Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine are some of the best online brokerages in Canada. Qtrade is an independent online stockbroker, while BMO InvestorLine is owned by a big bank.
In this post, I compare the two stock trading platforms side by side to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.
What is Qtrade?
Based in Vancouver, Qtrade Direct Investing is an independent online stock brokerage platform that has been making investing for Canadians easier since 2000.
The stock trading platform offers an easy-to-use online trading interface with powerful, industry-leading tools and resources to help self-directed investors confidently invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and other market securities with low trading fees.
Qtrade is operated by Credential Qtrade Securities Inc, which is a subsidiary of Aviso Wealth, a reputable wealth management firm in Canada, offering its services to 150+ financial institutions and credit unions.
Qtrade Direct Investing has been rated the #1 online broker for three years running, ranked the #1 online investing platform 25 times, and #1 online broker for customer support 8 times.
Users can access the Qtrade platform via its web-based desktop interface or the Qtrade stock trading app, which is available on all devices.
There’s also Qtrade Advisor, an investing service that offers valuable investment advice to investors.
Trade stocks, ETFs, options, etc.
Competitive trading fees
Excellent customer service
Deposit $1,000+ for a $50 bonus
What is BMO InvestorLine?
BMO InvestorLine is a self-directed stock trading platform that offers online investing services to DIY investors. It is owned and operated by the Bank of Montreal (BMO), one of the oldest Canadian banks, founded in 1817.
The online broker offers an easy-to-use online trading interface, investing tools, research, and tips to help seasoned traders invest in stock ETFs, mutual funds, and other investment products with flat-rate fees.
Its fees can run higher than average, but you get the confidence of investing with a broker owned by a big bank, and that has survived the test of time.
BMO InvestorLine is great for seasoned traders who love researching the markets to trade and track their portfolio performance independently.
Hands-off investors can take advantage of InvestorLine AdviceDirect or BMO SmartFolio.
The former helps you make good investment decisions by getting professional investment advice from BMO experts, while the latter is a Robo-Advisory service that invests and manages your portfolio at a fee.
Read the full BMO InvestorLine review.
Qtrade vs BMO InvestorLine: Investment Accounts
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine offer registered and non-registered accounts to help you invest for the future or build your savings.
Registered accounts offer tax incentives and allow you to invest with tax-deferred or tax-exempt benefits.
Non-registered accounts don’t offer similar tax benefits but are great for building savings. They give you the freedom to contribute or withdraw as much as you want.
Both brokers offer identical accounts in both categories.
Qtrade registered accounts
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA/LRSP)
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Life Income Fund (LIF)
Qtrade non-registered accounts
Qtrade offers Margins and Cash accounts. Cash accounts available include individual, joint, trusts, estates, societies, investment clubs, company, and religious organization accounts.
BMO InvestorLine registered accounts
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Locked-In Retirement Accounts, including LIRA, LRSP, RLSP, LRIF, LIF
BMO InvestorLine non-registered accounts
BMO offers individual, joint, margin, and cash accounts, including investment clubs, personal holding companies, trusts, corporations, estates, and associations.
Qtrade vs BMO: Investment Products
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine offer almost similar market securities and products and allow you to invest in Canadian and US markets.
Qtrade investment products
- Mutual funds
- New issues (IPOs and secondary/treasury offerings)
BMO investment products
- Mutual funds
It may cost $5-$10 to complete an ETF transaction with many brokers, and finding a platform that offers commission-free ETFs is a great way to cut your trading costs.
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine offer a selection of commission-free ETFs. For instance, Qtrade offers about 105 commission-free ETFs, but all other ETFs incur the standard fee of $8.75 or $6.95.
BMO InvestorLine allows you to trade a selection of over 80+ top Canadian ETFs commission-free if you buy the ETF online and hold it for one business day. Otherwise, the standard fee of $9.95 applies.
Qtrade tops BMO InvestorLine with its relatively lower trading fees.
