Questrade is Canada’s top online discount brokerage platform.
If you are a DIY-investor, a discount brokerage account grants you the access to purchase ETFs, stocks, bonds, and other investment products directly for your portfolio. You also save on fees while maintaining control.
Questrade is not just for seasoned investors. Beginner investors will find the platform to be user-friendly and if they so wish, they can also opt for Questrade’s managed investment service, Questwealth Portfolios.
This Questrade review covers what you need to know about its brokerage service, pros and cons, and why it is on my list of the best stock-trading apps in Canada.
Open a Questrade Account and get $50 in free trades.
What is Questrade?
Questrade is Canada’s largest and fastest-growing independent online brokerage.
Founded in 1999, the company has more than $9 billion in assets under management and over 50,000 new accounts are opened annually.
Questrade offers a wide range of investment products and has been recognized as one of the best online brokers for new investors.
While the company has its headquarters in Toronto, its operations are primarily online.
How To Invest With Questrade
One of the main attractions of Questrade is the variety of investment products you can buy and sell on the platform. These products are also available for purchase at a lower cost compared to the traditional brokerages offered by big banks.
Depending on your comfort level with investing, your investment goals and risk tolerance, you can trade:
- Stocks (U.S. and Canadian)
- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Mutual funds
- Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
- International equities
- Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
- Precious metals e.g. gold and silver
The minimum amount you need to start trading with Questrade is $1,000, although, you can open an account with less.
The sign-up process is pretty straightforward. You will need to provide some documentation and can choose any (or a multiple) of the investment accounts below. Following this, simply transfer money into your account and start trading.
The entire onboarding is online which makes it less of a hassle.
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA): Canadians who are 18 years of age or older can invest in a TFSA account and not pay taxes on returns generated. The TFSA contribution limit for 2020 is $6,000 and if you have been eligible since the program started in 2009, your contribution room is now $69,500.
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP): The RRSP is meant to hold your retirement nest egg and taxes are deferred until you start making withdrawals. In addition to a personal RRSP account, you can also open a spousal RRSP, LIRA, RRIF, LIF and locked-in RRSP accounts.
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP): An RESP helps parents save for their kid’s post-secondary education. It also attracts free government grants up to $7,200 per child. You can open an individual or family RESP account.
Margin Accounts: Margin accounts give investors the flexibility to purchase investments and leverage their portfolios using borrowed money. This strategy comes with increased risks in anticipation of increased returns.
You can also open various types of business investment accounts.
If you prefer a pre-built portfolio that is managed by investment experts at Questrade, you can open a Questwealth account and pay a small annual fee.
Here’s what you can expect to pay in fees and commissions:
- Stocks: 1 cent per share; min. $4.95 and max. $9.95 per trade
- ETFs: ETFs can be purchased commission-free. You pay 1 cent per share and a min. $4.95 to max. $9.95 per trade when you sell
- Mutual funds: $9.95 per trade
- GICs and Bonds: Free with a minimum $5,000 purchase
- International equities: 1% of the trade value
- IPOs and new issues: Free with a minimum $5,000 purchase
- Precious metals: $19.95 USD per trade
- Options: $9.95 + $1 per contract
Active traders get breaks on the already low fees under a fixed and variable pricing schedule.
There is a separate fee if you opt for enhanced live streaming market data. I cover these in more detail later in this post.
An inactivity fee of $24.95 per quarter applies if you have not placed a trade in the previous quarter or have less than $1,000 combined in your investment accounts. If you are under 25 years of age, you are exempt from paying this fee.
ECN and ATS fees are charged by intermediaries who connect Questrade to the market when you place a market order or other orders that will likely be filled immediately.
These fees are minimal. For example, you may pay 35 cents per 100 shares of a Canadian stock when you make a buy/sell transaction.
Why Questrade? Pros and Cons
Questrade works for beginners and expert investors alike. Here are some of the benefits offered by the brokerage platform:
Low Fees: Compared to popular brokerage platforms like TD Direct Investing and Scotia iTrade, you will consistently pay lower fees on Questrade with stock trading at 1 cent per share ($4.95 min. and $9.95 max.).
