Qtrade is one of the top discount brokerage platforms in Canada.
Self-directed investors in Canada have access to a number of online brokerage accounts they can use to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, options, and other investment securities.
These platforms are offered by big banks e.g. TD Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine, and independent brokerages such as Questrade, Wealthsimple Trade, and Qtrade.
Managing your own portfolio has many benefits including the opportunity to save on investment fees, maximize your returns, and occupy the driver’s seat.
It also comes with challenges.
This Qtrade Direct Investing review covers its main features, pros and cons, fees, safety, and how it compares to other stock trading platforms in Canada.
What is Qtrade?
Qtrade is an online brokerage service based out of Vancouver. It is a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc; and a part of Aviso Wealth.
Aviso Wealth is one of Canada’s largest wealth management firms. It provides wealth management services to more than 150 credit unions and financial institutions and is backed by the Desjardins group.
Qtrade has won many awards over the years and is regarded as one of Canada’s best online brokerage platforms.
In addition to its web interface, you can use the Qtrade app to trade on Android and iOS devices.
Investors who are looking for investment advice are able to access this service using Qtrade Advisor which is also a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.
How To Invest With Qtrade
Qtrade offers a robust selection of investment products and accounts to self-directed investors.
Investment choices include:
Stocks: You get access to stocks traded on Canadian and U.S. exchanges, as well as over-the-counter stocks, rights, and warrants.
Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): You can trade hundreds of ETFs listed on Canadian and U.S. exchanges, and from providers including iShares (BlackRock), Vanguard, Horizons, and Desjardins.
Mutual Funds: Thousands of available mutual funds are available on the platform.
Bonds: This includes government and corporate bonds, and other fixed-income assets such as commercial paper, strip coupons, and treasury bills.
Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs): Easily invest in term deposits and GICs with varying maturities and rates.
Options: Experienced investors can place various options trades.
New Issues: If you are interested in initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary offerings, they are offered by Qtrade.
You can choose from a variety of investment accounts depending on your needs.
The personal accounts offered include individual and joint taxable accounts and registered accounts such as RRSP, TFSA, LIRA, RESP, RRIF, LIF, cash, and margin accounts.
Corporate and business investment accounts are available for investment clubs, trusts, estates, religious organizations, societies, and more.
One benefit of this platform is that you can trade using either Canadian or U.S. dollars and can avoid having to pay currency exchange fees.
The trading fees and commissions you incur on Qtrade are high compared to no-commission competitors like Wealthsimple Trade.
That said, its trading commissions are competitive when compared to big bank brokerages like TD Direct Investing and RBC Direct Investing.
Qtrade offers discounts to active traders who make 150 or more trades per quarter. You can also enjoy commission discounts if your investment balance on the platform is at least $500,000 via their Investor Plus program.
The standard trading fees on the platform are:
|Standard Fee||Active Traders|
|ETFs||$8.75/trade; some free||$6.95/trade|
|Options||$8.75 + $1.25/contract||$6.95 + $1.25/contract|
|Fixed income||$1 per $1,000 of face value ($24.99 min; $250 max)||$1 per $1,000 of face value ($24.99 min; $250 max)|
Young investors between the ages of 18 and 30 who add at least $50 to their account each month, get a $1 discount for stock and ETF trades (i.e. $7.75/trade). The quarterly administration fee is also waived.
If you hold a mutual fund for less than 90 days before selling or switching it, a 1% fee (minimum $45) may apply.
Telephone trades of stocks and options placed using the assistance of a Qtrade representative incur the following commissions:
|Stock Price||Stock Trading Commission||Option Price||Option Trading Commission|
|$0.00 – $0.245||2% of principal value||$0.00 – $1.00||$30 + $1.00/contract|
|$0.25 – $1.00||$30 + 5 cents/share||$1.01 – $2.00||$30 + $1.50/contract|
|$1.01 – $2.00||$30 + 2 cents/share||$2.01 – $3.00||$30 + $2.00/contract|
|$2.01 – $5.00||$30 + 3 cents/share||$3.01 – $4.00||$30 + $2.50/contract|
|$5.01 – $10.00||$30 + 4 cents/share||$4.01 – $5.00||$30 +$3.00/contract|
|$10.01 – $20.00||$30 + 5 cents/share||$5.01 and over||$30 + $3.50/contract|
|$20.01 and over||$30 + 6 cents/share||–||–|
In addition to trading fees, Qtrade has the following accounts fees you should be aware of:
- A $25 quarterly account administration fee applies to accounts with less than $25,000 in assets. This fee is waived if you qualify as a “Young Investor” or set up a recurring deposit of at least $100/month
- Accounts closed within the first year of opening pay a $100 fee
- A $150 fee is charged when you transfer your accounts to other financial institutions
- U.S. dollar-denominated registered accounts pay $15 USD per quarter
- Paper account statements: $6/quarter
- Paper trade confirmations: $2.50/trade
Qtrade Free ETFs
Qtrade offers commission-free trading on 100+ ETFs.
