QTrade vs Wealthsimple Trade 2024: Compare Fees and Platforms

QTrade vs Wealthsimple Trade – which is the better investment platform?

Around 39% of Canadian investors hold or actively trade stocks, based on a recent survey.

Both QTrade and Wealthsimple Trade allow retail investors to sign up and invest in a number of financial products, such as stocks, ETFs, index funds, and more. Today, I’ll be comparing QTrade and Wealthsimple Trade based on the following criteria:

  1. Account types
  2. Automated investing
  3. Investment products and crypto
  4. Trading and account fees
  5. Research tools
  6. Security and regulations
  7. Trading platform user experience

Are you ready to get started on your investing journey?

QTrade: Overview

Qtrade Logo - Dark Background

QTrade launched in 2001 to offer retail investment services to Canadians. Over twenty years later, QTrade remains one of the top trading platforms in the country, regularly receiving stellar reviews from The Globe and Mail, Yahoo Finance, and others.

Investors can purchase and trade a number of investment products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and GICs. QTrade also supports options trading.

QTrade offers a wide range of market analysis tools, generates customized reports, and supports registered investment accounts and cash accounts. The platform also offers a 30-day free trial period to test the user experience before making a final decision.

The only downside of QTrade is that the platform has a lengthy fee schedule. From account management fees to trading fees, commissions, and administrative fees, QTrade isn’t exactly a “budget” investing platform.

However, QTrade balances this out by offering special rates to students and young investors and its Investor Plus account, which offers lower fees to higher-volume traders.

  • Wide range of financial investment products
  • Supports registered and cash accounts
  • Over 20 years of experience
  • Top-rated market analysis tools
  • Custom reports and newsfeed
  • Free 30-day trial period
  • Reduced fees for young traders and high-volume accounts
  • Lots of management fees and account penalties

Wealthsimple Trade: Overview

Wealthsimple Logo

You may know Wealthsimple for its top-rated robo-advisor platform, Wealthsimple Invest, which allows Canadians to invest with the help of an automated trading bot.

However, Wealtsimple also offers its own direct trading platform, Wealthsimple Trade.

Like QTrade, users can trade and invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and GICs. Wealthsimple also supports cryptocurrency through Wealthsimple Crypto, Canada’s first fully regulated cryptocurrency exchange.

The main benefit of Wealthsimple Trade is its overall low trading and account fees. In fact, the only fees imposed by Wealthsimple are a 1.5% currency conversion fee and fees for exercising options contracts or trading US stocks.

Unfortunately, there’s a trade-off here. Although Wealthsimple Trade offers a lower fee schedule, it doesn’t offer as many comprehensive market analysis tools and account options as QTrade. Additionally, Wealthsimple Trade doesn’t have the best customer service ratings and only has a 2.3-star Trustpilot rating.

  • No account management fees
  • No trading fees (just a 1.5% currency conversion fee)
  • Invest in crypto with Wealthsimple Crypto
  • Simplify capital gains taxes with Wealthsimple Tax
  • Invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, GICs
  • Poor customer service ratings
  • Lack of professional market analysis tools and indicators

QTrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Trading Platform Showdown

Now that you know more about Canada’s top-competing trading platforms, let’s take an even closer look.

Below, I’ll break down some key similarities and differences between the two platforms, so you can see which is a better fit for your investment plan.

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Account Types

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Account Types

QTrade and Wealthsimple allow users to open various account types, including registered and standard cash investment accounts. Cash accounts are not registered with the government and aren’t subject to the same contribution restrictions.

Registered accounts supported by both platforms include:

  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Retirement Investment Fund (RRIF)
  • Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Life Income Fund (LIF)

Now, let’s talk about margin accounts.

While risky, margin trading can be a valuable tool in the hands of a skilled investor.

QTrade offers margin trading accounts, allowing traders to leverage borrowed funds (margin) from the brokerage.

Unfortunately, Wealthsimple does not offer margin trading, as the platform is marketed towards less experienced investors.

Margin trading allows investors to take advantage of smaller price movements.

For example, a 5% stock increase would only add $50 of value to a $1,000 investment. However, if the trader leverages an additional $3,000 in margin ($4,000 total), that 5% stock increase would allow the trader to profit by $200.

Of course, the downside is that margin trading also increases your risk. The trader’s losses are amplified to the same degree as their gains. If your investment loses too much money on borrowed margin, you’ll receive a “margin call,” and your account may end up at $0 or even negative.

Margin trading also incurs additional borrowing fees and margin rates can vary depending on the value and type of investment product being traded. I don’t recommend margin trading unless you’re an experienced investor or have money that you’re willing to lose.

All in all, both platforms offer the same account types. However, QTrade offers margin trading accounts, which makes it the winner here.

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Automated Investing

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Automated Investing

If you don’t have the time or patience to actively trade the market, working with a robo-advisor is a great alternative. Robo-advisor fees are far lower than working with a financial advisor, and the results are similar.

All you have to do is put money into an investment account, set your risk level, and let the trading bot invest your money and manage your account for you.

QTrade offers robo-advisor services through its Guided Portfolios. Here, users can choose between four different risk exposure accounts:

  • Income: 20% focus on long-term equity, and 80% focus on short-term income
  • Income and Growth: 35% focus on equity, 65% focus on income
  • Balanced: 50% equity, 50% income
  • Growth and Income: 65% equity, 35% income
  • Growth: 80% equity, 20% income
  • Maximum: 100% focused on long-term equity growth

QTrade’s Guided Portfolio fees are quite high, though. It starts at 0.60% and decreases to 0.35%, depending on how much you invest.

