Online trading platforms in Canada allow DIY investors to be in full control of their portfolios when trading various market securities.
Wealthsimple Trade and RBC Direct Investing are among the best online brokerages in this category.
One is bank-owned (RBC), while the other is primarily owned by Power Corporation and other top investment institutions.
While both are great for self-directed investors, there are a few differences that may make you favour one over the other.
To help you make a wise choice, this Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing comparison digs into their account types, investment products, trading commissions, admin fees, trading platforms, and more.
What is Wealthsimple Trade?
Wealthsimple Trade is one of the best online discount brokerage platforms in Canada. It has made investing much easier for Canadians with commission-free stocks and ETF trades.
It is operated by ShareOwner; a Wealthsimple-affiliated investment dealer registered to offer financial services throughout Canada.
Investors can trade thousands of stocks and ETFs on Canadian and US markets with zero commissions, making it a great platform for self-directed investors who want to cut trading fees and maximize their returns while remaining in control.
You can seriously reduce your trading costs on Wealthsimple Trade as trading costs skyrocket to $10 on some online brokerages.
Trade stocks and ETFs for free
Best trading platform for beginners
Deposit $200+ to get a $25 cash bonus
Transfer fees waived up to $150
What is RBC Direct Investing?
RBC Direct Investing is among the best bank-owned online brokerages in Canada that offers an online trading platform and tools to self-directed investors.
It is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), a top-five Canadian bank founded in 1864. Today, RBC boasts over 17 million clients worldwide and a large online community where investors can connect and discuss investing ideas.
The platform is versatile enough to accommodate both newbie and experienced investors, though its high standard fees may be a turn-off for cost-conscious traders.
Users can buy and sell ETFs, stocks, and mutual funds, among other investment products.
DIY investors will find the platform useful as they can access a seamless trading platform, advanced trading tools, and information they need to trade with confidence and manage their own portfolios.
Learn more about this platform in my detailed review.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Account Types
Both Wealthsimple Trade and RBC Direct Investing offer registered and non-registered accounts. However, RBC Direct Investing offers more account options than Wealthsimple Trade.
Wealthsimple Trade account options include:
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan(RRSP)
- Crypto account
- Taxable personal account.
RBC Direct Investing offers the following registered accounts:
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Cash Account
- Margin Account
- Non-personal accounts, including Investment clubs, corporates, and partnerships
RBC Direct Investing also offers a practice demo account for newbie investors to test-run the platform with virtual money before they put real money on the line.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Investment Products
Having all the products you want to invest in on one platform makes for easy investing and portfolio management.
To that end, RBC Direct Investing offers more investment products than Wealthsimple Trade. While Wealthsimple Trade offers only two investment products, RBC Direct Investing offers up to 8 investment products.
Wealthsimple investment products include:
- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
RBC Direct Investment products include:
- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Mutual funds
- Treasury bills
- Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Minimum Investment
The minimum investment requirement is a top consideration when comparing online brokerage platforms in Canada, especially for new investors who want to get started with a smaller investment amount.
Both RBC Direct Investing and Wealthsimple Trade do not have a minimum investment requirement.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: No Commission ETFs
No commission trading is increasingly becoming popular, hence a top factor to consider when choosing the best stock trading app in Canada.
Wealthsimple Trade leads the pack with commission-free trading. Trading is free, and you won’t pay a dime when buying and selling stocks on the platform.
RBC Direct Investing does not offer commission-free ETFs. You’ll incur a flat fee of $9.95 when you buy and sell ETFs on the platform.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Trading Fees
As mentioned above, Wealthsimple doesn’t charge trading fees. Investors can buy and sell thousands of ETFs and stocks in Canada and US exchanges without worrying about trading fees.
To make money, Wealthsimple Trade assesses a base conversion fee + 1.50% on USD-denominated trades.
Also, if you upgrade to Wealthsimple Trade Plus, a new service that gives you instant deposits up to $5,000, access to USD accounts, and snap quotes, you pay a $10 monthly fee.
