Qtrade Investor vs. Questrade

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Qtrade Investor vs. Questrade

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood

Qtrade Investor vs. Questrade


Investing Review

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 Investor and Questrade are becoming increasingly popular and convenient for those trying 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 Investor 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 buy into various investment programs, with reasonable fees and plenty of options:


  • Was launched in 2001
  • Currently has $15 billion in assets
  • Is headquartered in Vancouver, BC 
  • Charges commissions of $6.95 – $8.75 per regular trade
  • Requires clients to hold a minimum account balance of $2,000
  • Specializes in:


  • Was launched in 1999
  • Currently has $8 billion in assets 
  • Is headquartered in Toronto, ON
  • Charges commissions of $4.95 – $9.95 per regular trade
  • Requires clients to hold a minimum account balance of $1,000
  • Specializes in:
    • Stocks
    • ETFs
    • Options
    • Mutual Funds
    • Bonds
    • GICs
    • IPOs
    • International Equities 
    • Precious Metals

How Do Qtrade and Questrade Work?

Qtrade and Questrade are “self-directed” trading platforms. So, unlike with a bank, where traditional investment programs are managed by a financial advisor (or automated robo-advisor), you’ll have total control over your portfolio and trades.  

You simply need to create a Qtrade or Questrade account, build your portfolio, check out their investment options and start trading. Some experienced investors prefer the self-directed route because the commissions can be lower than those of a financial advisor and they find the idea of managing their own investment portfolio more appealing.  

All this said, keep in mind that self-directed investing requires work, knowledge and attention to detail. You’ll have to monitor your portfolio and rebalance your investments when they don’t line up with your risk profile. So, it’s a good idea to get advice from a professional advisor before you sign any paperwork. Luckily, you can find most of the information you need on the Qtrade and Questrade websites.  

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

Qtrade vs. Questrade – A Quick Breakdown

Accounts AvailableQtrade Fees
(Per Trade)
Questrade Fees
(Per Trade)
Stocks$6.95 – $8.75$4.95 – $9.95
ETFs$6.95 – $8.75 (or choose from 100 free ETFs)$4.95 – $9.95 (free to buy)
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 optionVariable
Bonds, IPOs, GICsVariableVariable

What Are Some 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:


  • 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 relatively easy to navigate. Creating an account and building a startup portfolio only takes a few minutes.
  • 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.


  • 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. 
  • Solid Security Features – Questrade is a well-regulated company and is known for having bank-grade security and providing $10 million in private insurance.
  • No-Hassle Transfers – If you want to transfer existing accounts to your portfolio from another platform, Qtrade will reimburse you for any associated fees.
  • 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.

Are you protected? Find out if ETFs are insured by the CDIC?

What Types of Accounts Are Available?

Now that you know more about how Qtrade and Questrade work, let’s talk about some of the accounts each organization offers. On both platforms, you’ll find a wide selection of different “registered”, “margin” and “cash” accounts:

Cash Accounts 

Give you more flexibility when it comes to your investments, meaning your gains will be subject to tax but you can withdraw whenever you want, penalty-free, and collect income at the same time, provided all transactions are made in cash. Popular types of cash accounts offered at both Qtrade and Questrade include but aren’t limited to:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • GICs
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds

Margin Accounts 

Allow you to use assets (instead of cash) as collateral to borrow money from the platform, so you can buy additional properties or market opportunities. While it’s risky to leverage your assets, you may see a sizable increase in your returns. Here, you’ll have many of the same individual or joint investment options as regular cash accounts. 

Check out how you can enter the Canadian housing market today

Registered Accounts 

Allow you to accumulate tax-free interest on whatever income you earn and deposit. While tighter withdrawal restrictions apply, you may be eligible for more financial benefits in the future, such as a comfortable retirement. Popular types of registered accounts offered at both Qtrade and Questrade include but aren’t limited to:

  • 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)

Other 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
  • Entity – Here, you’re able to invest in your or someone else’s business. Available in Corporate, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship and Investment Club accounts. 
  • Precious Metals – Using your RRSP, RESP, or TFSA registered account, you can invest in precious metal stocks with Sprott Money Ltd.

Qtrade vs. Questrade – Cost Comparison

Although Questrade offers a broader selection of accounts, Qtrade can be a little 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: 


  • Stocks/Equities = $6.95 – $8.75
  • ETFs = $6.95 – $8.75 or FREE (from select list) 
  • Options = $6.95 – $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
  • Mutual Funds = Free
  • International Equities = None  
  • Precious Metals = None
  • Bonds, IPOs, GICs = Varies
  • Fixed Income and Exchange-Traded Debentures = $1.00 per $100 (face value)
  • Annual Fee = $25.00 (quarterly) 


  • Stocks/Equities = $4.95 – $8.75 ($00.1 per share)
  • ETFs = $4.95 – $8.75 (free to buy)
  • Options = $9.95 +$1 per contract
  • Mutual Funds = $9.95 (trailer fee)
  • International Equities = 1% of trade value (minimum $195)
  • Precious Metals = $19.95 USD (per trade)
  • Bonds, IPOs, GICs = Free (with $5,000 minimum purchase)
  • Annual Fee = Free

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.  

Before you make your selection, be sure to compare both platforms and their portfolio options. If you can’t decide which is better, speak with a financial professional today. Until then, here are a few of the main reasons to choose Qtrade or Questrade:


  • Maximum trading prices are cheaper ($8.75 vs $9.95) 
  • Mutual funds are free to buy (no fees or commissions) 
  • 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   


  • Baseline trading prices are slightly lower ($4.95 vs. $6.95)
  • More account and portfolio options are available  
  • No annual fee (as long as you make trades within a specific period)  
  • A good option for those looking to buy ETFs or invest in global markets
  • Promo offer of $50 in free trades for creating an account

Overall, some 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.

Qtrade and Questrade – Investing in Your Future

Interested in building an investment portfolio? If so, Qtrade and Questrade are two of the most popular trading platforms in Canada. Check out their webpages or contact their customer service lines for more information. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. Bryan has been working for Loans Canada for five years and covers a wide range of topics, including credit improvement, debt management, and all things related to personal finance. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing film and television screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. He aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come.

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