Wealthsimple Trade Review

(Editor Rating)

Ranking

9/10

Wealthsimple Trade is a stock and ETF trading platform and the only discount brokerage in Canada to offer commission-free trades. Clients can open an RRSP, TFSA, or non-registered (taxable) account to buy and sell stocks and ETFs without paying any fees. This mobile-only platform offers a seamless sign-up process through the Wealthsimple Trade app with no account fees, minimums, or paperwork. It’s best suited for fee-conscious investors with basic trading needs.

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Fees

10/10

Usability

8/10

Comprehensiveness

7/10

Overall Value Proposition

8/10



Best for:

 

  • Unlimited commission-free trading
  • No account minimums to open an account and invest
  • Investing in Canadian-listed ETFs and stocks
  • First-time DIY investors

Investors at most discount brokerages get dinged with trading fees every time they buy and sell a stock or ETF. These fees can be as high as $9.99 per trade. That discourages many self-directed investors from rebalancing their portfolio as often as they should, or from putting small amounts of money into the market when they contribute to their investment accounts.

Wealthsimple Trade solves that problem by allowing clients to trade stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for free. That means you can buy as little as one share of a stock, or one unit of an ETF, with the small amount of cash you have in your portfolio.

Read on to find out how Wealthsimple Trade and its zero-commission mobile platform is making self-directed investing even easier.

What is Wealthsimple Trade?

Wealthsimple is best known for one of the best robo advisors in Canada, managing more than $5 billion in assets worldwide. It launched Wealthsimple Trade in March 2019 with the goal of introducing zero-commission stock trading for Canadians. It remains the first and only stock trading app in Canada.

Wealthsimple Trade clients can buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on major Canadian and U.S. exchanges at no cost. It initially offered only non-registered (taxable) accounts but has since expanded to offering RRSP and TFSA accounts – with more offerings on the horizon.

Plus, you can take advantage of our exclusive promo offer: open a new Wealthsimple Trade account, and get a $10 cash bonus + $0 commission trades. All you have to do is deposit $100 and buy $100 worth of stock within the first 45 days.

Key Features

  • Commission-free trading: Canada’s first and only commission-free stock and ETF trading platform. You can buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on major Canadian and U.S. exchanges.

  • Diverse accounts to fit your financial goals: Weathsimple Trade supports RRSP, TFSA, and non-registered accounts – with a promise of more account types available in the future.

  • Seamless sign-up: Just download the Wealthsimple Trade app and tap “Get Started.”

  • No account minimums:  Start trading with as little as $1.

  • Mobile app: Trading has never been easier with the Wealthsimple Trade app. Search and track stocks easily with your watchlist, and trade with just a few taps on your phone.

  • Transfer fees covered: Wealthsimple Trade will reimburse transfer fees on transfers larger than $5,000.

  • Promotional Offer: Get a $10 cash bonus + $0 commission trades when you open a new Wealthsimple Trade account

Start investing with Wealthsimple Trade

How Wealthsimple Trade Works

Wealthsimple Trade is for self-directed investors. It’s a platform that investors can use to buy and sell stocks and ETFs, similar to what’s offered by the best discount brokerages in Canada. All you have to do is download the app onto your phone or tablet.

Once you find a stock you’re interested in, you can add it to the app’s watchlist feature. When you’re ready to buy, the stock is yours with just a couple of taps on your phone. Selling a stock is just as straightforward.

One thing to note: if there’s a hot stock that you might want to buy, make sure you have enough money in your trading account, as it can take up to three days to transfer money from your linked bank account to your Wealthsimple Trade account.

