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Trading and investing have never been easier thanks to the plethora of online platforms available in Canada. For those who prefer taking a DIY approach to trading while still having access to industry experts, Questrade Self Directing Investing and TD Direct Investing are a couple of great options to consider.

Let’s take a closer look at both trading platforms to help you decide which one is best suited for your investing needs.

Who Is Questrade?

Questrade is a Canadian online investment trading platform that’s been around since 1999 and is now one of the more popular and fastest-growing online brokerages in the country. It allows Canadians to take a DIY approach to trading. 

Users can buy stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and other financial products directly from the Questrade Self-Directed Investing platform without the need to deal with a traditional investment broker. Otherwise, users can have their investment portfolios managed and pre-built through Questrade Wealth Management Inc.

Questrade is best for investors looking to trade in Canadian and US markets or those who are relatively new to investing and trading.

Features Of Questrade Trading Platform

Questrade comes with a variety of features, including the following:

  • DIY Trading – With Questrades Self Directed Investing option, users can manage their investments with their own hands.  
  • Questwealth Portfolios – Users can also opt for Questwealth Portfolios for pre-built investment portfolios. Questrade Portfolios are designed by experts to help you reach your financial goals faster. 
  • Dashboard Options – Questrade offers different dashboard options for various levels of investing experience, including for beginner, intermediate and advanced traders.
  • Investment Accounts – Trade using registered and non-registered investment accounts, including TFSAs, RRSPs, corporate accounts, and more.
  • Investment Products – Trade stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and options 
  • Investment Monitoring Tools – Keep on top of your investments with Questrade’s  advanced stock watchlists, investment reports and alert notifications. 
  • Charting Tools – Make informed investment decisions with Questrade’s trading and charting tools. Get market data, track the performance of your stocks and find technical patterns to help you find investment opportunities. 
  • Desktop And Mobile Interfaces – Questrade is available via desktop or your mobile phone. 

Who Is TD Direct Investing?

TD Direct Investing is an investment brokerage and online trading platform designed with self-directed investors in mind. Owned by the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the platform has been rebranded several times over the years after the initial launch of TD GreenLine Investor services in 1984. It has been known as TD Direct Investing since 2012. 

The platform provides investors with an affordable and accessible way to buy and sell stocks, mutual funds, equities, ETFs, and other financial products. 

TD Direct Investing is for investors looking for a more advanced and comprehensive desktop trading platform.

Features Of TD Direct Investing

The following features are available on the TD Direct Investing platform:

  • WebBroker – TD’s most popular trading platform, WebBroker is a great option for all investors. You can build a personalized home page, diversify your portfolio, and access the tools you need to make the right investments.
  • TD app – The TD app lets investors trade on the go, integrates with the WebBroker platform, and sends notifications and alerts.
  • AdvancedDashboard – TD’s AdvanceDashboard is meant for active advanced traders. You can access pro-level tools, both Canadian and U.S trading and personalize your settings.
  • thinkorswinm – A great option for advanced traders who want to trade U.S. stocks and options.
  • TD GoalAssist –  For mobile devices, TD GoalAssist ensures your investments match your financial goals
  • Investment Options –  Stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, GICs, and fixed income
  • Investment Accounts –  Accounts available include TFSA, RSP, RDSP, RESP, LIRA, RIF, LIF, Margin, and Cash
  • TD Direct Investing Learning Centre – Access online learn resources like videos, webinars, tools, and articles to help you become a confident investor.

Questrade Self Directed Investing Vs TD Direct Investing Fees

There are fees associated with using both Questrade Self Directed Investing and TD Direct Investing. The following chart is available for comparison purposes:

Questrade Self Directed FeesTD Direct Investing Fees
Stocks – From 1¢/share
– Minimum $4.95 to maximum $9.95
$9.99 flat rate
ETFs– Buy for free – Sell at 1¢/share;
– Minimum $4.95 to maximum $9.95
$9.99 + $1.25/contract
Options$9.95 + $1/contract$9.99 + $1.25/contract
GICsFree with a minimum $5,000 purchase.
Fees may apply if withdrawn early.
– Commission is included in quoted price.
Min. purchase amount may apply.
BondsFree with a minimum $5,000 purchase – Commission is included in quoted price.
Min. purchase amount may apply.
Mutual Funds$9.95/tradeFree
FX & CFDsSpreads from 0.08 pipsNot available
Precious Metals$19.95 USD/trade– Gold bullion: $30 USD + $1/oz 
– Silver bullion: $30 USD + 0.10/oz 

