The best investing apps for Canadians

By   |   Verified by Nikita Sheth   |   Updated 5th May 2021

Best investing apps for Canadians

Investing in the digital age is easy. With technology bringing innovative investment products directly to the everyday investor, Canadians have a wide variety of choices.

We expect to see continued elevated levels of interest among millennials and zoomers who are looking to take control of their finances (without getting costly financial advisors involved).

There is no longer a need to hire an advisor to create your investment strategy. With nothing more than a phone and an internet connection, modern day investors have all the tools they need to independently manage their own portfolios.

If you're looking to start investing your money, check out these apps for growing your wealth.

Trade Canadian and US stock markets

Wealthsimple Trade

Since debuting in 2014, Wealthsimple has been helping to demystify trading and stock market investing for millennials and zoomers entering the market. As of March 2021, Wealthsimple has $8.4 billion in assets under management. The company’s innovative trading tools and intuitive platform have earned it several rewards since its launch.

What it does

In March 2019, the Wealthsimple team introduced Wealthsimple Trade. This new division of Wealthsimple is the only zero-commission trading platform in Canada, allowing novice investors to buy and sell US and Canadian stocks and ETFs with no commissions or fees.

With Wealthsimple, investors get access to thousands of tickers on US-based exchanges like the NYSE and Nasdaq, as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Wealthsimple also offers cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Trading can be done in risk-free, tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and non-registered accounts.

If you sign up with Wealthsimple, you get a $25 bonus when you deposit $100. The app interface is efficient, minimalist, and functional, providing easy navigation for novice investors. Sort stocks by markets and industries and chose how to handle dividends. Wealthsimple is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, ensuring that all the platform's activity is in compliance with legislation. The Canadian Investor Protection Fund also insures all accounts with the company.

Pros

  • Commission-free trading on US and Canadian stocks and ETFs. Diversify your portfolio for improved returns.
  • User-friendly mobile trading apps for iOS and Android devices. Download the clean, functional app and quickly get started.
  • No minimum account balance requirement. You can start trading with only a couple dollars in your account.
  • CIPF protection on account balances up to $1 million.
  • Invest in TFSA and non-registered accounts.

Cons

  • No margin accounts available.
  • RESP accounts not available.
  • No real-time market data.

Automatically invest your money

Wealthsimple Invest

Wealthsimple Trade is an excellent platform for investors that want to take a hands-on approach with their investment strategy. However, if you have no idea how to trade and no strategy, why not rely on the professionals to invest your money for you? Wealthsimple has a robo-advisory that does just that, and it's called Wealthsimple Invest.

What it does

The Wealthsimple Invest robo-advisor uses an algorithm to identify the right entries and exits in trades. The firm relies on top software developers, engineers, data scientists and designers to build the platform's proprietary AI. As a result, you get a high success rate with your trading strategy without ever having to place an order yourself. It might seem scary to leave your investing to a robo-advisor. However, the bots consistently outperform the best hedge funds, money market accounts, and mutual funds.

Bots don't have to deal with emotions during a trade. Therefore, you reduce the stress you may feel while trying to create a complicated investment strategy. Wealthsimple Invest builds a personalized investment portfolio consisting of ETFs. You select your risk tolerance, and the AI does the rest. The robo-advisor invests your money in the top ETFs that coincide with your risk level, building a portfolio to suit your needs. Wealthsimple Invest is a Nobel Prize-winning platform providing excellent results for long-term investors.

Pros

  • Ideal for millennial and zoomer investors with little investing experience. Automated investing gives you peace of mind.
  • Simple questionnaire confirms risk tolerance and investment preferences. Investments are catered to your personal financial goals.
  • Additional perks, such as airport lounge access, for high-level account holders. A higher level account requires a higher balance but comes with more perks.
  • Hybrid advisory services combining real humans and robo-advisors.
  • Low fees are a fraction of other advisory firms.

Cons

  • Limited analysis tools and research. Investments are automated so few educational resources are offered.
  • Access to the human advisory team is not available with basic accounts.

Buy and sell crypto assets

Newton

Named after Isaac Newton, Newton is Canada’s newest crypto exchange. Launched in February 2021, Newton caters only to the Canadian market, with trading platforms for desktop, laptop, and mobile.

What it does

The company has well over 100,000 users and is gaining more every day. Newton is Canada's first no-fee cryptocurrency brokerage, beating the rates offered by competitors like Bitbuy and Shakepay.

Newton advertises as a "no-fee" exchange. However, it's important to note that the company makes its money through larger “spreads” on crypto-assets (spread is the difference in price between buying and selling). As of April 2021, the spread on BitcoinNewton is 1.2%. Newton has a total purchasing fee on Bitcoin transactions of around 0.69% of the trade value.

The mobile app has a sleek interface, perfect for newcomers to crypto trading. You can choose from nine crypto assets to trade, with deposits reflecting in your account in 30 minutes or less. You get free deposits and withdrawals in CAD, and Newton covers your first $5 of network transaction fees.

Newton offers 2FA on accounts, and the firm does daily off-site backups. The company partnered with Balance in 2021, bringing institutional-grade crypto storage to its customers.

