Review: Simplii Financial Cash Back Credit Card

by | Published Mar 28, 2020 | Edited Sep 19, 2022


Card Summary:  The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is a great addition to anyone’s wallet, earning a cool 4% cash back at restaurants, bars and coffee shops, to a max of $5,000 spend ($200 cash back) per year, as well as 1.5% at gas, grocery and drugstores, to a max of $15,000 spend ($225 cash back) per year. The promotional signup bumps this up to 10% cash back on the first $500 spent. It has no annual fee, and additional benefits include 2x manufacturer’s warranty (up to 1 additional year) and allowing up to 3 supplementary cardholders, free of charge. Beware of the fact that cash back is distributed once per year, in December.

At Frugal Flyer, we are about maximizing your points, your cashback, and all the rewards you can earn from any of the monopolistic banking institutions that grace our fair country. From an earning perspective, we normally talk about getting the welcome bonuses multiple times from the same cards, or ‘churning’.

However, there is a place for so-called ‘daily driver’ cards – credit cards that you use to make your regular budgeted purchases or collect points from a specific spend category. These are cards that you don’t cut up (or horde in an enormous doomstack) every six months and use to troll customer service reps when they see your number of cancelled accounts on the phone.

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card is one of those daily driver cards.

simplii credit card on table with dinner
The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa also goes great with pasta.

The Main Benefit of the Simplii Financial Visa

The primary draw to the Simplii visa credit card is its generous earn rate on spending at restaurants, bars and coffee shop purchases. You can earn 4% up to a maximum spend of $5,000 per year. That’s a total of $200 cash back, which isn’t insignificant. Free money is free money, after all. And hey it’s not like being the cool guy or gal who puts down their card on the tab and gets e-transfers from their friends will be unpopular.

Furthermore, the card earns a 1.5% category bonus at gas, grocery and drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments, to a maximum spend of $15,000 per year. That would be a total of $225 cash back. Given the extremely high cap, it may not be worth it even if you know “creative” ways to hit it. The 1.5% is also hardly the most lucrative in these categories.

It is also worth mentioning that the Simplii Financial Visa credit card earns 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases, with no limit on spending. This however isn’t very competitive, and if you’ve maximized the category spend, you’re likely better off spending on another card. 

Welcome Bonus

Right now, the Simplii Cash Back Visa Card has a welcome offer that augments the 4% category bonus to 10% for the first 4 months, to a maximum of $500 spend. Doing the quick math, if you maximize both spending categories, you’ll receive a total of $455 (50+180+225) in cash back in one year. Through maximizing spending on the primary category, you’ll earn bonus cash back rewards totalling $230. 

You can also sign up using a referral link to get an additional $50 bonus!

Category Bonus

Credit cards award category spend, which results in earning bonus cash back, using something called a Merchant Category Code (MCC). These are largely dependent on the network (Visa, MC, Amex) and also the individual retailer/store. 

The codes themselves are available publically for Visa, and for the Simplii Financial Visa credit card’s categories, would seemingly include:

  • 5812 – Eating places and Restaurants
  • 5813 – Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages), Bars, Taverns, Cocktail lounges, Nightclubs and Discotheques
  • 5814 – Fast Food Restaurants

While there isn’t a comprehensive list of merchants who are categorized by these codes, Awardwallet has a merchant lookup tool available. This is specific to US merchants, but for any large franchises, the coding should translate to Canada.  

If you want to get really nerdy with these MCCs, Visa also publishes a ‘data standards’ guide for how they are used. 

simplii credit card earning categories
Understanding merchant category codes will let you take full advantage of the Simplii Financial credit card.

Other Benefits of the Simplii Visa

Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance 

Purchase security insurance includes up to 90 days from the date of purchase. 

Through this benefit, you will receive an extended warranty for purchases made on the card, by the lesser timeframe of twice the original warranty period, or one additional year. 

The payment for the product must be entirely covered by your Simplii visa card in order for you to be eligible for this benefit.

Flexible Allowance for Supplementary Cardholders

Although Simplii doesn’t offer any business cards, you can add up to three additional cardholders to your credit card account for no additional fee. 

Optional Extras

  • CIBC Payment Protector Insurance for Credit Cards
  • CIBC Emergency Travel Medical Insurance

Downsides of the Simplii Visa

There are a few downsides to getting and holding the Simplii visa card. For starters, you have to have a Simplii Financial personal bank account (either their no-fee checking or high-interest savings account). Frugal Flyer offers additional cash back rebates on the Simplii bank accounts so it is worth seeing if you can earn a few extra dollars on your sign-up.

