Wealthsimple Trade Review

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

Advertiser Disclosure

Wealthsimple Trade is the Canadian answer to the popular Robinhood app in the United States.

While the app is not yet as versatile as Robinhood or Questrade and has some shortcomings, Wealthsimple Trade does deliver on no-minimum and zero-commission ETFs and stock trading for do-it-yourself investors.

Every day is a good day to cut down your investment fees. Canadians started with index funds, online discount brokerages, then robo-advisors, and now, you can buy and sell investment assets online for zero fees and with you in complete control.

Read on to see how Canada’s only free online stock trading app, Wealthsimple Trade, works, its pros and cons, and how to get a $50 cash bonus through our exclusive offer.

Related: Wealthsimple Investing Review

Wealthsimple Trade App Review

Who is Wealthsimple?

Wealthsimple is an online digital investment service that automates the investing process so that basically anyone can put their money into a professionally managed low-cost portfolio without requiring 6-figures.

Popularly referred to as a robo-advisor, Wealthsimple offers its clients customized portfolios to fit their risk tolerance and investment objectives. The popularity of fintech firms like Wealthsimple is mostly due to their significantly lower management fees (compared to traditional mutual funds) and hassle-free investment offerings.

Wealthsimple was founded in 2014, has hundreds of thousands of clients and over $10 billion in assets under management. Their headquarters is based in Toronto.

In addition to their investment and online brokerage service, Wealthsimple also offers a high-interest savings account.

What is Wealthsimple Trade?

Wealthsimple Trade is an online brokerage service that allows you to buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on popular Canada and U.S. exchanges without paying a fee.

Until now, purchasing or selling a stock or ETF was going to cost you anywhere from $5 to as high as $30 per transaction.

While discount brokerage platforms like Questrade and Virtual Brokers offer commission-free ETFs trading on the buy-side, you pay a fee (up to $10/transaction) when you eventually sell.

Oh, and for the big banks, you could pay up to $30 per transaction whether you are buying or selling.

If you are comfortable with managing your own investment portfolio, Wealthsimple Trade offers an opportunity to save on fees and maximize your returns. The app allows you to trade and invest inside a TFSA or a non-registered investment account.

How Wealthsimple Trade Works

The Wealthsimple Trade app is available on iOS and Android. To get started:

  • Open a Wealthsimple Trade account here ($50 cash bonus link).
  • Download the Wealthsimple Trade app from the Apple or Google Play Stores and sign in with your Wealthsimple credentials. You can also use the desktop web interface.
  • Choose an account type – TFSA or non-registered account.
  • Fund your account using a linked bank account and start trading.
Wealthsimple Trade App

The Wealthsimple Trade App currently lists thousands of Canadian and U.S. stocks and ETFs that you can trade for free.

There is no account minimum, the interface is clean, and you can easily sign-up using your existing Wealthsimple account details.

Readers of Savvy New Canadians who sign up for a Wealthsimple Trade account here receive a $50 cash bonus if they deposit and buy at least $100 worth of stocks or Crypto within the first 45 days!

Wealthsimple Trade Fees

There are no fees for buying and selling stocks and ETFs on the Wealthsimple Trade platform. Opening or closing your account, withdrawing funds, electronic statements, and inactive accounts have a $0 fee. If you prefer a paper account statement, a $20 fee applies.

Wealthsimple recently introduced a premium service that offers access to real-time market data (snap quotes) and the ability to deposit up to $1,000 instantly. The Wealthsimple Premium service costs $3 per month.

How does Wealthsimple Trade make money?

When you make USD trades, they charge the base conversion fee + 1.50%. This is a competitive rate given that some brokerages charge upwards of 2% on foreign currency trades.

If you upgrade to Wealthsimple Premium, there is a $3 monthly fee.

Is Wealthsimple Trade Safe?

Wealthsimple Trade is a division of Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc. which is a member of IIROC and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Their membership with CIPF means that your funds are protected against insolvency up to $1,000,000.

Wealthsimple Trade vs. Questrade

Questrade is the most popular online discount brokerage platform in Canada. Here’s how Wealthsimple Trade compares to Questrade:

1. Fees

Wealthsimple Trade has no fees for buying and selling stocks and ETFs.

Questrade does not charge a fee when you purchase ETFs, however, a minimum fee of $4.95 per trade applies when you sell. For stocks, you pay 1 cent/share and a minimum of $4.95/trade to a maximum of $9.95 per trade.

