Questrade Review: Pros, Cons, And Alternatives

Questrade is a Canadian investment platform that has gained popularity for its low fees.

Self-directed investors in Canada have access to over a dozen online brokers and several robo-advisor platforms. One such platform is Questrade, an independent brokerage that has gained popularity for its no-fee exchange-traded fund (ETF) purchases and no account administration fees.

But how does Questrade compare to other popular Canadian investment platforms, such as Wealthsimple or the big bank brokerages? We let you know what Questrade has to offer in this full review.

Questrade Logo 2024
  • Self-directed trading platform for Canadian investors 
  • Free ETF purchases, competitive commission-fees 
  • Also offers a robo-advisor platform with Questwealth Managed Portfolios

Self-Directed Trading, Questwealth Portfolios

What Is Questrade?

Questrade is Canada’s largest independent online brokerage. Founded in 1999, the Toronto-based company has over $30 billion in assets under management. Questrade is popular among Canadian investors for its mix of low pricing and trading functionality.

questrade homepage

In addition to self-directed trading, Questrade offers a robo advisor platform, called Questwealth Portfolios. 

What Does It Offer?

In addition to a competitive fee structure, Questrade has its own robo-advisor, and no fewer than five trading platforms that cater to all types of investors. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect when you sign up with Questrade. 

Commission-Free ETFs 

While most major U.S. online brokers now offer commission-free trading, most Canadian brokerages continue to charge trading fees. However, Questrade does not charge fees for ETF purchases, which is one of its biggest draws. (This applies to any available Canadian or U.S.-listed ETF).

You may still pay ECN (Electronic Communication Network) fees, and when you sell an ETF, the standard commission rate applies.

Low Fees On Stock Trades 

You will pay a trading fee to buy or sell stocks through Questrade, but their standard fee is lower than most Canadian brokers. Questrade charges $0.01/share, with a minimum of $4.95 per trade, up to a maximum of $9.95.

By comparison, TD Direct Investing has a standard trading fee of $9.99, and RBC Direct Investing charges $9.95 for regular stock and ETF trades.

No Account Fees

In addition to its low trading fees, Questrade doesn’t charge administration fees for any of the following account types: 

Questrade also does not charge inactivity fees on any of its accounts, regardless of your balance. You may, however, incur fees for other transactions. For example, Questrade charges between $20 and $40 for wire transfers, $25 for a stop payment, and a $150 fee if you transfer money from Questrade to another financial institution. 

Questwealth Portfolios

If you want the option of automated investing through a robo-advisor, Questrade has you covered. Its Questwealth Portfolios offer a fully managed investing solution. You can open an account with as little as $1, and Questrade will begin to invest your money as soon as your account reaches $1,000. 

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Questrade charges an annual management fee of 0.25% on balances between $1,000 and $99,999. The AUM fee falls to 0.20% on balances of $100,000 and over. 

Almost every account type is available, including Cash, TFSA, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, RESP, RIF, LIF, and Corporate Cash accounts. 

Questwealth Portfolios cover the full asset allocation range, as follows: 

80% Equity / 20% Fixed Income and Cash

60% Equity / 40% Fixed Income and Cash

40% Equity / 60% Fixed Income and Cash

20% Equity / 80% Fixed Income and Cash

In addition to the abovementioned portfolios, Questrade offers Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) portfolios, with a range of SRI-focused ETFs. Questwealth Portfolios are competitively priced. ETF MERs for its main portfolios range between 0.09% and 0.12%. SRI ETF MERs are slightly higher, falling between 0.20% and 0.26%. 

Questrade Trading Platforms

Questrade offers two standard and three advanced trading platforms. Here’s a closer look at the key features of each:

Questrade Trading (Standard)

Questrade’s newest platform is its main web-based platform. It lets you view your portfolio, place trades, and research stocks, all in one platform. It also features a built-in Learning Mode.

QuestMobile (Standard)

QuestMobile offers most of the functionality of Questrade’s web platform with the ease of trading on the go. You can access Learning Mode from your mobile device and obtain real-time snap quote prices of stocks and ETFs trading on North American markets.

Questrade Edge Mobile (Advanced)

Edge Mobile enhances the mobile trading experience by making it easier to place advanced orders quickly. It provides access to stop and trailing stop orders, multi-leg option and bracket orders, and more.

Questrade Edge (Advanced)

Questrade’s most powerful trading platform, Edge is available in web and desktop versions. It accommodates many advanced order types and offers a more customizable trading environment, including options trading. You also gain access to top research tools from brands such as TipRanks, and Morningstar.

Questrade Global (Advanced)

Questrade’s dedicated Forex trading platform allows you to easily place Forex and CFD trades. You can access over 15 international exchanges, create personalized watchlists, and execute advanced transactions. 

