In this Questrade review we’ll cover what Questrade is and its features and fees. Next, we’ll go over the platforms and tools available from Questrade. Third, we’ll look into how Questrade compares to other online brokerages. We’ll finish off with a beginners guide to getting started with Questrade; from signing up for and account, funding and buying investments to rebalancing your portfolio.
Questrade is one of Canada’s best regarded and most recommended online brokerages. It’s no wonder, with its zero annual fees, low trading fees (with free ETF purchases!) and an easy to use web platform. On the downside, its mobile app experience isn’t great but it’s fine for monitoring your account and making occasional trades.
👍 No annual or inactivity fees
👍 Free ETF purchases
👍 Good web platform
👍 Low trading fees
👍 Promotion for $50 in free trades
👎 Minimum amount of $1000 is needed to start investing
👎 Mobile app experience isn’t great
- What is Questrade?
- Questrade compared to other online brokerages
- Getting Started with Questrade
What is Questrade?
Questrade is an online investment brokerage based in Canada and founded back in 1999. Questrade allows users to purchase stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and other products directly without going through an investment broker. In addition, its platform has a simple to use interface that attracts both beginner “newbie” investors as well as more seasoned investors.
Questrade is one of the best platforms for DIY investing, especially if your focus is passive investing in ETFs. Because of the low fees and free ETF purchases you can actually build an ETF portfolio, like the Canadian Couch Potato ETF portfolio, for free with Questrade.
|Minimum Investment Amount||$1000|
|Types of Accounts||TFSA, RRSP, Margin, RESP, LIRA, RIF, LIF, Corporate, Trust, Forex and CFDs|
|Types of Investments||ETFs, Stocks, Options, FX, CFDs, Mutual funds, Bonds, GICs, International Equities, IPOs and new issues, Precious metals|
|Transfer Fee||Questrade will cover the transfer fee of any account from another financial instituion up to $150 / account|
|Account Access||Web, Mobile App, Desktop App|
|Customer Service||Online chat or by phone 1 (888) 783 7866|
|Automatic re-balance||No but Passiv is offered to Questrade customers for free|
|Self-directed or Managed Portfolios||Questrade offers both self-directed investing accounts as well as managed portfolios|
|Questrade Promotion||Receive $50 in free trades|
Questrade Account Fees and Trading Fees
With Questrade it’s free to open or close one of the basic account types. There are no ongoing account fees with Questrade and there are no inactivity fees.
An important note, you need $1000 in your account to start purchasing investment products. So, once your account is open and has $1,000 in it, you can start investing!
Questrade Trading Fees on Stocks, ETFs, Precious Metals and More
Trading fees are fees that occur when you buy or sell an investment product like a stock or ETF. Every broker is different when it comes to what fees the charge and how much you pay. Questrade has some of the lowest fees in the country, including free ETF purchases.
When buying investment products with Questrade it is important to know and understand the fees when building your portfolio.
For example, because ETF purchases are free, you can open a TFSA and create an ETF portfolio for $0! If you have to sell an ETF it will cost you $0.01 / share with a minimum fee of $4.95 per trade to a maximum of $9.95. This is important to keep in mind when rebalancing your portfolio.
Below is a list of the Questrade trading products and their fees.
|ETFs||Free to purchase and $0.01 per share to sell (min. $4.95 to max. $9.95 / per trade)|
|Stocks||$0.01 per share (min. $4.95 to max. $9.95 / trade)|
|Mutual Funds||$9.95 / trade|
|FX and CFDs||Spreads as low as 0.08 pips|
|Precious metals||$19.95 USD / trade|
|Bonds and GICs||Free with a minimum purchase of $5000|
|International Equities||1% of the trade value (Min. $195.00 plus applicable exchange or stamp fees, charged in the currency of the account in which the trade is placed.)|
|IPOs and new Purchases||Free with a minimum purchase of $5000|
|Options||$9.95 + $1/contract|
Additional Questrade Features
No Annual Fees or Inactivity Fees
With Questrade there are no account fees or inactivity fees. You are only paying fees when trading and even those are low compared to other online brokerages.
This simple fee structure makes it easy to calculate the cost of investing and keep your cost low especially if you are index or passive investing.
No-fee ETF Purchases
When talking about index or passive investing, your goal is to build a diversified portfolio with low-fee ETFs. With Questrade, ETF purchases are free, making it the perfect platform for building your ETF portfolio.
Transfer your accounts for free
Questrade makes it easy and convenient to transfer your accounts from any other financial institution into Questrade. When you move your existing accounts to Questrade, they will rebate the transfer fees you’re charged for the switch, up to $150 / account.
Questrade Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP)
Questrade offers a Dividend Reinvestment Plan that allows you to reinvest dividends into the stock or ETF that paid those dividends.
