Questrade Review 2022: Best Canadian Online Discount Brokerage

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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Questrade is Canada’s top online discount brokerage platform.

If you are a DIY investor, a discount brokerage account grants you 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, its 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 $25 billion in assets under management and over 200,000 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.

Questrade review

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
  • Options

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 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.

Questrade 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 2022 is $6,000 and if you have been eligible since the program started in 2009, your contribution room is now $81,500.

Questrade 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.

Questrade 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.

Questrade 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 and non-registered Questrade cash 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.

Questrade Fees and Commissions

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.

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.

Benefits of Questrade

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 trades 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.

Instant Deposits: You can now instantly deposit up to $3,500 into your account using Interac e-Transfer.

Paper Trading: Questrade offers a practice trading account you can use risk-free for 90 days. You get $500K in virtual cash and can practice trading using all the main features and tools.

Versatile Trading Platforms: Questrade offers three main trading platforms: Questrade Trading (browser-based), Questrade Edge (a downloadable desktop platform), and QuestMobile (a smartphone app).

Questrade Trading works 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.

Questrade web-based platform

Downsides of Questrade

If you are only looking to invest your spare change, Questrade’s $1,000 minimum account balance to start trading could be prohibitive.

Secondly, it is not the cheapest Canadian brokerage platform. That said, you save money on commissions when buying ETFs.

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.

Sign up and Receive $50 FREE.

Questrade Options Levels

Questrade is one of the best trading platforms for options in Canada.

It offers options levels ranging from 1 to 4 depending on the type of account you are using, your trading knowledge, and risk tolerance.

Registered accounts such as RRSP and TFSA are only approved up to level 2. For levels 3 and 4, you need a margin account.

Option levelMinimum equity needed
Level 1: long calls and putsNo minimum; signed options agreement
Level 2: covered calls and putsNo minimum; signed options agreement
Level 3: spreads$5,000 CAD or USD
Level 4: uncovered (naked) calls and puts$25,000 CAD or USD

Questrade Margin Fees

When you use margin, you are borrowing money to invest and Questrade will charge you interest fees.

Questrade’s margin rates as of this writing are as follows:

Up to $100,000>$100,000
All CAD non-registered accountsCAD prime+3.50%CAD prime+2.50%
RRSP, TFSA, and other registered accountsCAD prime+8.10%CAD prime+8.10%
All USD non-registered accountsUSD prime+3.75%USD prime+2.75%
RRSP, TFSA, and other registered accountsUSD prime+8.35%USD prime+8.35%

The current prime rate for CAD is 2.45% and for USD it is 3.25%.

Before using margin, you should also be aware of the margin requirements which vary depending on the type of asset (stocks, options, precious metals, FX) and your trade position (short or long).

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.

Conclusion

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.

You can also read my review of other Canadian robo-advisors or see how Questrade ranks among other discount brokerage services.

Questrade Review FAQ

How much money do you need to open a Questrade account?

While you can open a Questrade account with any amount, you need to deposit at least $1,000 in your account before you can start trading.

Can I open a TFSA with Questrade?

Yes, Questrade offers TFSA accounts and several other registered and non-registered investment accounts including RRSP, RRIF, RESP, LRSP, LIRA, LIF, spousal RRSP, and cash accounts.

How do I withdraw money from Questrade?

Log in to your Questrade account, click on “requests” and then click on “withdraw funds”. Choose a withdrawal method (EFT or wire) and provide your banking details. Funds withdrawn may take 1-2 business days to deposit in your bank account (wires) or up to 5 business days for electronic funds transfers.

Does Questrade charge inactivity fees?

No, Questrade no longer charges an inactivity fee (i.e. account maintenance fee) when you have a small account balance. This is unlike TD Direct Investing and some other bank-owned brokerages in Canada.

What is the best trading platform in Canada?

In my opinion, the best trading platform in Canada for advanced traders is Questrade. For beginners, the best trading brokerage platform is Wealthsimple Trade.

Related posts

Questrade Review 2022
  • Commissions and Fees
  • Investment Options
  • Customer Support
  • Account Types
  • Market Data
  • Promotional Offer
  • Mobile App
  • Desktop Platform
4.9

Summary

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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • $1,000 minimum trading balance
Questrade Review 2022: Best Canadian Online Discount Brokerage

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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.

5 thoughts on “Questrade Review 2022: Best Canadian Online Discount Brokerage”

  1. I have been using Questrade for the last few years and while agreeing with most of your comments, I strongly disagree when you say Questrade has an excellent customer service.
    I will give 2 out of 10 (or maybe 1) for their customer service. I have been trying to get their attention for the past 6 weeks and ended up holding the phone for more than an hour about 3 or 4 times (and they told me the wait time is only 25 minutes) and had to disconnect.
    Once their was an option for them to call me back and at around 8 pm their was a VM saying that they couldn’t get hold of an agent to talk to me.
    Are they trying to save money? If so it’s ridiculous as they will have more dissatisfied clients who might decide to move elsewhere even if they have to pay a little bit more but get someone to answer their queries.

    • @Mofaf: Yes, their customer service appears to have slowed their response time during the pandemic.

  2. I agree Questrade is Canada’s best discount online brokerage. I have used them for years and can’t remember trying to use their customer service. I have been able to do everything online. However, I have heard of people having trouble using their customer service. The only comment I have is with trading with them there is so much research online that I use that rather than their market data but that is preference.

    I have not looked into changing to a bank service but I know more and more banks are offering services like this now. Have you looked into the differences between Questrade and a bank?

  3. I would be interested in seeing a comparison between Wealthsimple, Questrade and National Bank Discount Brokerage.

    • @Carl: We will add this to our editorial calendar. It will probably look more like this though: Wealthsimple vs National Bank Discount Brokerage / Questrade vs National Bank Discount Brokerage. We already have a Wealthsimple vs Questrade comparison post.

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