Questrade Review – Canada’s Fastest Growing Online Brokerage (2020)

Last updated on March 22nd, 2020 at 11:52 am

Questrade was established with the aim to make investments cheap. Since its launch in 1999, this IIROC and CIPFA-member online broker has grown to become known as Canada’s largest discount brokerage. The fact that it was one of the few that works independently of a large financial institution or bank in the country makes them even more attractive for prospective investors.

The company currently manages assets whose value is in excess of $9 billion, thanks to its fee structure that is relatively little to non-existent and the efficiency of its trading platforms.

Its assets include stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, GICs, precious metals and more. This review will take a look at the features, fees, products, investment accounts, trading platforms, pros and cons of what is now considered Canada’s fastest-growing online brokerage.

We live in a world where an exponentially increasing number of people are dissatisfied with just one source of income, and rightly so. But most people work a 9-to-5 job or run their own business and don’t seem to have the time for anything extra. Consequently, they are increasingly looking at putting their money to work via investments.

But in order to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of investment, one needs a professional to guide them through and that’s where investment brokerages come in. There’s just one problem: most brokers have hefty fees that make them unattractive to the investor.

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How Much Does It Cost To Trade On Questrade?

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to selecting a brokerage. Different brokerages cater to different kinds of investors depending on a lot of factors.

Questrade caters to the investors who fit the below categories:

1. Active Traders – There’s a lot that endears active traders to Questrade: live Canadian and US rebates and data packages that are as juicy as advertised, low commissions, and a trading platform that is free to use among other things.

There are two plans for active traders to choose from.

For active traders interested in high-volume and options trading, the fixed plan is their best bet. This is thanks to its low $4.95 commission for every trade. The variable plan is more suited to investors who are only looking at purchasing small share volumes of expensive companies

2. Cost-conscious traders – This category of traders/investors do not see the point in having to pay exorbitantly just to be able to trade with a brokerage.

As a result, they are drawn towards Questrade’s competitive pricing structure (as you’ll see in the Fees section of this review)

3. ETF Traders – The platform offers its traders the ability to purchase any Exchange-traded funds listed in North America.

Questrade places no cap on the number of ETFs that can be purchased by traders on their platform. There is also no maximum or minimum amount stated for your ETF investment efforts. And to crown it all, ETF trading is commission-free

What Are The Requirements For Joining Questrade?

Provided you have all the documents and information required to sign up with Questrade, the actual signing up process is a breeze. Naturally, you’ll need:

  • Your email address

  • A Questrade username and password

  • Your full government name and residential address

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • Phone number

The documents to go along with these include:

  • Proof of employment documents

  • A scanned (or photographed) copy of any government-issued ID card

Once you’re done, you can simply transfer funds into your Questrade account via your bank account or card and start trading.

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Questrade Fees

If you’re purchasing stocks on the platform, it will cost you anywhere from $4.95 to $9.95 for every trade. For ETFs, Questrade costs nothing to trade.

As we stated earlier, this is clearly the greatest advantage boasted by this online brokerage. So what exactly does their fee structure look like? For self-directed traders, you do not need to pay Questrade any annual fees to do your investing on their platform.

However, there is an inactivity fee deducted from your Questrade account every quarter should you not make at least one trade in that time period. This inactivity fee is pegged at $24.95 and can also be avoided if you have combined equity up to the tune of $5000 in your Questrade account.

Questrade Offer Code 2020

Questrade is currently offering 3 Offer Codes For 2020:

 

1. 5 Free Trades

Hit the trade floor running and leave the commission out. Open a Questrade account and start investing with 5 commission-free trades.

QUESTRADE OFFER CODE: 5FREETRADES

2. Month Of Free Trades and Market Data

Be an active trader without the added fees. Open a new Questrade account and get a month of free trades plus streaming level 2 data.

QUESTRADE OFFER CODE: ADVANTAGE14

3. Transfer Your Existing Accounts For Free

When you move your existing accounts to Questrade, we’ll rebate the transfer fees you’re charged for the switch. Any balance, from any eligible account—we’ve got you covered.

Questrade Data Packages

Questrade’s Data Packages are in place to make sure they cater to every investor need – be it a small investor, trading twice a month of an active trader trading multiple times per day. Depending on the volume they are categorized in two different packages:

1. Canadian Data Package 

2. US Data Package

Most Questrade Active Traders on the platform have to pay a monthly fee to have access to several features and different levels of market data plans. We’ve already talked about the Questrade Active Trade in the previous section. 

This subscription option is free for all types of Questrade accounts.

With a Basic package, you also get one-click real-time market data as well as free level 1 snapshot quotes from Canadian and US exchanges:

In this package, you get everything in Level 1, plus live Intraday Trader streaming, level 1 live streaming data as well as a few other add-ons. All of this is given in exchange for a monthly fee of $19.95.