If you setup a DRIP for a stock or ETF, the dividends that are paid out will automatically get reinvested to purchase additional shares or units of the stock or ETF. The shares or units are purchased at market price when the dividend is paid out and only whole shares are purchased. Any leftover cash will remain as cash in your account.
DRIPs are a great option in TFSAs and RRSPs because they keep more of your money invested and your cash balance low. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid using DRIPs in taxable accounts as recommended here by Dan Bortolotti from Canadian Couch Potato.
Questrade allows you to invest in initial public offerings (IPOs) for free with a minimum investment of $5000. A list of available IPOs can be found in the IPO center and you can sign up for alerts on newly available IPOs by subscribing to their IPO bulletin.
Questrade Practice Account
For investors looking to get into trading, Questrade offers risk-free practice accounts. Questrade’s practice accounts allow you to test trade as if you’re trading in real life. You start with $500k CAD and $500k USD in virtual cash. The practice platform uses the previous day market data and the data is cycled so that you can use the practice account outside of regular market hours.
If self-directed DIY investing is not for you, Questrade also offers low-fee managed portfolios. Like other robo advisors, you will pay higher fees than DIY investing but your investments are purchased and re-balanced automatically. Right now, new investors can receive $10 000 managed for free for a year.
Questrade Platforms and Tools
Questrade offers a variety of trading platforms depending on the type of investing you are doing:
Platforms for Standard Investing
This is the main trading platform you have access to when you open your account. It is a web based platform that allows you to easily and securely make trades, check your account performance and research products. It is relatively simple to use and is all you need for most DIY investing. Take a look at this article for a deep dive in how to buy and sell ETFs with the Questrade Trading platform
Questrade mobile app
The mobile app allows you to make trades, withdraw or transfer between accounts, view performance and manage your entire account. Based on reviews the app should be horrible but in reality it’s not that bad, especially if you’re using it to monitor your accounts and make occasional trades.
Platforms for Advanced Trading
Questrade IQ Edge®
Designed for active and professional traders, IQ Edge allows for more advanced trading orders, has built in research tools and is highly customizable.
This is Questrade’s FX and CFD platform that allows users to trade currencies, commodities and global stock CFDs (contracts for difference) through more 15 international exchanges.
- Market Intelligence: Provides quotes and research directly into the trading platform for free. You’ll get news about financials, valuations and key metrics about specific stocks or markets that you are interested in
- Intraday Trader: This tool scans and monitors markets to identify trading opportunities that match your goals. If your goal is to make a purchase when a specific chart pattern has happened, this tool will monitor for that pattern and alert you when it has occurred.
- Market Data: Questrade provides market data packages depending on how you use the platform. The free version that comes with the platform provides real time data that is perfect for most investors. If you are planning on day trading then you will want to go with one of the paid monthly packages that feature live streaming of data for different North American exchanges.
- Customization, Watchlists and Alerts: Questrade gives you the power to personalize your investing experience whether it’s through choosing your own layout, creating lists of investments to track of or setting up alerts to be notified of changes in the investments you’re interested in.
Questrade Partner Tools
Questrade partners with a number of businesses to enhance you’re trading and investing experience.
- Passiv: This tool is perfect for the DIY index or passive investor because it automates re-balancing your portfolio so you can stay on track with your investment goals. Right now, Questrade is covering the cost of Passiv Elite subscriptions for their customers. See this tutorial for a step by step guide on how to setup Passiv with Questrade.
Questrade compared to other online brokerages
|Brokerage||Annual Fees||ETF Purchase Fee||Cost per trade||Access|
|Questrade||$0||$0||$0.01/share (min. $4.95 to max. $9.95/trade)||Web, Mobile, Desktop|
|TD Direct Investing||$100 / year on accounts < $15k||$9.99||$9.99||Web, Mobile, Desktop|
|Scotia iTRADE||$100 / year on accounts < $25k||$9.99||$9.99||Web, Mobile, Desktop|
Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing and Scotia iTRADE
Questrade is the obvious winner when compared to the big bank brokerages like TD Direct Investing or Scotia iTrade. The annual fees for Questrade are $0 compared to TD and Scotia where they are $100 / year depending on your account balance. The trading fees are also higher on both TD and Scotia compared to Questrade.
The higher fees may not be a big deal short term but over your investing life you’re minimizing the investment dollars you could have compounding for you.
Questrade vs. Wealthsimple Trade
Fees: Both have free ETF purchases but Wealthsimple comes out ahead on fees because they don’t charge for selling ETFs as or buying and selling stocks.
Account Options: Questrade offers more account options compared to Wealthsimple Trade though they both offer TFSA, RRSP and personal accounts.