The cash back is distributed annually, on your December statement, as a statement credit (although if you have a banking account you could likely request the balance to be transferred to cash). Your mileage may vary on this front.

The $5,000 cap on the accelerated earn rate on restaurants and food purchases is not ideal either. If you spend more than $5,000 on restaurants and food per year, you’ll likely need to add another card to your portfolio if you intend to maximize your cash back return. This is because the earning rate will revert to the rate of 0.5% cash back, which is not great.

Finally, since Simplii is a division of CIBC, getting this card requires you to deal with CIBC’s (generally) atrocious customer service and IT system. I’ve got terrible things to say about this banking service which I won’t put on the internet, but these Trustpilot reviews should say enough. I’m just saying don’t expect to get your card mailed quickly or in one attempt. It’s also interesting that CIBC has a policy that they won’t mail your card to your house, and yet Simplii as an online bank has only that option. 

There may also be a fiasco in opening a checking account that will require you to call back multiple people in multiple departments before getting your debit card. By the end, you may be contemplating dark ways to get around the bureaucratic headache, such as worshipping slumbering Aztec gods through blood sacrifice. Don’t go there, though you’ll probably be really tempted to.

Conclusion: Strategies for Churners and Non-Churners

The Simplii card has value to both churners and non-churners. For churners, this may not be worth picking up because of the double Equifax hard pulls, which could impact your abilities to get approved for other products if you’re doing a lot of pulls. However, if you’re willing to tolerate the risk or slow down your churning, this could be quite lucrative as a keeper card for both those who churn and those who do not.

Why?

The infamous response: “NO AMERICAN EXPRESS.”

Let’s face it, the Amex Cobalt or the Scotiabank Gold Amex are the kings of the restaurant category. This is because they offer 5x in points on restaurant and dining/delivery spend, which at a conservative estimate of 1 cent per point is 1/5th better than the Simplii. In addition, they cash out immediately with every statement. The Cobalt is even more valuable as they can be transferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a ratio of 1 MR-S to 1.2 Bonvoy, offering an effective 6x on Bonvoy at restaurants.

However… many places will adamantly refuse to take American Express. The proprietor would rather draw pentacles to summon multiple denizens of the underworld to defend them from the Amex Roman Legionary than pay the interchange on such cards. When you’re in such a situation, it may be advantageous to just swallow your pride and pay with the Simplii card.

On top of that, the $500 spend welcome bonus for $50 in Cashback, while not the most lucrative, is still an offering of $50 free dollars and if you’re going to be eating out or ordering in anyway, why not apply for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card?

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa

The Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card earns cash back and gives cardholders the opportunity to earn 4% cash back on purchases at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

Check out our Simplii Financial Cash Back review for more details about this card.

BONUS
50 Cash back
MINSPEND
$500
NET VALUE
$50+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. When and how is cash back distributed for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card?

    Once per year, in the month of December. You will receive it in the form of a statement credit.

  2. Are there any other promotional offers for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card?

    The 10% is the only current promotional offer. There are other offers such as the Simplii No-fee checking account (usually $200-300 bonus), and international money transfer ($50 on first transfer).

  3. Do I need to bank with Simplii to get the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card card? 

    Yes. 
    You will be dinged twice in credit pulls, once for opening a chequing and then again for opening a Visa. Simplii always pulls exclusively from Equifax, which can be monitored via Borrowell.

  4. Is Simplii the same as CIBC? 

    “Simplii Financial is a trademark and division of CIBC. Banking products and services branded Simplii Financial are offered by CIBC.” 

  5. Is the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card available in Quebec?

    Unfortunately, the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card is not available to individuals located in Quebec.

  6. What is the minimum income required to qualify for the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card?

    $15,000 (individual or household). 
    But then again, it’s not like they have some kind of supernatural auditing clairvoyance. Hint.

  7. What is the purchase interest rate (APR) on the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa card?

    Respectfully, you shouldn’t be asking this. The credit card game is about using the benefits without the downsides. As soon as you start paying interest on a credit card for any purchase, you’re losing. You shouldn’t be getting a credit card if you ever intend to ever pay interest on it – that is better served by a loan.
    But seriously, don’t sign up if you’ll ever carry a balance.

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the science (and art) of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

Previous

How to Earn Free or Heavily Discounted Hotel Stays as a Canadian

A Canadian Guide to Visiting Disney on Points

Next

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated according to our comment policy. Your email address will NOT be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.