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A Questrade vs Qtrade Review for 2022

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Suppose you’ve always invested your money at the financial institution where you do your daily banking.

In that case, you might wonder if there is something more you can do to improve your stock market returns or reduce the fees you are paying for your investments.

Fortunately, there are software programs that allow you to buy and sell stocks yourself, which will reduce the costs you pay to invest your money, keeping more of your money where it belongs, in your portfolio.

The software platforms are called online brokerages, and there are several available in Canada. Two of the most popular online brokerages are Questrade and Qtrade, and today we’ve put them head to head to find out which one is the better place for your money.

Questrade and Qtrade are two very well-known online brokerages that let you buy and sell stocks in Canada. Here is our overview of both platforms.

Questrade vs. Qtrade: Overview

Questrade: Overview

Commonly touted as Canada’s largest online brokerage, Questrade has over $20 billion in assets under management. This online brokerage has been helping Canadians build balanced portfolios since 1999, and they are headquartered in Toronto, ON. Questrade’s platform has an excellent reputation as a solid choice for investing your money yourself.

With Questrade, you’ll be able to build your portfolio in various accounts like Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), non-registered accounts, and more.

Qtrade: Overview

Although less well-known than Questrade, Qtrade launched in 2001 as a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. and has made a name for themselves in Canada’s online brokerage marketplace.

Qtrade has a reputation for elite, award-winning customer service and allows users to buy mutual funds. For more advanced investors, Qtrade has some robust research tools.

Questrade vs. Qtrade: Features

Questrade and Qtrade offer many features that will help both newbie and seasoned investors grow their portfolios. Here are the top features from each platform.

Questrade: Features

  • Questwealth portfolios are robo-advisor managed portfolios for new investors
  • Many account options including RRSP, TFSA, RESP, other registered accounts, cash, margin, and trust
  • The ability to purchase many different investment products like stocks, fixed income, mutual funds, ETFs, and options
  • Affording trading fees and commission-free ETF purchases
  • There is no minimum cash required to open an account, and you can start trading with just $1,000
  • Trade anywhere with desktop, browser-based, and mobile apps available on Android and iOS
  • No annual fee to maintain your accounts, and no inactivity fees for unused registered accounts

Qtrade: Features

  • All popular investment accounts offered including RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, LIRAs, as well as cash, margin, non-registered (both individual and joint), and corporate accounts
  • The ability to purchase stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, IPOs, and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
  • Competitive trading fees and free ETF trades (buy and sell) from a selected list with no minimums
  • Web-based and mobile apps for both Android and iOS offering real-time quotes, market research, watchlists, alerts, and more
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Award-winning customer service

The Winner: Features

Questrade has Qtrade beat regarding features. Whether you are a new investor who has never built a portfolio yourself, or a seasoned investor looking for the latest research, Questrade has you covered.

Questrade vs. Qtrade: Fees

One of the significant benefits to building a portfolio through an online brokerage is the money you’ll save by not having to pay the high management expense ratios charged by mutuals funds and the financial advisors who provide them. Both Questrade and Qtrade have very low fees. We’ll outline them below.

Questrade: Fees

Questrade’s has two pricing systems, depending on which of their two products you choose to use.

The first product is Questwealth Portfolios, a robo-advisor that automatically invests your money in a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds.

You’ll answer a quick questionnaire to determine your risk tolerance, and Questwealth Portfolios will choose one of several pre-built portfolios to suit your needs.

Questwealth Portfolios charges a management fee of 0.25%* of your portfolio balance. This management fee is one of the lowest offered by any robo-advisor in Canada. For accounts over $100,000, that fee drops to 0.20%*.

If you prefer to buy and sell stocks yourself, you’ll use Questrade’s main platform. This platform charges $4.95* per trade, up to a maximum of $9.99* per trade. If you plan to build a portfolio out of ETFs, you’ll be happy to know that Questrade allows free ETF purchases. You can also buy mutual funds through Questrade for $9.95* per trade.

If you are a high-volume trader making more than 150 trades per year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted trading cost. High-volume traders pay as little as $0.01* per share to trade, and they’ll also get access to Questrade’s sophisticated trading platform.

