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Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Broker Comparison for 2024

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A successful investment journey starts with choosing a great investment broker and investing in line with your risk tolerance, investment objectives, and time horizon.

Questrade and Scotia iTrade are some of Canada’s most popular online brokerage platforms you can use to begin your investing journey.

Both offer excellent features and benefits to DIY investors but also differ significantly in some aspects you can take advantage of to meet your investment goals faster.

This Questrade vs Scotia iTrade comparison walks you through their account types, investment products, trading fees, minimum investment, and more so that you can choose the one that fits your investment needs.

Questrade Overview

Questrade

questrade logo transparent

On Questrade’s Website

  • Fees: $4.95 to $9.95 per trade
  • Account minimum: $1,000 to start trading
  • Promotions: Get $50 in free trades
SNC Rating
4.5
  • Choose from thousands of stocks and ETFs with commission-free ETF purchases and low-commission stock trading.
  • Supports multiple investment products, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, options, foreign currencies, and precious metals.
  • No minimum balance to open a new account and only $1,000 to start trading.
  • No quarterly inactivity fees for all accounts. Transfer fees are waived up to $150 when you transfer your accounts at other brokerages to Questrade. Annual fees for TFSA or RRSP accounts and no account transfer fees either.
  • Unlimited snap quotes for stocks and ETFs with the option to upgrade to real-time quotes through a monthly subscription starting at $19.95/month.
  • Real-time customer support via talk, email, or live chat.
  • Enjoy extended hours trading on U.S. Markets from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST.
  • QuestMobile allows you to manage your investments from any mobile device.
  • You can open a Questwealth portfolio to invest in a pre-built portfolio with 0.20% to 0.25% management fees.
  • Gain access to other Questrade financial tools, including QuestMortgage.
  • Trust in one of Canada’s top brokerages with over $30 billion in assets under administration.

Our Verdict

Questrade is Canada’s largest and oldest discount brokerage. It offers accounts and financial tools for investors of all experience levels. Commission-free ETFs allow you to generate long-term wealth through diversified exposure to global equities while saving on trading fees.

Access to multiple investment assets

Offers real-time market data for day traders

No commissions on ETF purchases

Highly-rated mobile app

Advanced charting and analytical tools are available

Minimum $1,000 balance to trade

Advanced data packages have a monthly fee

Trading fees apply to all stock trades

Founded in 1999, Questrade is an independent online discount brokerage platform based in Toronto.

The platform boasts $30 billion in assets under management, and investors definitely see value in its offerings, with over 250,000 investment accounts annually.

It allows self-directed investors to take control of their investment portfolios by offering different account types and investment products, low trading fees, commission-free ETFs, trading platforms & tools for both new and advanced traders.

So if you are a hands-on, DIY investor who loves to trade different securities actively and remain in control of your portfolio, Questrade can help you cut fees and maximize returns.

New and hand-off investors can also use Questwealth, a Questrade management investment service that invests and manages your portfolio on your behalf at a fee.

Scotia iTrade Overview

Scotia iTrade

scotiabank logo2

On Scotiabank’s Website

  • Fees: Up to $9.99 per trade or $4.99 for active traders
  • Account minimum: Fees on accounts under $10,000
  • Promotions: Sometimes available
SNC Rating
4.0
  • Scotia iTrade is a full big bank brokerage that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, and GICs.
  • Open several registered and non-registered accounts, including TFSAs, RRSPs, and RESPs.
  • Use Scotia iTrade’s highly-rated mobile app for iOS or Android.
  • It is the first major bank brokerage to offer access to sustainable and ESG investing tools.
  • A quarterly maintenance fee of $25.00 applies to balances under $10,000 but is waived for those under 26.
  • Scotia iTrade offers commission-free ETF trading for over 100 select ETFs.
  • Scotia iTrade provides many investing tools, including Reuters reports, ValuEngine, and Sabrient.
  • It also offers the Scotia iTrade Flight Desk platform for active traders that provides Level II market data and in-depth market analysis.
  • A strong referral program that rewards referrers with up to $100 or 50 free trades.

