Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing 2021

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

Advertiser Disclosure

TD Direct Investing and Questrade are two of the most popular brokerage platforms in Canada.

Unlike TD Direct Investing which is owned by a big bank (TD), Questrade is an independent self-directed trading platform.

Although DIY investors are in good hands with either brokerage, my top choice is Questrade after fees and overall trading experience are considered.

This Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing comparison delves into their investment offerings, account options, trading fees, platforms, promotions, pros, and cons.

Exclusive Offer

Readers of Savvy New Canadians get $50 in free trade credits when they open a Questrade account and fund it with at least $1,000.

What is Questrade?

Questrade is an investment trading platform founded in 1999.

It has over $25 billion in assets under administration and is one of the fastest-growing online brokerages in Canada, with over 200,000 accounts opened annually.

The company was ranked #1 among self-directed brokerage firms in the J.D. Power 2020 Canada Self-Directed Investors Satisfaction StudySM.

In addition to its DIY trading platform offered through Questrade Inc., you can also access managed investment portfolios through Questwealth Portfolios via Questrade Wealth Management Inc.

Both Questrade, Inc. and Questrade Wealth Management Inc are part of the Questrade Group of Companies.

Learn more in this detailed Questrade review.

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What is TD Direct Investing?

TD Direct Investing has a storied history starting with the launch of TD Green Line Investor services in 1984 when it was the first self-directed brokerage platform in Canada owned by a bank.

It introduced WebBroker in 1996 (the first online brokerage platform) and was rebranded as TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage in 1999.

The online brokerage was again rebranded to TD Direct Investing in 2012.

It is owned by the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the second-largest bank in Canada by asset size.

Learn more in this in-depth TD Direct Investing review.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing

Following a brief history of both discount brokerages, let’s dig into how they compare based on end-user needs and requirements.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Investment Products

Both TD Direct Investing and Questrade offer the most popular investment types including:

  • Stocks
  • Exchange-Traded Funds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Options
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates
  • Fixed Income assets
  • Precious metals

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Investment Accounts

Both platforms support the most used registered and non-registered investment account types.

For registered accounts, Questrade and TD Direct Investing offer:

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

Their non-registered accounts include personal, corporate, investment club, and margin accounts.

Questrade also offers Forex and Contracts for Difference (CFD) accounts.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: No-Commission ETFs

No-commission trading is increasingly becoming a factor when deciding on which brokerage platform to choose as differences in other service offerings become insignificant.

Questrade is one of a few brokerages to waive trading commissions when you buy ETFs (another is Wealthsimple Trade).

TD Direct Investing does not waive trading commissions when you buy or sell ETFs.

While Questrade has a $9.95 fee per transaction for mutual funds, there is no fee to buy, sell or switch mutual funds on TD Direct Investing (the greater of a 1% short-term redemption fee or $45 applies when the fund is held for less than 30 days).

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Trading Fees

Aside from offering no-commission trading for ETFs, Questrade also beats TD Direct Investing on its standard trading fees. Here’s how they compare below:

Trading CommissionsQuestradeTD Direct Investing
Stocks$4.95-$9.95/trade$9.99/trade
ETFsFree to buy: $4.95-$9.95 per “sell” trades$9.99/trade
Options$9.95 + $1/contract$9.99 + $1.25/contract
BondsFree with a minimum $5,000 purchaseNot specific (fee included in the quoted price)
Mutual funds$9.95/tradeFree
FX & CFDsSpread as low as 0.08 pipsN/A
Precious metals$19.95 USD/trade$30 + $1/oz gold bullion; $30 + 0.10/oz silver bullion (USD)

Active traders who subscribe to an advanced Canadian or U.S. market data plan on Questrade get a discount on trading fees under a fixed or variable plan:

Investment ProductFixed PricingVariable Pricing
Stocks$4.95/trade1 cent/share up to a maximum of $6.95 per trade
Options$4.95 + $0.75/contract$6.95 + $0.75/contract
ETFsFree to buy; $4.95/trade to sellFree to buy; 1 cent/share up to a maximum of $6.95 per trade

On TD Direct Investing, you need to place 150+ trades per quarter to qualify for “active trader pricing”.

  • Stocks & ETFs: $7/trade
  • Options: $7 + $1.25/contract

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Administrative Fee

On both platforms, you may have to pay other transaction and service fees depending on the types of trades you place.

Of note is the quarterly “maintenance fee” of $25 you pay on TD Direct Investing when your total account asset is below $15,000.

Questrade does not charge a maintenance or inactivity fee.

Both Questrade and TD Direct Investing charge $150 to transfer your account in full to another financial institution.

