Scotia iTrade Vs Questrade (Sep 2022): Battle of the Brokerages

Investing isn’t as daunting as it once was. Today, there are a variety of online brokerages that let you open your own account and trade stocks and other securities.

In 2020, over 2.3 million Canadians opened their own online accounts with the intent to boost their financial wealth.

Questrade is high on the list when looking for the best trading platform in Canada.

Scotia iTrade is not as well regarded, but both are big, recognizable names in the Canadian investing industry and have the features many first-time and seasoned investors want.

I hope to find a clear winner between in this Scotia iTrade vs Questrade comparison, and will use the following categories to determine which is the best option.

  • Accounts and services
  • Fees
  • Additional features

About Questrade

Questrade is one of Canada’s fastest-growing online brokers. They have over $30 billion in assets under administration and want their customers to take charge of their finances and build wealth.

They offer low fees, an easy-to-use platform, and quick ways to fund your account. They have various accounts you can open within minutes to start trading right away.

Pros
  • Low fees
  • Commission free ETFs
  • Variety of accounts available
Cons
  • $1,000 minimum account balance to start trading.

About Scotia iTrade

Scotia iTrade is the investing portion of one of Canada’s top banks, Scotiabank. In 2008, the company purchased Etrade and doubled its investing customer base.

Similar to other platforms, Scotia iTrade has a variety of different account options.

Pros
  • No minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Access to a demo or practice account to test the platform.
  • The platform has a variety of accounts and security types, including stocks, bonds, futures, and more.
Cons
  • Trading fees are higher than other online brokerages.

Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade: Features and Benefits

To compare both companies, I looked at each investing platform’s accounts and services, their fee structure, and any added features. From there, I picked a clear winner from each category. Here’s how they stacked up.

Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Accounts Offered

Both companies offer a variety of account options – but which one comes out on top? Here’s what you should know.

Questrade Accounts

One of the biggest benefits to a Questrade account is all its different account options. Most products are available with lower fees than big-name banks, and newer investors have the advantage of choosing a robo-advisor style portfolio.

Self-Directed or Questwealth Portfolio

Before choosing your account, your first decision is whether you want a self-directed or managed portfolio.

With the self-directed option, you control everything you buy and sell. These portfolios are usually cheaper than managed ones because you aren’t using the services of experienced financial advisors.

On the other hand, the Questwealth Portfolio is geared towards newer investors. With several pre-built portfolio options, customers can choose which is best based on their risk tolerance.

Account Types

Questrade Account Type

Questrade identifies the above account types as some of their most popular, but it’s not all they have to offer.

Looking for specific retirement or education accounts? Check out their website to see what else is available.

What to invest in depends on your comfort level and goals, but Questrade trades the following:

  • ETFs
  • Stocks (US and Canadian)
  • Mutual funds
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates
  • Options
  • Bonds
  • Precious metals
  • International equities

Scotia iTrade Accounts

With Scotia iTrade, you can choose between registered, non-registered, and non-personal accounts.

For registered accounts, you have the following options:

  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Account (RRSP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Account (RRIF)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Non-registered accounts include cash, margin, and cash optimizer investment accounts.

Non-personal accounts include partnerships, corporations, sole proprietorships, trusts, and estates. Scotia iTrade lets you build your portfolio based on your investment goals. Here are your options.

The Verdict – Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Accounts Offered

While both brokers offer similar accounts, Questrade has the edge because of its robo-investing services. With prebuilt portfolios and a self-directed investing service, Questrade offers the best of both worlds.

Those looking to invest without the hassle of tending to their portfolio can enjoy the benefits of the robo-service. On the other hand, those looking to keep control of their investments might prefer the self-directing option.

Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Fees

Questrade Fees

When talking about Questrade fees, I need to differentiate between the robo-advisor and self-directed platforms.

Questrade Portfolio charges a management fee based on your balance. For accounts between $1,000 – $99,000, the account fee is .25% of the balance. Amounts over $100,000 incur a .20% charge.

Here’s what other Questrade commissions and fees look like:

  • Stocks. 1 cent per share with a $4.95 minimum and $9.95 maximum.
  • ETFs. Commission-free purchase. Pay 1 cent per share at a $4.95 minimum and $9.95 maximum when you sell.
  • Mutual funds. $9.95 per trade
  • Options. $9.95 per trade plus $1 per contract.
  • Bonds and GICs. Free with a $5,000 minimum purchase.

Other costs include the following:

Source: www.questrade.com

Active traders can also choose between a fixed and variable plan depending on trading volume and investor goals.

Source: www.questrade.com

Unlike other brokerages, Questrade doesn’t charge an annual fee. One downside to the company is the $1,000 minimum balance requirement to open an account. However, Questrade finds that most people looking to invest are willing to start off with more than $1,000.

