Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers Canada 2022: Which is Better?

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by Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

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Qtrade and Interactive Brokers Canada are some of the best online trading platforms in Canada. Both brokers offer powerful trading tools and resources that enable self-directed investors to take control of their trading activities and invest with confidence.

Qtrade is great for individuals looking to invest in various traditional market securities at reasonable fees.

Interactive Brokers is a good choice for businesses, active traders, and institutional investors looking to invest in cryptocurrencies and other market securities in one place at a low cost.

In this Qtrade vs Interactive Brokers review, I compare their investment accounts & products, trading fees, trading platforms, and more so that you can choose the one that fits your investment needs.

What is Qtrade?

Founded in 2000, Qtrade is an online trading platform in Canada owned by Aviso Wealth, a wealth management company with more than 500,000+ clients and over $95 billion in assets under management.

The award-winning stock trading platform has been ranked the #1 online investment platform 25 times in the past 17 years and the #1 online broker for 3 years running.

As one of the best online trading platforms in Canada, Qtrade offers a superior trading experience via its web-based desktop platform, which offers powerful trading features, tools, and resources to help self-directed investors plan, evaluate, discover, trade, and monitor their portfolios.

There’s also the Qtrade mobile app for iOS and Android, which enables users to stay connected to the market and trade on the go.

The platform offers multiple account types to help users invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and other investment products across US and Canadian markets at reasonable fees.

Qtrade

qtrade logo 2

Trade stocks, ETFs, options, etc.

Competitive trading fees

Excellent customer service

Some free trades for eligible accounts

What is Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is an American multinational stock trading platform owned and operated by the Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. and has been in operation since 1978.

The trading platform operates in 150 markets across 33 countries, supports 25+ fiat currencies, and offers a wide selection of market securities denominated in multiple currencies.

Its Canadian subsidiary, Interactive Brokers Canada, was launched in 2000 and has offices in Montreal.

The platform offers multiple account types to individuals, businesses, and institutional investors, and multiple trading interfaces, powerful trading features, and tools to enable them to take full control of their trading activities.

As one of the best online trading platforms, IBKR has won awards and ranked as the #1 broker in various categories, including the best broker for low-cost investing by Nerdwallet, #1 best online broker by Barrons, and the best broker for trading technology by Benzinga, among others.

Read my full Interactive Brokers review here.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Investment Accounts

Qtrade offers both registered and non-registered accounts to allow individuals to achieve their future investing and savings goals.

Qtrade offers about 6 registered accounts, including:

  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA/LRSP)
  • Life Income Fund (LIF)

Qtrade also offers Margin and Cash non-registered trading accounts. Available Cash accounts include individual, joint, trust, estates, investment club, society, company, and religious organizations.

IBKR offers both individual and institutional accounts. IBRK individual accounts include:

  • Individual, joint, and IRA accounts
  • Non-Professional Advisors
  • Family advisors

Most of the other account types on the platform are geared towards institutions to help businesses manage and invest their client’s funds with ease. Institutional account types on the platform include:

  • Hedge Funds
  • Family Offices
  • Money Managers
  • Hedge Fund Allocators
  • Fund Administrators
  • Introducing Brokers
  • Prop Traders Registered Investment Advisors
  • Institutions Home
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Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Investment Products

Interactive brokers offer more investment products than Qtrade. While Qtrade offers about 7 traditional market securities, Interactive Brokers offers about 10 trading products, including crypto.

Qtrade investment products include:

Interactive Brokers’ investment products include:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Bonds
  • Spot Currencies
  • Futures/FOPs
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Spot Currencies
  • Hedge Funds
  • Mutual Funds

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Commission-Free ETFs

Both Qtrade and Interactive Brokers offer some form of commission-free trading to help investors slash costs and maximize their profits.

Qtrade offers a selection of 100+ commission-free ETFs across Canada and US markets, and you won’t incur any trading commission when trading any of the ETFs on their select list. However, fees apply when buying/selling other EFTs on the platform.

