Questrade Review

This article was updated on March 28, 2021.

This article will review the platform Questrade. Anybody interested in investing can contact me in the chat function below or via email – advice@adamfayed.com.

Now would be a great time to consider investments options, given the huge stock market declines we have witnessed in March 2020.

Introduction:

Questrade is an online brokerage firm that is considered as the best available option for Canadian investors. It was founded in the year 1999 and is one of the most reputable online brokers in Canada.

Questrade is one of the safest online brokers as it is regulated by the top-tier regulator ‘Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)’ and is a member of ‘Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF)’.

Questrade cannot provide regular trading accounts (i.e., non-registered accounts) for the US-based Investors, even if they are Canadian citizens. People having an account with any other Canadian broker/financial institution are able to transfer it to Questrade or they can open an account with Questrade itself.

Investors are able to trade with stocks, forex, options, bonds, ETFs, CFDs, etc., with the help of Questrade. Additionally, they provide GICs, International Equities, IPO access, purchases of precious metals, etc.

With the help of Questrade, Canadian Investors are not only able to trade in the Canadian stock market, but they can also be able to trade with the US stock market as well. It is the most suitable choice for traders who trade actively and are trying to reduce the commissions of their trades. The commissions of Questrade can be as low as $4.95.


Rating
StockBrokers 4.5 out of 5
BROKERCHOOSER 4.5 out of 5
Investopedia 3.3 out of 5

In this article, we will discuss all the details about Questrade regarding queries such as fees, safety, markets, and products, etc.

Fees and Commissions at Questrade:

The fees for stocks, ETFs, and funds are lower than that of the other online brokers. There is an inactivity fee that can be charged if an account does not involve any activity. 

There are no withdrawal charges applicable to investors who reside in Canada. Let us take a brief look at the costs and commission that are applicable to an investor while trading on Questrade.

‘Trading Fees’ – These are the type of fees that are applicable to an investor while trading. Trading costs can be in the form of Commissions, Cost per Spreads, Financing Rates, Conversion Fees, etc. The trading fees on Questrade can be considered as average or above average among other online brokers. 

The fee structure on Questrade is simple and can be easily understood by an individual. Questrade has low fees/commissions for trading with stocks and ETFs. 

‘Stock and ETF fees’ -The commission charged at Questrade for making a $2,000 trade in the US stocks is ‘$5’. Questrade has a minimum fee of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95 while charging $0.01 per share. When it comes to trading with the ETFs, the person is charged only when they opt to sell the ETFs. The fee structure of ETFs is similar to that of the stock trading.

‘Financing Rates’ – Another type of trading costs that should be considered is ‘Financing Rates’. Financing Rates are the charges that are applicable to a person when they trade on margin or short a stock.

In other words, the financing rates are the interest paid to the broker when they borrow money or stocks from the broker to trade with. Financing rates are based on the amount of money/stocks borrowed by the trader and play a major role while estimating the trading costs. 

Financing Rates of Questrade are comparatively high. The annual financing rates for stocks and options on Questrade are 9.0% for the USD margin rate. For the trades made on margin, the investors are charged with a base rate. The average base rates for debit balance below $100,000 are 3.5% and above $100,000 are 2.5%.

‘Forex Fees’ – Although the forex fees on Questrade are high, it is the only top Canadian broker that provides the option for forex trading. Depending on the Benchmark Fees (which include commissions, spreads, and financing rates) for major currency pairs, the forex fees on Questrade are as follows.

EUR USD benchmark fees – $17.5

GBP USD benchmark fees – $15.0

AUD USD benchmark fees – $18.3

EUR CHF benchmark fees – $9.5

EUR GBP benchmark fees – $12.0

The above-mentioned fees represent the forex benchmark fees for a $20,000 trade of a 30:1 long position which has been held for one week.

‘Fund Fees’ – The fund fees at Questrade are considered to be low when compared to other online brokers and high when compared to the Canadian brokers. 

The commission for making a purchase of $2,000 in funds is $10.0 and the standard fees for trading with the mutual funds are $9.95 per each trade.

‘Bond Fees’ – There are no bond fees while trading on Questrade. This is a major advantage for making an investment in bonds, but the investor has to make an investment of at least $5,000 per each trade. The commission for making a trade of $10,000 in the government bonds for the US Treasury bond is $0.0.

‘Options Fees’ – The fees for trading with Options on Questrade are high when compared to other online brokers. The stock index options commission for 10 contracts for the US stock index options is $20.0. 

The options fees on Questrade are based on the options and contracts. The options fees on Questrade are $9.95 per option and an additional $1 per each contract.

