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Wealthsimple Trade is the Canadian answer to the popular Robinhood app in the United States.

While the app is not yet as versatile as Robinhood or Questrade and has some shortcomings, Wealthsimple Trade does deliver on no-minimum and zero-commission ETFs and stock trading for do-it-yourself investors.

Every day is a good day to cut down your investment fees. Canadians started with index funds, online discount brokerages, then robo-advisors, and now, you can buy and sell investment assets online for zero fees and with you in complete control.

Read on to see how Canada’s only free online stock trading app, Wealthsimple Trade, works and its pros and cons.

Related: Wealthsimple Investing Review

Wealthsimple Trade App Review

Who is Wealthsimple?

Wealthsimple is an online digital investment service that automates the investing process so that basically anyone can put their money into a professionally managed low-cost portfolio without requiring 6-figures.

Popularly referred to as a robo-advisor, Wealthsimple offers its clients customized portfolios to fit their risk tolerance and investment objectives. The popularity of fin-tech firms like Wealthsimple is mostly due to their significantly lower management fees (compared to traditional mutual funds) and hassle-free investment offerings.

Wealthsimple was founded in 2014, has more than 175,000 clients and over $5 billion in assets under management. Their headquarters is based in Toronto.

In addition to their investment and online brokerage service, Wealthsimple also offers a high-interest savings account.

Readers of Savvy New Canadians who sign up for a Wealthsimple.com account here can invest up to $10,000 FREE for 1 year!

What is Wealthsimple Trade?

Wealthsimple Trade is an online brokerage service that allows you to buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on popular Canada and U.S. exchanges without paying a fee.

Until now, purchasing or selling a stock or ETF was going to cost you anywhere from $5 to as high as $30 per transaction. 

While discount brokerage platforms like Questrade and Virtual Brokers offer commission-free ETFs trading on the buy-side, you pay a fee (up to $10/transaction) when you eventually sell.

Oh, and for the big banks, you could pay up to $30 per transaction whether you are buying or selling.

If you are comfortable with managing your own investment portfolio, Wealthsimple Trade offers an opportunity to save on fees and maximize your returns. The app allows you to trade and invest inside a TFSA or a non-registered investment account.

How Wealthsimple Trade Works

The Wealthsimple Trade app is available on iOS and Android. To get started:

  • Open a Wealthsimple.com account here.
  • Download the Wealthsimple Trade app from the Apple or Google Play Stores and sign-in with your Wealthsimple credentials.
  • Choose an account type – TFSA or non-registered account.
  • Fund your account using a linked bank account and start trading.

Wealthsimple Trade App

The Wealthsimple Trade App currently lists thousands of Canadian and U.S. stocks and ETFs that you can trade for free.

There is no account minimum, the interface is clean, and you can easily sign-up using your existing Wealthsimple account details.

Related: Complete Guide To Robo-Advisors in Canada

Wealthsimple Trade Fees

There are no fees for buying and selling stocks and ETFs on the Wealthsimple Trade platform. Opening or closing your account, withdrawing funds, electronic statements and inactive accounts have a $0 fee. If you prefer a paper account statement, a $20 fee applies.

So how does Wealthsimple Trade make money?

When you make USD trades, they charge the base conversion fee + 1.50%. This is a competitive rate given that some brokerages charge upwards of 2% on foreign currency trades.

There is a possibility that Wealthsimple will introduce fee-paying premium features in the future.

Is Wealthsimple Trade Safe?

Wealthsimple Trade is a division of Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc. which is a member of IIROC and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). 

Their membership with CIPF means that your funds are protected against insolvency up to $1,000,000.

Wealthsimple Trade vs. Questrade

Questrade is the most popular online discount brokerage platform in Canada. Here’s how Wealthsimple Trade compares to Questrade:

1. Fees

Wealthsimple Trade has no fees for buying and selling stocks and ETFs.

Questrade does not charge a fee when you purchase ETFs, however, a minimum fee of $4.95 per trade applies when you sell. For stocks, you pay 1 cent/share and a minimum of $4.95/trade to a maximum of $9.95 per trade.

2. Financial Products

Wealthsimple Trade offers access to trade only U.S. and Canada-listed stocks and ETFs. Not all Canada or U.S.-listed stocks are available through the platform.

Questrade offers access to a lot more investment products like mutual funds, options, bonds, OTC assets, IPOs, international equities, GICs, precious metals (gold, silver), and more.

3. Accounts Offered

Wealthsimple Trade currently allows you to trade inside a TFSA or non-registered personal investment account. As per their website, an RRSP account is also in the works.

On the other hand, Questrade allows trading inside a TFSA, RRSP, RESP, margin account, LIRA, LIF, RIF and corporate investment accounts.

If you use Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor service (Wealthsimple Invest), you get access to a wider variety of accounts.

4. Trading Platform

Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade have smartphone apps that are available on iOS and Android. The Wealthsimple Trade app has a user-friendly interface, however, its functionality does not match that of Questrade.

Questrade offers a self-directed investor a lot more in investing tools, charts, market analysis and numbers to play around with. 

You can only access your Wealthsimple Trade account via the mobile app, whereas for Questrade, you can trade using your computer (web), tablet, or smartphone.

5. Account Minimum

You can open a Wealthsimple Trade account with just $1 and start trading. For Questrade, a $1,000 minimum balance is required.

Wealthsimple Invest vs. Wealthsimple Trade

If you are looking to invest in ETFs, save on fees and avoid the hassle of rebalancing your investment portfolio or carrying out market research, a robo-advisor like Wealthsimple can help you achieve your goals.

Wealthsimple Invest offers a digital investment service that includes:

  • Globally-diversified portfolios customized to meet your needs.
  • Low management fees (compared to the big banks)
  • Automatic rebalancing 
  • Dividend re-investing
  • Free financial advice
  • Spare change investing features
  • TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF and non-registered investment accounts
  • Socially responsible portfolios, and more

On the other hand, if you’d rather be hands-on and prefer to assemble your portfolio yourself using stocks and ETFs, Wealthsimple Trade offers a solution.

However, note that as a self-directed investor, you will not benefit from free professional advice. Also, you will need to ensure you are not over-trading and can keep your nerves steady when the financial markets suffer a setback.

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Wealthsimple Trade Review: Free Stock Trading App in Canada
4.6

Summary

Wealthsimple Trade is an online brokerage service that allows you to buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on popular Canada and U.S. exchanges without paying a fee.

Pros

  • Unlimited $0 commission trades
  • User-friendly app
  • No minimum account balance required
  • CIPF protection up to $1 million
  • Invest in TFSA and personal non-registered accounts
  • Sign-in using existing Wealthsimple credentials

Cons

  • RRSP, RESP, RRIF and margin accounts are not available
  • Separate dashboards for Wealthsimple Trade and Wealthsimple Invest
  • Limited in-app security analysis functionality