IBKR Lite clients enjoy commission-free ETF trading, while IBKR Pro clients can take advantage of the IBKR’s “fee waived” no transaction fee (NTF) program, which offers a selection of 150+ no-commission ETFs.  Pro clients who buy and hold any ETF shares for at least 30 days receive a reimbursement of the commissions paid.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Trading Fees

Interactive Brokers is reputed as a low-cost stock trading platform, and its fees are quite low compared to Qtrade.

Qtrade fees

Qtrade standard fees stand at $8.75, but active investors making 150+ trades per quarter or maintaining a balance of $500,000+ enjoy a discounted trading fee of $6.95.

Interactive Brokers fees

Interactive Brokers fees vary based on your monthly trading volume and whether you are trading CAD or USD denominated securities.

Fees range from $0.003 to 0.008 per share for CAD-denominated securities and $0.002-$0.006 per share for USD-denominated securities.

There’s also a minimum fee of $1 per order and a maximum of 0.5% of trade value for CAD securities, a minimum fee of $0.80 per order, and a maximum of 0.5% of trade value for USD securities.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Administrative Fees

Qtrade levies multiple administrative fees, including $25/quarter for accounts with less than $25,000.

Interactive Brokers doesn’t charge account maintenance or inactivity fees.

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Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Trading Platforms

Interactive Brokers offer more advanced trading platforms than Qtrade.

While Qtrade offers a web-based interface and a mobile stock trading app, IBKR offers multiple web-based interfaces, a desktop application, and a mobile app.

Qtrade Trading Platforms

  • Web-based interface: Packed with powerful trading features and tools, including stock screeners, watchlists, real-time quotes, technical and fundamental analysis tools, in-depth research, analyst’s recommendations, news feeds, market events alerts, and free planning tools/calculators.
  • Qtrade mobile app: Available for iOS and Android to enable you to place orders, manage watchlists, get real-time quotes, transfer money, follow markets, and track/manage your account on the go.

IBKR Trading Platforms

  • Client Portal: A web interface that allows you to place trades, check quotes, reports, and funding, and see account balances and P&L key performance metrics.
  • Trader Workstation (TWS): Offers advanced trading features and powerful charting tools to active traders and investors who require power and flexibility when analyzing multiple products.
  • IBKR Mobile: Available for iOS and Android to enable you to trade and monitor your account on the go from your smartphone or tablet.
  • IBKR GlobalTrader: An iOS/Android app that gives you access to global stocks right from your smartphone or tablet.
  • IMPACT App:  An iOS/Android app that helps environment-conscious investors find and invest in companies that share their values.
  • IBKR APIs: Offers Excel API, FIX API, and TWS API to enable users to build custom trading applications and integrate trading into their existing applications and front-ends.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Minimum Investment

Both Qtrade and Interactive Brokers don’t have a minimum investment requirement, which is great for beginner traders/investors looking to start small and grow their portfolios over time as their knowledge and investing experience advance.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Are They Safe?

Both Qtrade and Interactive Brokers Canada are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, which protects your portfolio against insolvency up to $1M.

They also employ the latest encryption technology and 2FA to keep your data and account secure.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Customer Service

Qtrade has been ranked the #1 online broker for customer support 8 times in the past 6 years and offers customer support via phone, email, and mail/fax Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm ET.

Interactive Brokers offers customer support via phone, 24/7 live chat, email, and mail. Their customer reps are available Monday-Friday from 7 am to 7:30 pm and 1 pm to 7 pm on weekends.

Qtrade vs. Interactive Brokers: Conclusion

Interactive brokers wins with its wider selection of investment products, low fees, multiple trading interfaces, and advanced trading features.

IBKR is a top choice for businesses, institutional traders, and individuals looking to access multiple institutional and individual accounts to invest in crypto and a wide selection of other investment products all in one platform.

Though Qtrade fees are higher compared to IBKR, it’s a great choice for individual traders and investors looking to access registered and non-registered accounts to save and invest for the future.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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