Platform: Questrade has more options when comparing the platforms. Where Wealthsimple Trade only has a mobile app, Questrade has a mobile app, web app and desktop application. Questrade also provides more research and information on the investment products within the platform as well as more trading options. Wealthsimple’s advantage is that it is very simple to use and get started and it’s mobile app experience is much better than Questrade’s.
Overall: Wealthsimple Trade has a very simple to use mobile app (only) which is great for beginners but Questrade comes out ahead because they provide a more robust platform with better features, options and tools.
Getting Started with Questrade
Signing up with Questrade
Your first step to investing with Questrade is to sign up for an account. To make getting started even easier, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to sign up to Questrade.
Funding your Questrade Account
Once you have your Questrade account, the next step is to fund it. Keep in mind that in order to start investing you must have $1000 in your account.
Questrade offers 10 different ways to fund your account, each with different processing times and fees. The quickest method is Interac Online, the transfer is instant for existing accounts (new accounts require 1 business day) and it is free.
Transferring Accounts to Questrade
Questrade makes it easy and convenient to transfer your accounts from another financial institution into Questrade. It can be done online and Questrade will cover the fee up to $150 / account. Keep in mind that you have to submit a copy of the fee statement from your original financial institution to get the rebate.
To get started:
- Log into your Questrade account,
- Hover over FUNDING
- Click Transfer account to Questrade.
- Fill out a one-page document authorizing the transfer
- Questrade will take care of the rest.
Types of Transfers
|Transfer Type||To Questrade, Inc. self-directed accounts||To Questrade Wealth Management managed accounts|
|All in cash||Your financial institution liquidates all of your securities and transfers the funds to your Questrade, Inc. account.||Your financial institution liquidates all of your securities and transfers the funds in cash to Questrade Wealth Management. Questrade Wealth Management then invests your funds into your selected QuestWealth Portfolio of ETFs.|
|All in kind||Your financial institution transfers all of your cash and securities exactly as they are from your current account to your Questrade, Inc. account.||Your financial institution transfers all of your cash and securities exactly as they are from your account to Questrade Wealth Management. Questrade Wealth Management then liquidates your securities and reinvests your funds into your selected QuestWealth Portfolio of ETFs.|
|Partial transfer||Your financial institution transfers only your requested securities and/or amount of cash to your Questrade, Inc. account.||Your financial institution transfers only your requested securities and/or amount of cash to Questrade Wealth Management. Questrade Wealth Management then liquidates your securities and reinvests your funds into your selected QuestWealth Portfolio of ETFs.|
Table from Questrade Support
Important things to know about transferring accounts to Questrade
- An account transfer typically takes 10- 20 days (depending on the financial institution you are transferring from). You can check on the status of your transfer by logging in to your Questrade account, hovering over FUNDING, and tapping Transfer account to Questrade history.
- Cash and securities in a registered account can only be transferred to the same type of registered account
- When transferring a registered account to Questrade (TFSA or RRSP) it is not considered a contribution or withdrawal as long as you submit a broker transfer request to the same account type. For example, you transfer your TFSA from TD Direct Investment to a Questrade TFSA, the only thing that changes is your brokerage.
- Not every investment can be transferred. It has to be something you can buy on Questrade. Robo-advisor accounts like Wealthsimple Invest have to be transferred in cash.
- Mutual funds aren’t always transferable if Questrade doesn’t carry the mutual funds so they may have to be transferred in cash.
Getting your rebate after the transfer is complete
To get Questrade to cover the transfer fee you have to submit a copy of the statement from your financial institution showing the transfer fee within 60 days of submitting your transfer request.
- Log in to your Questrade account
- Go to ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT and then click Upload Documents
- Complete all fields. For Document type, select Rebate
- Click Upload
Buying Stocks and ETFs with Questrade
Once you have your account and it’s funded, the next step is to purchase your investments. To make things easier, I’ve put together a step by step guide that shows how to purchase ETFs using Questrade.
Re-balancing your portfolio
Allocating cash and rebalancing your Questrade portfolio are important aspects when managing your investment portfolio. Ensuring that you stay close to your target allocations once or twice a year will help you take advantage of global market fluctuations to ensure that it is balanced over the long term.
To make rebalancing and managing my portfolio as easy as possible, you can use a Questrade partner tool developed by Passiv. Here is a how-to guide showing how to use Passiv to rebalance your portfolio of ETFs in Questrade.
The Passiv Elite account typically costs $79/year for Questrade clients, but at this time Questrade is sponsoring users for a free year of the Elite account when creating a new Passiv account!
Questrade Review Recap
Questrade is one of Canada’s best regarded and most recommended online brokerages. It’s no wonder, with its zero annual fees, low trading fees (with free ETF purchases!) and easy to use web app.
In this review and beginners guide we’ve covered what Questrade is, its platform and tools, how Questrade compares to other online brokerages and a guide to getting started with Questrade. If you have any questions please leave a comment below.