Summary: Questrade is a Canadian-based online brokerage platform that offers a wide array of financial services, including stock trading, options, bonds, and ETFs. It provides a range of account types, such as Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), and margin accounts, to cater to various investment needs. The platform has earned numerous industry awards and is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
- Buy, Sell and Trade over 8,000 Stocks, ETFs, Precious Metals & More.
- Supports TFSA, RRSP and RESP accounts in Canada.
- Competitive fee structure starting at $4.95 CAD per trade.
What is Questrade?
Questrade, founded in 1999, is a leading online brokerage based in Canada that has significantly impacted the country's financial services landscape by offering affordable and accessible investment options. Over the years, it has evolved from a small startup into a major player in the industry, with a focus on democratizing finance for Canadians.
The platform provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services, including trading in stocks, options, bonds, and a wide variety of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). Investors can choose from multiple account types to suit their financial goals, such as Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), and individual margin accounts.
Questrade delivers a wide range of features designed to streamline and safeguard your investment activities, such as one-click trading for quick transactions and a specialized desk for high-value trades. Here's a rundown of the key features you'll encounter on Questrade:
- Wide Range of Investment Options: Access the most common asset classes in Canadian markets, including stocks, ETFs, options, FX and CFDs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, IPOs, and precious metals. Cryptocurrencies are not offered, though you can gain exposure via crypto ETFs.
- Multiple CAD Deposit Methods: It provides several avenues for depositing Canadian dollars into your account, including electronic funds transfers, pre-authorized deposits, and online bill payments.
- Mobile and Desktop Interface: Questrade Web is intuitive, and it includes all the standard market placements needed for simple trading (limit, stop limit, trailing stop, and bracket order). Mobile trading is available, as well as robo-advisory.
- Around-the-Clock Support: The platform offers continuous customer support through a variety of means, including telephone, instant messaging, and email.
- Enhanced Security Measures: With options like secure login tokens, multi-layered encryption, and biometric authentication, Questrade places a high emphasis on protecting your investments and personal information.
- Sophisticated Trading Tools: For investors seeking advanced trading capabilities, Questrade provides a Professional Trader interface equipped with features like stop orders and dynamic charting.
- High-Value Trade Desk: For those engaged in trading large sums, a specialized desk is available to provide individualized service and swift transaction execution.
- One-Click Trading: This functionality enables instant transactions across various asset classes, facilitating the diversification of your investment portfolio.
- Compliance with Canadian Regulations: Questrade is fully regulated under Canadian law and is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), ensuring a secure and regulated trading setting.
Is Questrade Regulated?
Yes, Questrade is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). It operates under strict federal guidelines, providing a secure setting for trading various financial instruments. For added safety, it follows a meticulous asset management protocol and a significant portion of client assets are held in segregated accounts to ensure maximum security.
Questrade places a high emphasis on safeguarding its clients' investments and personal information. To achieve this, the brokerage employs various security measures such as multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and advanced encryption techniques. Regular security audits are conducted to ensure the integrity of the trading environment.
Questrade offers specialized accounts like Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRA) or Family RRSPs, but the TFSA, RESP, and Individual Margin Trading are the most popular. In particular, the TFSA and Margin accounts are favored by users as both involve no annual or opening fees. Here is a brief rundown of the account types on Questrade:
Most Popular Accounts
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA): This account is not just a generic savings tool; it's a versatile investment account that allows you to grow your money tax-free. Whether you're saving for a vacation or your retirement, the TFSA offers you the flexibility to withdraw your money at any time without paying taxes.
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP): This account is more than just a retirement nest egg. It offers immediate tax benefits by providing deductions on your yearly contributions. Moreover, the money you invest grows tax-deferred until you're ready to withdraw it, usually at retirement when you might be in a lower tax bracket.
- Individual Margin Accounts: These accounts are designed for the active trader who wants more than just the basics. They offer the ability to leverage your investments, providing extra buying power. This enables you to react quickly to market opportunities, but it's crucial to note that while the profit potential is magnified, so is the risk.
- Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA): This is not just another savings account; it's a specialized account designed to help first-time homebuyers. With just a $250 initial deposit, you can start growing your savings tax-free, and when you're ready to make your first home purchase, your withdrawals are also tax-free.
