Questrade Review

Questrade has the lowest commission cost and fees in Canada, calculated at $0.01 per share: $4.95 minimum charge ($9.95 maximum cost). Questrade has no annual fees, no cost on ETFs, offers many trading platforms, much touted tools, & 20 years experience. Questrade often rate #1.

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Questrade ReviewQuestrade ReviewEditor Rating: ( 90% )User Rating: ( 95% )When it comes to investing, as of July 2017, the trading landscape is bathed and bursting at the seams with countless financial brokerage houses. Big names like BMO InvestorLine, RBC Direct Investing, TD Direct Investing, Interactive Brokers, Scotia iTrade, and at least a dozen more are available to chose from. Sadly, through deeper analysis one can’t easily distinguish distinctive differences amongst them, especially within the circle of the big banks. Most brokerage firms primarily make their revenue through new and inventive concoctions of countless and ongoing fees pushed onto their account holders. Such fees include, but are not limited to, administrative fees, set-up fees, activity fees, inactivity fees, hidden fees, and after-hour fees. These added costs might be fine and dandy for the fractional percentage of high-volume traders simply because their sheer trade volumes and realized gains can potentially offset those expenses over time. However, for the rest of us those added and consistent fees are a reminder that over time “the house always wins”.

Questrade Offer Code

Use Offer Code: Canada to receive $50 in Free Trades from Questrade.

Beginning investors will usually look to their local bank to open their trading account primarily out of convenience since they already possess one or more personal chequing/savings accounts with that bank and so opening a trading account is a mere phone call away. The unfortunate disaster with that approach is that big banks, and for that matter, virtually every other brokerage firm in Canada will charge you an arm and a leg for any kind of activity you do (and don’t do) in your trading account. Yes, even in this expansive internet age where everything is self-serve 24/7 convenience, commission schedules across the board are long, robust, and very much corporate bottom-line friendly. With standard rates at $29-$49 per trade being commonplace one can’t help but question if the entire industry is part of some price-fixing scheme. Where are the choices?

First a little about me. I am not an aggressive highly active trader. Most times I will take the buy-and-hold approach as my tried-and-true investment style. And so when I buy into a company I do so for the long-term. However, at times I do get that itch and begin trading like a crazy person but this does not happen often.

Questrade

Questrade is an online non-bank brokerage firm founded many years ago, back in 1999. They often garner top spot honours in Globe and Mail, MoneySense Magazine, and Deloitte annual rankings, having captured Canada’s highly coveted Best Managed Company award for many years. Questrade has aimed to make a difference — reduce trading costs and fees dramatically while enhancing every aspect of the user experience in a market that originally was far too expensive for the average investor.

Seeing the growing discontent of active and inactive traders alike who were tired of watching their market gains washed away in a deluge of new brokerage fees by other companies Questrade began a process of streamlining the entire investment approach. Being independently owned and not affiliated to any of the big banks gave (and still gives) Questrade unparalleled advantages, which includes nimbility to react to customer needs and to explore uncharted investment territories quicker than what would typically be possible by their big bank brethrens.

In the rest of this review I will explore Questrade and their collective offerings in terms of the good and the bad.

Commissions & Fees

Stocks1¢ per share – $4.95/trade minimum / $9.95 maximum charge
ETF (Exchange Traded Funds)Free (No commission charge)
Options$9.95/trade + $1/contract, or Active @ $4.95/trade + 75¢/contract
Forex TradingCost is integrated in the pip spread @ approx. 1-2 pips
Debenture Trading$30/trade
Mutual Funds$9.95/online. Offline add an additional $45 for trader fee
Gold$19.95/trade
International StocksCost is 1% of trade value (minimum charge of $195)
Bonds/CNSX Securities/GICsFree (No commission charge) – minimum order size of $5,000
Canadian IPOs$9.95/order – minimum order size of $5,000
Portfolio IQ (Managed Investing)Cost varies – 0.35% to 0.70% (minimum of $2,000 in assets)

Questrade offers a well-crafted industry unique ‘democratic pricing’ stock trading commission: 1¢ per share with a minimum charge of $4.95/trade and a ceiling maximum commission charge of $9.95 — ideal for long-term investors. Their fees have never changed since their inception, so there is no concern that this impressive pricing structure will ever go up. Active traders (or anyone at anytime) have the alternative option of 1¢ per share (1¢ minimum / $6.95 maximum), or a $4.95 flat stock commission charge — ideal for high volume share trades. Options investing for these active users come with an attractively low $4.95 + 75¢ per contract. And the process of enrolling into this alternative program simply involves subscribing to one of Questrade’s several advanced market data plans.

This should be glanced at again! It is not a typo! Questrade offers the cheapest trades in all of Canada. Their price point is so impressive that it actually encourages new and/or small investors to jump in and take part in the investment game while also enticing disgruntled active traders of other brokerage firms to transfer in (they will pay your transfer out fee charges imposed by other financial institutions). Questrade makes it abundantly clear that they don’t charge setup fees, annual fees, nor inactivity fees (more on this later) on any of their services which is a welcome change to the industry norm. However, for those looking for more of an actively managed portfolio touch there is a specialty service they offer at a nominal annual fee. This will be discussed in-depth later in this review.

From the table above you may have spotted a few additional noteworthy perks provided by Questrade: free ETFs and IPOs.

The ability to buy ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) funds at no commission charge (they are free to buy) started in 2013 and it radically lowered the cost for index investing — the cost became $0 — and opened up a whole new world for those who prefer to purchase on a monthly basis to take advantage of dollar-cost averaging. With this charge no longer part of the equation, compound interest has never looked better. Numerous other brokerages (which includes banks) out there still charge a fee for ETF trades, and as such, timing the market is a common practice by many people because, let’s face it, it saves on commission costs. The ill-advised timing strategy is now no longer necessary while investing with Questrade. And with so many investors turning to ETFs these days due to their low MERs and diversified reach it is a wonderful breath of fresh air to be able to do so at no cost. Questrade may be one of the first discount brokers in Canada to do such a thing, and I applaud them. Rebalancing of portfolios just got a whole lot more convenient because of this. Recall that rebalancing is simply a realignment of the weightings of a portfolio of assets. And so by making use of the ability to buy ETFs for free you would periodically buy more assets into your portfolio to maintain its original desired level of asset allocation. This means you would quite literally pay nothing to invest through Questrade, significantly boosting your long-term fortunes.

As for IPOs (Initial Public Offering), we will also be discussing this in extensive detail under its own section later on. For those not familiar with IPOs, these are simply the first sale of new issues by a private company to the public. Questrade regularly has access to a wide range of new offerings, making them available to clients.

Questrade Accounts

Investment StyleAccount Type
Self-Directed Investing
  • Standard Margin:
    Individual / Joint
  • Trust:
    Informal / Joint Informal / Formal
  • Organization:
    Sole Proprietorship / Partnership / Investment Club / Corporation
  • Registered:
    TFSA / RRSP / LIRA / RIF / LIF / Individual RESP / Family RESP
  • Forex (FX) & Contract For Difference (CFD) Trading
Managed Investing
  • Professionally and Actively Managed by Questrade

Self-Directed Investing accounts are for those who want full control of their investment decision-making. These type of accounts will save you the most money, in terms of commission costs. The Standard Margin (Individual) account is the most popular account type opened.

Managed Investing accounts are for those who want Questrade to manage all investment decisions on their behalf, for a nominal fee. These type of accounts require the least amount of effort on your part and tend to earn higher returns in the long-term.

Many of the listed account types shown above will be discussed in more detail throughout the remainder of this review.

New Account Sign-up

The process of opening an account online is remarkably intuitive, painless, and very quick (2 minutes for your general account, access to practice platforms, and community discussion / 20 minutes total for opening trading accounts). You will need your social insurance number (SIN), bank account information, and employer details (or source of income if unemployed). And although they have an offline printout alternative I highly recommend their secure online process instead because it reduces the amount of write-in errors and legibility issues, and supports DocuSign for the online signing process.

Questrade Offer Code

Use Offer Code: Canada to receive $50 in Free Trades from Questrade.

Sign-up Start Page
Account Selection
Agreements

One of the first things you must do while signing up is to create a user ID and password for your new account. In earlier days Questrade had an automated process that generated and emailed this password, and along with your email address served as your primary login credentials. This old way became a potential vulnerability and so they thankfully changed it back in 2011 to what they have now. The benefit of creating your own user ID and password also makes it much more convenient to return to an incomplete application at a later time. Sessions time out after 30 minutes of inactivity giving you ample time to collect required documents and credentials, and review your inputted details.

Questrade offers two collections of accounts: Self-directed and Managed Investing. If you want to have full control over your account(s) then self-directed is for you. For those who want a professionally managed approach handled by a real staff (Questrade Wealth Management division) behind the scenes that carefully considers your personal goals and risk tolerance to match, manage, monitor, and adjust for the best investments without your daily involvement then managed investing (known as Portfolio IQ under Questrade’s lexicon) is the best option. However, unlike self-directed, Portfolio IQ does come at a price — a $14/year minimum management fee. In my opinion self-directed is all one will ever need considering how making informed investment decisions is quite simple for even newcomers these days; and to compound on this, self-directed accounts have no fees (outside the usual trade commission) associated with them unlike their managed investing cousins. I’ll go in-depth on their managed investing offering in a later section.