‘CFD Fees’ – The CFD (Contract for Difference) fees on Questrade are similar to that of the fees charged by most online brokers and are considered to be average. Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that Questrade is one of the very few online brokers that provide access to trading with CFDs.

The average benchmark fees for trading with CFDs on Questrade for a $2,000 long position which is held for a week are as follows.

Benchmark fees for S&P 500 CFD – $2.2

Benchmark fees for Apple CFD – $22.1

Benchmark fees for Vodafone CFD – $30.8

The benchmark fees are calculated based on a 20:1 leverage for the stock index CFDs and a 5:1 leverage for single stock CFDs. The stock CFDs on Questrade are based on commissions and require a minimum amount as follows.

‘Stock CFD fees’:

Canada: Commission – CAD 0.01 per share, Minimum amount – CAD 9.95

USA: Commission – $0.01 per share, Minimum amount – $10

United Kingdom: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – £11.95

Austria, Germany, Ireland: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – €11.95

Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – €9.95

Denmark: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – DKK 99.95

Finland: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – €13.95

Norway: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – NOK 99.95

Sweden: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – SEK 99.95

Switzerland: Commission – 0.10% of the trade value, Minimum amount – CHF 11.95

Australia: Commission – 0.15% of the trade value, Minimum amount – AUD 14.95

Hong Kong: Commission – 0.20% of the trade value, Minimum amount – HKD 59.95

‘Non-trading Fees’ – These are the type of fees which are not related to trading. Some examples of the non-trading fees are withdrawal fees, inactivity fees, etc.

There is no account fee applicable to the investors while trading on Questrade. There are no fees charged for deposits and withdrawals either. However, there is an inactivity fee applicable to an individual.

‘Withdrawal Fees’ – There is no fees for the investors for the withdrawal/deposits through electronic fund transfers. The free limit for electronic transfers is only applicable up to a limit of CAD 50,000 or $25,000.

  However, for the International clients who are only able to make transfers using wire transfer, the costs applicable differ from $20 to $40 depending on the residency of the individual.

‘Inactivity Fees’ – There is an inactivity fee applicable to investors on Questrade. Inactivity fees are the charges imposed by the broker for the accounts with no activity related to trades for a certain period of time.

The inactivity fees on Questrade are $24.95 per every 4 months of inactivity in case of accounts having an amount lower than CAD 5,000. There are no inactivity fees for forex trading accounts as well as CFD accounts.

Opening an Account on Questrade:

The account opening process on Questrade is fully digital and very easy for the citizens of Canada. There is a requirement of a minimum investment amount of $1,000. 

‘Types of accounts’ – The types of accounts provided to the users on Questrade are as follows.

  • ‘Margin Accounts’ – There are two types of margin accounts available on Questrade, they are Individual Margin Account and Joint Margin Account. With the help of a margin account, a person is able to leverage stocks, ETFs, options, etc. Margin accounts can be accessible by the Canadian clients as well as the International clients.
  • ‘Forex & CFD Account’ – A Forex & CFD account is specifically designed to trade with forex and CFDs. Like the margin accounts, Forex & CFD accounts can also be accessed by Canadian investors and international investors.
  • ‘Tax-Free Savings Account’ – As the name describes, the Tax-Free Savings accounts is helpful to gain profits from savings without any applicable taxes on interests, dividends, and capital gains. The Tax-Free Savings account is only available for the citizens of Canada.
  • ‘Retirement Accounts’ – There are many types of retirement accounts such as RRSP, Spousal RRSP, LIRA, Locked-In RRSP. RRSP account is a Registered Retirement Savings Plan account. These accounts provide lower income taxes for the Investor’s retirement savings plan. Taxes aren’t applicable only upon withdrawal. These accounts are also only available for the residents of Canada.
  • ‘Registered Education Savings Plans’ – The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is the type of account that contributes to the savings for higher education (post-secondary education) along with grants and incentives from the government. There are two types of RESP accounts, they are RESP and Family RESP. These accounts are also available only for Canadian clients.
  • ‘Entity Accounts’ – Entity Accounts allow the investor to make an investment on the behalf of a business, which can either be the business of the person themselves or any others. The types of entity accounts on Questrade are Corporate Investment Club, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, and Trusts. The taxes applicable to the funds or assets in an entity account are the same as the Corporate Taxes. The Entity accounts on Questrade are also available only for Canadian clients.

‘Account opening process’ – The online application procedure for creating an account online for the Canadian investors is completely digital and very easy. The process of creating an account is given below. 

