Qtrade Direct Investing™ has topped the Globe and Mail’s annual digital brokerage ranking for a few years in a row and even beats TD Direct Investing for top spot. It has ranked as #1 as Canada’s best investing platform 25 times in the past 17 years. Here’s my Qtrade review so you can see for yourself whether it really is the best digital brokerage in Canada.
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This Qtrade review will go over Qtrade’s history, how safe it is to invest your hard earned money with Qtrade as a brokerage, and look at the minimum deposits required, the commissions and fees, accounts available, appearance and usability, and a summary of Qtrade’s pros and cons.
Table of Contents
What is Qtrade?
Qtrade was created in 2000.
It is a subsidiary of Aviso Wealth, with $100+ billion in assets under management and administration from over 500,000 clients across Canada.
Aviso Wealth has Credential Financial, Qtrade, and NEI Investments under their umbrella.
How Safe is Qtrade?
No Qtrade review is complete without talking about safety.
Qtrade uses multi-factor authentication and secure messaging.
Qtrade has CIPF coverage as a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund which gives you $1 million in deposit insurance in case of brokerage failure (across all accounts).
Also they have a Qtrade Internet Security Guarantee whereby Qtrade account holders will receive 100% reimbursement for any losses in their account from unauthorized online brokerage activity (see website for complete details).
Qtrade Minimum Deposits
You don’t need a minimum deposit to start investing with Qtrade, but in order to waive certain administration fees, you may need a minimum balance.
To waive $25 payable each quarter, you:
- Have to have over $25,000 invested
- Make at least eight commissionable trades in the last 12 months
- Make two commissionable trades in the last quarter
- Qualify for the Young Investor offer (18 to 30 years of age and has a $50 a month pre-authorized contribution to your Qtrade account)
To waive the $15 USD per quarter for a USD TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF
- You have to qualify for Investor Plus, meaning you have over $500,000 invested or make 150+ trades / quarter
Qtrade has a variety of accounts available:
Short selling capabilities
USD accounts available
|TFSA||Yes- Holds both US and Canadian dollars|
Holds both US and Canadian dollars
Locked in RRSP
Individual RESP and Family RESP both available
|Robo Advisor||Yes- Qtrade Guided Portfolios|
|FOREX and CFDs|
(contract for difference)
Here are some of the Qtrade fees. The trading commissions cost less in general than some of the big bank online brokerages and they have a list of 100+ ETFs that are commission free to buy and sell with no minimum.
For the Qtrade Guided Portfolio (the robo advisor) the fees are as follows and are charged each quarter. It is tiered and progressive, kind of like the income taxes we pay to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Here are also some of the ways you can avoid fees on Qtrade:
|Administration Fee||–$25/quarter (waived if you have over $25,000 or make at least 8 commissionable trades in the last 12 months or 2 commissionable trades in the last quarter or qualify for the Young Investor offer)|
-$100 Formal Trust account set up, $50 annually
–$100 if you close the account within the first year
-$150 transfer out fees
-$15 USD per quarter for a USD TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF (waived for Investor Plus)
|Trading Commission||$8.75 per trade|
$6.95 per trade (Investor Plus) if you make 150+ trades per quarter, or have $500,000+ invested
$7.75 per trade (Young Investor age 18-30 who has $50+ in pre-authorized contributions to the Qtrade account)
|ETF trading||Free to buy and sell with no minimums for a list of 100+ ETFs|
However the list of eligible ETFs is subject to change without notice
List currently has XBAL but does not have any one ticket Vanguard ETFs
Here’s the list of free ETFs
$6.95 for Investor Plus
|Options||$8.75 + $1.25 per contract|
$6.95 + $1.25 per contract (Investor Plus)
|Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)||Free|
Qtrade was rated by The Globe and Mail to be the top online brokerage in Canada because of the dashboard and user experience. I agree, the interface and dashboard is very user friendly, you see all your information in one place and it’s quite full of information easily accessible with the click of your mouse (or laptop trackpad).
It is definitely comparable to TD Direct Investing and is ahead of other online brokerages like Scotia iTrade.
Here’s what the Qtrade dashboard looks like:
In addition, Qtrade gives you easy access to your portfolio so you can see how your portfolio is doing compared to Canadian and US benchmark indices.
You can even check how compliant or adherent your portfolio is to ESG investing, if that is something important to you.
You can get an ESG score easily with Qtrade.
Qtrade Research Tools
You can access analysts recommendations and reports easily (with up to date information too on things like the Canadian Income Pick List, or the US Dividend Investor Pick List, or Canadian Core Pick List for ideas on investments).
Even Qtrade’s stock quote (for example, TSX’s TD) looks great with detailed information at your fingertips.
Qtrade also has a life expectancy calculator, here’s what it looks like:
Qtrade Free ETF Review
To qualify for the free ETF to buy and sell, you have to hold the ETF for a minimum of 1 day.
You also have to sign up for eDocuments.
Some of the one ticket ETFs on this free Qtrade ETFs list are:
These iShares one ticket ETFs are of course similar to Vanguard’s VGRO, VBAL, and VEQT.
There is a broad variety of ETFs available, but one thing is for certain, you’ll be able to build a good balanced portfolio with all the ETFs available for use.
Qtrade Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of Qtrade.
|Qtrade Pros||Qtrade Cons|
|The Qtrade dashboard is one of the top dashboards available. TD Direct Investing’s dashboard is comparable.||$25 per quarter administration fee (unless you have at least $25,000 in your portfolio or meet other criteria for fee waiver)|
|Qtrade has lots of research capabilities for you to do your due diligence on your investments||$15 USD per quarter fee for a USD RRSP or TFSA or RRIF (this is waived if you have Investor Plus, or you could have a Canadian Dollar RRSP and TFSA but you have to suck it up on the foreign exchange fee each time)|
Flat fee on trading commissions and cheaper compared to big bank brokerages
|Highish commissions in general compared to some other discount brokerages.|
|Free to buy and sell with no minimums for a list of 100+ ETFs||Only a list of 100+ No Fee ETFs to buy and sell and there are not that many “One Ticket ETFs” on the list|
Qtrade Bonus Offer
Right now they have an up to $2000 cash bonus promotion that ends March 4, 2024.
- The bonus: Get up to a $2000 cash for a new or existing Qtrade account you open and fund- if you fund $5000 you get $150 back, if you fund $50,000 you will get $250 back and so forth.
- Deadline for account sign up: March 4, 2024
- Qualifying criteria:
- Open up a Qtrade account before March 4, 2024 and fund it with a minimum of $5000 in net assets (you can get another $50 bonus if you open before March 4, 2024 and fund with at least $1000, it can be combined with this above offer)
- In addition, have at least 1 eligible trade fulfilled within 60 days of account opening
- Eligible Qtrade accounts are:
- Cash (individual or joint), margin (individual or joint), RESP, RRSP, RRIF, Spousal RRSP, Spousal RRIF, U.S. RRSP, U.S. RRIF, U.S. Spousal RRSP, U.S. Spousal RRIF or TFSA account
- Enter the Qtrade promo code: CASHBONUS2024
- Transfer in rebate: If you transfer funds from another brokerage, you can also receive up to $150 when you transfer in $15,000 or more to your Qtrade account
- When will payout happen? The Cashback bonus will be paid within 60 days of meeting all Offer criteria (e.g. within 60 days of account opening as per the above qualifying conditions)
For more information click here for the $2000 sign up bonus from Qtrade.
Right now there is a Bonus Offer for Qtrade until March 4, 2024 for new or existing Qtrade clients.
In addition, there is an Early Bird bonus to clients who open a Qtrade account with at least $50,000 by December 31, 2023. New Qtrade users who do this will receive a 20% discount on trading fees (if the client
Qtrade is available to Canadian residents in all provinces and territories.
Hope this Qtrade review was useful for you. In general if you are a young investor aged 18 to 30, Qtrade offers some really great low fees to get you started with investing. Later on if you qualify for the Investor Plus program you can avoid paying USD registered account administration fees for the TFSA or RESP.
Here’s a comparison of Qtrade and Questrade if you are interested.
Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade, Qtrade Direct Investing, and Write Your Own Future are trade names and/or trademarks of Aviso Wealth.
Do you use Qtrade? What is your Qtrade 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.