QTrade vs Questrade Review (Head to Head Comparison)

Since I made the switch to DIY investing from some mutual funds with Investor’s Group, I have always used Questrade. Then I heard about a brokerage called Qtrade Direct Investing™ and wondered, is Questrade the same as Qtrade? Qtrade vs Questrade are they the same? If not, which one is better?

Spoiler alert, they are actually different brokerages.

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This post will compared Questrade vs Qtrade’s:

  • Accounts available
  • Fees and commissions
  • Minimum deposit required
  • Interface
  • Customer service
  • Research capability

I use Questrade for my own online brokerage, and also have used BMO Investorline in the past in addition to using Scotia iTrade and TD Direct Investing for our joint investment accounts. I was given access to the Qtrade demo account to have a look at the interface.

Qtrade vs Questrade

Qtrade was created in 2000. It is a subsidiary of Aviso Wealth, with $100+ billion in assets under management and administration. Aviso Wealth has Credential Financial, Qtrade, and NEI Investments under their umbrella. Qtrade 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.

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.

Qtrade and Questrade Accounts Available

Here are the Qtrade and Questrade accounts available.

Almost the same except that Questrade offers FOREX and CFDs (Contract for Difference).

QTrade and Questrade both have robo-advisor accounts.

Accounts AvailableQtradeQuestrade
CashIndividual
Society
Joint
Religious organization
Informal Trust
Formal Trust
Investment club
Sole Proprietorship
Estate
Corporate
Individual
Joint
Investment Club
Informal Trust
Joint Informal Trust
Formal Trust
Sole Proprietorship
Corporate
MarginOptions Trading
Individual
Corporate
Short selling capabilities
Canadian accounts
USD accounts available
Individual
Canadian accounts
USD accounts available
TFSAYes- Holds both US and Canadian dollarsYes- Holds both US and Canadian dollars
RRSP
Yes
Holds both US and Canadian dollars
Spousal RRSP
Locked in RRSP
Yes
Holds both US and Canadian dollars
Spousal RRSP
Locked in RRSP
RRIFYesYes
RESPYes
Individual RESP and Family RESP both available
Yes
Individual RESP and Family RESP both available
LIRAYesYes
LIFYesYes
Robo AdvisorYes- Qtrade Guided PortfolioYes- Questwealth
FOREX and CFDs
(contract for difference)
NoJoint and Corporate
Informal Trust (Joint and Individual)
Formal Trust
Corporate
Partnership
Sole Proprietorship

Qtrade vs Questrade Minimum Deposit

There is no minimum deposit to create an account with Qtrade.

There is a minimum deposit of $1000 to open an account with Questrade.

Qtrade Fees vs Questrade Fees

Here is a comparison of Qtrade fees vs Questrade fees.

Here’s more information and detail on Qtrade’s fees.

Here’s more information and detail on Questrade’s fees.

FeeQtradeQuestrade
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)
-No quarterly administration fee

-$150 transfer out fees

-USD RESP: $5 USD on first trade of the day
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)
$4.95 per trade minimum, max $9.95 per trade ($0.01/share)
ETF tradingFree 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 (though the list rarely changes)
List currently has XBAL but does not have any one ticket Vanguard ETFs
Here’s the list of free ETFs
Free to buy any ETF (plus ECN fee which is pennies)
Sell ETF: $4.95 minimum to $9.95 maximum per trade
ECN FeesNo Yes, 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$8.75
$6.95 for Investor Plus
$9.95 per trade
Options$8.75 + $1.25 per contract
$6.95 + $1.25 per contract (Investor Plus)
$9.95 + $1.00/contract
Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)FreeFree

Qtrade vs Questrade Platform and Interface Comparison

Qtrade was rated by Globe and Mail to be the top online brokerage in Canada because of its interface. I agree, the interface and dashboard is very user friendly, you see all your information in one place and it’s quite chock-full of information.

It is definitely comparable to TD Direct Investing and 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.

Compare this to Questrade, the portfolio history and performance is not as robust. This is what it looks like in my Questrade account, lol.

This is why I end up using Wealthica (a free portfolio tracker) to check how my Questrade portfolio is doing compared to American (S&P500) and Canadian (S&P/TSX) benchmarks. Here’s my Wealthica review if you are interested.

They have a free add-on in Wealthica to track your portfolio. Here’s what it looks like (yeehaw mine is the top line beating the index and still in the negative, haha).

Research Capability Comparison Qtrade & Questrade

Qtrade has better research capability than Questrade.

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.

For comparison, this is what Questrade’s stock quote for TD looks like. It’s definitely cleaner looking but there isn’t as much information easily accessible and you have to scroll down for more information. You also can’t access things like financials (balance sheets) on Questrade. Qtrade also has Morningstar analyst reports in PDF format for you to peruse with your research.

