Qtrade Direct Investing vs. Questrade

Qtrade Direct Investing vs. Questrade

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 1, 2022

In Canada, there are plenty of investment trading companies to choose from. While some investors prefer to deal with a mainstream financial institution, like their bank or credit union, independent platforms like Qtrade Direct Investing and Questrade are becoming increasingly popular for those looking to invest their savings wisely. 

Below we’re comparing Qtrade to Questrade to help you decide which investment platform is the right fit for your investing goals.

Qtrade Direct Investing vs. Questrade – Who Are They?

As mentioned, Qtrade and Questrade are two popular online-based Canadian investment brokerages that can help you create a portfolio, execute trades, and access various investment accounts, with reasonable fees and plenty of options:

Qtrade

Qtrade Direct Investing is an online brokerage that was launched in 2001 to offer Canadians a way to achieve their investment goals at no minimum account balance. It is a self-directed online trading platform that is easy to use and features a number of powerful research tools that will allow users to make better investment decisions. With Qtrade Direct Investing, users can trade ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, GIC, and other securities at low commission rates of $6.95 – $8.75 per regular trade. 

50 Free Trades Offer For New Clients

Qtrade is offering almost $500 in commission-free trades to new clients when they open and fund an account with at least $10,000 by October 31, 2022 (funds must be held until November 30, 2023), conditions apply.

  • Promo code: “50TRADESFREE”
  • Eligibility: New clients only
  • Qualifying trades: First 50 commissionable online equity and ETF trades only 
  • Free trades period: Eligible clients will have until November 30, 2023, to use up their 50 free trades
  • Fulfillment: Rebate to be applied by December 31, 2023
  • Transfer fee rebate: Receive up to $150 per client when the client transfers in $15,000 or more

Questrade

Questrade is an online trading platform that was launched in 1999. They are headquartered in Toronto, ON and currently has $8 billion in assets. They allow Canadians to start investing with as little as $1,000. Users can choose to build their own investment portfolio through their Self Directed Investing platform or have it created and managed through Questrade’s Questwealth Portfolios. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll be able to invest in a variety of investment types including stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, IPOs, international equities and precious metals.

How Do Qtrade And Questrade Work?

Qtrade Direct Investing and Questrade Self Directed Investing are both “self-directed” trading platforms that offer you complete control over your investments. 

To start trading, you simply need to create a Qtrade or Questrade account, build your portfolio, check out their investment options and start trading. 

Qtrade Direct Investing

You can start investing using Qtrade in 3 simple steps: 

  1. Create An Account – To open an account you’ll need to create a User ID and password using your email. They will send you a 4-digit code to verify your email. 
  2. Complete Profile -Next, you’ll need to provide your personal and financial details as well as what type of investment account you want to open. 
  3. Start Trading – Once you’ve provided all the necessary information, verified your identity and signed all the agreements, you’ll be able to access your account within minutes and start trading. 

Questrade Self Directed Investing

To open a Questrade Self Directed Investing account, you’ll simply need to follow these steps: 

  1. Create A User ID – The first step involves creating an online account. You’ll need to enter your name, email address, and password you want to be associated with it. 
  2. Build Profile – The next step requires you to provide information about yourself which includes your basic personal details, your employment information and details on your citizenship. 
  3. Set Up Account – The last step involves providing information about your investment account. This includes entering your account details, your initial deposit and whether you’d like options trading. Once you’ve provided the information and signed the agreements, you can start trading. 

Interested in investing today. Check out our beginner’s guide on investing money.  

Qtrade vs. Questrade – A Quick Breakdown

QtradeQuestrade
Trading FeesStocks: $6.95 or $8.75/trade
Options: $6.95 or $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
ETFs: $6.95 or $8.75/trade (100+ free ETFs)
Stocks: $0.01 per share (min. $4.95 – max. $9.95 & ECN fees may apply)
Options: $9.95 + $1 per contract
ETFs: Free ($00.1 per share to sell)
Account Fees$25 per quarter (can be waived if you meet certain conditions)None
Minimum Balance$0$1,000
Investment Types– Stocks
– Options
– ETFs
– Mutual funds
– Bonds
– GICs
– Other securities
– Stocks
– Options
– ETFs
– Mutual funds
– Bonds
GICs
– IPOs
– International equities
– Precious metals
Accounts OfferedTFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, LIF, cash, margin, corporateTFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, LIF, LRSP, cash, margin, corporate

Key Features Of Qtrade And Questrade

Since Qtrade and Questrade have been around for a long time, it can be tough to decide which company will best suit your needs. Here are a few key features of both these investment trading platforms so you’ll have an easier time making your choice:

Qtrade

  • Affordable Commission Fees – While Qtrade normally charges up to $8.75 per trade, more active investors will have their fees reduced to $6.95 per trade.
  • User-Friendly Access – The Qtrade platform is easy to navigate. Creating an account and building a startup portfolio only takes a few minutes thanks to real-time verification and real-time account opening.
  • Helpful Research Tools – The Qtrade website and customer support center can give you plenty of information about your portfolio and potential investments. 
  • Good Customer Service – Speaking of customer support, Qtrade has been praised for its short call-waiting and email/message response times.  
  • Variety of Accounts & Options – As you can see, Qtrade offers a variety of different accounts and trade choices that can be adjusted to suit your finances.
  • Easily Transfer Investments to Qtrade Transferring your balance from another platform or institution is easy and Qtrade may reimburse your transfer fees up to $150.