Should you spend over $48.95 in commissions, Questrade will qualify you for a partial rebate equal to your Enhanced package subscription. In this package, you get everything in the Enhanced package. You also enable the trader pricing feature, advanced level 1 and 2 data streaming on Canadian exchanges, conditional level 1 live streaming for the US and other add-ons.

If you spend up to $399.95 in commissions, you automatically receive a rebate of $89.95, which is the same as the monthly subscription for this package. For the Advanced package, you can opt for either the fixed or variable plan.

To trade with the variable plan, it will cost you anywhere from $0.01 to $6.95 per stock trade, and $6.95 + $0.75 per options trade. For the fixed plan, it will cost you $4.95 per stock trade, and $4.95 + $0.75 per options trade

questrade fees

Questrade’s Account Types

Questrade offers a plethora of account types to meet different investor needs.

And thankfully, their fees are relatively low across the board. Here’s the detailed list of the eligible investment products you can hold in the Questrade TFSA and RRSP Accounts:

  • Stocks (both Canadian and international)

  • ETFs

  • Options

  • Mutual funds

  • Bonds

  • Gold and silver bars

  • GICs

  • Cash

Questrade offers the following Account Types:

1.  TFSA Account

2. RRSP Account

3. RESP Account

4. Margin Account 

1. Questrade TFSA 

As the name implies, interests accrued from TFSA investments are tax-free. As long as it stays under the annual contribution limit, a Questrade TFSA can handle investments in stocks, GICs, and mutual funds to name a few. It can handle them separately or in combination as you please.

The minimum investment amount for a Questrade TFSA is $1000

Benefits Of The Questrade TFSA Account:

1. With A Questrade TFSA Account, you’ll get the benefit of a no annual account fee. That is no account opening or closing fees. $0
2. You can hold both Canadian and U.S. dollars in the account at the same time for no charges whatsoever
3. All it takes is a couple of minutes to open a new TFSA account and start investing
4. All these can be done online, without the hassle to step a foot outside your comfort zone. You will be able to contribute to your TFSA quickly and easily online with just a few steps

2. Questrade RRSP

You can create a Questrade RRSP account to start planning for your retirement. It is designed to handle long-term investments of bonds, stocks, GICs, equities, ETFs and more.

Like the TFSA, these investment products can also be held in combinations with an RRSP. Earnings are also tax-free here as long as they do not hit the RRSP annual contribution limit. Although earnings here are tax-free, withdrawing an RRSP investment will cost you in the way of tax, except in select scenarios.

One such example will be the RRSP Home Buyers Plan that allows a tax-free investment withdrawal of up to $35,000. The minimum RRSP investment in Questrade is $1000.

Benefits Of The Questrade RRSP Account: 

1. With A Questrade TFSA Account, you’ll get the benefit of a no annual account fee. That is no account opening or closing fees. $0
2. You can hold both Canadian and U.S. dollars in the account at the same time for no charges whatsoever
3. All it takes is a couple of minutes to open a new TFSA account and start investing
4. All these can be done online, without the hassle to step a foot outside your comfort zone. You will be able to contribute to your TFSA quickly and easily online with just a few steps

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Questrade Investments In Canadian Bonds

These share common grounds with GICs. With bonds, investors can lend their money governments and corporations for a pre-defined term after which they receive their investment back and then some.

With Questrade you can invest in bonds as a good way to build diversity in your portfolio. They are safer than most other investment products offered by Questrade (or any other broker).

Regardless of whether you’re investing in high-yield, provincial, or corporate bonds, the minimum investment amount allowed by Questrade is $5000

Questrade Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) Investing 

This is one of the most traded investment options on Questrade. ETFs allow customers to invest in a plethora of investment products (bonds, stocks, index, precious metals, real estate and more) by combining them into a single portfolio. While trading

ETFs with Questrade is free, purchasing them attracts a Management Expense Ratio (MER) fee that starts as low as 0.20 percent.

ETF investment is flexible in the way you can adjust the way you invest each product in your portfolio as well as your risk profile. With Questrade, there is also no minimum amount for purchasing ETFs. This makes it attractive for many low-income investors

Questrade Mutual Funds Investing 

While mutual funds act like ETFs in the way they allow investors to contribute their money towards one portfolio, it allows this at a much larger financial scale. Mutual funds can also allow investors to distribute their money across different investments and portfolios with other investors in the country.

Mutual funds investments on Questrade come with a monthly of $29.95 that is relatable, depending on the performance of the investment. It also attracts a fee of $9.95 per trade. Questrade Mutual Funds are perfect for those who prefer risk-adjustable passive investing

Precious MetalsQuestrade also offers investing options for precious metals. At the time of writing though, precious metals investing in Questrade are only limited to gold and silver. There is no stated minimum investment.

