Questrade is Canada's leading discount brokerage. It offers a great balance of platforms, range of markets to trade and services including multiple account types. Questrade is an excellent choice if you reside in Canada or for international clients looking to trade Canadian and U.S. regional stock exchanges.
Top Takeaways for 2021
Here are out top findings on Questrade:
- Questrade provides transparent pricing with commission-free ETF trades and discounts available for active traders, with no annual fees.
- Questrade has a full lineup of tools with the desktop-based and web-based platforms IQ Edge and IQ Web.
- Questrade offers Canadian residents access to a great variety of retirement account options. However, U.S. residents are not supported, and clients outside of Canada cannot access Questrade Portfolio IQ accounts.
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platforms & Tools|
|Offering of Investments|
|Ease of Use|
Commissions and Fees
Questrade offers two pricing plans for trading stocks, options, and ETFs: Self-Directed Investing pricing (the default) and Active Trader pricing.
Self-Directed Investing pricing: For the majority of investors, Questrade’s standard pricing is the best deal.
- Stocks cost $0.01 per share with a minimum charge of $4.95, and a max of $9.95 if you trade 995 shares or more.
- ETFs follow the same structure except you are not charged when you buy — only when you sell an ETF. Options trading is more expensive, with a flat rate of $9.95 plus a $1 fee per contract.
Active Trader pricing: Under Questrade’s Active Trader program, clients must subscribe to at least one advanced market data offering, then select between the variable or fixed-rate pricing plan.
- For trading stocks, the cost is $0.01 per share, with a $0.01 minimum and $6.95 maximum (variable plan) or a flat $4.95 per trade (fixed plan). The variable pricing is best suited for trading smaller quantities and is not a good choice if you trade more than 495 shares.
- Likewise, for trading options, the cost is $6.95 + $0.75 per contract (variable plan) or $4.95 + $0.75 per contract (fixed plan). Lastly, ETF trades are listed as commission-free to buy but incur a $4.95 commission when you sell on the fixed plan; with the variable plan pricing you pay 1 cent per share with a maximum commission of $6.95.
Data subscriptions and rebates: Questrade offers various discounts on monthly market data packages when you spend more in commissions, and the fee may be rebated depending on how much you pay in commissions.
- Buying either Advanced data package unlocks active trader pricing; but it may not be worth it unless your strategy depends on the data or you spend enough in commission to justify the cost and get the fee rebated.
- For example, U.S. Level 1 and 2 (and Canadian Level 1) data costs $89.95 per month and is fully rebated if you spend more than $399.95 in commission.
If you don’t need Level 2 depth of market data, the good news is that Level 1 real-time data is free with all accounts. Meanwhile, you can upgrade to enhanced streaming data for $19.95 per month and that fee is rebated if you spend $48.95 in commission each month.
Questwealth Portfolios: Available exclusively to Canadian residents, Questwealth Portfolios are pre-built investment products by Questrade Wealth Management and incur a 0.25% management fee per year, or 0.20% if you invest more than $100,000.
Questrade portfolios are designed for passive investors and long-term holdings such as within a retirement account. But the fees must be taken into account relative to the historical and expected returns, among other factors, when deciding if they are right for you.
Dive deeper: See our picks for best Canadian online brokers
Questrade pricing summary:
|ETF Trade Fee||$4.95|
|Options (Base Fee)||$9.95|
|Options (Per Contract)||$1.00|
|Futures (Per Contract)||N/A|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||$9.95|
|Broker Assisted Trade Fee||N/A|
Platforms and Tools
Alongside its mobile app, Questrade offers IQ Web and IQ Edge as its two primary trading platforms. IQ Web is browser-based and IQ Edge is a desktop trading platform available for Windows and MacOS. While the platforms are similar in overall functionality, IQ Edge has a deeper offering of trading tools and customization and is certainly the preferred platform for active traders.
IQ Web overview: Taking a closer look at the IQ Web platform, I was impressed with the platform’s ease of use and clean, well-rounded experience. Streaming watch lists, stock charts, and options chains can all be easily customized; this includes the platform’s sidebar, which can be expanded or collapsed and includes eight optional widgets. IQ Web does a very good job providing the core necessities of trading, including quotes, charts, trading, watch lists, news, and account management.
IQ Web charts: IQ Web ran bug-free in my Chrome browser, and the advanced charting modules, which include 30 optional indicators and 10 different drawing tools, quickly became my favorite tool. I managed to find only some minor drawbacks. For example, HLC bars are not supported for charting (OHLC is the only option) and chart settings cannot be saved to a profile; instead, all changes are saved automatically, and resetting the markups, unfortunately, means starting over.
IQ Edge overview: With a variety of predefined and custom layouts available, IQ Edge is a versatile platform with a good balance of features that avoids unnecessary complexity. That said, IQ Edge offers more features than Questrade’s IQ Web platform, and is built for more experienced investors. For example, the Market View tool is a simple interface, yet it’s rich with multiple views and various types of heat maps that can be filtered across exchanges to view the best and worst performers. And there are more tools for active traders.
IQ Edge active trading features: Like IQ Web, IQ Edge runs smoothly on Windows and Mac. I was also happy to find that traders are offered the option of skipping the order confirmation window (important for day traders), full hotkeys are supported, and default order values can be set for stocks and options together with order parameters, including order type, duration, and route. Last but not least, charting has far more customization options throughout, including the addition of quick trade buttons, alerts, a profit and loss calculator, screening, and a market movers’ list, which can be viewed for both the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Questrade’s mobile app, available for Android and iOS, closely matches the web version of the Questrade Trading platform.
