Simplii Financial Review

Simplii Financial Review
  • Promotions
  • High Interest Savings Rate
  • No Fee Credit Card
  • GIC Interest Rate
  • Low Bank Fees
  • Ease of Use and Customer Service
  • Mobile App
  • Account Options
3.7

Simplii Financial Review Summary:

Simplii Financial is the online only branch of CIBC. Their offerings include chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and more, with lower (or no) fees. CIBC customers who want to stay with their parent bank can save money and hassle by switching to Simplii Financial.

While Simplii’s fees are low like other Canadian online banks they fall short in some other areas. They especially struggle with the quality of customer service. That being said, the online banking world is always changing, and it wouldn’t take too many improvements to make Simplii a stronger contender for everyone, not just CIBC account holders.

In our Simplii Financial review, we’ll take a deep dive into this online bank, including its product offerings, interest rates, fees, mobile and web app features, and more.

Pros

  • Wide variety of banking options
  • Very convenient if you are already with CIBC
  • Excellent bonus and teaser rates
  • Low fees all around

Cons

  • Credit card doesn’t stack up to Tangerine’s offerings
  • Interest rate for savings much lower than EQ
  • Mobile app isn’t the best
  • Customer service must be improved

If you prefer to do all your banking from the comfort of your home and don’t mind not having access to face-to-face help if required, then a bank that offers high interest savings accounts is a good choice for you. But not all online banks are created equal.

Simplii Financial (as it has been known since 2017)  has been around for a number of years, but how does it stack up to other online banks like EQ and Tangerine? 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. 

What is Simplii Financial?

The name Simplii Financial is relatively new to Canada’s banking scene, but this company has actually been around for longer than you think.

For over two decades, Simplii Financial was known as PC Financial. However, when CIBC’s partnership with Loblaws ended in 2017, CIBC took full control of their online bank and rebranded to Simplii Financial.

While the bank has made improvements since the initial years of its rebrand, customer service still leaves a lot to be desired. Considering you can’t visit a branch to solve your issues, this can be a big problem. As time goes on, hopefully Simplii will commit to improving in this area as well.

Simplii Financial Products & Services

Simplii Financial bank offers several different products. However, for the purpose of this Simplii review, I’m going to focus on the main three: 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. 

Simplii’s free daily banking, includes unlimited debit purchases, bill payments, and withdrawals, and you can send money for free via Interac e-transfer. Clients also have access to more than 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada. Overall, it’s similar to what Tangerine offers, but without some of Tangerine’s bells and whistles.

Right now, until February 29, 2024, new clients can take advantage of a special offer which allows you to earn up to $400 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.

Simplii Financial High Interest Savings Account

Simplii bank also offers a high interest savings account (HISA) which has decent rates compared to some big banks, but they’re low in comparison to industry leaders like EQ.

Occasionally Simplii offers promotional rates to those looking to open a high interest savings account. The current teaser rate stands at 6% for the first 5 months, and applies to any new account created. However, right now Simplii’s base rate is only 0.40% interest on your daily balance.

Obviously this is a far cry from EQ Bank’s 3% interest rate, but it’s more than its previous .10%!

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. As another added bonus, Simplii offers a free $50 digital gift card for SkiptheDishes with your first dining or delivery purchase of $50 or more.  

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%. The card also comes with free purchase security and extended warranty insurance. 

While the fact that Simplii has a credit card offer puts them ahead of EQ Bank (which doesn’t), 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:

  •     Mortgages
  •     Borrowing (personal loans and lines of credit)
  •     Investments (including GICs, TFSAs and RRSPs)
  •     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

Customer service is a big downfall for Simplii Financial. Clients who used them back when they were still PC Financial were more than happy with their services. However, even years later we still hear regular complaints about how the quality of customer service has gone downhill since the rebrand.

Common types of complaints include delays in credit cards, errors made on accounts, difficulty getting a hold of customer representatives, etc. This puts Simplii Financial at a disadvantage compared to Tangerine, which is renowned for its customer service. If we could pick one area that Simplii really needs to work on, it would be this one.