Although Questrade allows you to invest in precious metals independently, you can also decide to do this through mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and others

Questrade Self-Directed Stock Trading  – Questwealth Platform 

On Questrade and everywhere else, this is probably the most understood investing option. With Questrade self-directed stock trading, you can choose from a plethora of corporation stocks and purchase, trade, and sell them on the platform. There risk level in trading stocks though is worth noting, especially as the minimum investment quoted by Questrade is $1000

For the ultimate passive investment strategy, Questrade offers its Questwealth platform, known as Robo-Advisor. This investment strategy is self-managing. It monitors and manages your investment portfolio using an algorithm that is based on insight from your risk profile.

Questrade Portfolios

Better still is the fact that Robo-Advisor does this round-the-clock and for a fraction of the cost. You won’t need to be constantly monitoring your portfolio. This is especially ideal for Couch Potato investors who want to trade ETFs.

Questrade’s Trading Platforms

Depending on your investment style (passive or active), risk tolerance, knowledge of trading and preferred features among other things, Questrade offers three trading platforms for all kinds of investors:

  • IQ Web

  • IQ Edge

  • Questrade Mobile App

IQ Web, as the name indicates is the browser-based version of Questrade’s trading platform. The interface is simple, clean, and functional (additional widgets and collapsible sidebar). It also offers all the key trading features such as watch lists, trading, news, charts, quotes, and account management.

Besides, the watch lists, the options chains, and stock charts also stream seamlessly to give traders real-time information on what is happening with their investment. While this platform is sufficient, it is only ideal for passive and Couch Potato investors.

Questrade IQ Edge

IQ Edge quite literally offers an edge above the web-based version. It is a desktop version of Questrade’s trading interface and offers more robust features coupled with more intense interface design. While the charting tool IQ Web offers over 30 different indicators and a number of drawing tools. IQ Edge offers all that and everything else.

These include a profit and loss calculator, a market movers’ list, quick trade buttons, alerts and more. IQ Edge is perfect for the most active traders and those with more refined knowledge and experience in trading and it can be utilized for both the US and Canadian exchanges.

Questrade Mobile App 

Questrade Mobile App did not have the best of receptions when it first came out. Since then, however, it has gone to multiple iterations to make the design less heavy and much easier to use. The app is free to download and you’ll need iOS 8 or higher for Apple devices and if using Android you will need 5.0 or higher to download the Questrade Mobile App. 

Personally, I’ve been using Questrade’s mobile app for a long time now and its really good. When I say good, I mean to say its reliable and does the job pretty job. 

For traders who are always on the move, the mobile app can be used to check on your investments from anywhere and trade on the go. It is available for the Android and iOS platforms on all smartphones and tablets.

Questrade vs Wealthsimple 

Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade are two of the best Canadian online platforms for all of your savings and investment needs. Both these online platforms offer premium features and it is hard to decide on which is better than the other. After all, it really depends on your individual preference and investment style. However, both these platforms offer lots of interesting options to choose from (packages), which are personalized for individual investment styles. 

Personally I like Wealthsimple Trade more than Questrade. The reasons are quite obvious – Wealthsimple Trade is completely FREE to start with, the User Interface is extremely simple and starting off is really easy. I’ve always used Wealthsimple on my smartphone and it is extremely easy to log in and start investing. Also, with Wealthsimple saving money is really easy, by connecting your existing bank accounts

One major difference to note is, Questrade is a very well established player in the market and lots of positive reviews to bank on. Whereas, Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple Trade is fairly new tracking back to a few years now. 

Do keep in mind that you can actively invest in your TFSA’s and RRSP’s using both Questrade and Wealthsimple. Also, not that Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple trade and two different subsets under Wealthsimple. I’ve covered both these in detail in this blog. So do checkout for the complete in-depth reviews. 

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Key Features and Benefits Of Questrade Trading Platform

Questrade is well invested in securing your personal data and your investment. Their security measures include using a PIN or touch/face ID. Plus they notify you instantly of any suspicious activity in your account.

They are regulated by IIROC and CIPF. This means that they adhere to the strictest standards of the industry and that your investments are insured up to the tune of $10 million per account.

Questrade only works for Canadian residents.

A Canadian citizen living in another country won’t be able to trade on the platform. On Questrade, you can buy into Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) at no cost, but you must be willing to invest a minimum of $5000.

You can leverage Questrade’s IPO Center to take full advantage of IPO investing

When switching your investments from another platform to Questrade, they’ll cover the transfer of up to $150, if your investment is up to $425,000 and above.

With Questrade’s TFSA and RRSP accounts, you do not have to worry about currency conversion fees, if you can only make your investments in US dollars. This is because these accounts can hold your investments in USD

You can reach out to their customer service via email, chat, phone, or solve your own issue using their self-help searchable feature

They have a refer a friend program that you can take advantage of. You are rewarded $25 for each friend you refer to the platform. Your third referral earns you double.