The navigation tabs and layout of the Questrade mobile app provide a simple user experience similar to using the web version. Due to a security policy that prevents screenshots from within the app, I was unable to take mobile images for this review.
Overall, Questrade’s mobile app has a good foundation. Ease of use aside, there remains considerable room to improve the app compared to the breadth of tools available from the best brokers in this category.
Questrade offers research consisting of both fundamental and technical analysis, on its website for logged-in customers as well as on its trading platforms. There is an argument to be made for consolidating some of the research resources into one place, such as within the IQ Web platform. That said, there are at least six predefined public watchlists, and while I was happy to see these available, it’s still far fewer than the number of predefined watchlists available at brokers like Wealthsimple or Robinhood.
The Research Center is home to Questrade’s two primary research tools: Market Intelligence for news and analysis, and Intraday Trader for trading signals. Stocktwits is also directly integrated and enables you to view a Twitter-like feed of social updates from other users that share their analysis.
Market Intelligence tool: Market Intelligence is powered by third-party research provider Morningstar and provides thorough fundamental analysis for equities and ETFs traded in Canada alongside the United States.
Reports for individual securities are high quality, and to scan for ideas, the screener tool gets the job done well. For mutual funds research, customers have access to the Mutual Fund Centre (also powered by Morningstar) which focuses on Canadian funds only. In the U.S., Morningstar is the leading research data provider for online brokers.
Intraday Trader tool: Intraday Trader is a trade ideas generator that uses automated technical analysis algorithms to present actionable opportunities, powered by Trading Central (formerly known as Recognia).
IPO Centre: Questrade also provides IPO Centre as a web portal for investors looking to receive early notification of upcoming listings via email subscription to its IPO Bulletin newsletter. I liked how the open IPO opportunities are listed within Questrade’s IPO Centre web portal, where you can sort between offerings when considering to invest in an initial public offering, in case you miss an email notification or just want to browse available offerings. Note: The minimum investment amount per IPO is $5,000.
IQ Web research: Besides the ability to look up a stock or options symbol, research within IQ Web consists of Calendar, News, and Videos tabs, where each module allows you to perform related actions such as checking analyst ratings or reading news about a particular security.
I found the economic calendar to be versatile, allowing clients to sift through various time frames and use up to 10 filters, including IPOs, conference calls, dividends, earning announcements and other important events. Overall, the IQ Web delivers a touch above the minimum needed to conduct market research in a simple and easy-to-use trading platform.
Questrade provides educational content in various formats including from third-party providers. Its Intraday Trader module contains a suite of tools that includes educational content powered by Trading Central.
For video content, Questrade has an official YouTube channel, but overall the broker trails industry leaders in this category, and it remains an area with significant room for expansion.
Offering of Investments
As noted above, Questrade is best suited to Canadian citizens and is not available to U.S. residents. Although investors outside of the U.S. and Canada cannot open a Portfolio IQ account, they can still open a self-directed account as an international trader to access Questrade trading platforms and related products, including U.S. regional exchanges.
Does Questrade offer crypto?
No, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin are not available to trade at Questrade.
Investment options: Together with access to Canadian stock markets, Questrade clients can trade all U.S.-based securities on the NASDAQ, NYSE, and other bourses. Stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and precious metals are supported in every account.
Forex and CFDs: Questrade clients can also trade over 100 forex currency pairs and a good variety of contracts for difference (CFDs) with a separate account. That said, with target spreads of 1.8 pips on the EUR/USD pair, Questrade’s forex and CFD offering are not its strong point.
Account types: Questrade supports a variety of account types, from traditional margin to retirement, and even managed, accounts. Here’s a full list: individual, joint, or organization margin accounts; tax-free savings accounts; registered retirement savings plans; registered education savings plans; locked-in retirement accounts; registered retirement income funds; life income funds; and fully managed accounts.
Questrade provides a well-rounded trading experience with two trading platforms to appease casual and active traders alike, especially for Canadian residents. Questrade clients have access to transparent, competitive pricing as well as the ability to trade equities, options and ETFs of companies based locally and in the United States.
Despite a few drawbacks found during our testing, Questrade is a solid winner.
Is Questrade good for beginners?
Questrade will meet the needs of most beginners thanks to the ease of use of its website and platforms, a growing selection of educational materials, and competitive commission rates for the U.S. and Canadian equity markets.
While Questrade has room to improve the scope of its content for beginners beyond platform tutorials, I found some of its archived webinars comprehensive, such as one in which H&R Block presented for the 2021 tax year.
Is my money safe with Questrade?
Is Questrade good in Canada?
Questrade offers multiple pricing options for active and retail traders and is optimized for Canadian investors, thanks to its wide selection of account types that cater to local laws and access to Canadian equity markets.
For example, residents of Canada can access managed portfolios offered exclusively to residents, and open self-directed accounts such as a tax-free savings account (TFSA), registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or registered education savings plan (RESP).
Questrade was founded in 1999 and has since amassed $25 billion under its administration as one of Canada’s largest providers of financial services. The Questrade brand includes various entities that are regulated in Canada, including Questrade Inc., which is registered as an investment dealer and a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The Questrade Portfolio products and services are managed by Questrade Wealth Management Inc., a registered portfolio manager.
2021 Review Methodology
For the StockBrokers.com 11th annual best trading platforms review published in January 2021, a total of 2,816 data points were collected over three months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and offered executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
About the Author
Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.