Standard Qtrade fee stands at $8.75, with discounted active trader fee of $6.95, which is low compared to the BMO InvestorLine flat-rate fee of $9.95 per trade.
|Stocks & ETFs||$8.75; $6.95 for active traders; 100 commission-free ETFs||$9.95 flat-fee; 80+ commission-free ETFs|
|Options||$8.75 + $1.25 per contract; $6.95 + $1.25 per contract for active traders||$9.95 + $1.25 per contract|
|Bonds, GICs||Fees are included in the quoted price||Fees are included in the quoted price|
Admin & Other Fees
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine levy several administrative and account maintenance fees.
Qtrade administration fees
- 25/quarter for accounts with less than $25,000
- $150 account transfer out fee
- $15/quarter for dollar accounts
- $100 formal trust account set up fee + $50/year after the first year
- $100 account closure fee (within the first year only)
- $50 partial deregistration and $125 full-deregistration fee
- $2.50/trade for paper trade confirmations
- $6/quarter for paper account statements.
BMO InvestorLine administration fees
- $25/quarter for non-registered accounts with less than $15,000
- $150 account transfer out
- $25 for internal non-registered account transfer
- Security registration fee: $50/security
- $40/hr and a minimum of $40 for statement search/trade investigation
- $50/ security estate account certificate-handling fees
- $10/request for cheque requests
- $50/certificate/month for Safekeeping securities
- $2 monthly account fee for mailed paper statements.
Trading Platform and Tools
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine offer web-based trading platforms with powerful features and tools to research, evaluate, trade, and track your portfolio’s performance.
But unlike BMO InvestorLine, Qtrade also offers the Qtrade stock trading app to help investors follow the markets on the go.
The Qtrade online platform offers the following trading tools and features:
- Free planning tools and calculators
- Stock screening tools
- Analyst’s recommendations
- Technical and fundamental analysis tools and research
- Real-time quotes
- News feeds and alerts for markets events
The Qtrade mobile stock trading app for iOS/Android allows you to place orders, get quotes, monitor your portfolio, and stay connected with the market on the go.
The BMO InvestorLine web platform offers the following features/tools:
- Top research from S&P Global Ratings and Morningstar
- Analysts’ ratings and third-party recommendations
- Stock screeners
- Watchlists to track the performance of up to 50 stocks
- Fundamental analysis tools powered by Trading Central
- Tracking tools to help you track your portfolio performance
- Email & mobile updates
- Daily/weekly performance summaries
There’s also the BMO 5 Star Program reserved for seasoned traders making $15+ trades per quarter or investing $250,000+.
You get access to the BMO market Pro interface, where you get real-time streaming data and a customizable dashboard to trade US and CND options.
Qtrade offers customer support via email and phone, and their customer reps are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm ET.
BMO InvestorLine offers customer support via phone, Live Chat, virtual meetings, and video calls, and you can reach them Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm ET.
Both Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine are members of IIRCO and CIPF, which protects your account up to $1M against insolvency.
They also offer a $100% electronic banking guarantee against online and mobile banking fraud.
Qtrade vs BMO InvestorLine vs Wealthsimple Trade
|Commission-Free ETFs||100+ Free ETFs||80+ Free ETFs||Free|
|Options||$8.75 + $1.25 per contract||$9.95 + $1.25 per contract||N/A|
|Active trader fees discounts||Yes||No||N/A|
|Account types||TFSA, RRSP, LIRA, LRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIF, Margin, and Cash accounts||TFSA, RRIF, RESP, RRSP, LIRA, LRSP, RLSP, LRIF, LIF, Margin, and Cash accounts||TFSA, RRSP, crypto, individual non-registered accounts.|
|Products||Stocks, ETFs, Mutual funds, Options, Bonds, GICs, New issues||Stocks, ETFs, Mutual funds, Options, Bonds, GICs||Stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies|
|Promotions||$50 sign-up bonus when you deposit $1,000 or more||–||$25 cash bonus if you deposit $150 or more|
BMO Investorline vs Qtrade: Conclusion
Qtrade and BMO InvestorLine are among Canada’s best online trading platforms, offering almost similar account types and market securities. However, Qtrade offers some advantages with its lower trading fees and well-rated mobile stock trading app.
For zero-commission trading for stocks and ETFs, you could check out Wealthsimple Trade.