Commission-Free ETFs: You can buy ETFs for free. Only pay a small commission when you decide to sell. Bonds and GICs are also commission-free.
No Annual Fee: You won’t be paying an annual fee. Fixed annual fees don’t make sense and Questrade gets that. The quarterly inactivity fee is easy to avoid.
Mobile Trading App: You can trade on the go using Questrade’s mobile app. It is available on iOS and Android devices.
Multiple Accounts Available: You can invest using a TFSA, RESP, RRSP, LIRA, RRIF, LIF and business accounts.
Great for New Investors: If you are a beginner investor who wants to try out DIY-investing, Questrade offers a low-cost entry to purchase stocks and ETFs. The minimum balance requirement of $1,000 won’t deter many people.
$50 Questrade Promo Code: We have partnered with Questrade so you get $50 in free trades when you sign up here.
Account Transfer Fee Rebate: Questrade will rebate the transfer fees you incur when you move your account from another financial institution to Questrade…up to a maximum of $150 per account.
Excellent Customer Service: Their customer service agents are available via chat and telephone from Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:00 pm ET. You can also connect with them via email.
Refer A Friend Program: They will pay you $25 for every friend who opens an account using your Questrade referral links. On top of that, you receive a $50 bonus for every third referral.
Versatile Trading Platforms: Questrade offers two main trading platforms: IQ Web (browser-based) and IQ Edge (a downloadable desktop platform). IQ Web works easily on most devices and active and professional traders can go all-out crazy with different types of screeners and advanced trading tools on IQ Edge.
The $24.95 quarterly inactivity fee is steep if you don’t place a trade during the 3 month period and your account size is under $1,000.
Also, if you are only looking to invest your spare change, Questrade’s $1,000 minimum account balance to start trading could be prohibitive.
Is Questrade Safe?
Your account with Questrade is protected.
Similar to the big banks, Questrade is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and is also regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
Your account is protected with $10 million in insurance if Questrade goes bankrupt.
In addition, they keep your account and personal information secure using security measures that include touch/face ID, login alerts, pin numbers, DIGICERT encryption and optional 2-step verification.
Questrade Market Data and Research
Questrade provides various levels of market data plans depending on your needs.
The Basic free plan is adequate for the average investor and offers unlimited snap quotes (i.e. real-time data on refresh) for Canadian and U.S. assets.
Level 1 quotes available for free include the TSX, NASDAQ, NYSE, and S&P.
An Enhanced market data package costs $19.95 and provides level 1 streaming data from Canadian and American exchanges.
The Advanced Canadian/U.S. data package costs $89.95 per month and offers level 1 and 2 Canadian/U.S. data plus everything else available on the Enhanced market data plan.
The advanced data packages are suitable for active professional traders.
Questrade $50 Offer Code
Questrade is offering readers of Savvy New Canadians an opportunity to start investing with $50 in free trades.
To qualify, open an account using our special link and deposit at least $1,000 so you can start trading.
No promo code is required, however, if you are prompted to enter one while signing up, use SAVVY50.
I use Questrade to manage my RRSP and have enjoyed the ease with which I can purchase Vanguard’s all-in-one ETF portfolios on the platform.
ETF purchases are free and I won’t be paying for trading fees until I sell the ETFs in the future.
If you are not comfortable with buying and selling stocks or ETFs yourself, you can use their robo-advisor service, Questwealth.
The annual management fee charged by Questwealth is one of the lowest in Canada at 0.20% to 0.25% and you get up to $10,000 managed FREE for one year when you sign up here.
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Commissions and Fees
Questrade is Canada’s top online discount brokerage platform. Learn about their fees, pros, cons, how to apply, promo offer code, and whether Questrade is safe. Best for:
- Beginner investors who want to learn DIY investing
- Active and professional traders who want to save on fees
- Investors who want to trade multiple assets
- Live streaming market data
- Industry-low fees
- Commission-free ETFs
- Excellent customer service
- No annual account fees
- Great for new investors
- Mobile trading app
- Multiple accounts available
- Versatile trading platforms
- Account transfer fee rebate
- Referral program
- $24.95 inactivity fee
- $1,000 minimum trading balance