We signed up for a joint Scotia iTrade account because there was a promotion to receive a cash bonus when you sign up for a new online brokerage. Since there seems to be a paucity of information on what Scotia iTrade actually looks like, I thought I would share my experience of using the Scotia iTrade online brokerage. Here’s my Scotia iTrade review.
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Scotia iTrade Promotion
Here’s the low down on the Scotia iTrade cash bonus which is one of the reasons why we signed up. The Scotia iTrade incentive offered us you up to $2000 in cash and $6.99 equity trades or up to 500 free equity trades.
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For example, if you deposit $5,000 you get a free $100 deposited into your account and you qualify for $6.99 ttrades.
You have to sign up before March 1, 2023 to qualify and hold the funds until June 30, 2023.
For more information see Scotiabank’s page on the $2000 cash bonus promotion.
Here is a list of some of the other Online Brokerage New Account Promotions available.
Scotia iTrade fEES: Free Equity Trades
How much are Scotia iTrade fees? Each equity trade is $9.99 per trade.
We paired the above cash bonus offer with the Ultimate Package Account you can get 10 free equity trades ($9.99 per trade) for the first year and 5 free equity trades each year after that.
If you keep a minimum balance of $5000 in your Ultimate Package or if you have at least $30,000 between the Ultimate Package Account and the MomentumPLUS Savings, then your monthly fee of $30.95 is waived for no fee banking. Here’s my Ultimate Package review.
Unfortunately if you have the Scotiabank Preferred Package, it doesn’t include free equity trades at Scotia iTrade.
We upgraded from the Preferred Package tot he Ultimate Package and it’s been a good transition for us because of the Scotia iTrade perk.
How the free equity trades work is that you place your trade first, and then you will receive a credit in the amount of $9.99 per trade.
The commission credit appears the middle of the month after your trade.
Alternately, if you sign up for the Scotia iTrade Start Right Program, you will be able to get 10 free equity trades if you invest over $1000 into your new iTrade account.
Scotia iTrade Accounts Available
Opening an account with Scotia iTrade takes about 15 minutes. You will need to deposit a minimum of $100. Opening up a joint account is a bit more tedious and involves signed signatures that you have to submit to a branch in person.
Here are the accounts that Scotia iTrade supports.
- RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Account)
- US Dollar Registered Accounts
- Non-Registered (Cash, Margin, or Cash Optimizer Investment Account)
- Trust/ Estate Account
- Investment Club Account
- Corporate Account
Scotia iTrade Review
As mentioned, I don’t find the dashboard and platform very pleasing to the eye. It looks a bit outdated.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like on Scotia iTrade. You can see your positions quite easily and the consolidated total in Canadian dollars.
The performance tab is blank even though trades were placed a few weeks ago. Perhaps it will populate in a few months.
At the first few clicks, one of the only nice things that I found was an income estimator. It estimates how much forward dividend income you will have for the year and calculates the dividend yield under the Income Details Tab.
You won’t have to create your own dividend tracker spreadsheet!
However, when delve a little deeper, there are a few more useful tools within the Scotia iTrade service.
When you look up a stock quote, it shows you the dividend rate and dividend yield and also shows you the Scotiabank rating (e.g. Sector Perform). Here’s what the quotes from Scotia iTrade look like below.
This is quite nice if you’re a dividend investor.
The other useful thing that Scotia iTrade has is an Equities Screener. You can screen for stocks that you want to research with specific metrics, for example Dividend Yield, Price, or 10 Day Average Volume.
Scotia iTrade also handily shares an earnings calendar which is pretty useful to have. This is what the Canadian Earnings Events calendar looks like below. You can also keep track of dividend payouts on your iTrade calendar too.
Scotia iTrade Customer Service
The Scotia iTrade Customer Service is open 5 days a week.
To reach Scotia iTrade by phone, you can call 1-888-872-3388.
The hours of service are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST
Alternately you can email Scotia iTrade at email@example.com.
We haven’t reached out to Scotia iTrade yet but I have been reading some reports on the Internet of poor customer service and waiting on the phone for a long time in order to speak to someone.
Scotia iTrade Commissions
Here are the Scotia iTrade fees if you decide to choose this online brokerage.
If you trade more than 150 trades per quarter (I can’t imagine that many trades, unless you’re a day trader!) then the commission is $4.99/ trade.
If you trade less than 150 trades per quarter, the commissions to buy and sell stocks is $9.99/trade.
These fees charged by Scotia iTrade are n line with many other big bank online investment brokerages.
If you call to make a trade instead of placing an order online, it will set you back at least $65.
Account fees include a transfer out fee of $150. There is a $0 transfer in fee.
If you have an RRSP Scotia iTrade account, you will be charged $100 per year unless you make more than 12 commissionable trades per year and have an account balance of over $25,000 (includes registered and non-registered accounts).
If you have a TFSA Scotia iTrade account there is no fee.
If you have an RESP with Scotia iTrade and have more than $15,000 in non-registered and registered assets, the fee of $25 per year is waived for you.
Here are some pros and cons of the platform identified in this Scotia iTrade review.