After signing up online (don’t forget to use the Questrade offer code during sign up) you are able to immediately login to your new account and have a look around. However, to officially activate your account (to begin trading) an initial deposit is required — self-directed: $1,000 for margin accounts, $1,000 USD for forex accounts (CAD deposits are auto-converted to USD), $5,000 to trade option spreads, $25,000 to write/sell uncovered options, and managed investing (Portfolio IQ) requires at least a $1 initial deposit. Once this initial minimum deposit has cleared Questrade emails you a confirmation message. For offline applications you will be contacted by a representative confirming trading can begin. It takes 1-3 business days from signing up for your account to begin trading. The longest part of the process is waiting for the funds to be received and processed by Questrade. Once everything is a go, maintaining a minimum equity balance of $250 is essential to keeping your active account in good standing.

Questrade supports several methods to fund your account including EFT (from CAD bank accounts just make a regular bill payment), wire transfers, cheques, pre-authorized deposits, money orders, drafts, stock certificates, broker-to-broker transfers, and from other existing Questrade accounts (under your name). It should be noted though that you cannot use the EFT method to send USD to your Questrade account. The reverse is possible where you can withdraw USD funds to a USD bank account (they require a void check or a pre-authorized deposit agreement form signed and stamped by the bank). To deposit USD you can set up a pre-authorized deposit agreement with Questrade which takes about 1-5 business days, or send a certified cheque/bank draft to their office, or wire transfer the USD funds directly to your account. Alternatively, you can also convert your existing CAD balance (within your account) to USD using the Exchange Funds tool (found under Requests) which can take up to 24 hours to process, or take advantage of Norbert’s Gambit (successful conversions have been confirmed). Funding your margin (or registered) account by either currency type will automatically be placed into a sub-account (more about sub-accounts later) of the same type (they do not perform automatic conversions — you must execute the request on your own). Electronic withdrawals take roughly 3 business days to process and arrive into a bank account.

An interesting related note is that Questrade continues to be the only brokerage in Canada to allow dual-currency (CAD and USD) to be held simultaneously inside registered accounts (i.e., RRSP, RESP, TFSA, LIRA, RIF, LIF) at no cost which in and of itself will save a tremendous amount of money from unnecessary conversion fees. And whereas other brokerage houses do routinely charge annual fees for just having a registered account, Questrade doesn’t charge an annual fee at all; allowing your yearly contributions to grow with maximum efficiency.

Please be aware that Questrade rolled out a subtle but important revision to its inactivity fee policy. It’s actually not that bad when you peruse the details. If anything it’s quite reasonable. As has been long known Questrade does not charge an inactivity fee, but this policy adjustment can potentially charge $24.95 (no tax) per calendar quarter. If, however, you make at least one commissionable trade per quarter (once every 3-months) you will not get charged any inactivity fee at all. If you are inactive for a quarter and do get charged this fee, but then go about making at least one trade in the following quarter you will receive up to $24.95 in commission-free trades. Charitable and forex accounts, individuals 25 years of age or younger, as well as any new account opened for only 6-months are exempt from this fee (you will not get charged for being inactive). Also, all clients of Questrade, and households having the same physical address, with combined equity assets of at least $5,000 are exempt. For most investors this change is trivial since their assets are almost always over $5,000, and so will never get charged this inactivity fee. As I pointed out earlier, I think this change is perfectly reasonable and still miles better than all other discount brokerage houses who not only charge an inactivity fee, with no exceptions, they do so more frequently (each month) and tack on countless hidden fees which Questrade does not.

Member Login

Your account’s primary client control portal, once you login, is known as myQuestrade (alternatively, some like to call it Questrade Account) and, quite simply put, it is a beautiful experience with well thought out organization and visual appeal. Someone put a lot of love into this area — providing a consistent fully immersive and responsive experience, accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. This portal fully integrates trading and account management together very seamlessly giving immediate access to buy/sell securities, work with research tools, make use of a bustling library of partner apps (and developer’s API), view your account activity, analyze balances and positions, manage your personal details, view statements, make fund transfers in/out of your accounts, upload/download your documents, exchange CAD/USD currency, take corporate action on shareholder communications, transfer positions, open additional accounts, retrieve tax slips, exercise options, and interact with mutual funds.

Questrade Account
Investment Summary
Mutual Fund Centre

Upon logging into your account for the first time you are asked to select a default home base. A home base is where you would like Questrade to directly place you each time you log in. You have a choice of either the trading platform or account management. Although it’s a convenient time saver you can jump between each at any time via an always-visible top menu bar. Once you’ve made your choice Questrade walks you through an interactive user guide on how to use the environment.

Accounts #’s consist of 10 numerical digits (e.g., 12345678-90). This is a big jump from their pre-2011 6-character alphanumeric size and as such some external banks have been reported to still impose an 8-character limit for payee accounts when you attempt to send money to Questrade. To get around this you only need to provide the 1st 8-digits of your Questrade account # and the funds will still arrive successfully.

If at anytime you need help on practically anything you can always use the online Questrade Live Help session (usually accessible from the top or right-hand side of Questrade’s site) — operational from Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00am – 8:00pm ET. I have found that using Live Help is much quicker than calling their offices — which is available Monday to Thursday, 8:30am – 8:00pm ET and Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm ET. And after speaking to several of their online representatives (those who deal with potential new accounts and others who deal with existing accounts) I found them to be very well-informed, professional, and quick in their responses. They also took the extra time to provide web links for further reading which was a nice bonus. When the chat feature is unavailable (e.g., weekends, holidays, or outside service hours) you’re still able to leave a detailed message which will receive a timely response from their representative when business hours resume.

They also have several self-help areas, including a robust learning centre of ebooks (e.g., FX & CFD trading, options strategies), fact sheets, an in-depth glossary, and a very active online community discussion forum called The Exchange. The Exchange is where you’d want to hangout and ask questions among other investors like you, share expertise, and browse a growing library of help and how-to resources. For me, I’ve had a lot of enjoyment in this area because others have shared incredible investment advice and unique tips that I may not have discovered in other ways. Questrade’s representatives are also highly engaged in this forum.

Account Activity / History

Located under Reports are a slew of subcategories providing details about trading and general account activity. Some of these subcategories include: Investment Summary (pictured above), Investment Return, Account Activity, Statements, Trade Confirmations, and Tax Slips. When Questrade made significant changes to its UI back in 2011 they in effect moved all trading activity history into the client portal. This is a very welcome change because prior to this all trading activity history was provided by a third-party clearinghouse company called Penson Financial Services and you had to use a completely different site and another set of login credentials to get access to this information. Thankfully those days are long over and you can now get a list of all your investments (stocks, funds, bonds, etc), current cash balances and positions (in CAD and USD), total equity, buying power, and more all within one location. Trading history is maintained for 36 months while eStatements, generated monthly, are stored for 7 years. Tax slips (e.g., T3, T5, T5008) are also available electronically for each year.

Statements are categorized monthly with new statements being published on the 15th of each month, and available for immediate download in the PDF file format. These reports have improved dramatically over the years and now contain a rich display of very useful colorful charts and graphs to make it easier to understand your performance to-date and compare it against previous years. More specifically, on display are very detailed, but very carefully constructed to be intuitively understood by the layman investor, breakdowns of the month’s activity details, current and historical rate of return, a summary of all trades settled by the end of the month, conversion rates, dividend distributions, allocations, and special brokerage notes. Because I am very much similar to an average investor the style and detail laid out in these statements are a remarkably useful bonus offered by Questrade.

Trade Confirmations
Statements
Account Activity

Although Questrade’s Trade Confirmations database claims to carry trading details dating back to January 1st, 2009 we found that activity done prior to February 4th, 2011 requires members to visit the old Penson site. And that those interested would need to have their old 6-character Questrade account #(s) because the Penson site does not know anything about the existing 10-character account # representations. Here is a quick peek at what the Penson trade activity site looks like.

Trade Activity (up to Feb 2011)

As stated above, this Penson site is only relevant to existing Questrade members who wish to access archived trading activity prior to February 2011. All new members can ignore what I just said and skip to the next paragraph. But for those interested in Questrade’s chronological history — as noted and visually seen above — trade activity was outsourced and as such the first noticeable difference was that the web UI was completely different and very behind in the times. At the time it was still very surprising that with the skill set and desire by Questrade to offer a clean and friendly UI experience on their main web domain that they didn’t feel it necessary to pony up the cash to in-house these account activities, nor had the motivation to request web-service APIs from Penson giving them free rein to skin over the original Penson experience. Although the details held within Penson were extensive it was cluttered and confusing. The trade and settle date balances took 24 hours to be reflected in history; the same was true with buying power which updated once, at the start of each day. Most of what was found in this old Penson site is now integrated into Questrade trading platforms, discussed later.

