Tastyworks Canada Alternatives: Find a Similar Brokerage (2022)

Are you looking for an alternative to Tastyworks in Canada but don’t know which platforms are similar in terms of features? Tastyworks is a low-cost self-direct US brokerage that is mainly focused on options trading.

Online trading platforms are picking up in popularity – 53% of Canadian millennials are currently using an online trading application, up from only 42% of Canadian baby boomers.

We will cover Tastyworks Canada alternatives below and outline some of the best discount brokerages that you can access.

Will Tastyworks be Approved in Canada Soon?

Tastyworks has been trying to obtain approval for Canadian operations for some time. As of late 2022, the Tastyworks team is scheduled for an official meeting with Canadian regulators on December 10, 2022.

4 Tastyworks Canada Alternatives

Our list of Canadian Tastyworks alternatives below focuses on discount brokerages that offer the lowest options trading fees in Canada.

1. Questrade

Questrade is a top alternative to Tastyworks available to Canadians. The self-directed platform is easy to follow and will appeal to investors and traders that are just starting off. Professional traders and investors will also find Questrade intuitive and easy to use.

Regular Questrade clients have access to competitive options trading fees when compared to other self-directed brokerages in Canada. Questrade fees are $9.95 per options trade plus $1 per option contract.

Most Canadian discount brokerages charge $1.25 per options contract traded. The $0.25 in savings per contract when trading can add up substantially, especially when trading a lot of contracts.

A key feature of Questrade is the ability to access active trader prices by purchasing an advanced market data package. The cost of the US data package is US $89.95 per month, while the Canadian data package is $89.95 per month.

Questrade is an excellent platform if you are looking to do a large number of trades with the active trader pricing package. Active trader prices are substantially less expensive both on a per-trade basis as well as on a per-contract basis. 

Active trader pricing is offered in either variable or fixed price plans, which mainly affect ETF and stock trading. Once you qualify to be an active trader, your new options trading costs decrease to:

  • Variable:  $6.95 per trade plus $0.75 per options contract
  • Fixed: $4.95 per trade plus $0.75 per options contract

One caveat of using Questrade is that you are required to open an account with at least $1,000. Investors unable to meet this minimum requirement will not be able to open an account with the brokerage.

2. Interactive Brokers

Interactive brokers logo

Interactive Brokers is also an excellent choice as an options trading platform here in Canada. Although the platform lags behind Questrade in some aspects (such as account flexibility), it is commonly used by seasoned investors and traders.

Interactive Brokers’ option trading fees are very low and can reduce your trading fees and commissions by a significant amount. The largest relative savings will come from trading a low number of options contracts on a frequent basis.

The discount brokerage does not charge a flat fee for trading options. Option trades simply cost $1.25 per options contract. Most other discount brokerages in Canada charge anywhere from $4.95 to $9.99 every time that you trade any amount of options contracts.

On top of only charging clients $1.25 per contract when trading options, this amount can decrease if you are trading a very number of contracts monthly. As your monthly options trading volume increases beyond 10,000 contracts, your costs will go down.

The cost table below is for Canadian options:

Monthly Volume of ContractsTier
Less than 10,000 option contracts$1.25 per contract
10,000 – 50,000 option contracts$1.15 per contract
50,001 – 100,000 option contracts$1.05 per contract
100,001 option contracts or more$1.00 per contract

Below are the prices for trading US options:

IBKR Pro

Canadians only sign up for IBKR Pro – IBKR Lite is solely available to US residents.

Unlike Questrade, Interactive Brokers does not require an account opening minimum balance.

3. Qtrade

Qtrade is another independent, non-bank discount brokerage that is frequently used by Canadians. The platform is often praised for its excellent customer service, which may be important to some investors.

Although Qtrade’s brokerage is fairly versatile, the available account variety is limited relative to other peers, especially bank-owned peers.

Qtrade’s option trading fees are slightly less competitive than the options that we have discussed above. The brokerage charges clients $8.75 per options trade as well as $1.25 per option contract. If you meet a specific total asset or trade volume criteria, you will be considered as having an Investor Plus account.

At least one of the below conditions must be met for an Investor Plus account:

  • 150+ trades per quarter
  • $500,000 or more in assets per client ID

Once your account is deemed as Investor Plus, you can now trade at a reduced rate of $6.95 per trade plus $1.25 per option contract.

Qtrade does not have an account opening minimum.

4. National Bank Direct Brokerage (NBDB)

National Bank Direct Brokerage Logo

National Bank Direct Brokerage is a very competitive bank-owned brokerage to consider using for options trading here in Canada. Unlike Interactive Brokers and Questrade (non-bank independents), National Bank Direct Brokerage is operated by National Bank, one of Canada’s major banks.

As a bank-owned brokerage, the platform offers clients an excellent account-opening variety.

In terms of fees, National Bank Direct Brokerage’s options trading fees are very low. Similar to Interactive Brokers, National Bank Direct Brokerage does not charge a flat fee per options trade. Clients are charged $1.25 per options contract, with a minimum of $6.25 charged per trade.

If your option trade has a total value of less than $2,000, the total trade cost is capped at a maximum fee of $19.95. National Bank Direct Brokerage does not offer lower fees for higher volumes of option trading.

National Bank Direct Brokerage does not have an account opening minimum. You do not have to be an existing client of National Bank in order to open an account with their self-directed discount brokerage.

Why is Tastyworks so Popular?

Tastyworks is popular as a trading platform because of its strong media presence behind it. The team behind Tastyworks includes:

  • Tom Sosnoff
  • JJ Kinahan
  • Scott Sheridan
  • Linwood Ma

With a focus on educating and helping retail investors trade on their own (mainly options), Tastyworks gets a substantial amount of promotion through Tastytrade. The resources and education offered by Tastytrade encourage investors to go out on their own and begin trading options.

In 2022, Tastyworks has won two separate Investopedia awards:

  1. Best Broker for Options
  2. Best Options Trading Platform

Best Trading Platforms in Canada

If you are looking for a comprehensive overview of the best Canadian trading platforms, make sure to read through our full guide. The guide covers trade platforms from a more holistic perspective, including the trading of other investments as well (not just options).

Conclusion

Tastyworks Canada Alternatives

Currently, Tastyworks is not available for Canadians. This could potentially change as early as December 10, 2022, when the Tastyworks executive team has a scheduled formal meeting with Canadian industry regulators.

In the meantime, several alternative platforms exist that can allow you to trade options cheaply and effectively until Tastyworks is approved and made available to Canadians.

If you are just getting started with investing, make sure to read through our full guide on steps to start investing in Canada.

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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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