When you buy or sell any of these ETFs, you don’t pay commissions. Qualifying for free ETF trading on Qtrade is a bit onerous, as you must make a minimum order of $1,000.
This requirement potentially eliminates newbie investors who would benefit the most from low- to no-commissions or trading fees.
You must also hold the eligible ETF for at least one business day and sign up for electronic documents.
Qtrade Trading Platform
Qtrade offers a web-based trading platform you can access on your computer or smartphone. It also has a dedicated iOS and Android app.
The trading platform has screening tools you can use to filter stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs based on set criteria.
You can access technical analysis tools as well as research featuring the fundamentals for various securities.
Three of its top portfolio analysis tools include:
Portfolio Score: This tool assesses your portfolio’s risk profile based on its diversification, performance, fees, income, and downside protection.
Portfolio Simulator: You can use this tool to test investment strategies and ideas before committing funds.
Portfolio Creator: This tool helps you to create an ETF portfolio based on your preferences.
If you’d like to try the Qtrade platform before committing to it, they offer a trial account for up to 30 days.
Qrade New Account Promotion
For a limited time, you can get 50 free trades when you fund or transfer a new account over $10,000. This offer is worth almost $500 in value!
This offer is available until December 31, 2021.
Learn more about the offer and eligibility here and use the promo code – 50FREETRADES.
Is Qtrade Safe?
Qtrade is a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. which is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). It is also a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
CIPF-membership means that the securities in your account are protected against insolvency by up to $1 million.
The Qtrade platform uses 256-bit encryption to protect your data.
If you incur losses in your account from unauthorized online brokerage activity in your Qtrade account, Qtrade offers 100% reimbursement (terms and conditions apply).
Qtrade Pros and Cons
Benefits and downsides of the Qtrade investing platform are:
- Qtrade reimburses transfer fees up to $150 when you transfer assets of $15,000 or more
- It offers access to innovative portfolio management tools
- It offers a variety of products and account types
- It is well-ranked for its customer service and support
- It offers Canadian and U.S. dollar accounts
- Promotional offer of 50 free trades when you meet the eligibility requirements
- Qtrade’s trading commissions are average and you can find cheaper or no-fee alternatives elsewhere
- While it offers 100+ free ETFs, you need to trade at least $1,000 to take advantage
- There’s no sign-up bonus for new clients
- The quarterly $25 account maintenance fee increases your investment costs if you have a modest account balance
Qtrade v. Questrade vs. Wealthsimple Trade
These independent brokerage platforms have their pros and cons. See how they compare in the table below:
|Stocks and ETF trading fee||$8.75/trade||$4.95 – $9.95/trade||$0/trade|
|Options/contract||$8.75 + $1.25||$9.95 + $1||N/A|
|Commission-free ETFs||100+ free ETFs||All ETF purchases are free||ETF trades are free|
|Standard trading fee discount (stocks/ETFs)||$6.95/trade for active traders||$4.95/trade for active traders||No trading commissions|
|Types of accounts||TFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, LIF, margins, corporate accounts||TFSA, RRSP, RESP, LRSP, LIRA, RRIF, LIF, margin, corporate, cash, partnership||RRSP, TFSA, personal non-registered|
|Maintenance fee||$25/quarter if balance less than $25,000||None||None|
|Platforms||Web and mobile app||Web and mobile app||Mobile app and Web|
|Transfer fees waived?||Up to $150 or transfers of $15,000 on more||Up to $150 per account||Up to $150 on transfers of $5,000 or more|
|Promotion||50 free trades (worth almost $500)||Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with at least $1,000||Get a $50 cash bonus when you trade at least $150|
|Apply||Sign up||Sign up||Sign up|
|Reviews||_||Questrade review||Wealthsimple Trade review|
There is no minimum balance to start trading using Qtrade.
No. Qtrade is owned by Aviso Wealth Inc; while Questrade is owned by the Questrade Group of Companies.
Wealthsimple Trade is the only discount broker in Canada offering zero-commission trading in stocks and ETFs.
Qtrade is one of the best online discount brokers in Canada. This Qtrade review covers its pros, cons, fees, and how it compares to Questrade.
- Qtrade refunds transfer fees up to $150 when you transfer $15,000 or more.
- Offers multiple investment products and accounts.
- Great customer service and support.
- Offers Canadian and U.S. dollar accounts.
- Trading fees are not very competitive.
- The mobile app is glitchy.
- No signup bonus for new clients.
- Quarterly $25 account maintenance fee for smaller accounts.