Questrade margin and registered accounts are comprised of two sub-accounts — one for Canadian funds, the other for U.S. funds. This is very convenient since it reduces unnecessary conversion charges when trading U.S. instruments. So, transactions on U.S. equity stays as USD unlike most other brokerage firms which will perform conversions back to CAD right away. For example, with Questrade things like U.S. dividend income from U.S. traded stocks will remain as USD and automatically be deposited into your U.S. sub-account. Funds can be moved between sub-accounts using Questrade’s Exchange Funds feature, but just take note that this will involve a conversion based on the spot rate at the close of market in Toronto plus a spread fee (+1.99% for both margin and registered accounts; if total equity exceeds $100K this drops to 1.70% for margin and 1.00% for registered). A better approach for converting between USD/CAD, however, would be to use the Norbert’s Gambit technique because it virtually eliminates currency exchange fees (it involves using tickers DLR.TO, DLR.U.TO and journaling over your holdings to one or the other).

Questrade highly encourages the viewing/downloading/printing of previous month statements (as pdf files) made available in Questrade’s client portal for all account activity at no charge. However, for those who still insist on mailed paper statements, they can do so at a hefty $20/statement which can be requested by contacting them directly by phone or through Live Help.

And, as a handy note, shareholder communication often times are sent through normal mail. Through the use of the free InvestorDelivery service you can set up to receive all of your investor correspondence electronically, if you desire.

Trading Platforms

And so begins a new era in trading platforms for Questrade. For as long as we can remember Questrade had been chugging along with their capable, but aging, platforms: QuestraderWEB, QuestraderELITE, and QuestraderPRO. Although QuestraderWEB had been renovated considerably all three had been in the wild for well over 10 years. They all performed quite well in their own right but had not kept up with the times as was evident with the offerings at other discount brokerage houses. Questrade marked a new chapter with the introduction of the Questrade IQ suite.

Questrade has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to revamp their investor’s trading experience. When they released a whole new layout for the Questrade Account client portal one couldn’t help but head scratch and wonder why their trading platforms never received the same treatment. Well, the answer can’t be clearer: they were being updated as well — it just took them a while. The epiphany was realizing that having three separate desktop trading platforms was confusing and so they opted to retire all three in favor of a single, more modern trading platform known as Questrade IQ.

Questrade IQ is a suite composed of three flavors: Questrade Trading, a fully functional web-based trading platform (for Windows/Macs/Linux users on Google Chrome 52+, Firefox 48+, Safari 9+ for Mac Users, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge); Questrade IQ Edge, a streamlined desktop-based trading platform (for Windows 7/8.1/10+, macOS 10+); and Questrade IQ Mobile, their first mobile entrant in the field of trading (for iPhone/iPod Touch iOS 6+, and Android OS 4.1+). This entire collection is free for all members and includes snap quote live Canadian/U.S. streaming Level 1 data, research tools for fundamental and technical analysis, a charting package, and more. At times market data can be delayed (up to 15 minutes) and when this happens a cute clock icon appears on-screen to let you know of the streaming hang-up. And although it is made available for free, these platforms can be upgraded to include one of three data packages or add à la carte feeds.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these unique platforms and what they have to offer.

Questrade Trading
Questrade IQ Edge
Questrade IQ Mobile

1. Questrade Trading

Formerly known as Questrade IQ Web, Questrade Trading is a plugin-free web-accessible trading platform built on HTML5 and is designed to be accessible on almost any device. It is craftily integrated into the Questrade Account portal and is reachable through the Trade button at the top menu bar. It can even be set up to be your home base when you log in. Questrade Trading is very feature-packed and serves as the primary gateway platform for most users entire trading experience. It also serves as Questrade’s answer for those who, for one reason or another, may not have access to (or be compatible with) IQ Mobile or IQ Edge. This would be the perfect choice for Linux desktop users or the ever growing presence of tablet carriers. Because it is a fully compliant HTML5 browser-based responsive experience, unlike the others, it does not require a download or any third-party add-on to be fully functional.

Taking a spin with this platform was an incredibly liberating experience — an excellent amalgamation of power and usability. It introduces the concept of Gadgets into the platform lexicon. A gadget is an arrangeable user-customized window of a view into your trading/market details. Gadgets include, but are not limited to: Activity (a logs viewer), Balances, Time and Sales (current global activity of a stock), Level 1 Quotes, Level 2 Quotes (if you paid for this addition), News, Orders, Charts, Position Summary, and Watch List. Questrade Trading was surprisingly lightning fast and responsive in every web browser we tested. Memory and CPU footprint usage was astonishingly small despite the depth of options, activity, and functionality it had to offer. Sessions don’t appear to have any inactivity time limit. A nice bonus feature of this platform was being able to start a trading task on one device (e.g., a home PC) and then effortlessly shift to another device (e.g., smartphone or tablet) to complete it. This is an invaluable little addition because it can allow one to carefully construct lengthy trading procedures while permitting free movement during busy schedules. Bonus points also have to go to their clever use of green and red colouring in real-time to help more easily distinguish stocks and options price variations as they happen. Unlike its IQ Edge cousin, however, Questrade Trading cannot change its colour theme appearance — it’s always in a light theme. On the plus side though, any custom changes you make to the layout are automatically saved and restored if you leave and return to this platform.

Notable differences between this platform and the rest of the family include the lack of multi-leg option orders, no alerts, nor workspaces & heat maps. If you are looking to use one or more of those missing features then you should opt for IQ Edge instead.

Layout – Trading Platform
Balances – Trading Platform
Activity – Trading Platform

2. Questrade IQ Edge

Questrade IQ Edge is the big boy of this suite. It only comes as an install-based native PC (or Mac) desktop application engineered specifically for active and pro traders. IQ Edge allows for an unlimited amount of workspaces (Questrade Trading only allows for one). A workspace is a screen area allowing one to open and customize a new set of gadgets or windows for a particular purpose that suits a trading environment style. Multiple easily navigable workspaces is a valuable asset for active traders. The other big difference between IQ Edge and Questrade Trading is that IQ Edge offers a more advanced plate of options for order entries: conditional orders (e.g., trigger orders at a specific time, price, or volume automatically), bracket orders, more extensive alerts, multiple order entry windows, notification emails when something is purchased or sold, and the ability to order anonymously. There are a few subtle differences too. IQ Edge allows for extensive gadget customizing which takes them well beyond what is possible in Questrade Trading. However, most of these customizable features are visual (e.g., float, pin, drag-drop, resize, colourize, blink text); it depends on the gadget. Curiously, gadgets don’t have a snap-to feature in IQ Edge and so they do not auto-arrange when the main application window resizes. It was a bit inconvenient but not a deal breaker because most people just position their gadgets at a particular spot and maintain the application window at a set size. Interestingly, any gadget customization you make in IQ Edge does not transfer over to Questrade Trading (assuming the same gadget exists), and vice versa. However, ticker symbols and related data inside gadgets (e.g., alerts) are properly maintained and do transfer over between web/desktop environments. IQ Edge colour themes range from dark (default), light, and sky blue.

One additional allure of IQ Edge is that it gives a trader the sense of comfort knowing their platform’s trading activity will not be delayed or experience hiccups as might be the case if using a web browser. IQ Edge was written from the ground up using optimized C++ code and deployed for Intel/AMD processors ensuring the speediest of responses for the most diehard of active traders. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing there is no 64-bit version for IQ Edge on the PC. For Macs it is natively 64-bit. It will still run normally on 64-bit Windows systems, it just won’t be running as efficiently as it could be. Here’s hoping that in the near future an optimized 64-bit Windows version of IQ Edge will be made available.

If you’d like to give one or more of the aforementioned trading platforms a spin using CAD $500,000 and USD $500,000 virtual cash for stocks and options, Questrade offers free practice accounts online that you can take part in. This will help give you an even better idea of their impressive user experience, and could potentially hone your trading skills even more without risking any real money.

Layout – IQ Edge
Charts – IQ Edge
Order Entry – IQ Edge

3. Questrade IQ Mobile

And now we shift our attention towards Questrade’s other important platform: Questrade IQ Mobile — their very simple, very capable mobile trading platform. Operating anywhere at any time, this app is available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices from their respective app stores. Questrade had originally planned to release a similar version for Windows Phone and Blackberry but, understandably, due to their diminishing marketshares the idea was scrubbed late in the development cycle. As such, those devices will need to use their browser-based alternative: Questrade Trading.

We found that IQ Mobile’s feature set is nearly identical to their Questrade Trading platform, with incorporated visual tweaks to better suit portable device operability. It’s all here, including research tools (e.g., Market Intelligence and Intraday Trader), charts, options trading, and Level 2 data. You can even perform account management actions directly within the app. The visual layout and organization of features is very well thought out. We were able to navigate and use the app with extreme ease. Although they conveniently provide an interactive help tool within the app we found there was little need for it because everything just made sense.