Questrade’s Research Center provides powerful and comprehensive market intelligence via Morning Star. Everything from news, earnings, quotes, reports, screeners, and filters are available here. The Research Center also has a second tool known as the Intraday Trader. It is useful for generating actionable trade ideas and scenarios

Questrade Vs. Others

We have already seen how Questrade compares with the likes of Wealthsimple. In this section of the article, let’s look at how Questrade compares with other biggies in the Market – CIBC, RBC, Scotia iTrade, TD Direct and BMO InvestorLine. 

BrokerageCost/Stock PurchaseCost/ETF PurchaseMutual Funds PurchaseOptions Contract PurchaseRegistered account fees – RRSP/TFSA
Questrade

1 Cent/Share 

Minimum $4.95 and Max $9.95

Buy For FREE and Sell for 1¢/share; min. $4.95 to max $9.95$9.95/Trade$9.95 + $1/contract

$0 account opening or closing fees

$0 annual RRSP or TFSA account fees

CIBC Investor’s Edge$6.95 Per Trade | Buy Or Sell – Flat Price$6.95 Per Trade | Buy Or Sell – Flat PriceNo Additional Commission

$6.95 + $1.25

per contract

$0 Annual Fee for TFSA and RRSP Accounts
BMO InvestorLine$9.95 Per Trade | Buy Or Sell – Flat Price

$9.95 Per trade|Buy Or Sell | Flat Price

No Fee $9.95 + $1.25 per contractNo fee is charged when your account value is greater than or equal to $25,000. An annual administration fee of $50 is charged for RESP accounts less than $25,000. For all other registered accounts, $100 is charged for accounts of less than $25,000
RBC Direct Investing$9.95 flat per transaction$9.95 flat per transactionNo Fee$9.95 + $1.25/contractNo maintenance fee when you hold combined assets of $15,000 or more across all of your RBC Direct Investing accounts
Scotia iTradeMinimum $24.99 per trade to a maximum of $250 Minimum $24.99 per trade to a maximum of $250 No Fee$9.99 + $1.25/contract

TFSA – No Account Fees

RRSP – $100 if aggregate account is less than $25K and < than 12 trades/year

TD Direct Investing$9.99 Flat Fee/Per Trade$9.99 Flat Fee/Per TradeNo Fee$9.99 + $1.25 per contractIf the Investing account balance is less than $15,000, you will be charged a maintenance fee of $25 per quarter or $100 CAD annually

As you can clearly see from the above charts, that’s the sole reason what makes Questrade the best in the market and the fastest-growing Canadian Brokerage. 

You see, people are not fools to just throw at money for everything. We all work hard at the end of the day to earn our money, trust me Questrade’s platform is awesome and I cannot just prove more. You won’t regret opening your account with them. I’m not trying to be pushy or something, I’m just speaking my heart out to say something which is really premium and good at the same time. 

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Questrade really seems to hit it off with traders who want to save a ton on fees. Its simplistic approach to sign up, pricing, account set up, and its innovative and robust trading platforms really help it stake its claim as Canada’s largest online brokerage.

No wonder, since 1999 its been the #1 go-to investment platform, loved by Canadians.  Questrade is online, reliable, quick to respond interface, intuitive to use and is overall fantastic to get started with.

Ultimately, Questrade is suitable for DIY traders (casual or active) all over the country to pick and trade the next hot product.

If you liked the content of this article or found it helpful, please share it on social media and help spread the word. Also, let me know your thoughts and comments below.

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Questrade Review

4.6

Value For Money

4.8/5

Benefits

4.5/5

Rewards

4.5/5

Pros

  • For the ultimate passive investment strategy, Questrade offers its Questwealth platform, known as Robo-Advisor
  • When switching your investments from another platform to Questrade, they’ll cover the transfer of up to $150, if your investment is up to $425,000 and above
  • If you’re purchasing stocks on the platform, it will cost you anywhere from $4.95 to $9.95 for every trade. For ETFs, it costs nothing to trade

Cons

  • Questrade only works for Canadian residents. A Canadian citizen living in another country won’t be able to trade on the platform
  • Wealthsimple Trade is better in terms of pricing plans, do compare and decide which is best for you

Sagar Sridhar

Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger and a computer engineer. He is agile certified and has a master's degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in leading publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. "Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing" - Warren Buffet

2 thoughts on “Questrade Review – Canada’s Fastest Growing Online Brokerage (2020)

  • Great in depth review here! Having a budget option to allow even small trades to become affordable is an important aspect of the market in my opinion

    Reply
  • My uncle has been using Questrade since I was a kid and he’s always recommended it since I started getting into stock trading

    Reply

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