Wealthsimple Cash Review for April 2024 – Is it Worth it?

WRITTEN BY Dylan Callaghan | UPDATED ON: April 9, 2024

Wealthsimple Cash Review

Disclaimer: The writer of this article or employees of Stocktrades Ltd may have positions in securities listed in this article. Stocktrades Ltd may also be compensated via affiliate links in this post. Stocktrades Ltd will run advertisements on our posts. These advertisements do not represent an endorsement by us.

Wealthsimple Cash primarily performs two functions. But how effectively does it execute them? We'll explore this in the article.

First, it's a Canadian Venmo or Cash App — that lets people send money back and forth between each other for free. Like an e-Transfer, but less clunky. 

It's also a no-fee spending account. You get a prepaid Mastercard that debits your Cash account and is accepted everywhere Mastercard is.

Wealthsimple says it doesn't make any money on Cash. There are no fees to send money, make withdrawals, or use the card for transactions. There are no monthly account fees, either. It just wants to lure people into the Wealthsimple ecosystem, which includes products that charge fees.

"We expect that folks who use Wealthsimple Cash may also use our other products. You have no obligation to use those platforms, though we definitely encourage it," the company says in an FAQ. We'll also note that people with a certain amount of assets at Wealthsimple get better deals, like higher interest rates. More on that later. 

Wait, What is Wealthsimple?

Wealthsimple is a successful Canadian investment company. You've probably seen ads for its robo-advisor, Wealthsimple Invest, which lets investors take a hands-off approach to the stock market for a much smaller fee than a traditional financial advisor. It also offers a discount brokerage, Wealthsimple Trade. 

A Note: Wealthsimple Cash vs Wealthsimple Save

Wealthsimple's savings account, called Wealthsimple Save, used to be called Wealthsimple Cash. So, some older reviews of the savings account will refer to it as Cash.

Don't get confused: Save is a free high-interest savings account that offers a decent 1.5% interest rate. It's part of the main Wealthsimple Invest app, while Cash is an app of its own. Funds held in a Wealthsimple Cash account weren't used to earn interest, but now they do, offering a rate of up to 5%. 

How Does Wealthsimple Cash Work?

I was already a Wealthsimple Trade customer, so it took me less than 60 seconds to get set up. But it's dead simple, even if you're new to Wealthsimple.

The Wealthsimple app (available for iOS and Android) walks you through some basic required information, like your address and career, and a bank account to get funds from and send funds to.

Then it asks you to pick a "$ign" — a username that people can use to find you on the app.

The idea is that it's easier for someone who owes you money to remember your $ign rather than your whole email. It's also much better for privacy, especially if you're dealing with some random from Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace.

Note that you can't change your $ign later. So choose well.

Then, you can allow Cash to access your contacts to find people already on the app, but that's optional.

From there, sending or requesting money is a matter of a few taps. Searching for someone's $ign is easy. The whole app is intuitive and quite nice to look at.

There are no minimum balances, and Wealthsimple will send you a physical card you can use at retailers or ATMs.

You'll also earn interest on any funds held in your Cash account. The minimum interest rate is 4% per year, which is fantastic for what essentially amounts to a chequing account. In fact, the only other chequing account on the market that lets you earn interest is EQ Bank's offering. That's a pretty elite company.

4% is just the minimum you'll earn, too. Premium users -- which are people with at least $100,000 in assets invested in Wealthsimple -- earn 4.5% interest. And if you're a Generation member with $500,000 worth of assets in Wealthsimple, you'll earn 5% interest.

Premium and Generation members also get special access to a financial advisor. Wealthsimple Cash has also recently set up both direct deposit and bill payments after promising users these features for months. You can use both, just like a normal bank. 

Bottom line: Wealthsimple Cash is, well, simple. The company's target audience is financial newbies, so it puts a lot of effort into making its apps pretty and straightforward.

Wealthsimple Cash vs. Normal Credit Cards

Wealthsimple's prepaid Mastercard (it used to be a Visa, but it switched over about a year ago) "Cash Card" essentially works like a debit card. There are no annual fees, and it won't impact your credit score.

Cash Card users earn 1% cash back on all purchases. You can easily find other free, non-prepaid credit cards that will beat that rate. For instance, Koho, a main competitor, offers 1% cash back on groceries and transportation, with up to 2% cash back for everything else.