After using this platform for several days it’s clear to us Questrade is aiming to make IQ Mobile as feature-rich as IQ Edge over time. There is no question that this is an integral component to Questrade, and quite possibly is the most important of this entire suite in terms of long-term growth since most people will continue to be looking to their phones (and other portable devices) as their primary hub to the markets. So i’m sure this will be greeted with overjoyed smiles by active traders who have been yearning to be more fully unshackled from their IQ Edge desktops. On the go is here to stay so it only makes logical sense that Questrade will be continuing their trend of integrating more Edge-like whiz-bang functionality into IQ Mobile, surely pushing it well beyond its web-based sibling. The hope though is that Questrade will carefully walk that mobility tightrope by maintaining the app’s unique user-friendly intuitiveness to ensure mass appeal, while still including more sophistication to keep their active trading population happy and, at the same time, nurturing a new generation of on the go investors who will now have access to a growing toolset of advanced capabilities as their confidence and portfolios grow.

Quote – IQ Mobile
Options – IQ Mobile
Level 2 Data – IQ Mobile

Unquestionably, this new trading platform suite is a giant leap in the right direction for Questrade. The collection encompasses everything QuestraderWEB, QuestraderPRO, and QuestraderELITE (their now-defunct older trading platforms) had and some. And this suite does so in the most intuitive, comprehensive way. By taking the bold step to retire their older platforms by supplanting them with an agile next-generation trading environment is a sign that Questrade cares deeply about providing the best experience for the casual trader and demanding active user.

Interestingly, upon further investigation we found that new releases for this suite is always consistent and swift — a major new release occurs every month — bringing with it a slew of enhancements and bug fixes, based on direct user feedback of their online community discussion forum: The Exchange.

A few other unique features which I am surprised other brokerages have not yet duplicated is, firstly, the clever partnerships Questrade has with third party websites (e.g., iShares ETFs) — providing one-click Buy Now buttons across the web — permitting on the fly quick trades that whisk the buyer back into the IQ platform to complete the pre-filled order ticket. And secondly, a feature called Margin Power (for self-directed accounts) which, by its name, gives you a clue on at what it does. By linking your existing TFSA account to your margin account it increases your buying power within your margin account by leveraging the assets you already hold in your TFSA making it enormously convenient to enter new positions without requiring a transfer of new cash or selling existing securities. Both features are wonderfully handy!

The long requested single sign-on feature is now available for Questrade members. You now use one user ID and password to access the trading platform, Questrade Account, and the Exchange. This saves a tremendous amount of time because in the past Questrade had originally required at least three different sign-on credentials to access each of their trading landscapes, and so to no surprise this was a heavily requested feature. We welcome its addition.

To get a better feel of what Questrade IQ has to offer here is a collection of video tutorials overviewing this trading platform’s most common features.

Videos – Trading Platform
Videos – IQ Edge
Videos – IQ Mobile

Although we briefly mentioned in passing their older predecessor platforms, to give you a better sense of who Questrade is and how much they’ve improved, what follows are images of their previous generation trading platforms. Prior to IQ, Questrade offered a few other trading platforms for stocks and options: QuestraderWEB, QuestraderPRO, and QuestraderELITE. QuestraderWEB was their web-based application with a very pretty and intuitive user interface. It was Questrade’s only free platform and required the Java plugin within your browser to function correctly. QuestraderPRO and QuestraderELITE were desktop applications requiring a monthly subscription fee.

QuestraderWEB
QuestraderPRO / ELITE

A little note on exchange and ECN fees. These are the fees Questrade is forced to charge you when you make a transaction that removes liquidity from the market (i.e. buying at the ask or selling at the bid). Although these fees translate to mere pennies for most traders one can avoid paying them altogether by executing transactions as a limit (or stop) order at the bid/ask instead of as a market order request. For U.S. stocks you can also send orders to non-direct access ECN networks (LAMP, MNGD, or POST) to avoid these fees.

Most people will sign-up for the standard marginal account which gives you access to borrow funds at an amount more than your current cash balance. This extended buying power ability is very useful and can come in handy when you need to jump on market opportunities. Assuming you’ve bought on margin and haven’t settled your stocks after 3 days of the purchase the margin interest rate is prime + 2.5% which is inline with most brokerages.

One of the selling points Questrade likes to bring up is that for mutual funds they will rebate the trailer fees. They call this their Mutual Fund Maximizer. Trailer fees are commissions by fund management companies paid to your brokerage house for being the retailer that sold you your fund(s). This commission is an ongoing source of revenue for your brokerage as long as you keep holding onto those fund(s). You don’t see this fee because it is part of the MER of the fund. So Questrade is willing to rebate this fee back to you each quarter. But there’s a catch. You need a minimum of $36,000 in mutual fund holdings to be eligible for this rebate. The reasoning is simple. There is a processing fee of $29.95/month so the rebates will start paying back if your mutual fund holdings is worth more than $36,000 (based on a 1% trailer fee).

Portfolio IQ (Managed Investing)

Self-directed investment empowerment (aka DIY trading) is offered by virtually all discount brokerages and has been a popular preference by the general public due to the myriad of easy-to-use tools and support made available to an investor desiring to control every aspect of their interests. With this style of investing customers have always been able to sculpt their own investment strategy, define their portfolio, buy and sell securities, and more. However, there is another option. For those with very little time while continuing to carry big investment ambitions Questrade introduced Portfolio IQ, the alternative to self-directed investing. Really known as managed investing, Portfolio IQ takes away the stress of investment decision making, such as asset allocation and rebalancing, and puts this work into the hands of experienced portfolio managers of their Questrade Wealth Management division.

Who doesn’t want to take it easy and watch their money grow towards financial independence with little effort? It’s a dream come true! The difficult part with that dream is figuring out how exactly to do that. This is where Portfolio IQ comes to the rescue. Becoming Canada’s first online wealth management service, Portfolio IQ debuted as a definitive market disruptor by making managed investing accessible to everyone. Traditionally, managed investing has been an exclusive club for the uber-rich but Questrade, keeping to its roots of bringing all things restrictive to the masses, decided to do away with convention.

Opening a Portfolio IQ account is straight-forward and only requires $1. As an extra bonus, this review’s Questrade offer code — also known as a Questrade referral code — can also be used when opening this type of account. Once open you’re taken through a simple-to-use point-and-click questionnaire to set up an investor biography that identifies your risk tolerance, existing financial circumstances, market knowledge, and investment ambitions all of which is used to better crystallize the best portfolio for you. What’s also great is that if your goals change then you can return and adjust your bio to keep things in balance, which will automatically update your underlying portfolio model accordingly.

Tolerable Risk
Portfolio Growth / Decline
Review

All the portfolios deal exclusively in ETFs (composed of a mix of various sectors, markets, and countries) and come in the following 5 flavors:

PortfolioRisk LevelComposition
Conservative IncomeLow80% fixed, 20% equity
IncomeLow – Medium60% fixed, 40% equity
BalancedMedium40% fixed, 60% equity
GrowthMedium – High20% fixed, 80% equity
Aggressive GrowthHigh100% equity

Further, each of these portfolios has three tiers. Tier positioning, as defined by your account asset value, determines the sector and country-specific ETFs made available to your portfolio.

Although it only requires $1 to open a Portfolio IQ account your money sits uninvested until it reaches at least $2,000. Once that threshold has been reached your money is automatically shifted into your designated portfolio and your very own team of specialists will actively manage and adjust your portfolio as opportunities arise in the markets. They will also vigilantly rebalance assets to keep within your profile without your daily involvement all year-round.

True to Questrade’s reputation Portfolio IQ has no trading/trailing commission fees — including no fee RSPs. There is however a nominal annual management fee determined by your total account asset value. This fee is broken up and charged proportionally on a quarterly basis and is by far the lowest in the industry we could find. Although this annual rate does not include the ETF expense ratios we discovered that the underlying ETF MERs went as low as 0.04%.

Total AssetsAnnual Fee
Less than $2,000No Fee
$2,000 – $99,9990.7%
$100,000 – $249,9990.6%
$250,000 – 499,9990.5%
$500,000 – $999,9990.4%
$1,000,000+0.35%

With the added benefit of taking full advantage of tax-loss harvesting and providing a last quarter management fee refund guarantee if not fully satisfied for any reason, Portfolio IQ is an extraordinary entrant into the managed investing arena and has that perfect resonating mix all investors, big and small, crave when they daydream of an unshackled financial tomorrow.

IPO Centre

Participating in initial public offerings (IPO), secondary issues (additional shares/bonds offered by a public company), and structured products has always been the holy grail for many investors since the incredible euphoric frenzy of the 1990s internet IPO boom. Historically, because first issues usually tick up on first day closings it’s logically understandable why so many want in — it’s a quick way to make an easy buck! However, due to the natural laws of supply and demand interest in these new issues almost always outstrip the quantity made available and therefore only insiders, well-connected bigwigs, and the very rich are usually the only ones who have access to them; nepotism and cronyism at its undemocratic finest. For generations the general public has had little access to IPOs. There was a brief moment in time when Wit Capital, an internet startup of the 90s, briefly unlocked this secret world, but it was short-lived. Questrade became one of the new Canadian trailblazers to usher in a sledgehammer back into this world for the masses.