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP): This account is more than a simple savings account for your child's education. It comes with the added benefit of free government grants and even offers extra incentives for lower-income earners. The account also allows for flexible beneficiary rules, enabling withdrawals at the beneficiary's tax bracket, which is often lower.
- Family Registered Education Savings Plan: This account extends the benefits of a regular RESP by allowing you to pool contributions for more than one child or beneficiary, offering more growth potential and flexibility in withdrawals.
- Spousal RRSP: This account is designed to optimize income splitting between spouses in retirement. It allows the higher-earning spouse to contribute to the RRSP of the lower-earning spouse, thereby potentially lowering the couple's overall tax burden in retirement.
- Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA): This account is specifically designed for individuals who have pension funds that they wish to transfer and manage themselves. It allows you to keep your provincial pension growing while enjoying tax-deferred income.
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RIF): This account is tailored for individuals who are already retired and have an RRSP or Spousal RRSP that they wish to convert. It allows for the setup of regular withdrawals to provide a steady income stream in retirement.
Business and Entity Accounts
- Corporate Account: This account is designed for incorporated businesses and is taxed according to corporate tax rates. It allows for the trading of all types of investments, providing a versatile investment platform for businesses.
- Investment Club: This account is designed for groups of three or more people who want to pool their resources to take advantage of added buying power and investment opportunities.
- Partnership Account: This account is tailored for business partnerships and allows for the pooling of investments to take a bigger stake in the markets.
- Sole Proprietorship: This account is designed for individual business owners and gives you complete control over your business investments. All profits generated from the account belong solely to you.
- Forex & CFDs: These accounts are designed for traders who wish to enter the global markets and speculate on the price movements of currencies, commodities, global stocks, and indices.
- Trust Accounts: These accounts can be either formal or informal and are designed to invest on behalf of someone else, such as a minor or a beneficiary.
A key selling point for Questrade is the minimal fees and low commissions. Standard pricing for trades begins at 1 cent/share, with a minimum of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95 per transaction. Electronic Communication Network (ECN) and SEC fees may also apply for each stock transaction based on the value of the trade. Below is a quick overview of the platform’s fee schedule.
- Deposit Fees - The deposit fees vary depending on your selected payment method.
- Account Opening Fees - Questrade does not charge any fees for opening an account.
- Withdrawal Fees - The platform charges no costs to withdraw money from your account; however, your bank may take a fee.
- Brokerage Fees - The cost starts at 1 cent per share, with a minimum fee of $4.95 and a maximum fee of $9.95 per trade. You can buy Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) without any commission fees.
- Questwealth Portfolios Management Fees - Starts at 0.25% and drops to 0.20% for portfolios exceeding $100,000.
- Special Pricing for Active Traders - Questrade offers special commission plans and fee rebates for active traders, although the specifics are not detailed on the website.
- Annual Fees - The platform does not charge annual fees for Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) or Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA).
Questrade offers a diverse range of investment products to suit various investing goals, risk tolerances, and strategies. Investors can trade in stocks, which allows them to own shares in companies and potentially benefit from stock growth and dividend income. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are also available, providing a way to diversify portfolios while enjoying low management fees.
For those interested in more complex financial instruments, Questrade supports options trading, which offers the flexibility to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price in the future. It also includes foreign exchange (FX) trading, allowing investors to profit from global currency and commodity fluctuations. Additional offerings include IPOs, CFDs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, international equities, and precious metals like gold and silver.
Questrade offers a seamless trading experience to its mobile users via an app that's compatible with both iOS and Android platforms. This mobile app closely replicates the functionalities and user interface of the Questrade web platform. On the Apple App Store, the app has earned a 3.5 star rating and consistently ranks among the top 200 apps in the Finance section. On the Google Play Store, the app has received a 4.8 star rating, backed by more than 12,000 reviews.
Questrade provides 24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, Facebook and Twitter. You can also contact the team via email, but response time varies between 2 - 48 hours. It has some educational resources and access to live brokers, but compared to other institutions, it is not as robust in its levels of customer support. On Trust Pilot, Questrade has a below average rating of 1.4 stars, and most of the reviews are about poor customer service.
To sum up, Questrade is a comprehensive online trading platform giving Canadians access to many self-directed investment opportunities. The trading site is simple to use, and those who want advanced features can download additional interfaces. Its minimal fees and low commission prices are an obvious benefit for DIY traders. With low stock purchase fees and tax-free withdrawals, it is a popular investment vehicle for Canadian investors.