This platform comes with robust research and has a monthly fee ranging from $19.95* to $89.95*, depending on which tier you use.

Questrade does not charge minimum account size fees or inactivity fees.

Qtrade: Fees

At Qtrade, the average trader will pay $8.75* per trade to buy stocks and $8.75* per trade to buy ETFs. However, Qtrade does offer over 100 ETFs available to trade (buy and sell) for free with no minimums, so it is entirely possible to build an ETF portfolio from Qtrade for free.

If you are an active trader with Qtrade, your trading fees drop to $6.95* per trade, but that is still more expensive than Questrade’s standard fee.

On top of higher fees, you’ll also pay a quarterly fee of $25* on accounts with assets under $25,000.

The Winner: Fees

Numbers don’t lie, and in this case, Questrade’s low trading fees beat Qtrade. We also like that Questrade has one of the best robo-advisors in Canada. It’s also ideal for Canadians who aren’t comfortable building a portfolio themselves yet and that robo-advisor is also an industry leader for low fees.

Questrade vs. Qtrade: Requirements

Not everyone can open up a Questrade or Qtrade account in Canada. However, if you’re considering opening an account, here’s what you’ll need.

Questrade: Requirements

  • Be the age of majority in the province where you live
  • Permanent resident of Canada
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Social insurance number
  • Investment statements
  • Details about your income, assets, your net worth
  • Your spouse’s financial details
  • A bank account at another financial institution

Qtrade: Requirements

  • Be the age of majority in the province where you live
  • Permanent resident of Canada
  • Government-issued ID
  • Social insurance number
  • Investment e-Statements
  • Details about your income, assets, and net worth
  • A bank account at another financial institution may be required
  • The ability to e-sign an application

The Winner: Requirements

Signing up for an account with either Questrade or Qtrade is pretty straightforward. The requirements are nearly identical because both organizations are federally regulated and must collect specific information. For this reason, we’ve declared a tie.

Questrade vs. Qtrade: Accessibility

In the digital age, it’s essential to know that you can access your investment accounts on the go, wherever you are. Just like online banks, we expect our online brokerages to be easily accessible from anywhere. Here’s our review of each online brokerage’s accessibility.

Questrade: Accessibility

You can access the primary Questrade trading platform from either a web browser or their mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS.

Questrade also offers three additional trading platforms for active traders who need up-to-the-minute information and a fully customizable environment.

Qtrade: Accessibility

Qtrade also offers a trading platform that is accessible either through a web browser or on mobile. Their apps are available for both Android and iOS phones.

Qtrade also provides a unique Portfolio Score TM tool that helps you learn best practices by comparing your portfolio to domestic and global benchmarks. Portfolio Score will evaluate your portfolio and grade it across five key dimensions. Again, we can see this tool being beneficial for newer investors.

The Winner: Accessibility

While both online platforms are available through your web browser and mobile, Questrade’s three additional trading platforms offer proper customizable functionality for high-volume traders that you won’t find with Qtrade. For this reason, we declare Questrade the winner of this category.

Questrade: Pros & Cons

Pros: The Good Stuff

  • Free ETF purchases
  • Base trading fees of $4.95* are very competitive
  • No account minimums or monthly fees
  • Most popular securities that you are interested in trading are available
  • Optional data package for serious traders for an extra cost
  • Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), which means your money is safe

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

  • You can open an account with $0, but you need at least $1,000* to start trading

*Rates current as of September 2021

Qtrade: Pros and Cons

Pros: The Good Stuff

  • Multicurrency—supports both CAD and USD
  • Offers a free trial
  • Offers a wide variety of products beyond just ETFs
  • In-depth educational resources
  • Real-time account opening

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

  • More expensive than some online trading competitors
  • App and website aren’t the most intuitive
  • Doesn’t accept e-wallets

Our Final Thoughts

While we didn’t go into this comparison expecting to declare for Questrade in nearly every category, what we’ve found is that while Qtrade’s product offerings, fees, and overall features are good, Questrade’s are just a little bit better.

In addition, Questrade has lower fees and more features that will appeal to both new investors (like Questwealth Portfolios) and seasoned investors (like multiple trading platforms) alike. For this reason, we think that Questrade is the best choice for the average Canadian investor.

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