The Questrade IPO Centre, showcasing mostly Canadian equity, fixed income, and structured products, list newly available issues and previous offerings (for historic analysis). Their respective facts, investor summary, terms, and preliminary prospectus are also readily accessible. For instant notification of newly announced IPOs and secondary issues clients are encouraged to subscribe to the IPO Bulletin. Independent testing revealed that notifications were indeed right away. The centre is reachable on the desktop/laptops , smartphones, and tablets. When you see an IPO or other new issue you like, it’s a simple click, tap, or a trade desk call away to express interest. An expression of interest makes Questrade aware you are putting in a commitment to buy a number of shares. However, this does not guarantee you will actually get any or all of the shares you’ve requested. If a client places an expression of interest on the website, the trade desk will contact the client to confirm the order within an hour (rare cases may take up to 24 hours). There is a $5,000 minimum requested amount for submitting an IPO order. Some companies going public may even ask for an amount over and above this, but the majority of the time it won’t be above the $5,000 Questrade minimum. Once the order is confirmed Questrade passes along the interest to the offering’s underwriter. Although not possible right now, soon clients will be able to submit their expression of interest through the trading platform to reduce wait time and eliminate the need for a Questrade representative call-back to confirm the order. Cancelling an interest request can be made within two business days (this may vary depending on the province) after receipt or deemed receipt of a prospectus and any amendment (found at the online centre). All IPO and secondary offering purchases are commission free.

Processing time for orders can vary but usually it takes around 3 weeks from when the underwriters first launch the IPO and when the offering closes. For some secondary offerings and preferred treasury shares times can be shorter. Once allocations from the underwriter are received Questrade informs clients via email or phone. Allocations, however, may be distributed on a pro-rata basis if an IPO is oversubscribed (the number of shares requested by all interested parties is greater than what Questrade received), and so, as mentioned earlier your original interest amount may not necessarily materialize to what you actually get. For example if Questrade receives a 50% allocation on their total order amount, they would then allocate 50% to their client’s original order.

Although the IPO Centre mostly has Canadian offerings, U.S. IPOs do show up from time-to-time as well. It’s because of Canadian security regulations that U.S. and other foreign-based companies must file their prospectus in each province individually in order to be sold to residents of that particular province. Because many companies in the United States may feel that doing an IPO in Canada could be an added expense (e.g., listing fees, legal fees, French language requirements) and that domestic demand in the U.S. is enough to satisfy how much capital they want to raise, it’s only logical that most offerings will be Canadian by nature. Interestingly, many international mining/resource companies will choose to file a prospectus and raise money within Canada, and choose to be listed here as well. TSX has a very large mining focus in general.

Registered accounts (e.g., RRSP, TFSA) are also eligible to hold the vast majority of IPOs and treasury offerings. However, some IPOs may not be eligible due to their company/offering structure and how widely held it is.

The centre is a very welcome sight and seems well positioned to grow into something incredibly special. Sadly, no word yet if and when Questrade will be issuing their very own company IPO  😉

Security

When making trades one of the primary concerns held by most people is security. Like banks, most discount brokerage companies deploy different protection strategies to secure your account such as randomizing security questions, displaying pre-selected image captchas that only the account holder would know, two-step and two-factor verification, or even providing digital key devices which in conjunction with your secret password must be pressed to generate the final half of the login passcode each time.

Questrade’s security measures have improved dramatically over the years. They have an Online Security Guarantee which insures investors against unauthorized transactions which result in a direct loss. However, this security guarantee doesn’t extend to intruders breaching accounts on your end (i.e, browser vulnerability, PC/Mac infection). In other words, if there is fraudulent activity and it’s proven to be due to the negligence of Questrade they are in a position to cover your loss at 100%. Questrade is a CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund) member, and so all Canadian investors are covered up to $1,000,000. They are also members of the IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada). For claims that exceed $1,000,000, Questrade also offers extended private insurance up to $10 million. You will need to contact them directly by phone for more details in getting this extension set up correctly.

In regards to Questrade’s current online security methods, upon sign-up for a new account you are required to create a user ID, password, and set up a few security questions. User ID’s are required to be 8-20 characters long while passwords must be at least 8 characters in length and include an uppercase, lowercase, and numerical (or symbolic) character. Although this seems like a standard approach across the web this is actually new and a big improvement for Questrade. They also now include extra verification steps such as when you attempt to log in to your account from an unrecognized system you are prompted with one of your security questions. An optional PIN can also be setup to help you get faster service when calling in.

Security advice is made available outlining how to protect yourself by taking precautionary steps like using anti-virus software to keep your computer clean. Interestingly, they have made the extra effort by partnering with Symantec, using Norton Anti-virus to continuously scan/monitor their own internal files, ensuring your investments and privacy on their end are secure. Questrade was also one of the few discount brokerage firms that were not affected by the Heart Bleed Bug — they were protected all this time.

Final Thoughts

Reviews online are overwhelming negative towards Questrade. However, many of them have very old post dates. Prior to writing this review I wanted to be completely fair and so decided to read many of these complaints so that I could be aware of and keep an eye out for any of these problems. I even took note on exact steps for some of these problems with hopes of recreating them. I had originally planned to share a collection of these complaints but seeing as how many of them might have already been resolved by Questrade I felt the company deserved another look before passing judgment. So after spending a number of days using their entire suite of online tools, making trades, and attempting to recreate customer complaints I can report back and say that I did not experience a single issue. My conclusion is that either Questrade had fixed several of these earlier problems or these complaints were from beginning traders who were not familiar with the platform nor company policies.

There is no question that several years back Questrade did have some customer service and platform issues but they were remedied long ago. As such, it’s perfectly understandable from a human nature standpoint that a few disgruntled users are more inclined to make the effort to create an online account so as to write a negative comment than it is for an overwhelmingly majority of happy users to take the same amount of time to write a positive comment about the same service. There’s also the case where some users may be attempting to perform incredibly complex trading maneuvers that either are not supported in a specific platform (e.g., attempting to do multi-leg options ordering inside IQ Mobile when IQ Edge is better suited), or the capabilities are indeed supported but they, as new investors, are not versed enough yet in how to accomplish it, making them frustrated, and leading to a need to vent. If Questrade’s growth numbers each year are any indication, as cited by many Canadian sources, there is clear indication that customers are very happy with them.

Overall my experience with Questrade was a very pleasant one. Their “killer app”, so to speak, is free (no commission charge) ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and that one can execute trades as low as 1¢ per share ($4.95 minimum) with no catch. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that! And this pricing structure hasn’t changed since they’ve started — decades now! In rare instances I sometimes come across other brokerages offering promotionals at $4.95/trade but when you dig deeper into their fine print it almost unequivocally is for “big fish” traders who must spend upwards of $100,000/month in trading activity to be eligible for the $4.95 offer. Clearly not for the average consumer. Obviously this is not the case with Questrade.

Questrade’s low commission rate is so good it serves as an enticer to make more trades more often and not have to hesitate by attempting to time the market in hopes of covering commission costs. I am happy to see Questrade has made many brilliant enhancements over the years including, but not limited to, a unified single sign-on approach that provides a more consistent feel, and a more responsive live help chat capability where their customer service is consistently quick and knowledgeable, adding to the excellent experience. Although they clearly have a very solid desire to keep improving their services, there are a few minor areas that can be improved such as full gadget settings retention across different trading platforms, but with such dramatic savings found among all their services it seems understandable that one can’t always have everything. So I will give them a pass on that.

In MoneySense’s Canada’s Best Online Brokerages 2016 article, Questrade was top ranked as the best in terms of lowest fees and lowest commissions. They also received honourable mentions as the best in ease of use and overall independent broker.

For a long time my trading experience was associated with a big bank brokerage firm. This was before I became more enlightened with better options that were out there. I’m sure this is the case for most people. As I mentioned at the start, many of us usually get our first investment accounts at big banks because of the ease to do so. However, as I also pointed out, such conveniences bring with it abuses by these firms onto their customers. And so it wasn’t until I became completely disillusioned by the high and endless commission charges by my bank that I felt it was time to explore other financial outlets. And hence, here we are today and why I felt this Questrade review needed to be written.

Should you join? Yes — a resounding YES! For someone like me, as a casual trader, who has experienced headaches with other brokerage firms it’s nice to finally find a good home at Questrade who doesn’t play games nor charge exorbitant fees. Questrade fits my needs perfectly and helps unlock my potential as a growing investor. And at the end of the day isn’t this what we really hope a respectable brokerage firm provides us?  Google Profile

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Questrade?

  1. Lowest commission cost per equity trade in Canada.
  2. Commission-free ETF trades.
  3. No annual fees.
  4. Free $50 when using Questrade offer code: Canada
  5. Questrade will cover the transfer-out fee when moving your brokerage account to them.
  6. Full-featured tools and trading platforms available on all devices.
  7. Very responsive customer service. Even when using live online help.
  8. Hold dual-currency (CAD and USD) simultaneously within registered accounts (e.g., RRSP) without automatic conversions nor fees.

Is Questrade good?