Learn about RRSP and TFSA transfers between banks.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Minimum Investment

To begin investing using Questrade, you need a minimum deposit of $1,000.

TD Direct Investing does not have a minimum investment amount.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Trading Platform and Tools

Both TD Direct Investing and Questrade offer trading platforms on all devices to investors with varying skill levels (newbies and experts alike).

Questrade has a web app, mobile app, Questrade IQ Edge (desktop app for advanced order types), and Questrade Global for international markets.

TD Direct Investing is just as good with a WebBroker, mobile app, and Advanced Dashboard for active traders. TD also offers a ThinkorSwim platform for U.S. options trades.

How about market data?

Both platforms provide access to level 1 and 2 live streaming data depending on the package you pay for or whether you qualify as an active trader.

Standard accounts get access to basic live streaming data (snap quotes).

Research tools include screeners, charts, alerts, watchlists, and market reports from third-party providers.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Customer Service

Customer service is one area where your mileage may vary depending on the help you need, who you speak to, and when you make contact.

As per their websites, TD Direct Investing provides customer support from Monday to Friday (7am – 6pm ET).

As for Questrade, you can reach someone by chat and phone from Monday to Friday (7:30am – 8pm ET).

If the comments on my review page for both platforms are anything to go by, they both need to work on the level of support they provide to clients.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Are They Safe?

Both Questrade and TD Direct Investing are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and they are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organisation of Canada (IIROC).

CIPF protects your investments against member-firm insolvency by up to $1 million.

TD Direct Investing is owned by one of Canada’s oldest (and biggest) banks.

In addition to the default CIPF insurance, Questrade client accounts are protected with an extra $10 million in private insurance.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Promotions

When you open a new Questrade account using our exclusive link (or use referral code SAVVY50), you get $50 in free trades.

TD Direct Investing does not offer a comparable promotion as of this writing.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing; Other Features

If you would like some help with investing, a managed investment portfolio overseen by experts at Questwealth may work for you.

Questwealth clients enjoy low investment fees (like 0.25% vs. 1.98% for equity mutual funds) and everything is done on your behalf (i.e. investment picks, portfolio rebalancing, etc.).

Readers of Savvy New Canadians can invest up to $10,000 free for 1 year on Questwealth.

TD Bank does not offer a robo-advisor service, however, you can get some assistance via TD GoalAssist.

Pros and Cons of Questrade

The advantages of using the Questrade platform include:

  • Free ETF purchases and competitive fees for other trades
  • No account maintenance fee which is great if you are just starting to invest
  • Transfer fees incurred when you move your investment account to Questrade are waived up to $150
  • Supports multiple investment products and accounts
  • $50 in free trades here

Downsides

  • A minimum investment deposit of $1,000 is required
  • Its no-commission trading does not extend to stocks

Pros and Cons of TD Direct Investing

TD Direct Investing clients enjoy:

  • Versatile trading platforms for experienced traders
  • Access to multiple investment products and accounts
  • Backed by a big bank
  • Extensive investment educational resources
  • Transfer fees waived up to $150 when you transfer an account worth $25,000 or more

Downsides

  • Does not offer free ETF trades
  • Has one of the highest trading fees in Canada
  • A quarterly $25 fee applies to small accounts

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing vs. Wealthsimple Trade

QuestradeTD Direct InvestingWealthsimple Trade
Stock trading fee$4.95 – $9.95$9.99$0
ETF trading fee$4.95 – $9.95 (purchases are free)$9.99$0
Option trading fee$9.95 + $1$9.99 + $1.25N/A
Active trader pricing (stocks/ETFs)$4.95-$6.95$7N/A
Accounts offeredRRSP, TFSA, RESP, LIF, LIRA, RRIF, corporate, marginRRSP, RDSP, RESP, TFSA, RRIF, LIF, LIRA, marginRRSP, TFSA, personal non-registered account
Investment productsStocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, IPOs, FX, CFD, precious metalStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, precious metals, GICs, bondsStocks and ETFs
Minimum investment$1,000$0$0
Maintenance feeN/A$25/quarter if your account balance is below $15,000N/A
Transfer fees waived?Up to $150Up to $150 for transfers of $25,000 or moreUp to $150 for transfers of $5,000 or more
Promotional offer$50 in free tradesN/A$50 cash bonus when you trade $150 or more (Read Review)

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing: Conclusion

I have used both Questrade and TD Direct Investing, and you can’t go wrong with either one.

That said, Questrade wins this match-up between Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing.

Cost-conscious investors can save on trading fees with Questrade by not paying fees when they purchase ETFs and paying a minimum of $4.95 on stock trades.

If you end up choosing Questrade, get $50 in free trades here.

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing 2021

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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. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, 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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