The best stock trading apps in Canada simplify the process of buying, selling, and holding individual stocks in your investment portfolio.
The year 2021 has been an interesting one for retail investors after social media-fueled trading frenzy boosted stock prices and meme stocks became a thing.
While we don’t encourage investors to purchase stocks on a whim, it is great to see that increased access to discount brokerages has given Canadians a choice on the securities they hold in their portfolios.
You can easily jump online to purchase a stock or ETF, and when you use a commission-free broker, you can even trade for free.
Stock Trading Platforms in Canada
A stock trading platform is a software program you can access online to buy and sell stocks and other financial securities.
Instead of walking into a broker’s office, a stock app or brokerage account connects you directly to an online broker and real-time prices from a stock exchange,
Canadians looking to cut their investment fees can open a trading account at one of Canada’s independent discount brokerages, including:
- Interactive Brokers
You can also open a brokerage account at your bank, with options including;
- BMO InvestorLine
- CIBC Investor’s Edge
- TD Direct Investing
- RBC Direct Investing
- Scotia iTrade
- National Bank Direct Brokerage
- HSBC InvestDirect
Best Stock Trading Apps
Below I cover five of the best trading apps you can use in Canada, including Wealthsimple Trade which allows you to buy stocks online for free.
Also, look at their pros and cons as each has its benefits and areas where it can improve.
1. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is the only stock trading app in Canada to offer commission-free trading for both stocks and ETFs. This makes it my top choice for beginners who want to try their hands at self-directed investing.
The fee savings (up to $9.99/trade) means you won’t have to worry about making multiple small trades and paying a hefty fee each time you buy a stock.
You can use the platform on your laptop, or on your phone via its mobile application.
Wealthsimple Trade is owned by Wealthsimple, Canada’s most popular online wealth manager with over $10 billion in assets under management.
- Account minimum: $0
- Trading commission: $0
- Securities offered: Stocks and ETFs
- Accounts offered: TFSA, RRSP, personal non-registered
- Promotion: Get a $50 cash bonus when you deposit and trade at least $150
- Review: Wealthsimple Trade Review
If you are interested in trading cryptocurrencies, the Wealthsimple Trade app also hosts a crypto platform you can use.
Cons: It does not offer a margin account, does not offer DRIP, and there is no option for streaming real-time market data.
Questrade is great for experienced and beginner investors alike. It is “Canada’s fastest-growing online brokerage” and has been around since 1999.
This platform gives you access to a wider selection of investment products and a variety of accounts, including corporate investment accounts.
It is also available on multiple platforms with a desktop app, mobile app, and web interface that works on all devices.
- Account minimum: $1,000
- Trading commission: $4.95 to $9.99/trade
- Securities offered: Stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, FX, GICs, and precious metals
- Accounts offered: TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, margin, corporate, trusts
- Promotion: Get $50 in free trades when you open an account and deposit at least $1,000
- Review: Questrade Review
Questrade clients have access to advanced trading tools, order types, and market data. You can also create watchlists and alerts for your favourite stocks.
Also, ETF purchases are commission-free on the platform.
Cons: You need a minimum of $1,000 to trade on Questrade.
Qtrade is a stock trading app that’s quite popular among credit unions.
While its standard trading fees are high compared to Wealthsimple Trade, active traders get a discount, and there’s free trading on 100 ETFs.
Qtrade is available on computers and on smartphones.
- Account minimum: $0
- Trading commission: $8.75/trade
- Securities offered: Stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, and GICs
- Accounts offered: TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP, margin account
Qtrade has been well-ranked over the years for its excellent customer service.
Cons: A $25 quarterly maintenance fee applies if your balance is less than $25,000. Also, you need to trade a minimum of $1,000 to take advantage of commission-free ETF trading.
Learn more about Qtrade in the review.
4. CIBC Investor’s Edge
This bank stock trading app is a division of CIBC Investor Services Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC.
Compared to trading platforms offered by other big banks such as TD and RBC, CIBC Investor’s Edge fees are lower, and students get a further discount.
- Account minimum: $0
- Trading commission: $6.95/trade ($5.95 for students)
- Securities offered: Stocks, ETFs, options, GICs, fixed income, precious metals, and mutual funds
- Accounts offered: TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, margin, corporate and trust accounts
Cons: A $100 account annual maintenance fee applies to accounts below $10,000 or $25,000 (registered/nonregistered).
Get more details in my CIBC Investor’s Edge review.
5. TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing was one of the first trading platforms to open shop in Canada.
It offers an array of market research, data, and investment tools that experienced traders would love, including advanced order types.
- Account minimum: $0
- Trading commission: $9.99/trade
- Securities offered: Stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, precious metals
- Accounts offered: TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, RDSP, margin accounts
Cons: the trading fees on this platform are some of the most expensive in Canada. If your balance is lower than $15,000, a $25 quarterly maintenance fee applies. It does not offer any free ETFs.
Find out more in this review.
For insight into what is offered by other bank stock trading apps, check out my reviews below:
Best Stock Tracking Apps
As a self-directed investor, you may find it easier to stay on top of your investments by combining your portfolio with one of these stock tracking apps below.
Passiv is a rebalancing software that makes it easy to keep your portfolio in line with your risk tolerance.
It syncs with your brokerage account, identifies when your asset allocation is off-target and helps you rebalance your portfolio with one click.
Passiv offers a free account (community user) and premium account (Elite Member – $99/year). If you are a Questrade client, you get the Elite subscription for free.
Passiv is currently able to sync with investment accounts on Questrade, Interactive Brokers, Ameritrade, Alpaca, and Tradier.
You can learn more about the platform in this review.
Wealthica is a portfolio tracker that consolidates all your investment accounts in one place.
As of this writing, it works with over 140 financial institutions including RBC, Wealthsimple, Questrade, Tangerine, National Bank, Desjardins, and more.
To get started, create a free account and link your accounts.
Wealthica syncs your holdings daily and gives you a snapshot of your investments, fees, performance, and net worth in one place. You can also use it to track your expenses and create monthly budgets.
Wealthica users can extend their account using a number of add-ons including:
- Export and Sync to Google Sheets
- Export and Sync to Excel
- Wealthscope plugin, a tool that helps with portfolio rebalancing, evaluation, comparisons, and retirement planning
Wealthica is available as a free or premium plan.
I cover its offerings in more detail in this Wealthica review.
Stock Trading Apps FAQs
Wealthsimpe Trade is the only platform you can use to buy stocks online for free in Canada. You can also trade ETFs such as VGRO, XBAL, and VEQT without paying trading commissions.
TD Direct Investing and Questrade offer advanced trading tools, charting, and order types. You can also pay for Level 2 data and access stock screeners. While TD has a $9.99 flat fee, you pay a minimum of $4.95 per trade on Questrade and ETF purchases are free.
After you have identified the brokerage firm that meets your needs, proceed to visit their website and create an account. You will need to provide your personal details, Social Insurance Number (SIN), copy of your government-issued ID, and some financial details. When your brokerage is set up, link your bank account to add funds, and you can start trading stocks.
I consider Wealthsimple Trade to be the best broker for beginners. It has a user-friendly stock trading app, no trading fees, and you can start investing with as little as $1.