American Express SimplyCash Card: A Review

August 3, 2019
Canadian Credit Card Reviews
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With a cashback rate of 1.25% on any purchase whatsoever and unlimited earning potential, The SimplyCash Card from American Express is hands down the best no-fee cashback card in the market today. Add in a welcome rate of 2.5% during the first three months of card membership that can earn you an extra $75, a preferential 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for new Amex cardholders during the first six months, as well as purchase and travel accident insurance, and you’re probably wondering why you hadn’t applied for one before.

Tell your friends, show them why everyone should have an Amex SimplyCash Card in their wallets, and receive a $100 cashback bonus for every approved referral while you’re at it.

There’s so much to gain and absolutely nothing to lose because it’s free. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by

Pay for any purchase and get 1.25 cashback
Get cashback on any purchase with the No-Fee SimplyCash Card from American Express

This SimplyCash review is broken down into the following sections, to make it easier to read:

Pros and Cons of the SimplyCash Card From American Express

To give you a quick take on the most important aspects you’ll love and you won’t about the Amex SimplyCash Card, here’s our list of the pros and cons that come with it:

• No Annual Fee
• A welcome cashback rate of 2.5% during the first three months
• The best cashback rate of any free cashback card in the market
• The same flat rate for all purchases
• Unlimited earning potential
• A low-interest rate of only 1.99% on balance transfer
• No balance transfer fees
• Referral bonus of $100 for every approved SimplyCash Card
• You only get the cashback you’ve earned once a year
• Cashback is only rewarded through a statement credit, no options for a check or a deposit  

Features and Benefits Of The Amex SimplyCash Card

Welcome Cashback Rate2.5% up to a maximum of 3 months or $150 cashback
Base Cashback Rate1.25% on all purchases
Annual FeeNo Annual Fee
Additional Card FeeUp to 9 additional cards free of charge
Embedded Insurance Coverage • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance policy
• Buyers Assurance Protection Plan
• Amex Purchase Protection Plan
Optional Balance Transfer Offer • Introductory Interest Rate of 1,99% for the first 6 months
• Transfer up to 50% or $7,500 of your assigned credit limit
• No Balance Transfer fee
Amex Front Of The Line
Type of CardCredit Card
Preferred Interest Rate • 19,99% on purchases
• 22,99% on funds advances
Eligibility • You must be a Canadian Citizen or Resident
• You must be the age of majority in your state or province of residence
• You must have a Canadian Credit File

Before we dive into all the details of each of these features and benefits that make this card great, let’s clear up some important facts:

How Does The SimplyCash Card’s Cashback System Work?

Cashback is the easiest to understand credit card rewards system. You simply use your card to pay for purchases, and Amex rewards you by giving you back part of the total purchase you made.

But, how does Amex give it back?

It’s very simple. When you use your card, you accumulate cashback and at the end of the year, American Express will give you all you have accumulated in the form of a statement credit. You can then use this statement credit to pay off your cards balance.

The only real downside to the SimplyCash Card is that you can only receive your cashback in the form of an annual statement credit. However, the good is really good, and it outweighs by far having to wait a year to receive your benefits.

Keep on reading to find out exactly why we claim the Amex SimplyCash Card is the best no-fee cashback card you’ll find today.

American Express SimplyCash Card Benefit #1: The Welcome Cashback Rate

There are many different cashback cards out there, and to compare which one is better, the first thing you have to look at is how much they’ll give you back.

When you sign up for the SimplyCash Card from American Express for the first time, you’re entitled to a welcome cashback rate of 2.5% during your first three months of cardmembership. This is a really good cashback rate, and it almost triples the nearest competing card, but it isn’t unlimited.

Besides the three-month limit, the welcome rate has a cap at $150 cashback. What this means is that you’ll earn 2.5% of whatever you spend during the first three months, but only until it adds up to $150. After you reach the cap, even if you’re only in your first month, the welcome rate ends and you start getting the base rate of 1.25% cashback.

Let’s see some numbers to better clear this up.

How much is the Welcome Rate Worth?

The maximum cashback of $150 represents 2.5% of $6,000

Therefore, having a cap at $150 cashback means that your welcome rate is limited to your first $6,000 in purchases. If you want to maximize your earnings with this card, you’ll want to charge at least an average $2,000/month during the first three months of cardmembership.

If, on the other hand, you charge less than that amount, than you’ll be losing out on potential earnings.

To calculate how much more you’re earning thanks to the welcome rate, let’s consider the alternative: having a flat earning rate of 1.25% from the get-go.

In this case, you would only earn 1.25% of the $6,000 in purchases that are eligible for the welcome rate, which means $75.

In other words, the welcome rate is earning you an extra

$150 – $75 = $75

As a consequence, this earning rate alone is worth $75 to you, but you’re getting it free of charge.

