Best M1 Finance Alternatives in 2022

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M1 Finance is one of the top investing platforms in the US that provide automated investing and spending solutions.

The app is popular for its automated roundups, visual pie charts, commission-free ETF trading, and lots of other unique features. So the question is: Is M1 Finance available in Canada? And what are the best M1 Finance alternatives in Canada?

In this post, you’ll get answers to these questions and learn about the best M1 Finance alternatives for Canadians. 

What is M1 Finance?

M1 Finance is a hybrid investment company that provides automated and self-directed investing platforms in the US.

Based in Chicago, M1 Finance offers a wide range of financial solutions, ranging from investing, spending, money transfers, and borrowing. 

With almost 100 pre-designed portfolios or expert pies, M1 Finance accommodates investors with different investment knowledge and financial objectives.  

And the best part is that there are no management fees, trading fees or markup, deposit and withdrawals and so on.

Another innovative product from M1 Finance is M1 Borrow which provides a low-rate loan of up to 35% of the value of your portfolio. 

With spending roundups, up to 10% cashback on eligible purchases, 1.70% APY on chequing accounts, and free automated transfers – there are many things to like with M1 Finance.

And that explains why many Canadians are looking for M1 Finance in Canada or its alternatives.

Pros of M1 Finance

  • $0 trading fee
  • 0% commission on ETFs trading
  • Fractional shares trading
  • Automated roundups
  • cashback on debit card purchases
  • Free automated transfers

Cons of M1 Finance

  • Requires a minimum deposit of $100; or $500 for retirement accounts

Is M1 Finance Available in Canada?

Is M1 Finance available in Canada?

M1 Finance doesn’t operate currently in Canada.  The company only operates in the US and is available to US Citizens or permanent residents that are 18-years old and above.

In addition, applicants must have a valid US mailing address to use M1 Finance in the US. Meaning, non-resident US citizens also can’t use M1 Finance. 

Will M1 Finance be launching soon in Canada? Unfortunately, there has been no official statement from M1 Finance on a possible future expansion to Canada. So if you’re interested in the app, it’s best to consider its alternatives in Canada at the moment.

Continue reading to learn about the best alternatives to M1 Finance in Canada.


What’s the Catch With M1 Finance?

There are many reasons why M1 Finance is so attractive to investors within and outside the US.

First, the company offers visual pie charts that help self-directed investors rebalance their portfolios automatically. This helps investors keep track of the stock market while reducing investment costs. 

And investors can choose from 80+ expert pies built by M1 Finance or build their own custom pies.

In addition to visual pie charts, here are other factors that make M1 Finance unique in the US:

  • It doesn’t charge trading fees on all its investment accounts, including stocks, ETFs and fractional shares.
  • ETFs trading on M1 Finance is commission-free
  • It roundups purchases to the nearest dollar on M1 Spend
  • Automated chequing account with a 1.75% APY and free sending of physical cheques.
  • Up to 10% cashback on eligible credit card purchases.
  • Access to low-rate line of credit 
  • Free automated transfers using the Smart Transfers feature. 

M1 Finance Accounts

M1 Finance has 2 tiers of accounts: a free basic account and paid premium account, making it accessible for investors with different budgets. 

Here’s a summary of the M1 Finance basic and premium accounts:

1. M1 Basic

Annual Pricing: $0

This is a no-fee investment and spending account, offering the basic solutions of M1 Finance. The following are the key features of the account: 

  • AM trade window per day
  • No minimum balance 
  • $5,000 minimum loan with 3.5% rate 
  • No trading fees
  • No commissions on ETF trading
  • Free digital chequing
  • Low international transfer fees (0.8 – 1%)
  • 1 ATM fee reimbursement per month

2. M1 Plus

Annual Pricing: $125

To unlock the full potential of M1 Finance and enjoy higher benefits, you’ll need to upgrade to its paid premium version – M1 Plus,

M1 Plus offers robust and competitive investing, spending and borrowing solutions. The following are the key features of M1 Plus: 

  • Lower rate on loans – 2%
  • No trading fees and no commissions on ETFs trading
  • Free digital checking account with 1% APY 
  • 1% cashback on purchases with the M1 Card
  • Free international debit card purchases
  • 4 ATM fee reimbursement per month
  • Smart transfers
  • Custodial accounts

M1 Finance Alternatives in Canada

With its unique features and offerings, it’s no wonder that M1 Finance is attractive to investors beyond the shores of the US.

But since M1 Finance is not yet available in Canada, Canadian investors have to look for alternatives.

There’s no perfect match for M1 Finance in Canada. From investing, spending, and borrowing, M1 Finance is building a super finance app that is more robust than many of the investment apps in Canada. 

However, there are top Canadian alternatives for each M1 Finance’s range of services. We’ll be covering them in detail below.


M1 Finance Alternatives for Investing & Trading in Canada

If you’re looking for an M1 Finance alternative in Canada for automatic portfolio rebalancing, zero trading fees and zero commissions on ETFs, consider the following options.