2. Financial Products

Wealthsimple Trade offers access to trade only U.S. and Canada-listed stocks and ETFs. Not all Canada or U.S.-listed stocks are available through the platform.

Questrade offers access to a lot more investment products like mutual funds, options, bonds, OTC assets, IPOs, international equities, GICs, precious metals (gold, silver), and more.

3. Accounts Offered

Wealthsimple Trade currently allows you to trade inside a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered personal investment account. As per their website, other accounts are also in the works.

On the other hand, Questrade allows trading inside a TFSA, RRSP, RESP, margin account, LIRA, LIF, RIF, and corporate investment accounts.

If you use Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor service (Wealthsimple Invest), you get access to a wider variety of accounts.

4. Trading Platform

Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade have smartphone apps that are available on iOS and Android. The Wealthsimple Trade app has a user-friendly interface, however, its functionality does not match that of Questrade.

Questrade offers a self-directed investor a lot more in investing tools, charts, market analysis, and numbers to play around with.

You can access your Wealthsimple Trade account via the mobile app or desktop web interface, similar to Questrade.

5. Account Minimum

You can open a Wealthsimple Trade account with just $100 and start trading. For Questrade, a $1,000 minimum balance is required.

Learn more about Questrade in this Questrade review.

6. Fractional Shares

Wealthsimple Trade now offers fractional shares so you can purchase a slice of big companies without needing to pay thousands of dollars. This also makes it easy for retail investors to diversify their stock portfolios.

Get Wealthsimple Trade ($50 BONUS)

Wealthsimple vs. Wealthsimple Trade

If you are looking to invest in ETFs, save on fees, and avoid the hassle of rebalancing your investment portfolio or carrying out market research, a robo-advisor like Wealthsimple can help you achieve your goals.

Wealthsimple Invest offers a digital investment service that includes:

  • Globally diversified portfolios customized to meet your needs.
  • Low management fees (compared to the big banks)
  • Automatic rebalancing
  • Dividend re-investing
  • Free financial advice
  • Spare change investing features
  • TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, and non-registered investment accounts
  • Socially responsible portfolios, and more

On the other hand, if you’d rather be hands-on and prefer to assemble your portfolio yourself using stocks and ETFs, Wealthsimple Trade offers a solution.

Note that as a self-directed investor, you will not benefit from free professional advice. Also, you will need to ensure you are not over-trading and can keep your nerves steady when the financial markets suffer a setback.

Open a Wealthsimple Trade Account ($50 cash bonus).

Related Posts:

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Wealthsimple Trade Review: Free Stock Trading App in Canada
4.6

Summary

Wealthsimple Trade is an online brokerage service that allows you to buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on popular Canada and U.S. exchanges without paying a fee.

Pros

  • Unlimited $0 commission trades
  • User-friendly app and desktop platform
  • No minimum account balance required
  • CIPF protection up to $1 million
  • Invest in TFSA and personal non-registered accounts
  • Sign-in using existing Wealthsimple credentials
  • $50 sign-up bonus for new eligible accounts

Cons

  • RESP, RRIF and margin accounts are not available
  • Separate dashboards for Wealthsimple Trade and Wealthsimple Invest
  • Limited in-app security analysis functionality

Best Investment Offers This month

Canada's best online investment management platform.

Low management fee of 0.40% to 0.50% compared to mutual funds (up to 2%).

Enjoy automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvesting, and free financial advice.

Invest on autopilot and grow your net worth.

Offers self-directed and professionally managed portfolios.

No trading commissions on ETF purchases.

Low fees to buy stocks starting at $4.95 per transaction.

Free transfers from other banks and $0 inactivity fees.

1.25% savings interest rates.

Earn tax-free interest on every dollar and up to 125x more interest than other banks.

No monthly account fees.

Free withdrawals and CDIC insurance.

Retirement 101 eBook - 3D

Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, MSN Money, Financial Post, Winnipeg Free Press, CPA Canada, Credit Canada, Wealthsimple, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

32 thoughts on “Wealthsimple Trade Review”

  1. I have a question regarding Questwealth portfolios and other online brokers. What would happen to people’ investments if these organizations become insolvent?

    Reply
  2. Interesting review thank you for the comparison.
    I would like to know whether you can purchase Vanguard all-asset allocation VGRO using Wealthsimple trade and how the fee plays out for the US portion of the ETF?

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this. With Wealthsimple Trade does having VGRO count as a US trade? Would you pay a conversion fee since some of the equities are us equities?