Our Verdict

Scotia iTrade is similar to most other big bank brokerages like RBC Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine. With high commission prices, the cost of investing with Scotia iTrade is much higher than using a discount brokerage in Canada.

Wide selection of assets and account types

Lots of investing tools, educational material, and market analysis

Maintenance fees are waived for investors younger than 26

A highly-rated mobile app

Focus on sustainable investing

Over 100 commission-free ETFs to trade

High commission fees for non-active traders

Quarterly maintenance fees can be steep for new investors

Scotia iTrade is the online brokerage arm of Scotiabank, one of the top-five  Canadian banks founded in 1832. It was launched in 2009 following the purchase of E*Trade Canada in 2008.

The do-it-yourself online brokerage platform allows self-directed investors to take control of their investment portfolios with various investment accounts, products, and trading platforms.

It also stands out as one of Canada’s few online trading platforms to offer commission-free ETFs, alongside Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade.

However, its flat-trading fees run high compared to independent discount brokers in the same league, which may be a turnoff to cost-conscious investors.

Learn more in this review of Scotia iTrade.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Account Types

Both Questrade and Scotia iTrade offer access to registered, non-registered and non-personal accounts for investment. Both brokers offer almost similar accounts.

Questrade and Scotia iTrade registered accounts include:

  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

Their non-personal accounts include:

  • Investment clubs
  • Corporate, partnerships, and sole proprietorship
  • Trust accounts
  • Margin accounts

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Investment Products

When choosing an online brokerage platform in Canada, you need to make sure that you’ll get all the products you want to invest in on the platform so that you can easily manage your portfolio in one place.

Both brokers offer similar products; however, Questrade offers more asset options than Scotia iTrade.

Investment products for both platforms include:

  • Bonds
  • Stocks
  • Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange-Traded funds (ETFs)
  • Options

Questrade supports extra assets, including International Equities, IPOs, precious metals, Foreign Exchange and CFDs.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: No-Commission ETFs

Platforms like Robinhood popularized fee-free trading in the US, which is slowly crossing borders to Canada. That has made no-commission trading a significant factor when sifting through online brokerages in Canada.

Both Questrade and Scotia iTrade offer no-commission fee ETFs.

For instance, Questrade waives trading fees for all ETF buy orders on the platform. But you’ll incur a trading fee of 1 cent per share and $4.95-$9.95 per trade on sale orders.

Scotia iTrade also allows you to purchase 40+ ETFs at no commission when you execute your trade online or through TELE-TRADER, and hold the ETF for at least one business day.

Standard fees apply when you sell.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Trading Fees

Trading fees are arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a stock trading platform. Even a few cents difference in trading commissions make a huge difference to your returns in the long run.

Scotia iTrade standard trading commissions stand at $9.99 per equity trade and are among the highest in the industry. Questrade charges slightly lower trading commissions at $9.95/trade.

Both platforms also offer discounted active trader fees. Scotia iTrade active trader fee is $4.99/trade, while Questrade is relatively cheaper at $4.95/trade.

Related: Motley Fool Canada Review.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Admin & Other Fees

Questrade does not charge maintenance fees. However, Scotia iTrade charges account maintenance and admin fees as follows:

  • $25 per quarter for non-registered accounts with a balance of $10,000 or less.
  • $100 per year on registered accounts when the balance is less than $25,000.
  • $60 unclaimed account fee
  • $300 CCPC set-up fees.
  • $100 CCPC annual fee

Both platforms charge a fee of $150 when transferring your account in full to another financial institution.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Trading Platforms

Questrade and Scotia iTrade offer mobile apps, desktop web platforms, and trading tools. Scotia iTrade offers the following trading platforms:

  • Scotia Online: The standard interface that integrates with your banking account. Trading tools include stock screeners, charting tools, research reports, and sustainable investing.
  • Scotia iTrade mobile app: This allows you to buy and sell stocks and ETFs on the go.
  • Scotia iTrade Flight Desk platform:  Excellent for experienced and active traders. It offers access to powerful options trading tools, level 2 real-time streaming quotes, in-depth analysis, advanced strategies, and customizable layouts.