Wealthsimple Invest 

Wealthsimple Invest is Canada’s version of M1 Finance in terms of automated investing solutions. It offers Canadians low-cost investment solutions on registered and non-registered accounts. 

With no minimum balance and annual fees, Wealthsimple Invest offers special investing accounts, such as halal and Socially responsible investing accounts.

Wealthsimple Invest’s hybrid of Robo-advisors and human advisors makes it easily accessible for beginner and seasoned investors in Canada. 

Promotion: Get $25 when you sign up and fund your account with a minimum of $500.

Pros

  • No annual fee and zero inactivity fee
  • Robust automation
  • Hybrid of Robo-advisors and human advisors
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Special accounts (halal, and SRI accounts)
  • No minimum balance

Cons

  • Higher (0.4-0.5%) management fee than some of its peers

Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade goes beyond M1 Finance’s automated pie investing to allow commission-free trading of individual ETFs and stocks in Canada. 

Like M1 Finance, you can trade fractional shares on Wealthsimple Trade with as low as $1. Both M1 Finance and Wealthsimple don’t support mutual funds, bonds and GICs trading. 

Unlike M1 Finance whose crypto trading platform is coming soon, Wealthsimple Trade has a live crypto trading platform that supports over 40 cryptocurrencies.

The selling point of Wealthsimple Trade is that anyone can trade from the thousands of Canadian and US ETFs and stocks listed on Wealthsimple Trade without worrying about commissions or trading fees.

Promotion: Get $25 bonus using this link after depositing and trading $150.

Pros 

  • Commission-free ETFs and stocks trading
  • Zero minimum balance
  • Fractional shares trading
  • USD account with premium account
  • Educational tools

Cons

  • Higher (0.4-0.5%) management fee 
  • Limited investing accounts (no RESP and other registered accounts yet)
  • Limited investment products 

Questrade

Questrade is also a worthy Canadian alternative to M1 Finance in terms of investing. Through Questwealth Portfolios, Questrade offers Canadian low-cost investing solutions.

Questrade’s low management fee (0.20-25%), zero commission on ETFs buy, great selection of registered account types, a wide range of investment and more has made it a top online brokerage for many Canadians.

There’s a minimum investment amount of $1,000 to start investing with Questrade. This is a drawback especially if you want to start investing with little money.

Overall, whether you’re a passive investor looking to invest for retirement or an active day trader looking for expert tools to access the market, Questrade has something for everyone.

Promotion: Get $50 when you sign up using this link or Questrade referral code, WALLETBLISS.

Pros

  • 0.20-0.25% management fees on managed accounts
  • 0% commission on buying ETFs
  • Zero trading fees
  • Robust investment options 
  • Automated portfolio rebalancing
  • Free tax-loss harvesting 

Cons

  • $1,000 minimum balance
  • No fractional trading

M1 Finance Alternatives for Spending, Chequing Account and Borrowing in Canada

If you’re attracted by M1 Finance spending, chequing account and borrowing solutions, you have several Canadian alternatives to consider. 

Here’s a roundup of some of the top Canadian alternatives to M1 Finance in this regard. 

Neo Financial 

If you’re looking for a competitive cashback credit card in Canada, Neo Financial is a top alternative.

Neo Financial outshines M1 Finance when it comes to cashback on credit card purchases. While the M1 debit card has a flat cashback rate of 1%, Neo Mastercard offers up to 5% cashback on eligible purchases.

You can earn an average of 5%% cashback at partner stores with the Neo Mastercard without monthly fees. For every other purchase you make with the card, you will get 1% cash back.

Pros

  • Competitive cashback credit card 
  • No monthly fees
  • Free Interac e-Transfers and  bill payments
  • No income requirements

Cons

  • Limited accounts (no traditional investing and traditional accounts)
  • No insurance coverage

Simplii Financial 

Unlike M1 Finance, Simplii Financial is an online-only bank with a wide range of financial solutions. While the two financial institutions are not on the same track, they share a lot in common.  

Like M1 Finance, Simplii Financial offers spending, chequing account and borrowing solutions. This is in addition to its savings, investment and mortgage accounts. 

Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account offers all the features of traditional chequing accounts in addition to: 

  • Free ATM access across all CIBC ATMs
  • Up to 0.10% interest
  • Free sending of physical cheques
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • Unlimited free withdrawals, debit purchases and bill payments

Simplii Financial supports a wide range of investing accounts, including mutual funds and GICs.

Like the M1 Finance debit card, Simplii Financial’s Visa card offers cashback for making eligible purchases. While M1 Finance offers a flat rate of 1%, Simplii Financial offers up to a 4% cashback rate. 

Finally, you can access a line of credits on Simplii Financial as Americans could on M1 Finance. Simplii Financial also offers personal loans, secured lines and creditor insurance.

Pros 

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance 
  • $0 transaction fees  
  • Multiple financial products
  • Low borrowing rate
  • Automated deposits  
  • CDIC protection

Cons

  • Not ideal for automated investing

M1 Finance Alternatives for Automated Round-ups in Canada

For those interested in the M1 Finance roundups feature, there is no shortage of Canadian alternatives for that. 

