Questrade Review 2021: What you need to know

Published by Mohamed Konate | Updated Oct 24, 2021

Questrade Review

Questrade is an online brokerage and wealth management firm that opened its doors in 1999. To this day, the organization continues to be Canada’s largest discount broker and fastest growing virtual brokerage firm. They manage $20 billion in assets and, in 2019, they had applied for federal banking licensing. While they do not currently offer banking services, their position as a competitive financial institution in Canada is steady and growing. Questrade was the first broker to offer severely reduced fees for trading at $4.95 commissions and no expense purchase of North American ETFs. They have maintained their position as one of Canada’s strongest low-cost and optimal online brokers, becoming the largest independent broker in the country. Their discounted fee model attracts investors who understand fees eat into profit margins. These savvy investors use Questrade to maximize their investments, learn more below.


Overview

Questrade offers intuitive investing platforms which allows both new and expert investors to trade a wide range of investment types. They have web-based, desktop, and mobile platforms which are thematically designed to offer streamlined user experience between each platform. While this discount broker can service a wide range of investments, the platform is completely self-directed.

This online broker manages to cut operational costs by having no in-person locations. They forward these savings to their clients through low fees. To this day, Questrade has some of the lowest fees of any broker in Canada, with no yearly fees and free ETF purchases. There are additional savings for investors who regularly trade on their platform and maintain minimum amounts of money in trading accounts. Although, as of October 1, 2020, Questrade does not charge inactivity fees on any accounts.


Products and Services Offered

Questrade allows individuals to invest in the full range of market investments. They allow for stock trading, ETF trading, stock option trading, mutual fund investments, bond investments, and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs). Questrade allows traders to invest using a variety of accounts, including RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, and non-registered accounts. Below are the various fees for each type of investment on Questrade.


Product

Trading Fees

Stocks

$0.01 charge per share, with a minimum charge of $4.95 to maximum charge of $9.95 per trade.

ETFs

Purchase ETFs for free. When selling ETFs, $0.01 charge per share, with a minimum charge of $4.95 to maximum charge of $9.95

Options

$9.95 + $1 per option contract

Mutual Funds

$9.95 per mutual fund trade

Bonds & GICS

Minimum $5,000 purchase, carries no charge; fees may apply if bonds and GICs are withdrawn early

International Equities

1% of the trade value (min. $195.00 plus applicable exchange or stamp fees)

IPOs & New Issues

Minimum $5,000 purchase, carries no charge

Precious Metals

$19.95 USD per precious metal trade


Questrade offers market data packages: Basic, Enhanced, and Advanced. The Basic package offers limited information for free with any Questrade account. The Enhanced package, which costs $19.95 per month, gives investors access to live-streamed data on trades and the opportunity to receive a $19.95 rebate when $48.95 is spent on trading commissions. The Advanced package, which costs $89.95 per month, provides additional live-streamed data, preferred active trader pricing, and the opportunity to receive a $89.95 rebate when $399.95 is spent on trading commissions.

Furthermore, there are two Advanced packages, one for US trading and one for Canadian trading. Both cost $89.95 per month, however, in the respective country’s currency. Once you have one Advanced account, you can add-on the other for a fee. With an Advanced data package, investors also unlock fixed and variable fees for stocks, options, and ETFs. Fixed fees offer savings when buying a large number of stocks, while variable fees offer savings when buying a small number of stocks.

Questrade also offers foreign exchange (Forex) and CFD trading on a separate platform. Both platforms are designed the same way the regular Questrade platform is designed, they are user friendly and customizable.


Advantages of Questrade

Ø  Low fees. Questrade was the first discount online broker, they still offer some of the lowest fees in the market.

Ø  No account fees. They no longer have any fees for accounts. Prior to October 1, 2020, Questrade charge inactivity fees every quarter, but have since eliminated this fee.

Ø  Free ETF trades. ETFs are free to purchase through Questrade.

Ø  Currency flexibility. Ability to trade in US dollars in registered Canadian accounts. There is no currency conversion fees, if you trade and hold with both USD and CAD on registered accounts.

Ø  User friendly. Easy to use intuitive online, desktop and mobile platforms.

Ø  Insured. Questrade customer accounts are insured by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund for up $10 million per account.


Disadvantages of Questrade

Ø  Data is extra. Live-streamed stock monitoring is only available with pricey monthly subscription of $19.95 to $89.95 per month.

Ø  Limited platform education. Questrade offers an informative YouTube channel with some information on their platforms, but they heavily rely on their simple and intuitive design.

Ø  Residency status. Must be a Canadian or US resident to trade on Questrade


How does Questrade compare to the competition?

Since 1999, Questrade has dominated and nearly monopolized the discount online broker market. Up until 2019, their only real competition were the broker services of big banks, which would not have appealed to the modern investor because of the large trading costs they have. While using a big bank’s brokerage service may have appeal to a portion of the investor market, even they have a soft spot for discount broker services.

In 2019, Wealthsimple launched a mobile app called Wealthsimple Trade. This company has become the main competitor of Questrade. Wealthsimple Trade is a no-cost discount broker. While they only trade on limited markets and give a preference to Canadian-listed assets, they have quickly gained the appeal of many investors. Wealthsimple Trade only allows for limited account types, personal (non-registered accounts), TFSAs or RRSPs are their only options. A huge benefit of Wealthsimple is the amount of educational information they publish on their website; they are extremely interactive. They want new investors to use their platform and have easy access to the information they need to succeed.

Questrade on the other hand, allows for the purchase of nearly all types of investments and allows for a wide variety of accounts to be used with their brokerage services. While educational resources aren’t the greatest with Questrade, much of this information can be found online through research.


FAQs – Questrade


What you need to open a Questrade account?

Opening a Questrade account is done completely online. You will be asked to provide the following information: email address, name, phone number, home address, Social Insurance Number (SIN), and a government issued photo ID.

           

      Is Questrade secure?

Questrade follows strict data management procedures to ensure privacy of data and finances. They have up to $10 million in insurance and reimburse 100% of losses from unauthorized transactions.

            

      How is Questrade Customer Service?

Questrade can be reached at 1-888-783-7866, by email, or via secure line. Live brokers are also available during markets hours. While Questrade responds to emails in 1-3 days, they do take some time to respond and have limited hours for full service throughout the day.

           

      Is Questrade right for me?

This discount online broker is certainly a good choice for online trading, particularly if you want to learn as you go. The main competitor outside of the big banks is Wealthsimple. When deciding how to manage your investments, always consider your goals and lifestyle. 

Author Bio

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Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook.