Questrade isn’t a big bank online brokerage, some may worry, is Questrade safe? I wasn’t always a DIY investor (and I am guessing most people are in the same boat when they start off investing). I started off having mutual funds in Investor’s Group and made the leap into DIY investing back in 2009 or so.
At that time I switched over to Questrade and was drawn to their low cost commissions. To this day, I am still with Questrade. I’ve been meaning to write this Questrade review for the past 4 years and finally got around to doing it. Here it is!
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This Questrade review post will go over:
- What Questrade is
- Is Questrade safe?
- Questrade accounts available
- Questrade fees and commissions
- Is Questrade good for beginners
- What the Questrade platform looks like
- Questrade pros and cons
If you are planning on day trading and analyzing candlesticks or trends and doing some advanced technical analysis, this Questrade review post is not for you. This is a look at Questrade from a run of the mill DIY investor who dollar cost averages.
Table of Contents
What is Questrade?
Questrade was created in 1999.
It has $30 billion in assets under management as of 2023.
They are Canada’s largest independent brokerage with 250,000 accounts opened annually even though there are no physical offices or branches to visit.
Is Questrade Safe?
You may wonder whether Questrade is safe since they are 100% online and there are no physical branches (there is a head office in Toronto though but I don’t think it is open to clients).
In terms of if your money is safe within Questrade, you can be rest assured, it is.
Questrade is a member of IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) and of CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund), and insures up to $10 million of your investment with private insurance.
Here as you can see, Questrade is under the CIPF Member Directory.
In case Questrade goes belly up (e.g. out of business or insolvency), $10 million in your self-directed Questrade accounts are insured under CIPF. It looks like Crypto assets are not covered under CIPF.
Normally CIPF coverage is $1 million, but Questrade has purchased additional $9 million in insurance from Lloyd’s of London to insure up to $10 million in case Questrade went under. You can see more in this Questrade reddit thread.
In addition, if you are worried about fraud, Questrade has an online security guarantee, which is a 100% reimbursement guarantee for any unauthorized transactions that occur in your Questrade account resulting in direct losses to you.
You do have to notify Questrade at 1-888-783-7866 no later than 6 days after receiving your monthly statement and noticing unauthorized transactions.
There are limitations to this Questrade online guarantee of course, you have to take your own due diligence against fraud by:
- Not sharing your password with others
- Notifying law enforcement/ local authorities when you discover the fraud
- Not signing into your Questrade account on an unsecured Internet connection (e.g. public WiFi hotspots- as tempting as it is to log into Questrade while using Starbucks WiFi, refrain yourself)
- Not leaving your browser open and your account not signed out
- Making sure you review (at least monthly) your Questrade account statements or being aware of the transactions that you post to your account
In terms of online security, Questrade uses a 256-bit SSL digital certificate for Internet encryption. Also every time you log in, there’s a 2SV (2 Step Verification) process where you get a text alert, email, or a phone call with a unique code to use when you log in.
Questrade Accounts Available
Questrade has a number of accounts available, including FOREX accounts.
It also has an RESP account available, but if you live in British Columbia, Questrade is not one of the BCTESG providers. In case you were not aware, the BC Training and Education Savings Grant is $1200 deposited into your child’s RESP when they turn six years old.
Joint Informal Trust
USD accounts available
|TFSA||Yes- Holds both US and Canadian dollars|
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to invest your Questrade TFSA
Holds both US and Canadian dollars
Locked in RRSP
Individual RESP and Family RESP both available
|Robo Advisor||Yes- Questwealth|
Here are other robo advisors available in Canada
|FOREX and CFDs|
(contract for difference)
|Joint and Corporate|
Informal Trust (Joint and Individual)
Questrade Fees and Commissions
In general, Questrade’s fees and commissions are very reasonable.
In fact, in the past 12 months, I paid only 0.01% annually to Questrade in fees for 21 transactions (this is not including the MER from the ETFs that I own).
That sure beats the usual 1-3% that Canadians pay in MER.
