Are you looking for an online discount brokerage that can do more than facilitate ideal trades and educate you on everything related to trading?
One that is particularly excellent for its customer service and educational features is QTrade.
In my QTrade review, I will take a comprehensive look at the online discount brokerage. Hopefully, my review will give you all the information you need to decide whether you might want to use the broker yourself, or consider other options available in the Canadian market.
According to Statista, there are almost 7,000 different Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) available worldwide.
- Fantastic customer service
- Opening an account is straightforward
- Substantial and helpful educational tools
- Does not provide Credit/Debit Cards or Electronic Wallets
- Only covers U.S and Canadian markets
- $15 quarterly U.S account fee
Table of Contents
How to Choose the Right Discount Broker
When looking at choosing a discount broker, it’s crucial to look at a few key things:
- Fees: Since the name of the product has the word discount, having low fees are the most important factor in choosing a discount brokerage.
- Platform: No matter how cheap a discount broker is, you must make sure that the platform is easy to use, the reporting features are easy to understand, and that it doesn’t crash too much.
- Features: You must see if the discount brokers’ features satisfy your investment needs, whether you are a beginner or an advanced investor.
- Customer service: Try to gauge how much support you can receive if you need it and whether it has things like online live chat available.
We’ll go over these points in detail and more below.
What is QTrade?
QTrade is an online brokerage based in Canada that offers investors financial investment services through an intuitive online trading platform. Founded in 2000, QTrade has the mission “to empower self-directed investors to achieve their financial goals by delivering Canada’s best online brokerage experience.”
The online brokerage is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Aviso Wealth and Desjardins Group are QTrade’s parent companies, and both organizations have a solid background in finance. QTrade is also a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), that covers investor accounts for up to $1,000,000 in case the organization becomes bankrupt.
Features and Benefits
In this section of my QTrade review, I will cover its most essential features of the discount broker platform. This section will highlight some basic information you should know about it, how much it will cost to use the platform, and qualities that set the platform apart from the competition.
Accounts Offered by QTrade
You have the option of opening several types of accounts with QTrade that can cater to a variety of financial goals you may have:
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Non-registered cash account
- Non-registered margins account
You can open a particular type of account with the online broker depending on your situation and your goals. The margin account is a type of account with features similar to a cash account. However, you can borrow money against securities you already own to leverage your investments using the margin account.
There are a few expenses you have to consider when you are using online brokers like QTrade. When you use the platform, you will have to pay various trading fees and non-trading fees. Since there is a wide range of asset classes you can expect to trade with the platform, the fee for each may vary depending on the asset class and the pricing tier you belong to.
Just to be clear, if you have an account with the online broker that has more than $500,000 or you make more than 200 trades per month, you belong to its Investor Plus tier. Otherwise, you belong to its Investor tier. Investor Plus tier investors with the broker get a discount in several areas that I will discuss in this section of my QTrade review.
QTrade stock and ETF trading fee
QTrade charges $8.75 per trade for stocks if you are in the Investor tier and $6.95 if you are in the Investor Plus tier.
QTrade has a selection of 100 ETFs that you can trade with the platform for free. If you choose ETFs beyond its selected list, it can cost you $8.75 per ETF for the Investor tier and $6.95 per ETF for the Investor Plus tier.
QTrade other trading fees
You can use the platform for trading a variety of other assets that include Options, Mutual Funds, Fixed-income and Exchange-traded debentures. Here are the charges you can expect for each:
- Options: Investor – $8.75 per trade plus $1.25 per contract
- Investor Plus $6.95 per trade plus $1.25 per contract
- Mutual Funds: Free for both Investor and Investor Plus
- Fixed-income and Exchange-traded debentures: $1 per $1,000 face value for both Investor and Investor Plus tiers
QTrade non-trading fees
While QTrade does not charge an inactivity fee on your account and no withdrawal fees, there is a slew of costs you can expect in non-trading fees with the platform. One of the charges is a $25 per quarter fee unless you satisfy certain criteria:
- Of having more than $25,000 balance in your account
- Of trading two stock or options in the previous quarter
- Making eight stock or options trades in the last twelve months
- Automatic deposits of at least $100 activated monthly
- You are between 18 and 30 years old and add at least $50 to your account each month
Other non-trading fees can include:
- Setting USD as the base currency for registered accounts will set a $15 per quarter fee
- Transferring assets out of the account will cost $150
- A $100 fee for closing your account within the first 12 months after opening the account
QTrade Ease of Use
QTrade is a platform focused on empowering you to make independent financial decisions. The platform is easy to use thanks to its robust research and educational tools that give you what you need to take decisive action when it comes to making trades.