So, it's not the best offer in the marketplace, but it's still pretty good. That 1% cash back can go straight into your Cash balance, or you can auto-invest it in stocks or cryptocurrency using Wealthsimple Trade.

The card also offers free ATM withdrawals, but Wealthsimple warns users they can still expect to pay a standard ATM fee (usually about $3).

Another nice thing about the Wealthsimple Cash Card is you can use it while on vacation, and there are no foreign exchange fees. 

Wealthsimple Cash Virtual Card

The Cash app also gives you a virtual prepaid Mastercard that you can use for online purchases just like your physical one. It works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Virtual cards are handy because they're harder to lose and more secure. They can't fall prey to skimmers, and if someone gets a hold of your virtual card number, you can easily cancel and change it without waiting for a new one in the mail.

Wealthsimple Cash vs. E-Transfer

Until now, Interac e-Transfers between our major banks, such as RBC or TD Bank, for example, have been the go-to method for Canadians needing to settle bills or send Cash to each other.

Using e-Transfers requires logging into your bank account and filling out an online form that varies in usability from bank to bank.

Some banks limit the number of free e-Transfers you can use per month, while Wealthsimple Cash has an unlimited number of free transfers, up to $5,000 daily, $10,000 weekly, and $30,000 monthly. 

Cash transfers are also instant, whereas e-Transfers can take minutes or hours, depending on how the banks are feeling that day. I once bought a camera from a guy on Kijiji and sat there for — no joke — 45 minutes while the e-Transfer went through. The small talk ran out quickly.

E-Transfers also don't allow for easy bill splitting. If you want to divide a cheque three or more ways, you have to do the math yourself and then send out individual e-Transfers to everyone.

You could use an app like Splitwise to keep track of who owes what to whom — but you can't actually send money within it.

Wealthsimple Cash solves that problem in a typically elegant way. Just enter two or more people's $igns, type in the total bill amount, and it'll send a request to each person for their share.

The app doesn't allow for non-even bill splitting, though. If Jake had seven mimosas at brunch, you could either decide to eat that cost as a group or do the math yourself to hold Jake financially accountable for his decisions.

Wealthsimple Cash Drawbacks

It's a free app, so there are some limits.

You can only deposit up to $5,000 instantly every 3 business days. Anything above $5,000 (this number may be less for certain users) takes 3 to 5 business days to settle, with a daily limit of up to $1.5M.

And the whole Wealthsimple suite uses 3 apps. If you have an Invest account for robo-advising, a Trade account to buy crypto, and a Cash account to send money, it can take up a lot of phone real estate.

One extra annoyance is that Wealthsimple Cash bugs you into inviting friends for a $10 bonus. If you don't, the notification stays on the bottom of your screen, with the prompt to "complete your profile," like you've forgotten to enter your email or something.

Is Wealthsimple Cash Safe?

Like the rest of Wealthsimple, Cash is protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). That means if Wealthsimple becomes insolvent, CDIC protection kicks in, and your savings are protected.

Wealthsimple offers $300,000 in CDIC protection, much greater than the usual $100,000 in protection offered by most banks. That's because it splits deposits up between three different CDIC-protected institutions.

Given Wealthsimple's success (and its primary owner, Canadian financial services giant Power Corporation), it's unlikely the company will face any danger of insolvency anytime soon. You can sleep well at night; your money is safe at Wealthsimple.

Wealthsimple also promises never to sell clients' information.

Free money!

If you sign up using this link, you'll get a cash bonus added to your account!

If you've already signed up, you can use the promo code UV0HQW. Just swipe left in the Wealthsimple Cash app, click the settings gear, then "Promos & referrals," and enter it there.

Bottom Line

Canada desperately needed a good Venmo/Cash App/Zelle alternative, and Wealthsimple Cash delivers.

With a sleek interface, easy transfers and handy features like bill splitting, it's everything Canadians could want in a peer-to-peer cash transfer service.

It's a strange decision from Wealthsimple to split up their offerings into three separate apps — and I wish I could get the "complete your account" notification to go away — but these are minor gripes compared to the convenience Cash offers.

The Wealthsimple Cash card is also a simple way to make purchases wherever Visa is accepted.

Though you can find free credit cards with more than 1% cash back, the fact that it applies to all purchases and can be auto-invested is a nice perk.