Here’s more information and detail on Questrade’s fees.
|Administration Fee||-No quarterly administration fee|
-$150 transfer out fee
-USD RESP: $5 USD on first trade of the day
|Trading Commission||$4.95 per trade minimum|
Max $9.95 per trade ($0.01/share)
|ETF trading||Free to buy any ETF (plus ECN fee which is pennies)|
Sell ETF: $4.95 minimum to $9.95 maximum per trade
|ECN Fees||All market orders have ECN fees|
Any time you remove liquidity from the market there will be an ECN fee
For Canadian listings more than $1/share the fee is $0.0035/share
|Mutual Funds||$9.95 per trade|
|Options||$9.95 + $1.00/contract|
|Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)||Free- here’s more information on Questrade DRIP|
Is Questrade Good for Beginners?
Questrade is good for beginners.
It has all the ingredients for beginner investors including:
- A relatively intuitive platform
- Zero commissions to buy ETFs (this is like being able to dollar cost average for almost no cost)
- Very low cost commissions at $4.95 to $9.95 per trade
- Research tools (not the most detailed but decent). Here’s a list of Questrade’s research tools
- Education/ Learner centre platform to learn Questrade Basics
- Option of using Questwealth portfolio, which is a robo advisor who will rebalance your portfolio for you, all you have to do is contribute the money
- Safety (guarantee against fraud and in case Questrade went insolvent). Is Questrade safe (yes)
The Questrade platform beginner investors is sleek and simple looking. This is what a stock quote of TD.TO TD bank looks like.
Questrade has change platform appearance a number of times over the years. Prior to this sleek appearance platform they had Questrade Edge.
I personally switch to Questrade Edge (Questrade redesigns their interface every few years and this was what it used to be, Questrade Edge) when I am reviewing my portfolio.
This is what the stock quote looks like for TD in Questrade Edge Platform, it is more detailed, but you still don’t get financial reports etc.
Questrade Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of Questrade that I have identified over the years.
- Cheap commissions compared to other online brokerages out there
- Commission free to buy ETFs (this is great for the accumulation phase of your investing)
- The threshold to get “better customer service” is low at only $250,000 compared to other brokerages as you become a Questrade Platinum Member. Meaning if you have over $250,000 invested, you get better service and your chat requests are answered faster
- $1000 Minimum Deposit to start an account (not really a con because you really should have some money saved up before you start investing)
- Lack of research tools and reports compared to other online brokerages
- ECN fees (though it usually amounts to pennies)
- Commissions to sell your ETFs (though if you are in the asset accumulation stage this is not too relevant for you if you are a buy and hold investor)
- Questrade does not provide a T1135 report for your Foreign Income Verification Statement. The T1135 is form where you have to report the maximum fair market value and year-end fair market value of non-Canadian investment assets valued over $100,000 CAD. This is really annoying to have to complete manually.
- People complain of slow customer service and waiting a long time to chat or talk to someone (again, not too relevant if you are a Questrade Platinum Member)
For me, the pros still outweigh the cons for what I am using it for (even though the cons list is much longer, haha) and that’s why I still with Questradea after all these years.
Basically, if you are planning to buy a one ticket ETF like VGRO or VBAL or VEQT and keep it simple with dollar cost averaging regularly, then Questrade would be the way to go. You don’t need to do much research because you are buying the whole index.
With Questrade, you get what you pay for.
It’s a discount brokerage ad not a luxury brokerage but for what I use it for it works great.
The huge draw is the free to purchase ETFs.
Questrade Promo Code
There is also an existing bonus offer for Questrade new accounts:
- The Questrade promo: $50 in free trades using Questrade offer code YOUNGANDTHRIFTY
- Deadline for account sign up: No deadline, it’s an ongoing promotion
- Qualifying criteria: Sign up for a new Self Directed Questrade account here
- Or use the Questrade offer code YOUNGANDTHRIFTY
- Trade up to $50 without having to pay commission
- For ETFs you don’t have to pay commission anyways
- You’ll have to complete these trades within 30 days to get the $50 in free trades and fund your account with at least $1000
- Coverage of transfer out fees: Yes. Transfer any amount and you can get a maximum rebate of $150/account
If you like other new brokerage sign up offers, please check out this page.
I hope you found this Questrade review helpful and I hope it helped answer your question: “Is Questrade safe?”.
I have used it since 2009, for all of my DIY investing “career” and although there are certainly limitations, I have been happy, especially with the free purchasing of ETFs.
It has allowed me to dollar cost average regularly without worrying about paying commissions each time.
Do you use Questrade?
What is your Questrade review?
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GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.