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, better but you still don’t get financial reports etc.

Questrade Edge Stock Quote

Finally, Qtrade has interesting calculators that Questrade doesn’t have, like the Cool Million calculator (find out when you will become a liquid millionaire with this calculator).

They also have a life expectancy calculator.

Here’s Qtrade’s life expectancy calculator.

After running my numbers (I changed the numbers slightly for this screen shot, haha), it said my life expectancy is going to be in my mid 80’s.

I guess I won’t live to be a centenarian after all.

Qtrade Google Reviews

Okay what does the public say? Well usually people who leave reviews are usually very angry at something and I usually take these reviews with a grain of salt.

Unfortunately the Qtrade Google reviews are not that favourable with 2 out of 5 stars in Google.

Questrade, on the other hand, doesn’t have any Google reviews but they have a 1.4 star out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, mainly because of their customer service being on the slower side.

Well, both Qtrade and Questrade don’t seem to win this battle of Internet reviews.

Qtrade and Questrade Bonus Offers

Top 2022 Digital Broker Ranking.  Qtrade has received an “A” grade compared to the other online brokers for their seamless customer experience.

In fact, Qtrade has been number one 25 times over the last 17 years, in rankings done by the Globe & Mail, Surviscor, The Motley Fool and MoneySense.

Qtrade started in 2000 and now has over 100,000 users across Canada.  Their commissions are $8.75 but this is lower for investors under age 30 and investors with larger portfolios.  Also, it is commission free to buy and sell over 100+ ETFs.

Qtrade is available to Canadian residents in all provinces and territories. 

Right now they have an up to $150 cash back promotion if you sign up for an account before October 31, 2024.

  • The bonus: Get $50 upon opening and funding a new Qtrade account, up to $150 for 3 accounts. 
  • Deadline for account sign up: October 31, 2024
  • Qualifying criteria:
    • Open up a Qtrade account and fund it before October 31, 2024
    • 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: OFFER2024 
  • 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 cash back bonus from Qtrade.

There is also an existing bonus offer for Questrade which isn’t as good as the Qtrade one.

  • The bonus: $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 10 times ($4.95 per trade) without having to pay commission
    • For ETFs you don’t have to pay commission anyways
  • Coverage of transfer out fees: Yes. Transfer any amount and you can get a maximum rebate of $150/account

Which is Better QTrade or Questrade?

Alright, now we come to the conclusion of this post, which one is better, Qtrade or Questrade?

Well, it depends.

Here are some of the cons that I have identified for Qtrade:

  • $25 per quarter administration fee (unless you have at least $25,000 in your portfolio or meet other criteria for fee waiver)
  • $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 (doesn’t go in a range of $4.95 to $9.95 like Questrade) but higher commissions in general
  • Only a list of 100+ No Fee ETFs to buy and sell

Here are some of the cons that I have identified for Questrade:

  • Minimum deposit of $1000 to start an account (personally I don’t think this is a con because you should have sufficient money saved before you start investing)
  • Lack of reports, platform isn’t as easy to use as Qtrade’s platform
  • ECN fees (Qtrade has none) but this is usually just pennies
  • Commissions to sell your ETFs
  • Questrade does not prepare a T1135 Foreign Assets Verification Report for you (Qtrade does)

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. This is because the list that Qtrade has is subject to change (although change is not common) and it doesn’t really have many one ticket ETFs on their list of free ETFs right now anyway. You don’t need to do much research because you are buying the whole index.

You can easily augment the poor portfolio reporting charts with free tools like Wealthica or Passiv. Here’s my Passiv review if you are interested.

Qtrade has some amazing charts and reports on their platform, but I’m cognizant of the $15 USD per quarter fee for a registered USD account (waived if you have over $500,000 as Investor Plus). I don’t like to exchange USD and CAD regularly or rely on Norbert’s Gambit.

If you are planning to do research and like detailed portfolio reporting then, Qtrade would be the online brokerage for you. Or you don’t plan to hold USD securities in your registered accounts and stick to hedged options, then the $15 USD/quarter is not really too big of an issue for you.

As mentioned earlier, Qtrade has been the top ranked online brokerage for the 4th year in the row by Globe and Mail, so if that’s important to you, Qtrade is the way to go.

Here’s a detailed Qtrade review for more information.

In either case, you are making the choice to DIY invest which can be a big learning curve but you’ll save money on mutual fund MERs in the long run, which is a big win-win in my books.

Both Questrade and Qtrade have an extensive library of videos and education materials to help you get started and learn more about investing.

Hope this Qtrade vs Questrade review was helpful for you.

If you like new brokerage sign up offers, please check out this page.

Which one wins your hard earned money? Qtrade vs Questrade?

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.

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