One thing to note: Wealthsimple Trade – the commission-free self-directed trading platform – is completely separate from Wealthsimple, which is the robo advisor side of the business. Wealthsimple Invest (the robo advisor) has a team of investment managers monitoring your portfolio and ready to assist when needed. With Wealthsimple Trade, investors are largely on their own to manage their portfolio. Read our comprehensive Wealthsimple review for more information.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free trading — No trading fees for buying and selling stocks and ETFs
  • Mobile accessible — Intuitive and easy to use trading platform on your mobile phone or tablet
  • Choose from thousands of stocks and ETFs from Canadian and U.S. exchanges
  • Accounts are CIPF-protected for up to $1,000,000.
  • State-of-the-art security — The app requires a PIN and your date is fully encrypted
  • Excellent for new investors who want to start self-directed online investing without worrying about fees.

Cons

  • Limited account offerings — Clients are limited to opening TFSAs and RRSPs and non-registered accounts.
  • Mobile-only — You can only use the app on your phone or tablet.
  • Lacks research/resources for investors — A no-frills platform lacking in-depth stock information features like automatic deposits and automatic stock or ETF purchases.
  • Stock quotes are not updated in real time. There is a 15-minute delay.

How Does Wealthsimple Trade Compare?

Wealthsimple Trade is a one-of-a-kind trading platform. It’s the first and only commission-free stock and ETF trading platform, and no other platform is available in a “mobile-only” trading app. Compared to other online brokerages in Canada, Wealthsimple Trade has two major differences:

  • App-only access: Wealthsimple Trade is only available as an app on your mobile phone or tablet. There is no desktop access. In contrast, most trading platforms in Canada are built with a desktop-user in mind, although some also offer an app for clients to trade on their mobile devices.

  • Commission-free trades: Wealthsimple Trade clients can buy and sell stocks and ETFs for free. Most discount brokerages – like the ones affiliated with Canada’s major banks – charge $9.99 per trade. Questrade, our top online broker, does offer free ETF purchases, but its clients pay $4.95 on average to sell ETFs and to buy and sell stocks.

Wealthsimple Trade vs. Questrade

Fee-conscious investors will most closely compare Wealthsimple Trade with Questrade – the king of low-cost DIY investing and our top choice for the best online brokerage in Canada. If you want an in-depth comparison, we’ve already pitted Questrade vs. Wealthsimple Trade. But here are the highlights:

  • Questrade is a more robust online brokerage that allows investors to open a wide array of accounts, such as RRSPs, TFSAs, non-registered accounts, LIRAs, Corporate and Joint accounts. Wealthsimple Trade only offers RRSPs, TFSAs, and non-registered accounts.

  • Questrade clients can trade stocks, ETFs, options, over-the-counter securities, and even IPOs in their accounts. Wealthsimple Trade clients have access to thousands of stocks and ETFs traded on Canadian and U.S. stock exchanges, but clients cannot trade options, OTC securities, or IPOs.

  • Questrade has built an excellent reputation for customer service, and offers support over the phone, through chat, or by email. Wealthsimple Trade’s customer service can best be described as “uneven” at this point in its evolution.

  • Questrade clients can hold both Canadian and US dollars in their registered accounts (RRSP and TFSA), meaning they invest in US-listed stocks and ETFs with their US dollars instead of having to pay a fee to convert their Canadian currency. Wealthsimple Trade doesn’t offer USD accounts and it 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 bottom line: Wealthsimple Trade stacks up well against Questrade for fee-conscious investors who don’t mind a no-frills trading platform. Given its limitations, including the lack of real-time quotes and market research tools, Wealthsimple Trade is not a platform for sophisticated investors and day-traders.

Signing Up for Wealthsimple Trade

Opening an account is as straightforward as downloading the Wealthsimple Trade app on your Apple or Android device and tapping “Get Started.” Then follow the prompts, enter your information, and agree to your account documents.

WS Trade sign up

A quick note that existing Wealthsimple clients can skip some of the preliminary questions.

You’ll need to enter your full name, email, mailing address, phone number, date of birth, Social Insurance Number, and employment information to get started.

Next, you can fund your account by linking your Wealthsimple Trade account to a chequing or savings account. Remember, there are no account minimums or fees so you can start trading immediately upon funding your account.