  • First of all, the person is required to select an account based on their necessities. More than one account can be created by a single person. 
  • The personal information of the individual is required to be submitted. Generally, personal information includes details such as the country of their residence, citizenship, Social Insurance, Employment-related information, etc.
  • The person should accept the terms and conditions described on Questrade.
  • Upon successful creation, the person is required to fund their account with the amount necessary.

The account opening process is so fast for the Canadian clients that it is estimated to be not more than 30 minutes. However, for International clients, the process is considered to be more time taking and complicated.

Once successful with the registration, the client is required to consult with the executive of Questrade in order to complete the verification process. This process has to be done in person and after that, the person has to mail (send physically) the documents necessary for the verification. The estimated time taken to complete the whole process can be somewhere around two weeks.

‘Deposits & Withdrawals’ – The process of Deposits and Withdrawals for the Canadian investors is very simple and free. However, the process is complicated and quite expensive for non-Canadian clients. Another disadvantage when it comes to deposits and withdrawals is there is no option for the credit card/debit card transfers. 

There are only two base currencies available for the users at Questrade. If the person does not trade in the same currency as the base currency or wants to convert the currency to another, then they are charged with Conversion Fees. The investor can be able to avoid the conversion fees by creating a multi-currency bank account. 

‘Deposits’ – Deposits can only be done with the help of a wire transfer for international clients. For the people residing in Canada, there is an availability of various options such as ‘Electronic Fund Transfer’, ‘Electronic Wallets (such as Interac Online)’, and ‘Certified Cheques’

The major disadvantage of the options available for making a deposit is that there is no option available for making a deposit with the help of a credit card/debit card.

The bank transfer can take a few days, whereas the deposit made with the help of an electronic wallet can be done instantly. The investor is able to make a deposit from the accounts that belong to them (are in their name).

‘Withdrawals’ – There are no withdrawal fees for the electronic fund transfers up to a limit of CAD 50,000 or $25,000. The international clients (clients from countries other than Canada), who are able to transfer only with the help of a wire transfer are charged with $20 to $40 depending on the country of their residence.

Usually, the withdrawal through e-wallets is instant while the bank transfer may take up to 3-5 days.

Trading Platforms:

The trading platform on Questrade is very simple and easy to understand. The design of the platform is good and there is an availability of some exceptional order types. Price alerts can also be set in the trading platform of Questrade. 

Some of the disadvantages that are needed to be considered are that Questrade doesn’t provide clear fee reports, no availability of a secure two-step login, and the customizability is limited for the charts and workspace.

The trading platform of Questrade is available as a Web-based platform, Mobile application, and Desktop trading platform.

‘Web-based trading platform’ – the web trading platform on Questrade is very simple and user-friendly with an excellent design. Due to simplicity offered, the customizability is limited.

The login and security are average as it lacks the two-step login feature. A security question can be set for access through new devices, which is asked to the user and upon being successful, they can be able to access with the help of an ID and a password.

The search function on the web trading platform is not so effective. Users may or may not be successful in finding relevant results.

There is an availability of order types such as Market, Limit, Stop-limit, Trailing stop-limit, Limit on open order, Limit on close order. In addition to those, there is an availability of order time limits such as Good ‘till date (GTD), Good ‘till canceled (GTC), Day, Good ‘till extended market (GTEM), Fill or Kill (FOK), and Immediate or cancel (IOC).

Alerts and notifications can be set for prices and trading volume alerts and can be received in the form of an e-mail or a text message on mobile.

Questrade’s portfolio report is simple and easy to understand by the user. But it lacks a clear fee report such as the report that is needed to be shown to the user on the commission paid by them.

‘Mobile Trading Platform’ – Just like the web-based platform, the mobile platform also provides a great user experience to the investor. The only backdrop is that there is no availability of a safe two-step login feature.

Similar to the web trading platform, the mobile application also provides access to price alerts, an excellent choice of order types to choose from, etc. the mobile application of Questrade is available on both Android and IOS.

‘Desktop Trading Platform’ – The Desktop trading platform of Questrade is user-friendly and provides various advantages such as Good Customizability (when compared to the Mobile Trading platform and the Web-based platform.), Clear Fee report, etc. 

The Questrade desktop trading platform is known as IQ Edge and is more advantageous for advanced traders. The Questrade desktop platform is available on both windows and as well as macOS. The language in which the desktop platform is available is English.

The customizability of the desktop trading platform is unique and well designed. Similar to the other platforms of Questrade, IQ Edge doesn’t have a two-step safer login. The search function is also considered to be average on Questrade. 

