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Wealthsimple Cash: A Free Alternative to Traditional Chequing Accounts

To the point Wealthsimple Cash combines a chequing account, a high-interest savings account and a prepaid credit card with rewards, all with no monthly fees.

New: Receive 0.5% additional interest by choosing Wealthsimple Cash as your direct deposit account. More details in the article.

Wealthsimple is an investment management company founded in 2014 in Canada. It offers five different financial services: Wealthsimple Investments, Wealthsimple Cash, Wealthsimple Trade, Wealthsimple Crypto and Wealthsimple Tax.

Their recently enhanced Wealthsimple Cash product offers a hybrid between a checking account, a savings account and a prepaid credit card with rewards. Let’s explore its features in detail.

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I’m not a financial services advisor. The information presented in this article is for information purposes only and comes from my experience with using the platform. Before making any major financial decisions, please consult an expert for advice tailored to your specific situation.

What is Wealthsimple Cash?

Wealthsimple Cash is much more than just a bank account. It’s a comprehensive financial platform designed to simplify and optimize your money management. Whether you’re managing day-to-day expenses, saving for short-term goals or planning your long-term financial future, Wealthsimple Cash has everything you need.

For travelers, this account and its associated prepaid Mastercard represent an excellent option for avoiding conversion fees on foreign currency spending and for withdrawing money from international ATMs at lower cost.

The benefits of Wealthsimple Cash

The Wealthsimple Cash account is completely free of charge, with no minimum account balance. The prepaid Mastercard is also free, with no annual fee.

The Wealthsimple Cash card is NOT a traditional credit card. This is a prepaid Mastercard that withdraws funds directly from your Cash account. As a result, your credit file will not be consulted at the time of application, and your balance will not be reported to the credit agencies.

Traditional chequing account features

With a Wealthsimple Cash account, you can :

  • Shop wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • Receive direct deposits like your payroll
  • Send and receive INTERAC e-transfers
  • Pay your bills
  • Program pre-authorized debits (cell phone bills, for example)
  • Automatically invest your paycheck

What’s more, there’s no limit to the number of transactions you can make in a month. Deposits are insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) up to $300,000.

A high-interest savings account

In addition to all the functions of a traditional checking account, Wealthsimple Cash is also a high-interest savings account.

The interest rate offered on the Wealthsimple Cash account varies between 4% and 5% annually. All customers receive a minimum of 4% interest, then qualify for higher rates depending on their assets under management in all their Wealthsimple accounts combined:

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These current rates are not promotional. They will remain so until Wealthsimple decides to modify them, based on the Bank of Canada’s recommendations and policy rate.

Interest is calculated daily and deposited monthly (on the 1st day of the month) into your Wealthsimple Cash account.

Since Wealthsimple Cash is a non-registered account, interest earned is taxable. You’ll receive tax slips at the end of the year, and you’ll need to report your earnings on your income tax return.

A bonus for direct deposits

As of December 2023, the interest rate is increased by 0.5% (up to a total rate of 5%) if you choose Wealthsimple Cash as your direct deposit account.

  • Direct deposits can take many forms, such as a paycheck, pension, government income or others;
  • To be eligible for the bonus, you must receive direct deposits totalling $2,000 over a 30-day period;
  • The minimum amount can be reached in a single deposit or in several ;
  • This is not a limited-time promotion. The boosted rate will remain in effect until Wealthsimple decides to withdraw it.

The offer is also valid for customers who already use Wealthsimple Cash to receive their direct deposits. The next time you make a deposit, Wealthsimple will check whether you have collected more than $2,000 in the last 30 days and automatically adjust the interest rate.

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A Mastercard with rewards

Wealthsimple Cash offers 1% in rewards on all purchases made with the card. You have several options when it comes to the form of your rewards. You can choose between :

  • 1% cash back ;
  • 1% in stocks ;
  • 1% in investment or
  • 1% in cryptocurrency.

If you choose cash back, the payment will be made directly into your Cash account up to 7 working days after the eligible transaction.

For investment rewards, you must have other accounts with Wealthsimple, either a Trade account (crypto and stocks) or a managed investment account. If you don’t have one, you can easily open one.

Pre-authorized debits and bill payments do not earn rewards.

You can change the type of reward you receive at any time. The change is made in the application and takes effect immediately.

Wealthsimple Cash for travelers

When traveling outside Canada, the Wealthsimple Cash card offers great benefits.

A Mastercard with no conversion fees

After the high-interest savings account, the second highlight of Wealthsimple Cash is the absence of conversion fees for foreign currency transactions. As with some credit cards, you’ll save 2.5% on each transaction outside Canada.