Scotia iTrade Pros
- You can open up a Practice Trading Account with $100,000 CAD/ USD in it (wouldn’t it be nice if it weren’t imaginary) so you can see the investment tools and market research available before you sign up for Scotia iTrade
- There is a Webinars on Demand through iTrade U (University) where you can learn about Trading essentials and quotes and research. They are free to sign up for and a few are offered per month.
- There is a decent Scotia iTrade App
- Scotia iTrade has a “Refer a Friend” program where you can get $100 cash or 50 free equity trades if you refer a family member or friend and they fund the Scotia iTrade account with $10,000 within 60 days. You can refer up to 100 friends (I personally do not have 100 friends, haha so I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion)
- Scotia iTrade Cash Optimizer account. It is savings account in a non-registered account, but every dollar that you have not invested will be applied with a higher interest rate so that you don’t have cash parked without being put to good use.
- Probably one of the best things about Scotia iTrade is that they have Commission Free ETFs. It was a bit difficult to find, it took me a bit of time. It is located in the ETFs screener, under the tab “Commission Free ETFs”. There are 49 commission free ETFs available. XGRO and XBAL are on this Scotia iTrade commission free ETF list.
Scotia iTrade Commission Free ETFs
Here are some of the Scotia iTrade commission free ETFs:
For a suggestion on how to build a Scotia iTrade Commission Free ETF portfolio, check out this post from Canadian Portfolio Manager.
Finally, the last ‘pro’ about Scotia iTrade, is that if you log into your Scotiabank online banking, you will be able to see your balance of your Scotia iTrade accounts alongside your bank balances. I believe other big bank + big brokerages don’t have this same feature.
Scotia iTrade Cons
Here are some negative aspects of Scotia iTrade.
- The Interface of Scotia iTrade is a bit clunky to use and isn’t aesthetically pleasing.
- I find it hard to find the information I need quickly when looking the portfolio as a whole, or maybe it just takes getting used to.
- We haven’t called customer service yet, but according to some reports on the Internet, Scotia iTrade is known to be pretty slow with their customer service response.
What’s my final Scotia iTrade review and verdict?
Since this is our joint brokerage account with extra money we have, we aren’t going to be doing very many trades. So we are happy with it, especially happy with the 10 free equity trades the first year and the 5 free equity trades each year after that.
I do like that they have a list of 49 commission free ETFs that you can buy and sell and that it includes XGRO and XBAL (similar to Vanguard’s VGRO but offered by Blackrock).
I’d say that if you are planning to trade a lot or use the Scotia iTrade platform a lot, it would be a good idea to look for something else that has more functionality and more usability and better customer service.
If you are looking for a registered account, just be cognizant that Scotia iTrade charges some fees unless you have a specified minimum balance.
My personal online brokerage is a discount brokerage, Questrade, and to be honest, even though Questrade is $4.95/trade and free ETF purchases, and is considered a discount brokerage, the dashboard and interface of Questrade looks so much better than Scotia iTrade’s.
For Scotia iTrade vs Questrade, I would go with Questrade, personally.
Scotia iTrade interface looks like something from the 1990’s or early 2000’s, in the era of dial up Internet.
The Globe and Mail recently rated the online brokerages in 2021 and gives Scotia iTrade a B.
Scotia iTrade Alternatives
No Scotia iTrade review is complete without comparing to other brokerages available. As mentioned there are a few alternatives besides using Scotia iTrade. Here are some of the ones that I have used (or heard great things of).
What’s the comparison between Scotia iTrade vs Questrade? My main brokerage is Questrade. It is a discount online brokerage and considered ‘no frills’. I have been using it since 2009 and I’ve been happy with it.
The charting/ graphing capabilities of Questrade is not the greatest, so I use Wealthica to keep track of my holdings and portfolio as a whole.
The great thing about Questrade is they have no fee ETFs for all ETFs (not just 49), but it is only when you purchase. When you sell your ETFs you are charged a commission. They also give you $50 in free trades for your first 10 trades (not as a credit like Scotia iTrade but your first ten trades are free). A lot of the time in the evenings (e.g. Friday evenings) Questrade is down for maintenance. You get what you pay for, but I’ve been pretty satisfied with Questrade on the whole.
Questrade’s RESPs, RRSPs, and TFSAs are also no fee.
Wealthsimple Trade is another popular one because they charge $0 in trading commissions for ETFs and equities. It’s not known as the Robinhood of Canada for nothing. They don’t have US dollar accounts though (well they do, but they make you convert your CAD to USD with the brokerage which is a currency conversion fee).
TD Direct Investing is like the luxury car of all the online brokerages available in Canada, and is known as one of the best online brokerages in Canada. The WebBroker platform has a nice interface to look at and great research tools, along with some great graphing tools and fantastic charts. The cost per trade is similar to Scotia iTrade.
For a complete list of online brokerages offering up to $2000 cash back in new customer promotions, check out this list here.
I hope this Scotia iTrade review was helpful for you!
Do you use Scotia iTrade as your online brokerage?
What’s your Scotia iTrade review?
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.