Some of the best M1 Finance alternatives for Canadians for automated spending roundups are: 

Moka

Moka (formerly Mylo) also roundups your purchases to the nearest dollar like M1 Finance. This app offers low-cost automated investment and savings solutions with no minimum balance.

Unlike M1 Finance, Moka has a wide range of investment accounts, including Tax-free savings accounts (TFSA) and (Socially responsible investing (SRI) accounts. 

For example, if you spend $5.45, Moka will automatically round it up to $6 and save the $0.55 to your account or allow you to donate to your favourite charity organization. 

All you need is to link your credit/debit card and chequing account to your Moka account, and the app will automatically round up all your less-than-a-dollar purchases. 

Overall, Moka is the current best alternative to M1 Finance in Canada in terms of automated roundups alongside investing and savings solutions.

Pros

  • No account minimum
  • Automated investing and savings
  • Tax-free registered accounts
  • Socially responsible investing (SRI)
  • Competitive monthly perks
  • Fast withdrawals

Cons

  • Not ideal for long-term or big investment 

Koho

Koho is another Canadian fintech app with several financial products to help you take control of your money.

From spending to saving and credit building tools, Koho has something for most Canadians.

On the spending side, you have Koho RoundUps that let you round up every purchase to the nearest $1, $2, $5 or $10 to help you automate your savings.

Beyond that, you also get early access to your paycheck, higher savings on your savings (1.2%), up to 2% cashback on your spending, joint accounts and many more.

Unfortunately, Koho does not offer an investing product just yet. But it is a great option for you if you want to a place to save and earn some competitive interest.

Promotion: Get $20 after your first purchase with the Koho Card using this link.

Learn more about Koho Referral here.


Honourable Mention: Flahmingo

The expected launch of Flahmingo in 2022 will lead to the introduction of the closest alternative to M1 Finance in Canada. 

Flahmingo is a Calgary-based investing app established in 2020 to support commission-free fractional investment.

Using the Pies and Slices model, Flahmingo allows you to diversify your portfolio with different stocks for as little as $1. Once you select your favourite stocks or ETFs, your funds will be automatically invested in your portfolio according to your set schedule.

Furthermore, Flahmingo offers USD accounts with no conversion fees, helping you make the most of your USD dollar investment.

Through its Flahmingo Central, the company aims to help investors stay updated with the latest development in the stock market.  

Many Canadian investors are already anticipating for Flahmingo launch. If this sounds good to you, join the waiting list here.


How to Choose the Best M1 Finance Equivalent in Canada

It’s clear that there’s no single Robo-advisor that matches M1 Finance’s features in Canada. This led to the above selection of the best Canadian alternatives per M1 Finance attractive features.

The question now is: which of the above Canadian alternatives is perfect for you? Picking a single one is not that easy or straightforward.

But let’s look at some of the key factors to consider when choosing the best M1 Finance alternatives in Canada for you.

1. Accounts

On the investing side, each of the above M1 Finance alternatives has varying account support, especially for registered accounts.

Choosing an investment platform with a wide range of accounts and product types will give you the flexibility of switching accounts as your needs or situation change. 

Overall, the type of investment account you choose should be determined by your situation, investment objective and risk profile. 

2. Fees 

Regardless of the account you choose, trading fees can eat into your investment returns. This makes it essential to invest through a low-cost investment platform, such as Questrade.

Generally, you want to consider the trading fees, management fees, monthly fees, commissions, inactivity fees, or any other fees involved before choosing an M1 Finance alternative in Canada. 

Good part is: all the Canadian alternatives to M1 covered in this post are low-cost providers.

3. Minimum Balance

How much are you willing to invest? For how long? Answers to these questions will also help you determine which of the above platforms suits your situation.

While some trading platforms require a minimum balance, others don’t. If the initial capital is a consideration for you, then choosing a trading platform with no minimum deposit will be more attractive. 

You can start investing with $1 with Wealthsimple for example, but need a minimum of $1,000 to invest with Questrade. 

4. Ease of Use

Some trading platforms are tailored to seasoned investors, while others are beginner-friendly. Again, you’ll have no problem navigating any of the platforms we’ve covered in this article. They’re all suitable for both beginner and experienced investors alike – though at different levels.

Wealthsimple is known for its intuitive, clean and easy-to-use investing apps, but you’ll also find it easy to use Questrade and place your trades.

Ultimately, ease of use is important, but you should consider it along with the other factors before deciding on one. 


Final Thoughts on M1 Finance Alternatives in Canada

Canadians may not have M1 Finance but there are several alternatives to pick from. 

We have outstanding Robo-advisors and investing platforms that compete significantly with M1 Finance on different grounds.

From investing, savings, spending to borrowing, the above M1 Finance alternatives got you covered in Canada.  

So what’s your M1 Finance alternative in Canada? Let us know in the comment below. 

If you like this review, kindly explore our other relevant blog posts to learn more about the best financial apps and services in Canada.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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