Pros

  • Sleek desktop and mobile app offering cryptocurrency trading with no fees. The only no-fee crypto platform in Canada.
  • Covers up to $5 of network transaction fees. This saves you money.
  • Free deposits and withdrawals in CAD. Accessing or investing your money shouldn't cost you extra.
  • Strong security with high-level encryption and off-site backups. This ensures your investments are safe.

Cons

  • Large spreads on cryptocurrencies. Newton makes money off the bid-ask spread rather than fees.
  • Available only to Canadian investors.

Track your net worth in real time

Wealthica

Many people use more than one bank or brokerage firm, making it hard to keep track of all their accounts. Your checking account might be held at one bank, your mortgage loan with another, and your investments at a third bank. Wealthica helps you keep track of all your assets and liabilities, giving you a single snapshot of your net worth.

What it does

Wealthica consolidates all your investments and banking information to provide you with an updated net worth. In addition to balances, Wealthica tracks daily transactions, including deposits, payments, and withdrawals, credit card purchases, and individual positions in your investment portfolio. You can also add other private assets you own, like your house, so you can accurately track your net worth.

Wealthica’s basic functionality is free to use, though they also have paid premium and pro subscriptions. The free version includes an integrated desktop and mobile app, so you can manage your money wherever you are. The data is consolidated to give you an up to date net worth everyday. The free version updates stock prices to sync to the closing price on the last trading day, while the premium version gives you refreshed pricing every 15 minutes so you can know your net worth in real time. If you have accounts at US financial institutions, the paid premium version also lets you link those accounts.

Wealthica also offers power ups, which are additional free and paid functionalities that you can download. You can export to Google, create a budget, assess any portfolio rebalancing, or get tax information.

Wealthica is serious about keeping your data safe. They provide read-only access and you cannot transact on the app, which helps to keep your data — and your money — safe. Besides bank-level security infrastructure, they require two-step authentication and no one on the Wealthica team is permitted to see your data. If you are on the go, they also have a private mode which limits what is shown on the screen.

Pros

  • Sleek desktop and mobile app offering real-time asset, liability, and net worth tracking. Seeing everything in one place helps you keep better track of your finances.
  • Add private assets such as real estate. This ensures your net worth is accurate.
  • Free version has robust functionality. This version has practically everything you need to better manage your money.
  • Optional additional tools are useful for better financial management. Budgeting, tax reporting, and portfolio rebalancing are all important parts of financial management.
  • Strong security with high-level encryption, two factor authentication, and good data privacy practices. This keeps your personal information safe.

Cons

  • Free version only tracks accounts at Canadian financial institutions. For those who are also US account holders, you need to subscribe to the premium version to track those accounts.
  • Real time, 15 minute delayed pricing requires a premium subscription. If you want to track your net worth in a volatile market, you’ll need to pay for the premium service.

Forecast your financial future

Pocketsmith

It’s not always easy to make the right financial decisions. Sometimes you spend more than you intended on a night out or you paid a bill late because you never quite got around to it. For anyone that feels like they can’t quite get control over their finances, the Pocketsmith app can help organize your entire financial life and help you make better financial decisions.

What it does

Pocketsmith syncs your financial information from accounts at over 12,000 banks, including multiple currencies, so you can organize and label your transactions to see where your money is going. Pocketsmith also helps you create a spending or budget plan so you can start hitting your financial goals.

The app’s standout feature is its forecasting function. If you, like most everyone, are challenged to stick to your budget or occasionally tempted to spend more than you can afford, Pocketsmith predicts how your habits and actions today will impact your financial future. Using your account balances, spending habits and patterns, PocketSmith forecasts your future finances for up to 30 years, including your estimated daily bank balances. You can even test drive decisions to see how they will play out financially in the future. Seeing how your spending patterns play out over time can help you make better decisions in the long run.

Pocketsmith has three tiers of service. The basic service is free, but requires you to manually download information for up to two accounts and only predicts up to 6 months of your financial future. The paid subscription will cost you $9.95 a month (less for an upfront annual payment) but includes automated bank feeds, automatic transaction downloads and automated transaction categorization. With this plan, you can download ten accounts and project your finance up to ten years into the future. With the Super Plan, which costs $19.95 monthly (less if you choose an annual payment), you get unlimited accounts and up to 30 years projection.

Pocketsmith keeps data safe by storing it on their own physical servers and encrypting it when it’s not in use. They provide read-only access and you can’t actually transact on the app, keeping your data safe. They also offer optional two-step authentication.

Pros

  • Automated data imports keeps your financial picture updated, so you know whether you are hitting your financial budget and meeting scheduled payment deadlines.
  • Integrated calendar function with scheduled payments helps you monitor your monthly bill payment pattern so you can stay on time with your bills.
  • Tracks accounts at over 12,000 banks, including accounts in many countries and multiple currencies. This ensures your net worth is accurate.
  • Forecast and test drive capabilities provide deep insights on your potential financial future, helping you stick to better spending habits.
  • Optional additional tools are useful for better financial management. Budgeting, tax reporting, and portfolio rebalancing are all important parts of financial management.
  • Strong security features with high-level encryption and optional two factor authentication so your personal information stays safe.

Cons

  • High priced subscription fees if you want to link unlimited accounts and take full advantage of the app’s 30 year financial forecasting.
  • Free version requires manual download of account information and has limited accounts and functionality. If you are already disorganized with your finances, this will make your finances harder to manage.