Wealthsimple also offers a robo-advisor service through Wealthsimple Invest. The platform’s robo-advisor was actually released before its direct trading platform, making it the company’s flagship product.

Wealthsimple Invest users can select a customized risk level and theme based on their investment goals and ideals.

The risk level determines your guided account’s exposure to stocks and ETFs with greater volatility (more potential for sudden increases or decreases in value).

The theme is an interesting addition that sets Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor service apart from QTrade. Users can choose between three unique themes:

  • Standard: Standard investments that match your chosen risk level
  • Socially Responsible Investing (SRI): Invest in stocks and ETFs that better the world (i.e., green energy, electric vehicles, etc.)
  • Halal: Invest in stocks and ETFs that align with Islamic values

Wealthsimple Invest charges a 0.5% account management fee which lowers to 0.2% depending on how much you invest.

I appreciate Wealthsimple Invest’s ability to choose a guided portfolio theme and the lower management fee for smaller accounts. QTrade’s guided portfolio management fees are slightly higher for smaller investors and offer similar risk exposure options. This makes Wealthsimple the winner in my book.

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Investment Products and Crypto

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Investment Products and Crypto

QTrade and Wealthsimple both allow investors and traders to purchase:

  • Stocks
  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Bonds
  • Guaranteed Investment Contracts (GICs)
  • Initial Private Offerings (IPOs)
  • US-based stocks and ETFs

The main difference between the two is that QTrade does not offer cryptocurrency investments, while Wealthsimple does.

Wealthsimple users can invest in major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar Lumens (XLM), and a lot more.

Wealthsimple Crypto also supports “meme tokens” like Shibu Inu (SHIB) and SushiSwap (SUSHI), as well as crypto gaming tokens like Axie Infinity (AXIE).

While both QTrade and Wealthsimple offer the same traditional investment products, Wealthsimple is the winner as it offers cryptocurrency investments through Wealthsimple Crypto.

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Trading Fees

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Trading Fees

Almost all investment platforms and brokerages impose trading and account management fees on their users. These fees support the brokerage, allowing it to offer a greater range of tools and trading platform features and better features.

One of Wealthsimple’s standout features is its incredibly low trading fees. It doesn’t impose the standard trading, account, and administrative fees you’ll find with other brokers.

The only real trading fee charged by Wealthsimple is a 1.5% currency conversion fee. This doesn’t apply while purchasing Canadian stocks and ETFs, though. Instead, you’ll pay this fee whenever you buy and sell stocks and ETFs based in the US or other foreign countries.

You can, however, buy a Wealthsimple Plus subscription to solve this problem.

Now let’s look at QTrade’s standard cash account fees:

  • Equities: $8.75 per trade
  • Options: $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $8.75 per trade
  • ETFs: $8.75 (although QTrade does offer 100 fee-free ETFs)

These fees are just the basic trading fees, though. QTrade users will also be subject to additional fees, such as:

  • $25 quarterly admin fee (unless you have a balance of $25,000 or recurring contributions of $100 per month into your account)
  • $100 account closure fee (if you close before your first year)
  • $150 account transfer fee (if you transfer funds to another platform)
  • $15 per quarter for USD registered accounts
  • $50 fee for non-scheduled retirement fund withdrawals

The list goes on, and you can view it here.

QTrade has a lot more fees compared to Wealthsimple. To be fair, though, QTrade’s fees are still slightly lower than other professional brokerage firms.

This is where your investment intent comes into play.

Wealthsimple is the clear winner here for low fees, with its almost non-existent fees compared to Qtrade

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: User Experience and Research Tools

QTrade vs Wealthsimple: Research Tools

Technical analysis is the base of every great trade. It allows the trader to better locate entry and exit points, allowing them to mitigate risk and catch onto emerging trends.

Wealthsimple Trade allows users to view basic stock charts, candlestick patterns, and various timeframes. However, the platform doesn’t offer any advanced technical analysis tools. If you want to analyze a stock or investment, you must use a third-party platform such as Trading View.

By contrast, QTrade offers a wide range of built-in technical analysis tools and indicators, so you don’t have to rely on third-party apps. Both platforms also offer user-friendly mobile apps, allowing you to view and manage your portfolio while you’re on the go.

Regarding overall user experience and research tools, QTrade is the clear winner and is better suited to serious investors.

Qtrade vs Wealthsimple: Security and Regulations

Wealthsimple Security Measures

Here’s an overview of each platform’s security and regulation highlights:


  • Registered with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
  • Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), providing coverage up to CAD 1 million
  • Two-factor authentication for account access
  • Strong data encryption to protect user information
  • Regular security audits to ensure ongoing compliance and protection


  • Regulated by various provincial securities commissions in Canada
  • Affiliated custodian, ShareOwner Investments Inc., is a member of IIROC and CIPF
  • CIPF coverage up to CAD 1 million against insolvency
  • Two-factor authentication for account access
  • 256-bit encryption to safeguard client data
  • Ongoing third-party security audits to maintain a high level of security

It’s a tie, as both Qtrade and Wealthsimple are secure and regulated platforms that adhere to stringent industry standards. They are both members of IIROC and CIPF, and investors can trust that their investments are protected and that the platforms comply with Canadian regulatory requirements.

The Verdict – You can’t go wrong with either

If you’re not a serious investor that makes a lot of trades or needs research tools and want to keep fees as low as possible, I’d recommend Wealthsimple Trade.

However, if you’re more serious about investing, QTrade’s advanced tools and trading platform might make it an overall better option.

Want to learn more? Check out my full QTrade review next!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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