Questrade

  • No Annual Fees – Although trades cost a bit more than Qtrade (up to $9.95), most Questrade accounts have zero yearly fees and ETFs are free to purchase. 
  • Affordable Commission Fees – Trading stocks with Questrade costs $.01 per share, with a minimum of $4.95 to a maximum of $9.95 per trade. And Purchasing EFTs is free.
  • No-Hassle Transfers – If you want to transfer existing accounts to your portfolio from another platform, Qtrade will reimburse you for any associated fees up to $150.
  • Great For Beginners – Questrade accounts are also very easy to create and use. Plus, you’ll have access to their free mobile app whenever you want. 
  • Quality Research Tools – Questrade also provides good customer assistance and can easily help you research any of the 4 market data packages they offer.
  • Variety of Accounts & Options – Similar to Qtrade, Questrade offers all the accounts and investments you want.

Types Of Investment Accounts Available

Both Qtrade and Questrade offer all the popular investment accounts that Canadian investors want. Users will be able to choose from non-register accounts as well as registered accounts:

  • RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)
  • TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account)
  • RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan)
  • LIRA (Locked-In Retirement Account)
  • LIF/RIF (Life Income Fund or Retirement Income Fund)

Furthermore, if you’re looking for a more specific type of investment account both companies other, margin, corporate, joint, and USD accounts.

Additional Accounts At Questrade

One of the reasons why some investors might choose Questrade over Qtrade is because they have a slightly larger variety of accounts. Here are some of the alternatives they offer, that Qtrade doesn’t:

  • Forex & CFDs – Foreign Exchange and Contracts For Difference allow you to invest in global markets and make trades using an individual or joint account

Qtrade vs. Questrade – Cost Comparison

Qtrade is slighlty more affordable when it comes to their commission fees. That said, there are certain cost-related areas where Questrade excels over Qtrade. Here’s a quick comparison: 

Qtrade

  • Stocks/Equities = $6.95 or $8.75
  • ETFs = $6.95 or $8.75
    • 100 + commission-free ETFs (free to buy and sell)
  • Options = $6.95 or $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
  • Mutual Funds = Commission free
  • Bonds = $1 per $1,000 face value
    • $24.99 min
    • $250 max
  • IPOs = Commission free
  • GICs = Commission free
  • Administration Fee = $25.00 (quarterly) 

Questrade 

  • Stocks = (additonal ECN fees may apply)
    • $4.95 min
    • $8.75 max
  • ETFs = free to buy
    • $0.01 per share to sell
      • $4.95 min
      • $9.95 max
  • Options = $9.95 +$1 per contract
  • Mutual Funds = $9.95/ trade
  • International Equities = 1% of trade value (minimum $195)
  • Precious Metals = $19.95 USD per trade
  • Bonds, IPOs, GICs = Free (with $5,000 minimum purchase)
  • Administration Fee = None
Accounts AvailableQtrade Fees (Per Trade)Questrade Fees (Per Trade)
Stocks$6.95 – $8.75$0.01 per share (min. $4.95 – max. $9.95 & ECN fees may apply)
ETFs$6.95 – $8.75 (or choose from 100+ free ETFs)– Free to buy– $0.01 per share ($4.95 min – $9.95 max) to sell
Options$6.95 – $8.75 (+$2.50 per contract)$9.95 (+$1.00 per contract)
Mutual FundsNo Fee$9.95
International EquitiesNot an option1% of trade value (minimum of $195.00)
Precious Metals Not an option$19.95 USD per trade
Bonds, IPOs, GICsVariableFree (with $5,000 minimum purchase)

Qtrade vs. Questrade FAQs

Should I invest myself or use a robo or professional advisor? 

Self-directed investing is always a good idea but if you’re willing to put in the time and work it takes to learn about investing and execute a strategy, you may not see the returns you were hoping for. For investors who have less time to devote to their investments, a robo advisor or professional advisor are both good alternatives.

Does Qtrade have an annual fee?

Qtrade does have a quarterly administration fee of $25. But that fee can be avoided if you meet one of several criteria.

How much does it cost to start investing with Questrade?

Questrade requires a minimum deposit of $1000 to start trading.

How much does it cost to start investing with Qtrade?

Qtrade does not require a minimum deposit to start trading.

Is Qtrade or Questrade a Better Investment Platform For You?

As you can see, there are plenty of things to enjoy about Qtrade or Questrade and just as many reasons to choose one platform over the other. After all, both platforms are known to have excellent customer service, research tools, and investment opportunities.  

Qtrade

  • Maximum trading prices are cheaper ($8.75 vs $9.95) 
  • Mutual funds are free to buy (no fees or commissions) 
  • More than 100 commission-free ETFs
  • A good option for active investors (who make 200 trades per month)
  • Less complicated website and portfolio selection
  • Better for those making simple investments on the North American market
  • Extensive educational tools
  • No minimum account balance to start trading    

Questrade

  • Baseline trading prices are slightly lower ($4.95 vs. $6.95)
  • More investment options are available
  • Purchase ETFs for free
  • No annual fee (as long as you make trades within a specific period)  

Overall, many investors choose Qtrade simply because their regular trading costs are a bit lower than Questrade. However, the fact that Questrade offers more investment options and charges zero yearly fees can balance out the equation for many. In the end, it all boils down to your personal preferences and how experienced you are as a trader.

Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names and trademarks of Aviso Wealth.


Rating of 5/5 based on 4 votes.

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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