When coming to the order types, all the order types available within the web-based platform are also available within the desktop platform. In addition to those order types, there is an availability of conditional orders and bracket orders. 

Alerts and notifications can be received through pop-up messages, audio alerts, text message on mobile, and e-mail. Portfolio reports and clear fee reports that are provided within the desktop trading platform are also good.

Customer Support:

The Customer Support on Questrade is very good and available in all the three options available namely, Live Chat, Phone Support, and Email. But the thing that lags with the customer support on Questrade is that there is no availability of 24/7 support. 

The live chat support team responds instantly. But the customer has to enter various details regarding the issue, which can be sometimes time consuming and inconvenient.

The phone support can be considered as a very good option and with the help of this, the user is able to get all the relevant answers. The waiting time for phone support is not accurate and can take more time in some cases.

The email support of Questrade is also good and answers/solutions to queries can be expected within a few hours. This can be considered as a great factor as most other online brokers take more time. 

Markets and Products:

There is an availability of many types of assets that can be traded within Questrade, except for the cryptocurrencies and futures. The types of assets cover only the Canadian and US markets. 

Type of Assets Number of Providers
Stock Markets  9
ETFs 3,100
Currency Pairs 38
Funds  100
Bonds 1500
Options 6
Stock CFD markets 19
Stock CFDs 630
Commodity CFDs 10
Stock Index CFDs 15

Major North American exchanges can be accessed with the help of Questrade. Some of the stock exchanges that a person is able to trade with are NYSE, NASDAQ, NYSE AM (AMEX), NYSE ARCA, TSX, TSXV, CNSX, and NEO.

The most common types of currency pairs are available to investors. However, they might not be able to find exotic types though.

The number of mutual funds provided at Questrade are average when compared to other online brokers.

Bonds of various categories such as municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and provincial bonds are offered. Questrade is the best choice for investors who like to trade with Canadian fixed income securities.

Options trading at Questrade can be done with the help of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In the United States, the options markets available to the user are BATS, NASDAQ, NYSE AM (AMEX), NYSE ARCA (ARCA). The possibility of trading with the OTC options is also available in the US.

CFDs are considered as complex instruments and money can be lost rapidly due to leverage, Due to this, a high amount of risk involved. More than 80% of the investors who trade with CFDs tend to lose their money, hence, it is advised to consult a financial advisor and discuss any investment-related decisions.

With the help of Questrade portfolios, any Canadian investor can be able to let the Questrade’s fund managers handle their portfolios (if the investor is not willing to do this on their own).

Research and Education:

‘Research’ – Investors are able to access a wide range of research tools along with interactive and understandable charts, trading ideas, fundamental data, etc. Live streaming data can only be accessed by individuals with a paid subscription. 

The list of research tools available on Questrade is given below.

  • Questrade Trading – the web-based trading platform.
  • IQ Edge – the desktop trading platform of Questrade.
  • Market Intelligence – a research tool that provides fundamental data.
  • Intraday Trader – a research tool that aids in pattern recognition.

The trading ideas provide a lot of analysis to the investor and is empowered by Morningstar. A lot of fundamental data can be achieved with the help of Market Intelligence. Charting tools on Questrade are simple to use and can be easily understood by the investor. Newsfeeds and Charting tools can be customized on Questrade. 

‘Education’ – Users can be able to access a lot of resources to learn more about trading. For the purpose of educating the beginner level investors, Questrade provides Demo account, Trading platform tutorials, Educational videos/articles, and E-books.

The YouTube channel of Questrade is also known to provide the user with educational content that is related to investment. 

Safety:

Questrade is known to provide a high level of investor protection. Most of the clients of Questrade belong to a top-tier financial authority. It also comes with additional account insurance of up to CAD 10 million and as it is a member of CIPF, the user is also eligible for the CAD 1 million coverage.

Some of the slight disadvantages that need to be considered are that Questrade does not have negative balance protection. It doesn’t acquire a banking license and neither listed on a Stock Exchange.

The most important aspect is that Questrade is in the field for a very long time and considering all the above-mentioned facts along with this, Questrade is among the best and safest brokers available to the Canadian investors.

Conclusion:

Questrade is among the top brokerage firms available to Canadian investors. Although there are some benefits of having an account with Questrade such as Excellent customer support, advanced research and education, Good trading platform, etc. there are some slight disadvantages as well. 

So, we suggest the investors create a good strategy and discuss it a good financial advisor (like us) before making any decisions.

Further reading

Are you a Canadian expat?

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related Blogs

The Most Popular Reviewed Road Bikes That Match Every Price Range For The Year 2022