However, it is sometimes more advantageous to use a credit card that charges a 2.5% FX fee if the multiplier for the expense is attractive. For example, the American Express Cobalt Card has a conversion fee, but it earns 5x points on grocery and restaurant purchases.

Since American Express Membership Rewards points have a minimum value of 1¢ per point, that’s a minimum return of 2.5% on your purchases (5% – 2.5%).

This surpasses the 1% cash back that the Wealthsimple Cash card could give you. For these reasons, I recommend using it for ATM withdrawals, but using a more advantageous card for spending abroad.

Free ATM withdrawals

The Wealthsimple Cash Mastercard does not charge fees for ATM withdrawals worldwide. Beware, however, of the fees the ATM itself charges (usually around CA$3), but these vary widely from country to country.

Unlike the Visa Wise prepaid card, there is no monthly limit on free withdrawals. ATM withdrawal limits are set at the equivalent of C$500 per transaction and the equivalent of C$1,000 per day.

The Wealthsimple Cash card is accepted worldwide wherever Mastercard is accepted. However, restrictions apply in some 40 countries, including :

You will not be able to use the card in these destinations for either withdrawals or transactions. The full list of excluded countries can be found here.

For these locations, the Wise card is a good alternative for withdrawals. Since Wise and Wealthsimple Cash are both free cards, I signed up for both. What’s more, I carry both cards in my travel wallet (in addition to my Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card) in case I lose one or one of my accounts is blocked. The perfect trio for travel!

How to open a Wealthsimple Cash account?

Cash account functionalities are only available on the Wealthsimple mobile application.

All Wealthsimple account types are now combined in the same application with a single login and password. To open an account, you must be a Canadian resident, have reached the age of majority in your province and have a valid Canadian telephone number.

The process is fairly straightforward, and once you’ve created your Wealthsimple login and verified your e-mail address, you can open your first account. You will also need to verify your telephone number.

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  • Once you’ve opened your Cash account, you’ll have access to a virtual card to use with a virtual wallet (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) and to make online purchases.
  • To receive a physical card, you need to request it from the application. You will receive it by mail in 10-14 working days.
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Bottom Line

In short, Wealthsimple Cash offers a complete and convenient financial solution, with a checking account, a high-interest savings account, and a prepaid Mastercard offering rewards. It’s a modern, no-cost option, ideal for all-in-one financial management. Whether you’re traveling or looking to simplify your finances, Wealthsimple Cash is a card to have in your wallet.

Frequently asked questions about Wealthsimple Cash

What is Wealthsimple Cash?

Wealthsimple Cash is an all-in-one financial platform that combines the functions of a checking account, a Mastercard, a high-interest savings account and an investment solution. The mobile application aims to simplify day-to-day money management.

What are the fees associated with Wealthsimple Cash?

Wealthsimple Cash does not charge monthly account fees, annual Mastercard fees or ATM withdrawal fees. However, potential charges apply for additional services such as instant transfers to external accounts.

Will the Wealthsimple Cash card affect my credit score?

No, Wealthsimple Cash cards are Mastercard Debit cards. Card subscription won’t make a hit on your credit report, and spending won’t be reported to the credit bureaus either.

Does Wealthsimple Cash charge conversion fees for foreign currency transactions?

No, Wealthsimple Cash does not charge the usual 2.5% fee for foreign currency transactions. The amount will be converted into Canadian dollars at today’s Mastercard rate.

Can I withdraw money with my Wealthsimple Cash Mastercard?

Yes, you can use your Mastercard Wealthsimple Cash debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs wherever Mastercard is accepted. These transactions are free of charge on the Wealthsimple side, but the ATMs charge their own fees.

Can I make Interac transfers to other people?

Yes, Wealthsimple Cash offers Interac e-transfers (30-minute processing time) and instant transfers to other Wealthsimple Cash accounts. Registration is required.

Can I open a joint account?

No, it is currently not possible to open an account with another person.

How does the automatic savings option work?

By activating the “Round up your spending” function, Wealthsimple rounds up your transactions to the nearest dollar and deposits the change in the same account where you receive your rewards. You can also schedule an automatic transfer from your paycheck to your Wealthsimple investments.

Is Wealthsimple Cash secure?

Yes, data security is a priority for Wealthsimple. Your personal and financial information is encrypted and protected according to the same security standards as all Canadian banks.

Is Wealthsimple Cash available in all countries?

To open a Wealthsimple Cash account, you must be a resident of Canada. Mastercard can be used in most countries, with the exceptions listed here.

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Alexandrine Bertrand
Always on the lookout for exotic destinations, Alexandrine shares her strategies for traveling while saving with points and miles. She's an avid cook, both at home and abroad.

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