Yes! Questrade offers a remarkably rich tapestry of features well tailored for new investors and seasoned traders. They also have the lowest costs of any other brokerage house in Canada, by far. Over the years, they have routinely demonstrated their hypercompetitiveness in this crowded industry by endlessly releasing new products, updates, and exploring untapped avenues (e.g. IPOs).

What are the different ways to fund an account?

  • Online banking
  • Certified cheque/bank draft
  • Money order
  • Personal cheque
  • Pre-authorized deposit
  • Stock certificate
  • Transfer-out requests from another brokerage
  • Wire transfer (fastest)

What is the best way to currency convert CAD/USD?

To elminate currency exchange fees almost entirely when converting CAD/USD you will want to use tickers: DLR.TO and DLR.U.TO. The former deals in CAD currency, the latter in USD currency.

To convert from CAD to USD:

  1. Buy shares of DLR.TO (currency will be in CAD) in the amount that you want to convert into USD cash.
  2. Get ahold of a Questrade rep via live help chat or on the phone.
  3. Tell the rep that you want to journal over all of your newly acquired DLR.TO shares to its USD equivalent side (i.e., DLR.U.TO). Your shares will now shift from DLR.TO to DLR.U.TO and be in USD currency.
  4. Sell all of your DLR.U.TO shares. You will now have USD cash.

To convert from USD to CAD:

  1. Buy shares of DLR.U.TO (currency will be in USD) in the amount that you want to convert into CAD cash.
  2. Get ahold of a Questrade rep via live help chat or on the phone.
  3. Tell the rep that you want to journal over all of your newly acquired DLR.U.TO shares to its CAD equivalent side (i.e., DLR.TO). Your shares will now shift from DLR.U.TO to DLR.TO and be in CAD currency.
  4. Sell all of your DLR.TO shares. You will now have CAD cash.

The entire process can take up to 1-2 business days to complete. The full details of your conversion is recorded under myQuestrade’s Account Activity page.

Can I short sell?

Yes, you can short stocks in their margin accounts. Registered accounts (e.g., RRSP), however, cannot due to Canadian government regulations.

Do their trading platforms support Mac and Linux?

Yes, their trading platforms are available for Mac and Linux users. Questrade’s trading platforms are also available for Windows, iOS, and Android devices. However, for Linux users Questrade Trading, their responsive HTML browser-based web application is what’s used.

Questrade Offer Code

Use Offer Code: Canada to receive $50 in Free Trades from Questrade when signing up for a new account.

Questrade Review

Editor Rating: 90% out of 100
User Rating: 95% out of 100 (2205 votes)
“Questrade Review” written by Emma Li —  

This Review has 9,876 Comments

  1. Randolph Kerr

    Hahahaha this is quite the lengthy review. Thanks for all the hard work!

  2. Darrien Guerin

    Just use Questrade Promo Code: Canada
    It's the one shown in the right column of this page with that big graphic announcing $50 free trades.

  3. Gerard

    Anyone have a referral they can give me?

  4. Yusuf Christians

    Got a bit fed up with BMO's constant fees on everything so i might consider questrade. You make some good points so that helped sway me. The pictures were very helpful btw. Good job.

  5. Smith

    Been using Questrade for about 5 years now. Overall they are good. There trade prices are fair and they are definitely the best bang for the buck if you are new to investing.

    Good questrade review.

  6. Devyn

    I used your promo code after reading this. Thanks a million.

  7. Kirkland Morrison

    I've now been with them for a month. So far i like them. Thanks for this review

  8. Johnathan LaRoque

    Right now i'm an InvestorLine trader. I notice this questrade review brings up the fact that questrade offers IPOs. I will have to look into this more.

  9. Investor383

    Just used the questrade promo code you show on the right-side of this page. Big thanks. $50 richer!!

  10. Finnegan Davis

    I decided to join the other day. So far so good. I should have my account up and going hopefully this week. I will post back about my experiences.

  11. Taran Laubshire

    Will you be writing a review on other brokerages like Scotia’s iTRADE or IB?

  12. Raheem Hawthorne

    Thanks for the tip on the ECN fees. I was going to post a comment about what the charge was on them but with a handy search in this questrade review now i know ho wto avoid the fee altogether.

  13. Taj

    I notice from time to time they offer free training courses if you're in the toronto area. I always thought about attending one of these but kept slipping my mind. one of these days though.

  14. Devyn Grandon

    dummy me i just noticed the questrade promotion code on the right side. i guess i cant use it now (already joined).

  15. Jaron D.

    okay I'm convinced ill give them a try. Worst thing i lose a bit of time and out $5 bucks

  16. Ian Allee

    Great Questrade Review!

  17. Delbert

    Geez, this thing is longer than the bible. My A.D.D. can't handle it. I'll just end up looking at just the pictures anyway.

  18. Deion Y.

    I'm a forex trader and definitely dont get involved in it without first getting your feet wet via practice accounts. I wish i had that advice when i began. Lost a lot of investment money because it was so darn addictive. lol.

  19. Frederick Chalfant

    I keep getting new emails about Forex trading. Anyone know much about this forex stuff?

    This new email from them talks about contracts for difference (CFDs) trading.

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Andy Labush

    Thanks for the review. I'm actually a bit surprised by the favorability. will have to think about it smore before joining though.

  21. Ulberto Estabrook

    Questrade really needs to merge all their platforms into just the Trade Platform because they are all very similar.

  22. Barry W

    Found out Questrade is the #1 discount stock broker in Canada. I may become a member later in the month. Thanks for the write up.

  23. Curtis Crowell

    Thanks for the screen captures intermixed in this review above. It really makes it easier to get an idea what they are like. Seems very welcoming their service!

    Me and my spouse might give them a lookey.

  24. Ike Bond

    Two reasons why i will be joining Questrade shortly. Free ETFs and free $50 promo code. Thank you.

  25. Codey Kasten

    I've used most online brokerages here in Canada and a few in the US (i have dual citizenship) and so far Questrade is near the top. Good stuff. No complaints yet. If i find any I will check back in here. Nice to see a lively chatter here.

  26. Timmothy Condon

    Wow this review is on steriods! It has everything i am looking for. Bookmarked, and Liked on Facebook!

  27. Alonso Batton

    I really wish credit unions would offer better payee options so i can add Questrade as an item payee and i can send money to my account quicker. Obviously this is not Quest Trades fault but i wonder if they have enough power to convince my credit union to add them as a payee.

  28. Gerard

    Wow Market Intelligence has really improved from the previous incarnation. Will the IQ charts take on a similar technical feel too?

  29. Keaton

    Why doesn't Questrade trade (buy/sell) bitcoins? That would be awesome. They'd be the first stock brokers in Canada to do so. They offer Forex trading which deals with currency so that would be a welcome addition! If you're listening please add it!

  30. Kaci H.

    It's really quite amazing that Questrade started back in 1999. I feel very old now.

  31. Erin P

    So far Questrade has been pretty good for me. For the people here asking what is the best research tools…for me it would have to be Intraday Trader and Market Intelligence. I find that as i keep getting more involved with Q i find im visiting other sites much less often.

  32. Zachary L.

    Was talking with Questrade online customer support and they told me Windows phones and Blackberry smartphones were in the works to have a IQ Mobile release app coming shortly.

    So hooray for me!

  33. Quintin

    i dont think IQ Edge has the native ability to set proxy settings within the app. If you are comfortable with Windows you could modify your routing table (via "route" command line) and set up your proxy that way.

    You can also do the same via a descent Firewall. It could monitor a running app and set up how it communicates out to the internet.

  34. Luciano

    To gain access to the internet i use a proxy server for my VPN. So does anyone know how to set proxy service for IQ Edge?

  35. Chaim W

    So the minimum initial deposit is $1,000? That's easy enough. Ok after reading this review i think questrade is right for me. Cheers!

  36. Roosevelt

    Hey thanks for letting me know about their Trading platform and how i can use it on my BlackBerry tablet. I was searching my app store and didnt find a suitable one for Questrade so knowing this new tip and trying it i can now do my trades on the tablet…yay! Thanks again.

    So for other BB tablet (or phone) users use Trading which is accessible by going directly onto their site through a web browser and logging in (yes, even on your tablet or phone). I believe the reason is because it supports HTML5 — a universal standard across all tablets and phones.

  37. Benjamen Babcock

    Was checking the Deloitte site and looks like Questrade won a Deloitte Canada's Best Managed Companies award at some point. Nice! Glad i stuck with them.

  38. Maximilian

    I am still trying to figure it out (i am not a computer guy) why IQ Edge keeps logging me out every 20minutes. I've gotten feedback which i am trying to verify but i have been told that it could be my internet connection probably is the cause (losing connection). Yes i am on wifi so maybe that is the reason but wanted to post here to see what others are saying if they have the same issue or just me.

  39. Horace G

    Actually i believe there was lots of talk about Questrade's BlackBerry Mobile app coming too but i believe it was dropped (i am a BlackBerry user too btw). Can’t recall where i read that. Right now i am just using Trading on my phone through Chrome. Works well.

  40. Kaelen

    Just wondering if BlackBerry Mobile is ready yet.