Amex SimplyCash Card Benefit #2: Base Cashback Rate of 1.25%

1.25% may not seem like a lot at first sight. The welcome rate alone is twice as much. However, you need to put things into perspective, because there are a number of key aspects to the base rate that you need to consider before making your judgment:

Flat rate on all purchases

The first advantage of the American Express SimplyCash Card’s base rate is the fact that it’s the same rate for all purchases. No need to worry about categories, types of merchants, and so on. As long as it can be classified as a purchase (which excludes funds advances, interests, fees, balance transfers, Amex cheques, and traveler’s cheques), it will earn you 1.25% cashback.

Other no-fee cards may offer higher cashback rates, but only for a very limited number of purchase categories. For all other purchases, you get appalling rates like 0.5%. This makes it a bit of a bother using those cards because you always have to worry about using your card in the right places.

Unlimited Earning Potential

In most of the few cases where a credit card does offer higher cashback rates, those rates are usually capped. The other great aspect of the Amex SimplyCash Card’s flat cashback rate is that there’s no earning limit. You could use this card to earn as little as a dollar or as much as ten thousand. It’s totally up to you how much you want to earn.

American Express SimplyCash Card Benefit #3: Optional Balance Transfer Offer

American Express is always looking for ways to attract new members, and their offers have always been great. If you’re not already an Amex cardmember (in other words, if you don’t have any charge or credit card issued by Amex Bank of Canada), then you’re eligible for the Optional Balance Transfer Offer.

What Is The Optional Balance Transfer Offer?

This is an exclusive offer for new American Express cardmembers, who can opt to transfer their debts from other credit cards to the SimplyCash card upon enrollment. So long as you don’t fall behind on your minimum payments, you’ll get a preferential interest rate of just 1.99% on all transferred balance during the first 6 billing cycles (read months).

In short, it’s a way of helping Canadians pay off their debts by lowering the interest incurred because of the balance they carry every month. It’s like taking a low-interest loan with Amex to pay for your other credit cards.

Debt recovery thanks to the SimplyCash Card from American Express
The American Express SimplyCash Card can help you pay off your other credit card’s balance and save on interests.

Some cash cards offer similar offers, and some even go the length of charging 0% interest and increasing the interest-free period to 1 year. However, the kicker with the SimplyCash Card’s offer is that Amex doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, whereas the others do.

How To Opt For The Balance Transfer

Considering that you’re not already an Amex cardmember and are, therefore, eligible for this offer, all you need to do is opt-in for the offer when filling out your online application.

That being said, there’s a limit to how much balance you can transfer to your SimplyCash Card account.

How Much Of My Balance Can I Transfer To My New American Express SimplyCash Card

The maximum amount you can transfer is limited to $7,500 or 50% of your assigned credit limit, whichever is smaller.

Let’s look at the numbers of three simple examples to show you how this works:

  • Suppose you have a balance of $2,000 and a credit limit of $6,000. In this case, since 50% of your credit limit is $3,000 and this number is smaller than $7,500, then you can transfer a maximum of $3,000. In this particular case, you could transfer your whole balance of $2,000.
  • Now suppose that you have a balance of $8,000 and a credit limit of $20,000 (50% of which being $10,000). In this case, you can’t transfer your whole balance, because it’s higher than $7500. Furthermore, since $7,500 is less than $10,000, then you can transfer a maximum of $7,500.
  • Finally, suppose you have a balance of $8,000 but a credit limit of just $10,000 (50% of which is $5,000). You obviously can’t transfer the whole $8,000 balance for the same reason as above. However, since $5,000 y less than $7,500, then, in this case, you can’t transfer $7,500 either. You can only transfer a maximum of the said $5,000.

When Should You Opt For The Balance Transfer Offer

One very important thing to consider is that after the low-interest promotional period of 6 months expires, any unpaid transferred balance will be subject to the current funds advance interest rate. As of today, this means that from under 2%, the interest rate jumps up to 22.99%.

That’s an over 10-fold increase in interest rate.

You’ll also immediately lose the low preferential rate and get the funds advance rate if you fall behind on your payments, even during the first six months. Additionally, if you fall behind again, you’ll lose that rate as well and get 26.99%. The bottom line is that it hurts to pay late.

I’ll summarize all this information into simple actionable advice.

You should ONLY APPLY for the balance transfer if:

  • You’re financially responsible and never miss a payment, even if it is the bare minimum.
  • Your current interest rate is greater than 22.99%, no matter how long you plan to carry a balance
  • The current interest rate on your balance is greater than 1.99% but less than 22.99% but you think you can pay off the entire balance in 6 months or less.

You should definitely NOT APPLY for the balance transfer if:

  • You frequently find yourself missing payments or not paying the minimum on time.
  • If the current interest rate on your balance is actually lower than 1.99% (obviously)

If your current interest rate is lower than 22.99% but you can’t pay the debt by the end of six months, it may still make sense to transfer the balance to the SimplyCash Card from American Express. It all depends on the difference between the two interest rates, and how long you think it will take you to pay off the entire debt.