WS Trade stock quotes

Now, you may want to transfer over existing investments held at another institution, like an RRSP or TFSA at your bank. This process is highly intuitive. Simply enter a few details about the account(s) you wish to transfer, selected the institution from a list of choices, and upload a picture of your latest account statement.

You can transfer funds in-kind – meaning your investments will move over “as-is” without selling any products. Or, you can transfer funds in-cash – which means your existing institution will sell or liquidate your holdings and then transfer over the cash to Wealthsimple.

Note you can only transfer stocks and ETFs. You cannot transfer mutual funds to Wealthsimple Trade.

Finally, Wealthsimple Trade will reimburse any transfer fees on transfers larger than $5,000.

Wealthsimple Trade FAQs

Yes! Wealthsimple Trade takes security seriously. Every time you access the app you have to enter a PIN number to open it. It’s fully encrypted and relies on two-factor authentication protection to keep your data safe.
The key difference between the two platforms is that Wealthsimple Trade is made for clients to invest online in stocks and ETFs on their own with no guidance or support. It’s a self-directed DIY trading platform. Wealthsimple Invest is the robo advisor platform where clients get a custom portfolio of index ETFs that are automatically monitored and rebalanced by Wealthsimple’s team of professional investment advisors. It’s the hands-off or automated approach to investing. Self-directed investing can be cheaper, as investors can build their own model portfolio of ETFs without paying any additional management fees. But for investors who want some handholding and guidance, it can be well worth paying as little as 0.40% in management fees and allow Wealthsimple to take the reins.
To paraphrase Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, don’t be so preoccupied with whether or not you could, that you don’t stop and think about whether or not you should. It is free to buy and sell stocks through Wealthsimple Trade and so it might be tempting for investors to day trade. The problem is the platform is not designed for day trading. The stock quotes are delayed by 15 minutes, so you’re playing an already rigged game at a 15-minute disadvantage. Not ideal. Plus, there’s no market research or other tools to help guide you into making informed decisions.

Final Call: Is Wealthsimple Trade Worth It?

Absolutely! The no-commission structure makes Wealthsimple Trade a fairly risk-free, enticing option for any level of investor, but it’s especially ideal for someone who is just gaining the confidence to try their hand at investing. Wealthsimple Trade is ideal for dollar-cost averaging, as investors can make small, frequent contributions without any fees. It’s also nice to be able to buy and sell stocks without getting hit with fees that would curtail your freedom to experiment a little.

Our verdict? Wealthsimple Trade is a straightforward, no-frills trading app that’s easy to use and offers no commission fees. There are really no major drawbacks to using it, as long as you exercise the same due diligence and caution you would with any stock-trading platform. If you’re just learning how to invest, Wealthsimple Trade is for you.

Now is a great time to sign up because Wealthsimple Trade is offering Young and Thrifty readers an exclusive deal: get a $10 cash bonus and $0 commission trades when you open a new Wealthsimple Trade account. All you have to do is deposit $100 and buy $100 worth of stock within the first 45 days. 

Finally, if you’re a more experienced investor and are looking for a wider range of accounts, such as an RESP, LIRA, or a Corporate account, then go with Questrade, our top-ranking discount broker in Canada. With its low fees, free ETF purchases, and easy-to-use DIY trading platform, it’s ideal for anyone looking to build a passive portfolio of ETFs or index funds, and you could save thousands on fees. Plus, Young and Thrifty readers who open a Questrade account get $50 in free trades.

Disclaimer: Young & Thrifty has entered into a referral and advertising arrangement with Wealthsimple US, LTD and receives compensation when you open an account or for certain qualifying activity which may include clicking links. You will not be charged a fee for this referral and Wealthsimple and Young and Thrifty are not related entities. It is a requirement to disclose that we earn these fees and also provide you with the latest Wealthsimple ADV brochure so you can learn more about them before opening an account.

 

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