Scotia iTrade Fees

Scotia iTrade’s fees are relatively higher than Questrade’s. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Stocks and ETFs. $9.99 per trade if you do less than 150 trades per quarter. If you hit that threshold, the price drops to $4.99 per trade.
  • Options. $9.99 plus $1.25 per contract if under 150 trades per quarter. If over 150 trades, you’ll pay $4.99 plus $1.25 per contract.
  • Mutual funds. $9.99 for buy, sell, and switch orders placed online.
  • Add $65 for all transactions placed with a telephone operator.

Fixed income securities pricing is as follows:

Scotia iTrade also charges a $100 annual fee. There is a $25 per quarter low activity administration fee for accounts with less than $10,000. There is no fee for those opening an account within the preceding six months or for investors under the age of 26.

Scotia iTrade currently has over 100 commission-free ETFs available for purchase online. You must hold the ETF for at least one business day to qualify.

There are a variety of other fees to watch out for, including a transfer out fee of $150 per transfer, a setup charge of $300, and $25 to wire out domestically.

For a list of other costs, check out Scotia iTrade’s Fees and Pricing.

The Verdict – Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Fees

There really isn’t any competition in this category. Questrade easily takes the win. Scotia iTrade is littered with fees.

Although they try to compete with a handful of commission-free ETFs, it is not enough to save the average investor in the long run.

Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Additional Features

Questrade Additional Features

Questrade has two different trading platforms investors can use. The All-In-One platform lets you manage your accounts, make trades, and check stock performance.

You can research your stocks and manage your investments on your desktop computer or through Questrade’s mobile app.

With the app, you can manage all your investing data while getting real-time stock prices from the North American exchanges. It’s available on Android devices or iPhones.

If you’re more of an advanced trader and need a customizable platform, Questrade has web and mobile versions of a cutting-edge platform with advanced research and trading tools.

With its Global platform, you can personalize your watch list and make Forex and CFD trades.

In addition, Questrade makes a ton of research available so you can make informed decisions.

You have access to real-time market data, alerts in tune with your personalized watch list, and a daily morning brief delivering up-to-date news right to your inbox.

Scotia iTrade Additional Features

One of Scotia iTrade’s most innovative features is its practice account. You can set up a fictional portfolio worth $100,000 and have access to many of the same features of a regular Scotia iTrade account. You can utilize trading tools, market research, and monitor your progress.

This trial account helps you gauge what it would be like to open your own investment account with Scotia without any risk.

Scotia has several different platforms for its investors. The first is the standard one that’s integrated with the investor’s bank account. It includes research opportunities, charting, and account maintenance.

You can use the mobile app to buy and sell stocks, check on your account, and more. Use the app on your iPhone or Android phone.

Finally, experienced investors might gravitate towards Scotia’s customizable platform, Flight Desk. It includes in-depth analysis, real-time streaming quotes and advanced trading solutions.

However, there is a fee to use the Flight Desk standard or premium service, depending on your trades and assets per quarter.

Scotia has several different platforms for its investors. The first is the standard one that’s integrated with the investor’s bank account. It includes research opportunities, charting, and account maintenance.

You can use the mobile app to buy and sell stocks, check on your account, and more. Use the app on your iPhone or Android phone.

Finally, experienced investors might gravitate towards Scotia’s customizable platform, Flight Desk. It includes in-depth analysis, real-time streaming quotes and advanced trading solutions.

However, there is a fee to use the Flight Desk standard or premium service, depending on your trades and assets per quarter.

The Verdict – Questrade Vs Scotia iTrade – Additional Feature

Both brokerages offer advanced trading platforms and easy-to-use mobile apps.

Investors with both companies can access plenty of research options before making big decisions. For those reasons, I’m calling this one a draw.

Is Questrade Better Than Scotia iTrade?

Both platforms have what you need if you want to invest. The difference is that you can do it at a much lower cost with Questrade. Because of that, Questrade is the clear winner to me.

Use Questrade if:

  • You’re a new investor and want to give investing on your own a try. If self-directed isn’t your speed, you could always sign up for the robo investor plan with preselected portfolios.
  • You want to invest, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. With commission-free ETFs and low fees, Questrade fits the bill.

For more information, visit Questrade’s website.

Use Scotia iTrade if:

  • You want to keep your assets within one of Canada’s big banks. Scotia iTrade is a division of Scotiabank.
  • You’re an experienced investor that performs lots of transactions.

For more information, visit Scotia iTrade’s website.

There’s no doubt starting an investment portfolio can be challenging. Finding a broker that has low fees, a variety of account options, and an easy-to-use platform is an ambitious task.

Questrade has all three, which is why I think it outweighs Scotia iTrade’s performance.

Of course, deciding where to invest is a personal decision and one that needs lots of research. You’ll need to explore both and decide which one fits your lifestyle best.

Photo of author
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.

Check Out These Posts:

Leave a Comment