Financial when CIBC and Loblaws were in a partnership together. However, after more than 20 years that partnership ended in 2017 and CIBC took full control of their online bank and rebranded to Simplii Financial as we know it today.
Now, to be completely transparent, according to previous customers, this online bank has taken a bit of a downhill slide since changing names, mainly in terms of customer service which I will discuss later on in this article. That being said, they do offer a lot of products at competitive rates making it easy to do all of your banking in one place.
Simplii Financial Products
Simplii Financial bank offers several different products. However, for the purpose of this Simplii review, I’m going to focus on the main 3: their chequing account, high interest savings account, and credit card.
Simplii Financial No-Fee Chequing Account
The no-fee chequing account is one of the most popular products offered by Simplii financial bank.
There is no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement. Free daily banking, which includes unlimited debit purchases, bill payments, and withdrawals, and you can send money for free via Interac e-transfer. Clients will also have access to more than 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada. Overally, it’s similar to what Tangerine offers, but without some of Tangerine’s bells and whistles.
Right now, until August 31, 2020, new clients can take advantage of a special offer which allows you to earn up to $200 in bonus money. All you have to do is open a no-fee chequing account and set up a payroll or pension direct deposit of $100+ for three months straight. That will earn you $150 bonus money.
You can add an additional $50 bonus if you open a high interest savings account as well (more on that below) then transfer and keep a minimum of $50/month for three months from your no fee chequing account to your savings account.
Simplii Financial High Interest Savings Account
As mentioned above, Simplii bank also offers a high interest savings account (HISA).
Occasionally the offer promotional rates to those looking to open an account although right now the Simplii rate is 0.30% interest on your daily balance.
Obviously this is a far cry from EQ Bank’s 2% interest rate!
The benefits of the Simplii Financial HISA are:
- No minimum balance requirement
- No monthly or transaction fees
- Easy to set up automatic deposits
Simplii Financial Credit Card
Simplii Financial has a cash back credit card with a decent earn back rate and zero annual fees.
New clients who apply online or over the phone will receive 10% bonus cash back at restaurants and bars (up to $500 spend) during the first four months of card membership.
After the welcome period, cardholders will earn 4% cash back at eligible restaurants, bars, and coffee shops (maximum spend $5,000/year) and 1.5% cash back on grocery, gas, and pharmacy purchases (up to $15,000/year). All other purchases will earn 0.50% and the card also comes with free purchase security and extended warranty insurance.
While Simplii’s credit card offer compares favourably to EQ’s non-offering, it simply doesn’t match up to the #1-rated credit card that Tangerine brings to the table.
Other Simplii Products
Other products offered by Simplii Financial bank include the following:
- Borrowing (personal loans)
- Global money transfers and foreign cash service
Simplii Financial Fees
Simplii Financial is known for its no-fee chequing and savings account, as well as their no-fee credit card. However, there are a few services and products that do have fees. These include the following:
- Foreign currency conversion: 2.5%
- TFSA or RRSP account transfer: $50 per transfer
- Inactivity fee: $20 per year
- Non CIBC ATM withdrawal: $1.50 (Canada) or $3.00+ (foreign)
- Overdraft fee: minimum $4.97
- Money order and bank drafts: $7.50
- Stop payments: $10-$16
- Stop Interac e-transfer: $3.50
- NSF fees: $45
Simplii Financial Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, this area seems to be a big downfall for Simplii Financial. Clients who used them back when they were still PC Financial were more than happy with their services, but there are a lot of comments and reviews about how, since the changeover, the quality of customer service is severely lacking.
Common types of complaints include delays in credit cards, errors made on accounts, difficulty getting a hold of customer representatives etc.
The overall take on Simplii Financial customer service is very different from that of Tangerine, which is renowned for its customer service. This extends to the use of their mobile app, where Tangerine ranks much higher than Simplii in both the Apple Store and Google Play.
Is Simplii Financial Online Banking Safe?
Security is always a concern when it comes to banking and finances, especially when dealing with your finances online. However, customers need not worry. Simplii Financial deposits are held by CIBC which is a member of the CIDC. This means your accounts are protected up to $100,000.
Simplii Financial Review: Our Take
While I love the idea of online banking to make everything quick and easy, when it comes to online banks in Canada Simplii Financial wouldn’t be my first choice.
Yes, I am a fan of no-fee bank accounts and the free, cash back credit card is pretty decent as well. However, at the end of the day, customer service is a very important aspect of banking and Simplii Financial, based on a number of customer reviews, definitely seems to be struggling in that department.
If you are looking for a full service online bank in Canada, I would personally recommend Tangerine over Simplii Financial, and if you’re looking to use online banking for its excellent GIC and high interest savings account rates, then EQ Bank is the far and away winner.