Questrade offers the following trading platforms and tools:

  • Questrade Trading: Browser-based trading platform that offers a built-in Learning Mode and tools to help you learn, research stocks, trade, manage your account and track performance.
  • Questrade Edge:  A downloadable web and desktop platform that offers advanced trading tools, including advanced order types, customizable options trading dashboards, and research tools from industry leaders, like Trading Central and Morning Star.
  • QuestMobile: Available for both iOS and Android devices. Allows you to research and trade securities, move money, and track your portfolio’s performance on the go.
  • Questrade Global: This allows you to quickly make FOREX and CFD trades on international markets.

Questrade vs Scotia iTrade: Minimum Investment

High account minimums can be a hurdle for investors looking to start small and invest their pocket change, hence the need to consider minimum investment requirements when choosing the best Canadian online brokerage platforms.

To that end, Questrade has a minimum investment of $1,000, while Scotia iTrade does not have a minimum investment requirement.

Customer Service

Scotia iTrade offers customer service Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm. Services are accessible via phone or email.

Questrade offers customer service via chat, telephone, and email. Their customer reps are available Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 8:pm.

Security

Both Scotia iTrade and Questrade are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory of Canada (IIROC) and are members of CIPF.

Thus, you can sleep tight at night knowing your account is insured against insolvency up to $1 million.

In addition, Questrade protects your account with an additional $10 million in private insurance, while Scotia iTrade offers a security guarantee against unauthorized online transactions. You’ll get 100% compensation when funds or securities are unlawfully removed from your account.

Promotions

Questrade offers $50 in free trades if you open an account and invest at least $1,000.

As of this writing, Scotia iTrade did not seem to have a promotional offer. You can keep up with the various brokerage promotions available here.

Scotia iTrade vs Questrade vs TD Direct Investing

 Scotia iTradeTD Direct InvestingQuestrade
Stock trading fees$9.99$9.99$4.95 – 49.95
Option fees/contract$9.99 + $1.25$9.99 + $1.25$9.95 + $1
Commission free-ETFsPurchase 40+ commission-free ETFs. Pay $9.99 when you sell.NoneFree to buy. $4.95-$9.95 per “sell” trades
Trading commission discount$4.99/trade for active stock traders$7.0/trade for active stock traders.$4.95/trade for active stock traders.
Types of accountsTFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP, non-registered accounts, etc.TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, DPSP, LIRA, margin, etc.TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, and non-registered accounts incl. cash, margin, trust, corporate, investment club,
Minimum investmentNoneNone$1,000
Maintenance fee$25/quarter for non-registered accounts if balance is less than $10,000. $100 for registered accounts if balance is less than $25,000$25/quarter if balance is less than $15,000.None
PlatformWeb and mobile appWeb and mobile appWeb, desktop, and mobile apps.
PromotionN/AN/AFund with $1,000 to get $50 in free trades.

Questrade vs. Scotia iTrade: Conclusion

Questrade and Scotia iTrade are among the best trading platforms in Canada that make investing for Canadians pain-free with beginner/advanced trading interfaces and tools.

However, Questrade wins this comparison with its lower trading fees, zero maintenance fees, and trading tools for advanced traders.

Related: Best Investment Apps for Students.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The investing information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as individual investment advice or recommendation to invest in any specific security or investment product. Investors should always conduct their own independent research before making investment decisions or executing investment strategies. Savvy New Canadians does not offer advisory or brokerage services. Note that past investment performance does not guarantee future returns.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

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