QTrade has a simple and intuitive platform for investing. It is straightforward navigating to where you need to go, and if you require help, the customer support is quick to come to your aid.
QTrade Research Tools
Speaking of ease of use, QTrade offers you a wide variety of research tools through both their platform and through analyst reports, which it provides you access to. The platform is there to empower you to make your investment decisions yourself, so it focuses on providing you with as much up-to-date information as possible.
Multiple Investment Choices
There is a broad range of assets you can invest in using the online broker, including bonds, stocks, options, mutual funds, IPOs, ETFs, and GICs.
QTrade Trading Tools
In this section of my QTrade review, I will take a slightly more in-depth look into the platform’s trading tools that allow you to make well-informed trading decisions:
This tool gives you an analytical assessment of your portfolio to help you better understand your exposure to risk and compare it against global and Canadian market benchmarks.
It’s free planning tools, and calculators allow you to project your net worth and create an investment plan for various goals.
You can get complete insight and data into your accounts and holdings to compare them with performance benchmarks. You can switch between valuation, allocation, and performance to get various comparisons of your portfolio against the benchmarks to see how your portfolio stands.
When I think of other online brokers that I can compare QTrade to, a few names come to mind. I think the most relevant are Questrade, Virtual Brokers, and Wealthsimple Trade.
QTrade vs. Questrade
Questrade is a champion online broker platform in the country, in my opinion. It is among the most popular, and it shares several similarities with QTrade. However, Questrade offers you the option of trading for a lot less compared to QTrade.
Questrade also offers you more in terms of valuable data that can help you make ideal trade decisions. With Questrade, it is as close as it can get to practically automating your investment decisions without using a robo-advisor. You can learn more about Questrade in my Questrade Review.
QTrade vs. Virtual Brokers
Virtual Brokers was founded in 2009 and is among the more recent entrants in the online broker market in Canada. The company offers a cheaper platform than traditional brokerages. It charges no fee for registered accounts.
Unlike QTrade, it does have inactivity fees that apply to accounts with a balance lower than $5,000 that do not pay at least $6.49 in trade commissions each quarter. It remains a better platform than most for mutual funds, but its commission-based fee structure can add a lot of expenses for the average investor.
QTrade vs. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is among the best online brokers in the country. If you are an investor that thinks that the lower the fee, the better the platform, it can be the ideal platform for you. There are no trading fees, a massive selection of Canadian and US ETFs, and there is no limit to trading.
Wealthsimple trade could be the most inexpensive online broker in Canada. It relies on foreign currency conversion fees to make revenue and requires investors to trade US-listed securities. You will effectively end up paying a 1.5% fee on every US stock and ETF trade in your portfolio. You can learn more about this online broker in my Wealthsimple Trade Review.
|Platform||Free ETF Purchases||Stock Trading Fees||Annual Fees|
|QTrade||Limited||$6.95 – $8.75||$0 – $100|
|Questrade||Yes||$4.95 – $9.95||–|
|Virtual Brokers||Yes||$9.99||$0 – $100|
Many investors want to have more control over their investment decisions and learn about how to navigate the intricacies. QTrade gives you the educational tools you might need as a beginner to understand and the research tools to keep you updated.
Qtrade made my list of the best trading platforms in Canada.
As far as my QTrade review goes, unfortunately, the platform gets a Wealth Awesome thumbs down, as there are limitations and expenses to the online broker that make it less attractive than the likes of Questrade.