American Express SimplyCash Card Benefit #4: Insurance Coverage

You’d be wrong to think that the Amex SimplyCash Card doesn’t come with insurance, just because it’s free. Since you’re not paying a single cent, any sort of coverage is definitely a plus, and the SimplyCash Card comes with not one, nor two but three embedded insurance policies:

$100,000 Travel Accidents Insurance

Travel Accidents Insurance is an AD&D policy that will cover each insured person for up to $100,000. It’s underwritten by Chubb Life Insurance Company of Canada, and it will cover you, your spouse and any dependent children as well as any supplementary cardholder and his or her family while in transit in a common carrier. The only condition is that all tickets be paid in full with your SimplyCash Card from American Express.

Buyers Assurance Protection Plan

This policy, underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, automatically doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one extra year, of any item paid in full with the Amex SimplyCash Card.

Let’s take a look at three different scenarios:

  • If you buy a new cellphone that has a 6-month warranty with the SimplyCash Card, then the Buyers Assurance Protection Plan will cover that cellphone for another 6 months (therefore doubling the warranty).
  • If you buy a camera that comes with a one-year warranty, then you’ll get one extra year thanks to your new SimplyCash Card (again, doubling the warranty)
  • However, if you purchase an item that has a two-year warranty, then the SimplyCash Card will give you only one extra year, therefore increasing your warranty period to three years.

Amex Purchase Protection Plan

This policy is also underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, and it covers any items you purchase with your SimplyCash Card, for up to 90 days, against any accidental physical damage or theft.

Of course, other Amex cards like The Platinum Card, the Business Platinum Card, the Amex Cobalt Card or the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express Card, will give you a lot more coverage. Nevertheless, keep in mind that in those cases you’re paying a fee. With the American Express SimplyCash Card, you’re getting all the mentioned coverage… FREE!

You can learn more about the embedded insurance that comes with the different cards, as well as stand-alone insurance plans in our post on American Express Travel Insurance.

If you’re looking for a cashback card with a better insurance plan, you can check out the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card. This card will give you a great set of travel insurance policies including all the ones that the regular SimplyCash Card brings, but for a $99 annual fee.

There’s really nothing to lose, but so much to gain by signing up. Are you going to let this no-brainer pass you by?

American Express SimplyCash Card Benefit #5: Referral Bonus

Another way the American Express SimplyCash Card lets you build up your cashback balance is by giving you a bonus every time someone you refer to the Amex site is approved for a new SimplyCash Card.

When you sign up for the SimplyCash Card and become a cardmember, you’ll receive your own personal referral link. You can share this link with anyone you want (i.e. friends, family, co-workers, business-related acquaintances, etc.). If your referrals sign up to the Amex SimplyCash Card through your referral link, and Amex approves them, then you’ll get a bonus of $100 cashback at the end of the year.

Simple as that, no strings attached!

Conditions To Get The Referral Bonus

There are some rather obvious conditions for you to get the bonus once a person referred by you applies for the SimplyCash Card. These include:

  • Your referral has to be a new SimplyCash Card cardmember
  • He or she has to know you personally or through a business relationship
  • He or she has to know that he/she is signing up through your referral link (he will be asked to authorize Amex to give you the bonus, so you can’t trick people into signing up)
  • You can’t mislead referrals into signing up with false claims, only with information that Amex provides.

Other than that, you’re good to go!

The Cap On The Referral Bonus

This is a great benefit, but there’s a cap on the maximum number of referrals bonuses you can get each year. You can only get up to $1,500 cashback through referrals annually. Since the current bonus is $100 per approved referral, this translates into a maximum of 15 successful referrals every calendar year.

Additional SimplyCash Card Benefits

Front Of The Line

The Amex SimplyCash Card comes with American Express Invites, a benefits package for major public events like concerts and shows. This package includes the following benefits:

Front Of The Line Advance Access

This benefit lets you purchase or reserve tickets for highly sought after events, sometimes even before they’re on sale.

Front Of The Line Reserved Tickets

These are blocks of seats reserved by American Express exclusively for its cardmembers. With Reserved Tickets, you won’t be left out of any major event, even when tickets have sold out for the general public.

Front Of The Line E-Updates

This is a subscription email service that periodically sends you the listings of all the events you can access thanks to your American Express SimplyCash Card.

Other Amex Invites Benefits

Special Access and benefits at Budweiser Stage, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall, including a separate entrance, lounges, and bars.


If I have a co-branded Amex card issued by another bank, am I eligible for the Balance Transfer Offer?

Yes, you are, as long as you don’t own any other card issued by Amex Bank of Canada. Most banks issue their own credit cards but they use American Express’ global payment network, so their cards are co-branded. Even if the card does say American Express on it, Amex Bank of Canada really doesn’t issue it. The one that’s actually lending you the money is the other bank. Therefore, owning a co-branded card doesn’t make you an Amex cardholder, and, therefore, it doesn’t make you ineligible for the Balance Transfer Offer.

Can I get my cashback each month?

No, you can’t. The SimplyCash Card only gives you your cashback once per year in the form of a statement credit.

How does the SimplyCash Card look?

The SimplyCash Card is transparent, which distinguishes it from the other credit cards. To be honest, the card looks really sleek, and I always feel like a pro when paying my purchases with it.