Are There Any Fees?

Questrade does not charge account administration fees. This is an advantage for Questrade, as many Canadian brokerages still charge account fees on tax-advantaged accounts unless you maintain a minimum balance requirement. 

As mentioned, there are no trading fees for ETF purchases, but you will pay a standard trading fee to sell ETFs or buy and sell stocks.

If you open a Questwealth robo advisor portfolio, the annual management fee is between 0.25% and 0.20%.

It’s worth noting that mutual fund trades are more expensive with Questrade than other brokerages, at $9.95. Options trades are also $9.95, plus $1 per contract. 

How Does Questrade Compare?

Questrade might offer the best mix of products, trading functionality, and price among Canadian online brokers. However, some competitors also have a strong offering.

Wealthsimple is Canada’s largest robo advisor platform, but it also offers self-directed investing, with no commission fees on stock and ETF trades. It’s trading platforms, which include a mobile app and desktop trading, are easy to use, but limited in functionality. The platform is best suited for newer investors or anyone looking for a free trading option.

TD Direct Investing is Canada’s largest online brokerage, and a division of Toronto Dominion Bank, which is the 6th largest financial institution in North America by assets. You’ll pay higher trading fees with TD DI, and it doesn’t provide free ETF purchases.

What it does offer is the most in-depth market research capability of any Canadian online brokerage. If you’re an active trader, you’ll want to compare TD and Questrade before making a final decision. Note that we have not yet conducted a full review of TD Direct Investing. 

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Questrade Logo 2024
WealthSimple Logo
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$4.95-$9.95, plus Free ETF purchases

Robo-Advisor Availability

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Is It Safe And Secure?

Yes, Questrade’s platform is very safe to use. For starters, the company offers a 100% online security guarantee. You will be fully reimbursed if you suffer a financial loss due to a breach of Questrade’s systems. In addition, its platform is fully encrypted and offers additional security features, such as 2-step verification, Touch, and Face ID.

Remember that any market investments are not guaranteed. However, Questrade is regulated by the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which protects Questrade members in the unlikely event that the company went bankrupt. 

Why Should You Trust Us?

I’ve been writing about investing and have reviewed Canadian brokerage firms since 2018. I worked as a manager with a major Canadian bank for over 15 years, and have in-depth knowledge of Canadian investment platforms, including Questrade.

The College Investor was one of the first platforms to cover robo-advisors. Since then, we’ve reviewed most robo-advisor platforms in the United States. We regularly updated and tested the new features that the various robo advisors offer. Also, our compliance team regularly checks and updates the details in this review as needed.

How Do I Contact Questrade?

Questrade offers customers three points of contact if you need additional support. You can email its customer support team at [email protected], connect via online chat, or by telephone at 1 833 588 6914, Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 8 PM EST. 

Who Is Questrade Best Suited For?

Questrade is best suited for Canadian ETF investors who will benefit from the commission-free ETF trades. Also, if you’re looking for a robo advisor alternative to offerings from Wealthsimple or Justwealth, you’ll want to give Questrade a close look.

If you’re just starting out, consider Wealthsimple Trade as another low-cost alternative. It offers free stock and ETF trades, but its platform lacks Questrade’s functionality. TD Direct Investing might be your best option if you’re a sophisticated investor searching for the most capable trading platform and market research tools.

Check out Questrade here >>

FAQs

What are the negatives of Questrade? 

Questrade’s biggest drawback is its limited market research tools. For example, it lacks the stock screening capability of more robust platforms, such as TD Direct Investing.

Is Questrade better than TD Direct Investing? 

It depends. Questrade is more affordable than TD Direct Investing, Canada’s largest online brokerage. TD charges a standard trading fee of $9.99 and doesn’t offer free ETF purchases. That said, active traders might appreciate TD’s more powerful research tools.

I live in the U.S. Can I open a Questrade account? 

You cannot open a Questrade account unless you have a Canadian address. Questrade is only available to Canadian residents.

What is required to open a Questrade account? 

In addition to a Canadian address, you’ll need to provide Questrade with a piece of government-issued ID and your Social Insurance Number (SIN) top open a new account. 

Questrade Features

  • Self-Directed Trading
  • Robo-Advisor (Questwealth Portfolios)
  • Cash
  • TFSA
  • FHSA
  • RRSP
  • Spousal RRSP
  • RESP
  • RIF
  • LIF
  • LIRA
  • Corporate Cash

Stocks: $4.95 (Min) to $9.95 (Max)

ETFs (Buy): $0

ETFs (Sell): $4.95 to $9.95

Options: $9.95 + $1 per contract

Mutual Funds: $9.95

Account Administration Fees

Questwealth Management Fees

  • $1,000 to $99,999: 0.25%
  • $100,000+: 0.20%

Customer Service Number 

Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM EST.