  41. Mohamed

    Hey this is interesting Questrade is also a self-clearing broker which means among other things they provide record-keeping services such as ensuring trades are properly documented with markets, and fund transfering. If my memory serves me they were with Penson for clearing so its good to hear they are doing it themselves now. Makes things much faster and more efficient.

  42. Haden B

    Not too long ago there was lots of talk about Bit Coin. It was all over the news. I am still not a big fan of this virtual currency and would prefer people stick to trading gold since it has an underlying value to the economy (ie, circutry, jewelry). I tend to buy gold on Questrade on a regular basis so just wanted to chime in on my feelings about it.

  43. Kenyon M.

    Greetings from Saskatchewan. Been trading for 12+ years. Now that i am retired i have more time to grow my portfolio. So just wanted to say hello to this growing place on the web.

  44. Bob S

    You can enroll into the DRIP program via completing the DRIP form located at Account Management – Find Forms. Fill it out and either mail it to them or upload it through their My Questrade page. It's as simple as that. I recommend the upload method since they respond much quicker. Glad i could help.

  45. Jamel

    I hope i am not repeating myself since i do notice another amateur before my post but just wondering how to set up stock purchases via drip?

  46. Stocks Are My Life

    Welcome aboard to Questrade Allison! I am also new to Questrade but i am what i would consider a seasoned trader.

    The best and only way to pick stocks from my experience is to do diligent research.

    Questrade offers some descent research tools via their Questrade Account page (when you create a new free membership account). For me i read a bunch of books and played with virtual money to get the hang of things before jumping into the deep end.

  47. Allison Artiquette

    I stumbled onto this popular review post and after having so called professionals handle my investments for decades and seeing lousy returns I think i am now more confident to take it in my own hands.

    That being said i really need to learn and get advice on where the best place on Questrade or outside to learn all of this.

    Right now i am more interested in how to pick the right stocks than how the trading platforms function. Any advice would be appreciated.

  48. Darrel Summers

    I'm a sucker for $50 offer code for Questrade so you've given me reason to join. lol.

  49. Winter Martain

    Just wanted to give my first hellos here. I appreciate low fee trading and tend to be a holder of investments. Hope to be with them for a while. I mostly trade gold for now. Anyone else trade gold?

  50. Jackson Beck

    Does Questrade allow trading of BitCoin currency?

  51. Michelle

    Hey Sean from my experience the commission-free ETF is for Canadian and US ETFs and there is no limit on how many you can purchase so its pretty amazing!

    I've been constantly buying and making use of dollar-cost-averaging since its free.

  52. Francisco Axtell

    Don't forget that Questrade has and makes all tax statements available for download. So that includes T3, T5, T5008 too!

    All tax slips are available through their My Accounts’ Reports area.

  53. SeanP

    Hi everyone! Glad to know there is a discussion about all things Questrade. So yea about Questrade's commission-free ETF purchase feature. Would this apply to Euro ETFs too?

  54. Addison K.

    As an extension to what this review is saying Questrade has an additional private insurance that covers up to $9,000,000. So your money is pretty safe with them. In fact its safer than your average savings bank account.

  55. Jedediah

    Not sure if there are other forex traders here but anyone know the minimum trading size for forex accounts?

    I think i saw somewhere it was 1 lot which equates to 100,000 units of the base currency but i wasnt sure. I will check with their Live chat online later.

  56. Geoffrey Wilkens

    Wow ETF are free! I am a big proponent of ETF buying and so now i can do my DCA towards my RRSP in peace without incurring any commission fees. Thank you questrade!

  57. Aubree

    Nice to see Questrade is rated highly on Better Business Bureau. Amazing how times have changed for the better. Good for them! Good for us!

  58. Ryland McCart

    The reviewer is correct that Questrade Trading is indeed a push towards HTML 5 and away from the craziness of Flash and Silverlight support.

    They deserve a lot of credit because other stock sites like Interactive Brokers still are adamantly pushing Flash. I despise flash because of its ability to eat my battery life in minutes when trying to trade.

    This alone should be reason enough to join Questrade.

  59. Quill Mehrhof

    I like how i can hold two types of currency accounts in the same questrade account and set how i want currency conversion to occur. I wish i had the same ability for my bank's savings/chequing account too. Kind of strange why not many brokerage firms do the same as these guys. Good job.

  60. Moises Sleeper

    Can't remember who was asking but it was for more details about how Questrade views GTC and GTEM orders.

    GTC = Good 'Til Cancelled and i am pretty sure its about a month or so after you started the order before it ends. Although one would think it is to keep it open indefinitely that is not true (depends on the brokerage). But from my experience its seems to be about a month.

    GTEM = Good 'Til Extended Market means your orders last until the "after-hours" trading session is done for the day.

    Hope that helps.

  61. Zeb

    For people wondering once you open and fund your account with the minimum $1000 you can start buying right away. If i remember correctly you only need to keep up a $250 (in equity) to be in good standings which is fairly easy since all your stock value + cash just has to be $250 or above then you are okay. And even then they dont raise a fuss about it (they may email you though).

  62. Leif S.

    My situation is similar in that i am not a big time trader and prefer holding stock for long periods and so after my long research i have to say Questrade fits me perfectly. I like how there are no constant fees so i can just buy and sit back and profit 🙂

  63. Shay

    The big plus for me is free ETF's so i am going to discuss with my partner and we will strongly lean on joining Questrade soon.

    Much love from Newfoundland in this review of the ages.

  64. Stockster

    Ok been with QT for about a month now after first reading about them here on this great review and my verdict is a thumbs up. No complains and never any hassles. They are very quick in getting back to me and their live help is responsive.

  65. Olliver W

    Wow how things have come along way. From the different pictures of the old looks it seems they've made some big strides to please everyone. Good job and so i will give them a try since it also is nice to have the $50 offer code too 🙂

  66. Cleo S.

    Yay i am using Questrade IQ Mobile right now to make a trade and i am impressed. Works well.

  67. Robby

    I've been using two brokers at the same time Questrade and TD Direct Investing for a few years now and so i think i will make the jump and close my TD account finally. They seem to have worked out their issues and seem solid now.

  68. Cortez

    Awesome review but was wondering is there a way to transfer from my RBC eSavings account (USD funds) directly to my Quest Trade tfsa account?

  69. Odalis B.

    For the guy asking about TFSA/RRSP if you want to keep stocks with their currencies you would set the settlement currency to "Trade Currency". However, if you don't have enough USD to buy US securities Questrade will auto convert what it needs from CAD to USD.

    For regular margin account Questrade doesn't convert but lends you on margin. So if you dont have enough available funds you will go into the negative when it settles in 3 days and interest will accrue.

  70. Aubree

    Questrade treats TFSA accounts exactly like RRSP accounts and interestingly accounts that settle in CAD will see big savings when you buy/sell USD securities on the same day because Questrade only converts the difference between any buy and sell.

  71. Ty

    Dumb question but do i have to manually exchange funds withn my margin (TFSA) account into USD before buying USD stocks? Yes i have read in this review that RRSP registered accounts can do this for you automatically but was wondering about it for TFSA accounts that questrade offers.

  72. Lucian M

    @gordon you make valid points but you should have pointed out that people can still create practice accounts that give them like $500,000 virtual funds so they can practice trading and once they get comfortable with it they can move over and begin trading for real in Questrade IQ.

    That is how i began and it worked well for me.

  73. Zacharias H.

    Questrade IQ Mobile is much better now than its initial launch. I was not an original fan of it but now i am enjoying it. So hurrah for Questrade listening to its customers.

  74. Gordon

    Some advice for those who are new in stock. Please start off with only normal stocks and stay away from more advanced securities like penny stocks, pink sheets, and related.

    Sure a company can look incredibly attractive with stunning patent holdings, cash flow, back-orders but this certainly doesn't equate to stock price risings. There is a difference between what stock price is and what it should be. And so although as a beginner you may get lucky at times eventually you'll end up giving it back and the rest of your shirt on your back.

  75. Bryden Lawrence

    @Learner, from my experience this process you describe is never smooth no matter who the discount broker and likely over the following days/weeks your displayed profit/loss may appear all wacky. However, when things settle down your current holdings should change to become a new symbol once the companies in question are relisted.

    I owned GM through Questrade prior to their bankruptcy and continued to hold them when they emerged out of it.

  76. Dakota Parleman

    To the person that brought up Norbert's Gambit strategy. Very interesting. I will give it a try with Questrade when i join later tomorrow.

  77. Stock Learner

    My question doesn't relate specifically to quest trade but i was wondeirng what happens to OTC securities when they were delisted but then are re-listed on an exchange?

    When re-listed i think new equity is issued so then what happens to those who had original holdings? Are original positions nullified and void or would they still exist but in a different form and quantity?

  78. Shaquille K

    How consistent is Questrade in issuing out T3 and T5 slips? including revised slips.

  79. Adonis Bard

    So let me get this straight it is 1 cent per share, min 4.95, max 9.95 for Questrade? How come i never heard about these guys before? I clearly am living under a rock.

    Great review! Regards.