    Reply
  4. Following up on Jacques question – I understand you can purchas VGRO on Weathsimple Trade – but how about the 2nd part of his question…”and how the fee plays out for the US portion of the ETF?”

    Reply
    • @Sean: As per Wealthsimple: “Wealthsimple Trade primarily makes money from the 1.5% currency conversion fee charged on Canadian to US dollar conversions (and vice versa) that are required to trade US-listed securities.”
      “The only trading fee we charge is a currency exchange fee for USD trades of the daily corporate rate + 1.5% — most brokerages charge around 2% on top of this rate for currency conversion.”

      Reply
  5. From the WealthSimple website it looks like they support RRSP accounts – can you confirm this? For TFSA & RRSPs do the support transfers from existing accounts? What kind of market data do they provide (real-time or delayed quotes)? Do they allow trading of options (even non-margin e.g. covered calls or cash secured puts)?

    Reply
    • @David: Best to call Wealthsimple to confirm the account transfers. I think it would depend on the kinds of assets you currently own and whether an in kind transfer can be done? Wealthsimple Trade does not currently support the trading of options.

      Reply
  6. Great article, just one question, you mentioned about buying a US listed stock that wealthsimpl;e charges a 1.5% conversion fee. But is there a way I can buy with USD itself without convesrion? Is it possible to store money in USD itself in a wealthsimple account?

    Reply
  7. So basically the more expensive the US-listed stock/ETF you buy the more expensive your fees are going to be? I guess there’s a point where these fees exceed the flat rate of other institutions?

    Reply
  8. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been looking for the best broker my friend in Canada can use to trade stock shares and options as well. It doesn’t look like Wealth Simple Trade offers trading options, do they? But Quest Trade does?

    Reply
  9. It’s great for low/no fee trades and etf trading but has many short comings. It takes FOREVER for money to be available to trade once you initiate a deposit and the stock availability is fairly poor being limited to NYSE, tax and some nadsq. However, even amongst these exchanges there are several stocks I was unable to find. I think I might try Questrade, it seems they are faster and less limited.

    Reply
  10. To creat an account on wealthsimpletrade app, they asked me personal information such as my Social Insurance Number which supposed to be confidential, I dont know is it safe to share this info? How they can guarantee my personal data wont share anywhere or being used?

    Reply
  11. I wanna do this also but I dont have lots of fund I can start $100 right on wealthsimple..? Not on w-trade.? But I’m not the one who will pick the the stock.? Is this long term.? I wanna learn more

    Reply
  12. Great summary. I am wondering if I can convert a certain amount of money to USD so I only have to pay the 1.5% once? Then I can invest as needed into US stocks.

    Reply
  13. I opened a wealthsimple account by following your link but did not receive a $35 sign up bonus. What did I miss?

    Reply
  14. I am planning to transfer my TFSA and RRSP accounts from TD (currently in TD e-series mutual funds with average mer = 0.33%) to Wealthsimple Trade and will be purchasing the equivalent ETFs once the funds are transferred over (mer = 0.08%). I like to keep things simple, but I don’t mind keeping these tax advantaged accounts with Wealthsimple Trade (rather than Wealthsimple Investing) because the taxes/accounting is simple enough for me to deal with.

    However, I will have extra money to open and invest in a non-registered account, so my question is this… Should I…
    1) Open the non-registered account with Wealthsimple Trade and purchase my ETFs (average mer = 0.08%) in this account, similar to my plan for my TFSA and RRSP accounts (I don’t trade the ETFs, just buy and hold long term)
    2) Open the non-registered account with Wealthsimple Investing and use their Growth robo portfolio (fee = 0.5%) in order to benefit from the free divided re-investing, automatic rebalancing, and tax services.

    I guess I’m wondering if the savings from automatic dividend re-investing, automatic rebalancing, and tax services (because this will be a non-registered account) will be worth the higher fee? Is there a threshold account balance at which it would be worth choosing the Wealthsimple Trade over Wealthsimple Investing for a non-registered account?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • @Jen: I think it all comes down to convenience and consistency. Will you actually have the time to rebalance when needed? Will you try to time the market when making ETF purchases (i.e. try to buy when you think the price is low)? If you are comfortable with buying and rebalancing and are stocking up for the long term, you could potentially save on fees with WT. Also, depending on your balances in these accounts, the fee savings can be significant over time. That said, the convenience of having someone else do the buying and rebalancing may outweigh the costs if you end up not rebalancing when you should. Mind you, if you are using an all-in-one ETF, self-directed trading becomes even easier.

      Reply
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