Wealthsimple Trade Review 2022: Best Commission-Free Trading App

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If you’re a self-directed investor looking for the best trading platform in Canada and wondering if the Wealthsimple investing platform is for you? Then this Wealthsimple Trade review is for you.  

Wealthsimple Trade is a popular commission-free self-directed investing app in Canada. If you’re comfortable with buying, selling and rebalancing stocks and ETFs yourself and want an app that makes it easy and simple to get started, you may find the Wealthsimple Trade ideal.

To help you make an informed decision, this Wealthsimple Trade review covers everything you need to know about the stock trading app including how it compares with other online discount brokerages in Canada.


What is Wealthsimple Trade?

Wealthsimple Trade is an investment platform and stock trading app offered by Wealthsimple, one of the leading online investment institutions in Canada. 

The app was launched in 2019 and has become popular for its commission-free offering on stocks and ETFs trading. Today, more than 1.5 million Canadians use the app to buy and sell stocks.

In addition to commission-free trading on Canadian and US stocks and ETFs, you can start investing in Wealthsimple Trade with no minimum deposit requirement.

Recently, Wealthsimple Trade introduced a premium plan that allows users to hold and trade in USD, provide unlimited price alerts and more.

With this and many other factors, Wealthsimple Trade is currently one of the overall best investment apps available to Canadians looking to buy stocks and ETFs cheaply.


How Does Wealthsimple Trade Work?

As a self-directed brokerage, Wealthsimple Trade serves as a medium where you can buy and sell stocks and ETFs on major North American exchanges without worrying about commission.

Some of the exchanges Wealthsimple Trade supports include TSX, CSE, NASDAQ, NEO, NYSE and BATS Exchange.

Unlike other online brokerages, Wealthsimple Trade also gives you access to trade over 40 crypto coins through Wealthsimple Crypto that is housed within the same app.

So how does Wealthsimple Trade work?

The first step is to sign-up for a Wealthsimple Trade account and choose the type of account you wish to invest with. It currently supports RRSP, TFSA and cash accounts.

Next, fund your account, using direct deposit from a Canadian bank account, with any amount to start investing. You can then search for the stock or ETF you want to buy and go through the order entry process.

Though it has no minimum deposit or balance requirements, Wealthsimple Trade makes it even easier to start investing with little money with its support for fractional shares trading.

As a self-directed platform, you will be actively responsible for the buying, selling and rebalancing of your securities through the Wealthsimple Trade mobile app or web browser.

This means your investment returns will solely depend on your investment strategy and discipline to follow through. 

If you would rather let someone manage your portfolio for you, then you should consider one of the top robo-advisors in Canada, especially Wealthsimple Invest.


Is Wealthsimple Trade Safe?

Wealthsimple Trade is safe because it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Your deposits on Wealthsimple Trade are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) up to $1 million per insured category. 

In addition, your personal information on Wealthsimple Trade is protected with advanced encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA). 


Wealthsimple Trade Accounts

At the moment, there are 3 types of accounts available on Wealthsimple Trade: 2 registered and an unregistered/taxable account. These are: 

  • Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) 
  • Tax-free savings accounts (TFSA)
  • Non-registered personal accounts

These trading accounts support commission-free buying and selling of Canadian and US stocks and ETFs. And if you can’t afford a full share, you can take advantage of the fractional shares feature of Wealthsimple Trade to start investing according to your budget. 

On the crypto side, Wealthsimple Crypto supports 40+ different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash, Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, Cardano, Ethereum among others.


Wealthsimple Trade Plans

Wealthsimple recently restructured its plans into basic and plus. Below is a detailed view of each of the plans.  

1. Basic

The Wealthsimple Trade basic plan provides all the key features you need to start investing in Canadian and US stocks and ETFs.

It offers the following features without any monthly fees. 

  • Commission-free trading
  • $0 account balance
  • Fractional shares trading
  • Registered and unregistered accounts
  • Instant deposits of up to $1,500 to your Wealthsimple Trade account
  • 1.5% currency conversion fee when you trade USD stocks

This plan may be ideal for you if you trade only Canadian stocks and ETFs. This is because you can’t hold USD cash. That means your CAD is converted to USD with a 1.5% FX fee each time you buy US stocks. 

For someone that wants to buy and hold US-listed stocks and ETFs, the FX fee can quickly add up. The lack of real-time quotes is another drawback for frequent traders.

If you need these extra features, the Wealthsimple Plus plan may be your perfect option. 

2. Plus

The Wealthsimple Plus plan is a premium plan with advanced features and benefits compared to the Basic plan.

It charges a $10 monthly fee and provides the following features:

  • All the Basic plan features
  • Access to USD accounts
  • No foreign currency conversion fee on US trades
  • Maximum instant deposits of $5,000 to your Wealthsimple Trade account
  • Unlimited price alerts on your favourite securities.

With these features, the Wealthsimple Plus plan is the cost-effective way for trading US stocks and ETFs on Wealthsimple Trade.

Learn more: Wealthsimple Trade Premium Subscription Review

Wealthsimple Trade Fees

Wealthsimple Trade is a fee-free investing platform when it comes to buying and selling stocks and ETFs in Canada.