  80. Zebadiah W

    Yes paying through a bill payment is a common way to fund a Questrade account. So as long as Tangerine show them as a Payee you'll be fine and good to go.

  81. Kennedy Aland

    Anyone know if i can use Tangerine to fund your Questrade account? Because right now under pay bills area of Tangerine i can select Questrade Inc and put in my account number. Is that acceptable?

  82. Emery

    I'd love to see a true Questrade IQ desktop version made for Linux. I know i have other options like IQ Mobile and Questrade Trading and have the necessary tools to get them to work but it would just be nice to have a native application that fully utilized the Linux environment.

  83. Hubert G.

    Thanks for the live help link. Just used them now and they were responsive and answered all my questions. I am going to pull the trigger and join. Thanks for the $50 free trades.

  84. Shamus

    This review does a pretty good job answering your questions already @cherry but here are your answers:

    a) Questrade already has the ability to convert Cdn money to USD inside your accounts. Each account is actually made up of 2 sub-accounts. One for Cdn the other for USD.
    b) There are plenty of ways to fund USD such as mailing in a USD cheque or PAD (pre-authorized deposits) or via a bank draft.

  85. Creme Cherry

    Yea so i just opened up a few Quest trade accounts and had a few questions for you busy bunch.

    – What's the best way to get USD into my new accounts?

    – Can i use two or more banks to fund my accounts?

  86. Alexis Dighton

    Hey promo code for $50? That is all i need as a reason to join 🙂

  87. Cortney Witson

    If you are referring to the Questrade Webinars and Seminars then yes its good. I've taken them. It's a thorough education on how to trade stocks, options, futures, and much more at questrade.

  88. Trenton Yunker

    Has anyone attended Questrade's free learning seminars on Yonge Street?

  89. Ivory

    Hey, hey! I am becoming a member with questrade and was in hunt for a workable offer code! Thanks man! Works perfectly.

  90. Daquan H

    For the person asking how to buy TSX stocks on questrade here is a quick guide:

    (your stock letters).to for Toronto exchange
    (your stock letters).vn for Venture exchange

  91. Victor Garrett

    My thoughts are that banks are no way in the league of questrade. Banks have much higher commission rates and most require rediculous minimum deposits (eg, $25k).

    The only reason one might consider a bank over questrade would be if the bank offered access to securities that questrade didn't have which is rare. Questrade IQ gives you access to otcbb and pink which are what most of the penny stocks trade on.

    Interactive Brokers (IB) is not for beginners and they have a lot of hidden fees which questrade does not.

  92. Jayce D.

    @kelly and others try disabling addons in your browser such as flash and adblockers. They tend to have affects on the signing process. I ran into the same issue way back and i ended up resolving it instantly when i used a bare bones (addons disabled) Firefox browser. It will work too in Google Chrome.

  93. Kelly

    Was having troubles signing up for an account on quest trade when i got to the DocuSign part (yellow box to sign) — was giving a message about something "signature not added" but it seems the problem fixed itself as soon as i came here about to ask someone for help.

    You guys are good luck apparently. rofl!

  94. JJ

    Questrade Mobile app is pretty descent. Thanks for making me aware of it. It's funny i've been with them a short while and never knew it existed. Makes it easier for me when i am outside.

  95. Justin

    Reading the comments here i just want to let some of you know you cant rely on CRA's website to get an accurate representation of your contributions and available room that you may have due to your investments in a registered (e.g. RRSP) account.

    You need to look at your RRSP contribution receipts which will always be offered by your broker and banks (in this case Questrade does so before March 15 each year).

    When it comes to these types of accounts it is up to you to keep track of your contributions since CRA only updates once a year.

  96. Joel Maltbie

    Withdrawing is free when done using Electronic Fund Transfer (CAD or USD) and arrives approximately within 3 business days.

    You can set up withdrawing by uploading online a void cheque you scanned in of your bank through myQuestrade > Accounts > Requests > Withdraw Funds.

    It's a pretty simple and efficient process.

  97. Martell D.

    Ok so i am now very interested in opening a new account with Questrade; more specifically a TFSA account.

    So i'm wondering how easy is it to withdraw my money from this new TFSA account? Is there an extended delay until it appears in my bank account as compared to a non-registered account? Are there any fees to do so?

  98. Joe

    Question to you geniuses out there.

    If my account is settled in CAD and then i decide to convert whatever to USD so i can then proceed to purchase stock on an American exchange such as NASDAQ would the best recommendation be to create a new account that was specific to only settle in USD or is it possible to use my current account with some parts of it set aside as being USD?

    Thanks in advance.

  99. Heriberto Clifton

    Anyone attempt Norbert's Gambit as a way to significantly reduce the conversion fees from CAD to USD (or vice versa) with Questrade?

    From my experience it works. You just buy whatever you want and short the same amount on a different exchange (assuming the stock is sold on both exchanges) and then you either call/live chat/email and tell them to convert the holdings to the equivalent on the other exchange.

    One restriction though is for registered accounts there are "short" restrictions.

  100. Isaac

    Much love for the $50 offer code! Joining as I write this.

  101. Zac Styer

    Just a tip for people interested in buying Canadian ETF's from Questrade. Don't forget to append the ".to" to the end of your ticker symbol. For example: "cbo.to".

  102. SpaceJunkie

    It's been 3 months now and i can honestly say i am enjoying my stay at Questrade now. My initial fears were unfounded and i am a happy member.

    Hope my mini review helps anyone else thinking of joining.

  103. Cameron B.

    For the person asking about short selling. It depends on the type of account you have. For registered accounts shorting is not allowed. But for many other accounts it is perfectly fine. Speak to questrade using LiveHelp online and they can give you more details.

  104. Erwin

    Although I have never had to wait when calling their help desk on the phone if anyone is waiting a bit my friend gave me a tip: dial in and select Mandarin because the wait queue is shorter and because all their reps speak English you dont have to concern yourself that you selected a different language. Just a fun factoid.

  105. Allan D.

    Simply a brilliant review on questrade. How you guys were able to stitch all this depth is beyond me. If i join i will credit you guys for the excellent writing.

    Regards
    Allan

  106. Ladarius

    @Telly, all you need to do is use the Bill Payment feature to link to QT. That will solve the transfer to QT. To set up the link the other way send a void cheque image through the Questrade Account members area. It's pretty easy and quick.

  107. Telly Tunz

    Just signed up for questrade and Tangerine chequing. Thanks for the $50 offer code!

    How does one link the two accounts? I want to transfer from Tangerine to questrade?

  108. Darrion Wakeman

    For the person asking what happens if you purchase U.S. stock with a CDN TFSA.

    When you buy a non Canadian business you get your dividends in USD. If i recall since it isnt a retirement registered but a TFSA then the U.S. will do a 15% holding tax (this is not by QT but the US's IRS) and you never get that back. With RRSP the US and Canada have an agreement that such a tax holding doesnt occur.

    However, if you buy a Canadian company from American exchanges using USD you get dividends in CAD. But in this case Questrade will go about converting automagically into USD for you. And there is no such thing as a holding tax.

  109. Marcelino

    Anyone know when questrade posts t5008 slips during the year?

  110. Darrin P

    Curious why does QTrade separate things like transaction activity, e-statement, cash flow history, etc when it seems like they should just be one screen showing them all in one place? I guess i am missing sometihng but nonetheless it is a nice layout and looks easy to use.

  111. Sergio

    Bitcoins? Are you serious? That is the first time i have ever heard someone suggest it. It would be pretty cool if discount houses accepted it. Questrade are you listening? It would put a unique new edge for them. Nice suggestion!

  112. Kourtney Cooke

    Anyone know if questrad accepts bitcoins for deposits?

  113. Cory G

    Yup i just had to leave TD and join Questrade because their commissions were crazy. So i thank you for this very descent questrade review because its enough to get me to convert. Also a double thanks for the free questrade offer code for $50 it worked for me.

  114. BeachPTA

    @Curious Me it sounds like you are a low-activity investor (or someone new) and so Questrade will likely be best for you since they have no hidden fees and its a no nonsense place. I've been with them for 6 years and its been great.

  115. Curious Me

    Hey is Ques trade for me? As a student i am looking to buy some stocks ~$5K or so so nothing crazy and doing so for long-term.

  116. Waylon F.

    Goodbye iTrade. Hello Questtrade! Finally, what i was looking for. So this offer code is still good right?

  117. Ally V

    Thanks for the questrade promotional code. Was brought here looking for one. I assume its called a ofer code too.

  118. Arvin R.

    As a matter of fact yes its possible to transfer TFSA registered accounts @ben. But just realise that doing so may (usually does) incur a transfer fee out of the bank. Questrade doesn't have any transfer-in fee but your local bank might have a transfer-out fee so best to call them up and ask if they do. Should be an easy process to transfer.

    But you are correct that if you manually withdrawal from the account you actually lose that space for the remainder of the year.

  119. Theron W

    Its easy. Inside your Questrade account click Accounts > Account Management tab. Currency Settlement is located under the Summary section. Hope that helps ya!

  120. Devin Rauscher

    Can someone walk me through my Questrade account in how to change currency settlement preference?

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