RBC Direct Investing fees are on the high side. You’ll pay a flat fee of $9.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs.
Active traders with 150+ trades per quarter get a discounted fee of $6.95 per trade. Trades placed over the phone incur a higher fee of 2.5% of the trade or $35 plus up to 5 cents, depending on the price.
Standard options trading fees come in at $9.95 + $1.25 per contract, $6.95 + $1.25 per contract for active traders, and $35 + $.75 per contract if you place a trade using an RBC Investment Services Representative.
Gold and silver certificates cost $28.95 + $1/oz and $28.95 + $0.10/oz respectively. There is a minimum commission of $43 if trade and fees are in USD.
Bonds, Treasury bills, and debentures have their fees included in the quoted price. The maximum fee is $250 per transaction.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Admin & Other Fees
Wealthsimple doesn’t charge account maintenance fees. It is also free to transfer your accounts to other financial institutions.
RBC Direct Investing charges some account maintenance fees, including:
- $25/quarter for accounts with less than $15,000
- $135 account transfer out fee
- $50 RRSP withdrawal fee
- $25 fee for internal transfers with a third-party name.
RBC covers up to $200 of your fees when you transfer in $15K, while Wealthsimple waives your fees up to $150 if you transfer $5K or more.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Trading Platforms and Tools
Both RBC Direct Investing and Wealthsimple Trade offer web and mobile trading apps.
That said, RBC Direct Investing offers more trading tools than Wealthsimple Trade, including:
- Stock screeners
- Price and news alerts
- Real-time level 1 data and level 2 quotes
- Analyze and rebalance tool
- Performance tracking tool
- Dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
- Research reports from Morningstar and RBC Research
- Technical analysis from Trading Central.
- Interactive online community
Wealthsimple Trade offers services via email, chat, and phone. You can reach its customer service support by phone from 8am – 8pm (EST) from Monday-Friday, and 9am – 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
RBC Direct Investing offers services via phone and email, Monday to Friday from 7 am to 8 pm ET. You can also visit any of their Investor Center Locations during working hours.
Both Wealthsimple Trade and RBC Direct Investing are members of the Investment Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). CIPF membership means that your account is protected by up to $1 million against insolvency.
RBC Direct Investing offers an Online Security Guarantee that covers your account 100% against fraudulent transactions.
Wealthsimple Trade also offers additional security features like state-of-the-art data encryption and 2FA to keep your account safe.
Wealthsimple Trade offers a $25 cash bonus if you deposit at least $150 after opening an account via our exclusive link.
RBC does not appear to offer any welcome bonuses at this time. You can view other brokerage promotions in Canada here.
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct investing vs Questrade
|Wealthsimple Trade||RBC Direct Investing||Questrade|
|Stock trading fees||Free to buy and sell||$6.95-$9.95 per trade||$4.95-$9.95 per trade|
|Commission-free ETFs||Free ETF trades||No. Fees apply when you buy and sell||Free ETF purchases; charges apply when you sell|
|Trading commission discount||Free to buy and sell||$6.95 per trade for active traders||$4.95 per trade for active traders|
|Types of account||RRSP, TFSA, crypto account, and taxable personal accounts.||RESP, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, Cash account, margin account, and non-personal accounts.||TFSA, RESP, RRSP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, and non-registered accounts.|
|Maintenance fee||None||$25 per quarter if balance is less than $15,000||None|
|Platforms||Web and mobile app||Web and mobile app||Web, desktop, and mobile app|
|Promotions||Deposit at least $150 to get a $25 cash bonus||–||Fund with $1,000 and get $50 in free trade credit|
Wealthsimple Trade vs RBC Direct Investing: Conclusion
While both Wealthsimple and RBC Direct Investing are great online trading platforms in Canada, Wealthsimple wins with its commission-free trade offerings and zero maintenance fees.
That said, RBC Direct Investing offers more investment products and advanced trading tools for more experienced traders.
You can also try Questrade for a combination of lower fees and multiple investment asset choices.