Besides commission-free trading, Wealthsimple Trade doesn’t also charge fees for the following services:

  • Account opening and closing
  • Inactive account
  • Deposits and withdrawal through bank transfers
  • Electronic statements and trade confirmations 

That said, the following are some of the service fees Wealthsimple Trade charges as of the time of writing this review. 

FeesAmount
Monthly feeFree for Wealthsimple Basic plan. $10 for Wealthsimple Plus
Foreign currency conversion1.5%  (no fee for Wealthsimple Plus plan)
Phone trade assisted by the broker$45
Inbound and outbound Wire transfer$30
Paper account statement$20
Certificate withdrawal$250
Special requests and investigation$75/hour

Pros and Cons of Wealthsimple Trade

By now you might have noticed some of the pros and cons of Wealthsimple Trade. Let’s go over the major ones below: 

Pros 

  • Unlimited commission-free trading: Wealthsimple Trade allows you to trade Canadian and US stocks and ETFs without commission. It was the first to offer this feature in Canada. 
  • USD account: Subscribing to Wealthsimple Plus plan will give you access to USD accounts without foreign currency conversion fee. This will save you 1.5% FX fee per USD trade. 
  • Fractional shares trading: You can participate in the stock market without investing in a full stock by trading Wealthsimple fractional shares. This is a cost-effective way of diversifying your portfolio and reducing risk.
  • No minimum balance:  Wealthsimple Trade doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement. This allows you to start enjoying the commission-free offer with as low as $1. 
  • Instant Deposit: Deposit up to $1,500 instantly with the Basic plan or up to $5,000 with the Wealthsimple Trade Plus plan.
  • Welcome bonus: You will get a $50 cash bonus on your initial $150 trade on Wealthsimple Trade. This is a nice bonus for doing nothing other than investing for your future.

Cons

  • FX fee: While Wealthsimple Trade waives foreign currency conversion fee on its premium plan, the Basic plan has an FX fee of 1.5%.
  • Limited investment accounts: If you’re looking to invest in bonds, mutual funds, GICs, options or other securities beyond stocks, ETFs and crypto, you have to look elsewhere.
  • Limited tools: Wealthsimple Trade may not be ideal for seasoned investors as it lacks advanced tools for research and analysis. You also can’t set automatic trade on the platform unlike on other brokerages.

How to Open a Wealthsimple Trade Account

You can open a Wealthsimple Trade account online or through the Wealthsimple Trade mobile app available on App Store and Google Playstore. 

However, you must meet the following requirements to open a Wealthsimple Trade account:

If you meet the above requirements, follow the steps below to open your Wealthsimple Trade account: 

  • Visit Wealthsimple Trade page (use this link to earn $50 cash bonus after trading a minimum of  $150)
  • Enter your email and password
  • Click “create account” and follow the prompts

Once you sign-up, you can then fund your Wealthsimple Trade account with any amount and start enjoying the commission-free trading. 

How to buy and sell Stocks & ETF on Wealthsimple Trade

Once you’ve opened your Wealthsimple Trade account and funded it, the next step is to start buying and selling different assets on the app.

Wealthsimple Trade is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly investment app available to Canadians.

Here are the steps you need to follow to buy your first stock or ETF on the Wealthsimple Trade with pictures to guide you:

  1. Locate the stock or ETF you want to buy

    Simply scroll through the app or use the search button to find the stock or ETF you wish to buy

  2. Review the stock

    You’ll see the latest price information including the 1-day, 1-week, 3-month and so on price movements. Click buy to proceed and select the account where you want to hold the stock

  3. Select the order type

    Choose from one of the 3 standard order types available. Fractional buy will also be shown if the fractional buying is supported for the share

  4. Enter the number of shares

    Use the numbers pad to enter the number of shares you wish to buy

  5. Review your order

    Do a final review of your order. Confirm if everything looks good

  6. You did it!

    You’ll be presented with the order completion screen. You’ll receive an email and prompt on the app once your order is filled.

To sell your stock and ETF on Wealthsimple Trade, simply follow the same steps as you did with stock purchase.

Wealthsimple Trade Order Types

There are 3 standard order types available on Wealthsimple Trade. You may also see a fourth order type if Wealthsimple supports fractional trading on the share you want to buy.

Here are the 4 order types:

  • Market Buy or Sell: Complete your trade at the best price available on the market at the time of trade
  • Fractional Buy or Sell: Trade only a fraction of a whole share
  • Limit Buy or Sell: Specify the highest price you’re willing to pay for the share
  • Stop Limit Buy or Sell: Combines a stop order and a limit order. Learn more here.

Wealthsimple Trade Referral Code

Wealthsimple rewards new users that sign-up to the Trade app with a $50 welcome bonus. To get the bonus, all you have to do is:

  • Sign up using a referral link
  • Fund your account and trade at least $150 in stocks or ETFs

The bonus will be automatically deposited into your account within a few days.

learn more about all of Wealthsimple Promotions including how to get a transfer fee reimbursement of up to $150.


Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade

Key FeaturesWealthsimple TradeQuestrade
Monthly fee$10 for Wealthsimple Plus$0
Minimum investmentNone$1,000
Investment accountsStocks, ETFs, cryptocurrenciesStocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, FX, CFDs, precious metals, IPOs, and international equities.
Investment productsTaxable accounts, TFSA, and RRSPTaxable accounts, TFSA, RRSP, RIF, LIRA, LIF, RESP and margin
Commission-free tradingStocks and ETFsETFs Purchase
Trading Fees$01cent/share (Min: $4.95; Max:$9.95)
Foreign currency conversion fee1.5%  (no fee for Wealthsimple Plus plan)N/A
Special featuresFractional shares and crypto tradingN/A

Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade are both popular trading platforms in Canada. Though they have similar offerings, they also have several areas where they differ.

One of their major differences is that Wealthsimple Trade is an all-round commission-free brokerage while Questrade only offers partial commission-free trading.

Also, you need a minimum of $1,000 to start investing in Questrade stock shares while Wealthsimple does not have minimum requirements.

You can trade fractional shares and cryptocurrencies on Wealthsimple Trade but you can’t do the same on Questrade.

While Wealthsimple Trade has $0-$10 monthly fees, Questrade does not have any monthly fees for its services. 

That said, Questrade also has a more comprehensive collection of investment accounts and products than Wealthsimple Trade. In addition, Questrade is ideal for both beginner and seasoned traders due to its intuitive research and analysis tools that are absent on Wealthsimple Trade.

Which one should you choose?

If you’re a beginner investor that just wants to trade stocks and ETFs, Wealthsimple Trade offers a low-cost and simple platform and it is hard to beat. However, intermediate to experienced investors will find it lacks many advanced features that are available on other full-fledged investing platforms like Questrade.

For these sets of Canadians, Questrade is the better choice even with its $1,000 minimum investment amount requirement.


Wealthsimple Trade vs Wealthsimple Invest

If you’re uncomfortable with self-directed investing due to your investment knowledge or commitment, you can have a robo-advisor handle your investment portfolio for you. And that’s where Wealthsimple Invest comes in.

Unlike Wealthsimple Trade where you will buy, sell, and rebalance your securities yourself, Wealthsimple Invest takes care of all the investment management tasks on your behalf.

As a passive investment platform, Wealthsimple Invest can invest your funds in a low-cost diversified portfolio that suits your risk tolerance and investment objective.

Like Wealthsimple Trade, you can also start investing with as little as $1 and your funds are invested in a diversified portfolio built using low-cost ETFs.  

In addition, Wealthsimple Invest can invest your funds in the following registered and unregistered investment products:

  • TFSA
  • RRSP 
  • RRIF
  • LIRA
  • RESP
  • SRI portfolio
  • Halal portfolio
  • Personal and business account
  • Joint account

With automated deposits, dividend reinvestment and automated portfolio rebalancing, you can have your money grow without lifting a finger through Wealthsimple Invest. 

Learn more about how both platforms compare in this Wealthsimple Trade vs Wealthsimple Invest comparison.

Related: Wealthsimple Invest Review


FAQs on Wealthsimple Trade Review

Can I trust Wealthsimple Trade?

Wealthsimple Trade is currently trusted by over 1.5 million clients. You can trust Wealthsimple Trade because it is regulated by the IIROC and your deposits on the brokerage are protected by the CIPF up to $1 million per insured category. 

Is Wealthsimple Trade good for beginners?

Wealthsimple Trade is good for beginners because of its intuitive and easy-to-use trading app that makes trading stocks and ETFs easy. Its commission-free trading and no-minimum balance make it even more suitable for beginner investors looking to take their first step in the stock market. 

Can you make money with Wealthsimple Trade?

You can make money with Wealthsimple Trade from the dividends on your stocks/ETFs or capital gains when you sell. However, how much you earn depends on how much you invest and your investment strategy. You can withdraw your earned dividends or reinvest them in your portfolio for more returns.

Is Wealthsimple trading really free?

Trading on Wealthsimple Trade is completely commission-free. Deposits and withdrawal are also free. Depending on your Wealthsimple plan, you may pay monthly fees and foreign currency conversion fees.


Verdict on Wealthsimple Trade Review

My Wealthsimple Trade review is very positive. I personally use it, in addition to Questrade, to invest in my TFSA and RRSP without worrying about trading commissions. 

With its commission-free investing support and other features, it is no wonder why Wealthsimple Trade is one of the overall best investment platforms in Canada.

But as you can see, Wealthsimple Trade has its pros and cons like other online brokerages out there. It is up to you to decide whether it’s the perfect option for you or not.

Notwithstanding, I recommend Wealthsimple Trade to any Canadian (no matter the experience) that does not want to pay $5-$10 to buy or sell shares and ETFs. 

If you need more clarification about this review, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comment below.

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Wealthsimple Trade Review
4.7

Summary

Wealthsimple Trade is an investment platform and stock trading app offered by Wealthsimple, offering commission-free trading on Canadian and US stocks and ETFs, with zero minimum deposit requirement for investment.

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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