Simplii Financial Mobile App Review

While Simplii’s customer service may be lacking, their app does get the job done. Currently the app has a 3.8 rating on the Google Play store with over 13k reviews, and a 4.1 rating with over 9k reviews on the App Store.

The mobile app allows users to transfer funds, check balances, send money abroad (with no fees although exchange rates apply), and more. 

The apps functionality is basic, but easy to navigate, so users will have no trouble completing the transactions available. At times, there have been reported bugs and lags, but it seems those issues are addressed  in a relatively quick manner.

Simplii’s digital platforms offer end-to-end encryption, so your account will be kept safe.

Long story short, Simplii’s app works, but it’s not as highly rated as Tangerine’s banking app on either iOS or Android, and EQ Bank’s Apple App Store ratings leave it in the dust. You won’t find any cutting-edge technology here.

Simplii Financial Review: FAQ

Simplii Financial Review Final Thoughts

Online banking is easy, convenient, and very cost-effective. As you’ve discovered in our Simplii Financial review, this particular online bank offers many of the same products you would find in a traditional brick and mortar bank. Its mobile app isn’t groundbreaking, but it makes it relatively easy to complete your banking tasks on the go, and its promotional offers and GIC rates are decent at the moment.

That being said, the rates and the customer service could certainly be improved. Considering that it’s connected to a major bank, it’s a bit surprising that Simplii is still lacking in these areas.

Our most highly recommended online banks, EQ Bank and Tangerine, still outpace Simplii in every area. Unless you’re determined to stick with a CIBC-affiliated bank, there are better options than Simplii Financial.

Kornel

Kornel Szrejber is the host of the Build Wealth Canada Show, and has been featured for paying off his mortgage in only 6 years while still in his 20s, and becoming one of Canada’s youngest retirees at the age of 32. He now runs a top personal finance and investing podcast created specifically for Canadians, as well as Canada’s largest personal finance and investing conference. There he interviews the top personal finance experts to share their best practices, tips and tactics when it comes to investing and financial planning in Canada.
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Carrie J
7 months ago

DO NOT USE THIS FINANCIAL INSTITUION.

They may be good for everyday banking – I don’t really know, I am dealing with them on an administrative issue.

They are horrific to deal with outside of any regular banking. Their customer service calls go into a general mailbox, they throw up red tape like it’s the air they breathe, their processes are inhumane.

Worst experience ever.

Rosie
11 months ago

WARNING !!!!! Do not use this financial institution if you hope to spend your money where you wish. Big brother Simplii is going to tell you how you are allowed to spend your own money. They decline legitimate transactions that they don’t approve of. They are accusatory and treat you like you are criminal. I would give minus stars if possible. I got my money out immediately and deposited it with another institution who happily helped me. Maybe instead of declining service to their customers who have been with them for over 20 yrs, they could focus their efforts on hackers and true fraudsters. Oh and by the way, if you ever have the misfortune of dealing with “Michael” (in quotes because this person refused to give their true full name) in their Fraud department, maybe you can tell them to start looking for a new job because AI is going to take theirs and will probably deal with people with more dignity and compassion than they do!

Angie
2 years ago

Agree with Kirt! Don’t waste your time with them, go with Tangerine! They are free and very professionnal at the opposite of Simplii that will charge for everything after you sign up with them!! And their customer services is a big joke! so unprofesionnal and awful to deal with !!

Phil
3 years ago

In the Simplii Financial Credit Card section, it should also mention “pre-authorized payments” as one of the 1.5% categories. It’s nice knowing that I’ll get back some of my overpriced internet and cell phone bills at the end of the year.

Terry Greenwood
3 years ago

I’ve been with simplii for years and am more than happy with them I love the free e transfer, i do admit when calling their customer service the wait times to get a person on the line can be ridicules, but since I rarely need to call them I can live with it.

Kirt
3 years ago

I would not recommend Tangerine. actually flipped over to them for a couple of years, had enough of their “borrowing rules” and brushing a guy like me off.

Simplii has more than helped me. And I’m glad I went back to them.