A large number of discount brokerages available to Canadians for self-directed trading and investing can make it hard to decide on one.
After the removal of fixed commissions on brokerage transactions in Ontario and Quebec on April 4, 1983, Disnat was the first company in Canada to offer discount brokerage services for Canadian securities.
We will provide a Desjardins Online Broker (Disnat) Review below and go over our thoughts on the platform as well as how it stacks up versus peers in the brokerage space.
Trade or Invest Through a Robust Platform
Desjardins Online Broker is a trading platform that will appeal to all investors
- $0 Trade Commissions for Stocks and ETFs
- Beginner and Professional Platform Available
- Access to Many Educational Resources
- $1,000 Minimum to Open an Account
- Inactivity Fee
- Transfer Fees only Refunded at High Asset Levels
What is Desjardins Online Broker (Disnat)?
Desjardins Online Broker is a self-directed broker that allows you to trade investments across many different accounts. Since you will not be working with an advisor, your portfolio’s performance will depend entirely on your actions.
Desjardins Online Broker Fees
Once you have made the decision to be in charge of your own trading and investing, a key objective for most investors is minimizing fees.
Standard commissions at Desjardins Online Broker are:
- Stocks: Buy and sell for free
- ETFs: Buy and sell for free
- Options: $1.25 per options contract, with a minimum cost of $8.75
- Mutual Funds: Buy and sell for free
- Fixed-Income Securities: $50 minimum cost per trade
- Exchange-traded Debentures: $24.99 + $1 per each $1,000 par value per side
Desjardins Online Broker is offered through two platforms: Disnat Classic and Disnat Direct. Disnat Classic is a more beginner-friendly platform, while Disnat Direct is better suited for seasoned investors or traders.
Both platforms come with an inactivity fee of $30 per quarter that is avoided if one of the below conditions is met:
- Six or more trades executed in the last twelve months
- The value of the portfolio is $15,000 or more
- The account is an RRSP, RRIF, or RESP
Additional fees for different levels of market data or orders placed over the phone may also apply.
Desjardins Online Broker is extremely competitive when it comes to its fees. Close competitors that offer similar prices for trades (with minor variations) include:
- Wealthsimple Trade
- Interactive Brokers
Desjardins Online Broker Account Support
Desjardins Online Broker has excellent support for different account types. The variety in account types goes above and beyond that of most independent self-directed brokerages (non-bank).
The platform currently offers clients the following types of accounts:
- Non-Registered (Cash)
- Non-Registered (Margin, with the choice to add options and short-selling)
- Corporate Account
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
- Life Income Fund (LIF)
- Account for a Minor
- Sole Proprietorship
- Private Foundation
- Non-Profit Organization
- Partnership or Limited Partnership
The account variety at Desjardins Online Broker is excellent, encompassing most of the account types that Canadians could possibly open.
Desjardins Online Broker Platform Features
Desjardins Online Broker is available online as well as through a mobile application. The mobile application allows for fingerprint log-in, while the web application is adaptive for multiple browsers and across any screen size.
Disnat Classic is a platform for beginner and intermediate traders and investors. It comes with a user-friendly interface and a good amount of resources.
Disnat Classic allows you to access accounts, trades, analyses, and reports. In terms of investments, you can trade the below through the platform:
- Mutual Funds
- New Issues (IPOs)
Disnat Direct is a more sophisticated platform for experienced investors who want an advanced trading platform that includes streaming market data and charts.
Disnat Direct gives you access to an unlimited number of charts, watchlists, and streaming quotes in real time. In terms of information, Disnat Direct comes with more detailed market quotes, as well as access to trading history.
Desjardins Online Broker Vs Other Discount Brokerages
Desjardins Online Broker Vs Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is currently a platform offering no-commission trading for stocks and ETFs that is very popular with Canadians. Unlike Desjardins Online Broker, Wealthsimple Trade only supports stocks and ETFs within its self-directed accounts.
Wealthsimple Trade is also more restrictive in terms of account variety. Investors will be able to open a wider variety of investment accounts with Desjardins Online Broker.
Since the platforms are very similar in terms of pricing for ETFs and stocks, choosing between the two may come down to your personal preferences. Wealthsimple Trade does not come with an account opening minimum.
You can open a Wealthsimple Trade account by clicking here.
Desjardins Online Broker Vs Questrade
Questrade is another popular, independent platform among Canadian investors. In terms of fees and trade commissions, Desjardins Online Broker offers better pricing overall. Questrade offers a lower cost per option contract when trading but also charges a trade fee each time.
Questrade also has an active trader pricing program that helps to make options trades even more competitive. In terms of account variety, both platforms offer an excellent selection.
Questrade has the same $1,000 account opening minimum that Desjardins Online Broker has.
You can open a Questrade account by clicking here.
Desjardins Online Broker Vs Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a discount brokerage available to Canadians geared towards seasoned traders and investors. When it comes to trade costs around ETFs and stocks, Interactive Brokers does charge a minimal level of trade commissions (while Desjardins Online Broker offers them free of charge).
When trading options, Interactive Brokers also only charges $1.25 per options contract but only has a $1.50 minimum per trade. Desjardins Online Broker comes with a higher account variety.
Interactive Brokers does not have an account minimum like Desjardins Online Broker.
Desjardins Online Broker Customer Reviews
Desjardins Online Broker (Disnat) has only one Google review, which is overwhelmingly positive. Take it with a grain of salt though, as it is only one persons opinion:
When looking at the reviews for the brokerage’s mobile app (named Disnat in the App Store), the reviews rank substantially lower. The application has a 3.0 rating out of 5, with the majority of votes being either one star or five stars.
A recurring problem from user reviews for the application outlines that the app has many problems in terms of functionality. This ranges from non-functioning menus to not being able to click buttons (reviews as of 2022).
Given the varying reviews for the platform’s application, you will likely encounter fewer issues using Desjardins Online Broker through a web browser.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Put Money in Disnat?
Funding your accounts on Disnat is fairly intuitive. It can be done on Disnat.com:
- Open the Trading menu
- Click on Fund Transfers
- Choose the type of transfer you would like to complete
Depending on which request is submitted, it takes on average a full 24 hours for the transfer to be completed.
How Do I Open a Disnat Account?
Opening a Disnat account is quick and easy and can generally be completed online in roughly 20 minutes.
Eligibility for a Disnat account requires:
- Being 18 years of age or older
- Residing in Canada
- Having investment knowledge
Account opening will also require the following information:
- Your social insurance number (SIN)
- A void cheque in PDF or JPEG format
- A scanned copy of a government-issued photo ID
Our Final Verdict
With excellent overall features, Desjardins Online Broker offers Canadians a highly competitive and flexible platform.
Desjardins Online Broker’s zero trade commissions (and inexpensive options trading fees) help the platform to stand up against dominant players like Wealthsimple Trade and Interactive Brokers. The excellent account support and flexible platform for both beginners and pros make it a great choice to consider as a discount brokerage.
For these reasons, we recommend analyzing your particular situation and determining whether Interactive Brokers, Wealthsimple Trade, or Desjardins Online Broker is the best platform for you.
If you are looking for more in-depth information on important online trading platforms in Canada, make sure to read through our comprehensive guide.