M1 Finance Canada Review: Top Alternatives for Canadian Investors in 2021

Automated investing platforms have taken over traditional investing platforms with their low cost and ease of use.

With a robo-advisor, you don’t have to worry about selecting the right stocks or rebalancing your portfolio from time to time. Everything will be handled by a robot and expert portfolio managers, saving you time and money.

One of the popular automated investing platforms that is shaking the investment industry is M1 Finance.

From its wide range of investing accounts, zero trading fees and zero commissions on ETFs, it’s easy to see why M1 Finance is so popular.

But is there M1 Finance Canada? If not, what are M1 Finance alternatives in Canada?

Here I answer these questions and more to help you make the best investment decision.

What is M1 Finance?

M1 Finance is a robo-advisor based in Chicago, US. This automated investing platform helps investors build a customized portfolio through ETFs, stocks, fractional shares and more than 80 pre-designed portfolios.

Established by Brian Barnes in 2015, M1 Finance charges no fees on trade and ETFs, making it a top alternative to traditional brokerages.

Thus, it’s obvious why M1 Finance has amassed over 500,000 users and over $2 billion in assets under management within just six years of existence.

Like Robinhood and Webull, M1 Finance is easy to use for both beginner and seasoned investors alike.

To accommodate investors of all classes, this discount brokerage offers two types of accounts (M1 Basic) and (M1 Plus), which have competitive offers.

Like other automated investing platforms, you will be required to answer a series of questions about your investment objective and risk tolerance when signing on M1 Finance Canada.

M1 will automatically connect you to a portfolio that matches your investment objective and risk tolerance using your response to the survey.

However, M1 Finance is not available in all countries. This begs the question, is there M1 Finance Canada?

As you continue reading, you will learn about the countries that M1 Finance supports and its alternatives in Canada.

What is Unique about M1 Finance?

The major factor that makes M1 unique over other robo-advisors is its free trades and zero-commission on ETFs. This means that you will save more and invest more with this discount brokerage.

While robo-advisors are cheap compared to traditional brokerage and mutual funds, most of them charge high trading fees and commissions.

So it’s obvious why M1 Finance is so popular and recommendable in the automated investing industry.

Another factor that makes M1 Finance unique is its intuitive interface. Through its pie charts, you can easily track your portfolio and investment. This makes M1 Finance easy to use for both beginner and experienced Investors.

Furthermore, M1 Finance is unique due to its seamless automatic rebalancing. This implies that you don’t have to worry about tracking your portfolio when the market fluctuates. M1 Finance rebalances your portfolio automatically from time to time.

Moreover, with a $100 minimum deposit, M1 Finance allows you to invest in fractional shares based on your favourite assets.

Pros and Cons of M1 Finance Canada

Having explained what M1 Finance entails, let’s turn to the good and ugly sides of the American-based robo-advisor.

Pros

  • No trading fees
  • Zero commissions on ETFs
  • Automatic portfolio rebalancing
  • Wide range of accounts
  • Fractional shares investment option
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • No mutual funds
  • $100 account minimum

Key Features of M1 Finance

Here we shall be looking at the key features of M1 Finance based on its account offerings:

  • Invest: M1 Finance allows you to build your portfolio with no trading fees and zero commissions on ETFs. Furthermore, your portfolio will be rebalanced automatically from time to time.
  • Spend: M1 Finance has an automated checking account that helps you manage your spending with 1% cashback on eligible debit card purchases.
  • Checking Account: Earn up to 1% APY on your checking account on M1 Finance, which is far more than what you will earn in a traditional bank.
  • Borrow: Based on your investment, you can access a line of credit on M1 Borrow with a 2% rate.
  • Custodial Accounts: You can also open accounts for your children on M1 to build long-term wealth.
  • Smart Transfers: You can make free automated transfers on M1 Finance under the M1 Plus account.
  • Send Checks: M1 Plus account allows you to send physical checks at no cost.

M1 Finance Accounts

Here’s a quick review of M1 Finance accounts as of the type of writing this review.

1. M1 Basic

M1 Basic is a free account consisting of three major offerings: invest, borrow and spend. Here are the features of the account.

  • One trade per day (AM trade window)
  • No trading commissions
  • 3.5% loan rate with $5,000 minimum deposit
  • 1 monthly ATM fee reimbursed
  • Free digital checking
  • 0.8 – 1% international transfer fees

2. M1 Plus

M1 Plus is a premium account with advanced offerings compared to those of M1 Basic. With this account, you will get low rates, more automation, and more rewards.

However, M1 Plus costs $125 annually with a free offering for the first year. Here are the features of the account:

  • Two trade per day (AM and PM trade window)
  • No trading commissions
  • Custodial accounts
  • Smart Transfers
  • 2% loan rate with $5,000 minimum deposit
  • Free digital checking
  • 1% cashback
  • 1% APY
  • 5 debit card design options
  • Reimbursement of all international fees
  • Reimbursement of 4 monthly ATM fees
  • Send checks

Is M1 Financial Legit?

Based on the findings of this review, M1 Finance is legit. The reason being that M1 Finance is a member of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a protector of investors.

Furthermore, M1 Finance is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

With a grade of A+ on Better Business Bureau (BBB), this also means that M1 Finance is trustworthy, and you’ve nothing to lose here.

Is M1 Finance Available in Canada?

As of the time of writing this review, this top-ranking online brokerage is not available in Canada.

According to M1 Finance, only the following persons that are above the age of 18 with a valid US mailing address can use the platform:

  •  American citizens
  •  Holders of Green Card

Regarding when the platform will be available in Canada, there’s no official statement from M1 Finance.

However, there is no shortage of M1 Finance Canada alternatives that Canadians are already enjoying.

As you continue reading, you will learn about the top alternatives of M1 Finance Canada.

How to Use M1 Finance in Canada?

Even though you can’t use M1 Finance to trade currently in Canada, you can still use the platform for educational purposes.

Whether on the M1 Finance website or its Android or iOS app, you can access free educational materials on M1 Finance.

There are many free educational materials from finance, retirement, IRA, and investing articles that you can access on M1 Finance while in Canada.

All you need is to visit the M1 Finance article page here.

What to Look for in M1 Finance alternative?

As mentioned previously, there is no M1 Finance Canada, but there are M1 Finance alternatives in Canada.

However, when choosing M1 Finance alternative in Canada, here are the factors to consider:

1. Costs and Minimum Balance

The pricing structure and minimum balance requirement should occupy your mind when determining M1 Finance alternatives in Canada.

Fees and commissions can shoot up easily, consuming your investment earnings.

To discover which broker is ideal for you, consider the monthly fees, trading cost, commissions, currency conversion rates, and inactivity penalties.

2. Account Types

It’s essential to also consider the accounts of a broker before investing.

From mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, registered and unregistered accounts, ensure that your potential broker has the account you need.

3. Investing Automation

One of the factors that make M1 Finance unique is its seamless investment automation. This means hands-off experience in trading.

So it’s also essential to consider an automated brokerage that can automatically customize and rebalance your portfolio on your behalf.

4. Accessibility

Accessibility is one of the key differences between traditional brokerage and automated brokerage like M1 Finance.

With your mobile phone, you can keep track of your investment with M1 Finance without visiting a trading station.

Thus, an M1 Finance Canada alternative should have a mobile app for easy trading.

M1 Finance Canada Equivalents

Although there is no M1 Finance equivalent in Canada, top discount brokerages serve as alternatives.

Here I present the top M1 Finance Canada alternatives using the above factors:

1. Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is a household name when it comes to low-cost automated investing platforms in Canada. 

One thing that makes this platform so popular is its zero commission on ETFs and stocks. So far, it’s the only brokerage in Canada that can boast of this offer.

Through its Wealthsimple Trade, Wealthsimple emerges as an alternate robo-advisor offering automated savings and investment solutions to Canadians.

Unlike M1 Finance, this Wealthsimple Trade doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement. This means that you can start trading with as little as $1.

Like M1 Finance, Wealthsimple also doesn’t support mutual funds. Also, you can’t trade bonds and options on Wealthsimple Trade.

Pros

  • Zero commission on ETFs and stocks
  • Multiple accounts
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Easy to use
  • Automatic portfolio rebalancing
  • Cryptocurrency trade

Cons

  • Mobil-only app
  • Limited research options

Click here to learn more about Wealthsimple Trade.

2. Questrade

It goes without saying that after the mention of Wealthsimple, Questrade is next. This is to show how competitive this brokerage is in Canada.

Thus, Questrade does need an introduction as one of the low-cost robo-advisors in Canada with zero commissions on buying ETFs.

Unlike Wealthsimple, Questrades charges commission on ETFs selling, trading stocks, mutual funds and other securities.

Like M1 Finance, Questrade also has a minimum balance requirement ($1000) which is relatively higher than M1 Finance ($100).

Through its Questwealth Portfolios, Questrade offers cost-effective registered and unregistered accounts for Canadians.

You may want to read this Questrade vs Wealthsimple review to learn more about Wealthsimple and Questrade.

Pros

  • Free ETF purchases
  • Low account management fees
  • Registered and non-registered accounts

Cons

  • Fees for stocks, ETFs selling, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and other trades
  • $1000 minimum account balance

Read this Questwealth Portfolios review to learn more about Questrade.

3. Moka

Formerly known as Mylo, Moka is an automated savings and investment solution established in 2017.

Although with limited account options, Moka is one of the low-cost trading platforms in Canada with zero minimum balance requirements.

What makes this app popular is its automated rounds up on purchases. This is cost-effective as it invests the rounds up on your portfolio, helping you invest more.

So if you’re having difficulty saving or investing, this brokerage will motivate you to do so.

Pros

  • Hands-off investing
  • Automated savings
  • Zero account minimum
  • Round-ups on investment
  • Excellent Monthly perks

Cons

  • Few account options
  • Not ideal for large investments

Learn more about Moka here.

What is the Best Trading Platform in Canada?

Robo-advisors are the best trading platforms in Canada compared to mutual funds.

However, not all robo-advisors are the same. Some of the best robo-advisors in Canada include Wealthsimple and Questrade.

But how can you narrow your selection to one? Well, it depends on your investment objective, especially the account you want to trade.

If you’re investing in stocks, you may want to consider which trading platform focuses on the market you want to track.

While Questrade focuses on the Canadian market, Wealthsimple focuses on the US and International markets.

But if you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency or fractional shares in Canada, Wealthsimple is your ideal option.

Overall, Wealthsimple is the best robo-advisor in Canada, especially on trading fees, commissions and account options.

Final Thoughts on M1 Finance Canada

There’s no M1 Finance Canada, but there are M1 Finance alternatives in Canada.

Whether Wealthsimple, Questrade or Moka, Canadians have many M1 Finance alternatives to choose.

But if you’re looking for the best trading platform in Canada, Wealthsimple could be your ideal option, depending on your investment objective.

That said, whatever robo-advisor you want to use in place of M1 Finance in Canada, you should consider the trading cost, account types, automation and accessibility.

Good luck!

FAQs on M1 Finance Canada

Does M1 Finance Have an App?

Yes, M1 Finance has a mobile app available for download on Google Playstore and App Store.

Why You Shouldn’t Use M1 Finance?

You shouldn’t use M1 Finance if you’re trying to invest in mutual funds or cryptocurrencies. M1 Finance does not offer these options at the moment.

Is M1 Finance Good for Beginners?

Yes. M1 Finance has pie-charts and an intuitive interface with more than 80 pre-designed portfolios that make it easy for beginner investors to build a diversified portfolio hands-off.

Can You Have 2 M1 Finance Accounts?

Yes. You can have up to 5 M1 Finance under the same login. This could be a mix of registered, unregistered and trust accounts.

If you have more questions about this M1 Finance Canada review, let me know in the comment section.

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