Questrade Self Directed Investing Pros And Cons 

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of Questrade before investing using this platform:

Pros

  • Low Fees – Questrade Self Directed Investing offers free ETF purchases and overall lower fees than TD Direct Investing. Users can also buy bonds and mutual funds for free.
  • No Account Maintenance Fees – There are no monthly or annual maintenance fees for all accounts except the RESP accounts with balances under $15,000. 
  • User Friendly – Whether you’re a beginner looking to invest, Questrade’s platform is user-friendly and offers features to suit both beginner and advanced investors. It also has excellent mobile and web apps.
  • Robo-Advisor Option – If you’d like your investments managed by the experts at Questrade, you can opt for Questwealth Portfolios. They will create and manage a diversified portfolio for you.
  • Variety of Investments – Several investment products and accounts are available on the Questrade Self Directed Investing platform. 

Cons

  • Minimum Balance Requirement – To invest with Quetrade you need a minimum $1,000 balance to start trading.
  • Inactivity Fee – If you have no activity in your account, you’ll be charged an inactivity fee of $24.95 quarterly. 
  • Transfer FeesWire transfers and international stocks have high fees. 
  • Commission Fees – No-commission trading is not applicable to stocks
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TD Direct Investing Pros And Cons 

TD Direct Investing has a number of perks for investors, but there are also a handful of drawbacks to consider:

Pros

  • Reputable – TD Direct Investing is the largest self-directed investment platform in Canada. 
  • Caters To Different Investors – Whether you’re a novice or an experienced trader TD Direct Investing offers a number of features to help you make your investments.
  • Variety Of Investments – Multiple investment products and accounts are available
  • Educational Tools – TD Direct Investing allows users to gain knowledge about investing through their  Learning Centre. 
  • Investing Tools – With TD Direct Investing you’ll gain access to strong market data and analysis and an in-house expert. 

Cons

  • High Fees – High trading fees compared to other online platforms. Plus, you don’t get free ETF trades.
  • Quarterly Account Fees – A $25 quarterly maintenance fee applies to small accounts. To waive the fee, you’ll need a minimum balance of $15,000.
  • Limited Options – Limited account and funding options.

How To Open An Account?

To open an account with either Questrade or TD Direct Investing, follow these steps:

Steps To Open A Questrade Self Directed Investing Account

To open a Self Directed Investing account at Questrade, simply click the “open an account” button on their home page. From there you can select the type of account you’d like to open such as a TFSA or RRSP. Then you’ll need to follow these next steps: 

  1. Create Your User ID

Here you’ll enter basic information such as your name, address and contact information. You’ll also create your account user ID and password. 

  1. Build Your Profile

The next step involves filling out your “Personal,” “Employment,” “Financial,” and “Citizenship” profiles and providing the information requested. 

  1. Set Up Your Account

The last set involves answering questions about your account, such as the purpose of your account and your initial deposit. You’ll also need to: 

  • Provide consent to communication
  • Complete the “Persons with financial interest,” confirm, and continue
  • Read the “Agreements” section
  • Submit and e-sign your document package and Investment Management Agreement 
  • Upload your photo-ID
  • Fund your account

Opening An Account With TD Direct Investing

To open an account with TD Direct Investing, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the age of majority in your province or territory
  • Be a Canadian resident

You’ll need to provide the following information:

To open an account, you can apply online, over the phone or by going to in-person at TD branch. You can set up your account by doing one of the following: 

  • Make a one-time deposit from a bank account to start trading 
  • Transfer existing investments from another Canadian brokerage if applicable
  • Personalize your account, including setting up a recurring deposit 

Questrade vs. TD Direct Investing FAQs

Are Questrade and TD Direct investing insured by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF)?

Yes, both Questrade and TD Direct investing are insured by the CIPF.

Is Questrade or TD Direct Investing better for beginners?

Questrade is better for beginners because of its user-friendly interface, while TD Direct Investing has a more advanced platform that’s suitable for more experienced and self-directed investors.

Can I Have More Than One TFSA?

Yes, you can have multiple TFSA accounts. But, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you do not exceed your yearly contribution room.

Final Thoughts

Both Questrade and TD Direct Investing offer convenient trading platforms. If you’re a novice trader, you might find Questrade easier to use. But TD Direct Investing might be more suitable if you’re more experienced and are looking for more advanced trading features. 

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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