ULTIMATE Questrade Review 2016: An In-Depth Look

QuestradeQuestrade ReviewEditor Rating: ( 90% ) – User Rating: ( 95% ) – When it comes to investing in 2016 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?

The Rise of Questrade. Founded in 1999 this company wanted to do and be something different. 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. And in so doing I think they’ve done a pretty impression job. In the rest of this review I will explore Questrade and their collective offerings in terms of the good and the bad.

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 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. 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 (at no charge). They make 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 new specialty service they now offer at a nominal annual fee which will be discussed in-depth later in this review.

There are a few other noteworthy perks provided by Questrade. The first is the ability to buy ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) funds at no commission charge — they are free to buy! 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. Secondly, Questrade offers IPOs (Initial Public Offering). 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.

They offer several types of accounts:

  • Margin Accounts (e.g. Individual, Informal Trust, Business)
  • Registered (e.g. TFSA, RRSP, RESP)
  • Forex (FX) and Contract For Difference (CFD) Trading
  • Managed Investing

And provides access to the following services:

Stocks
1¢ 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 Trading
Cost 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 Stocks
Cost is 1% of trade value (minimum charge of $195)
Bonds/CNSX Securities/GICs
Free (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 – $99.95/yr minimum @ $2,000 in assets or more

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 / 15 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 e-Signature for online personal verification (via your SIN).

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 (8-20 characters) and password (min. of 8 characters incl. 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, and 1 numerical or symbol) 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 security risk and so they thankfully changed it back in 2011 to what you see 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 $99/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), 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 My 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 other non-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) which in and of itself will save a tremendous amount of money from unnecessary conversion fees.

Back in April of last year 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 control panel is known as myQuestrade 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 panel fully integrates trading and account management together very seamlessly giving immediate access to buy/sell securities, access research tools, make use of a full library of partner apps (and developer 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.

myQuestrade Home
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 nav button. 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 on weekdays (excluding holidays) from 8:00am – 8:00pm EST. I have found that using Live Help is much quicker than calling their offices. 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 all also took the extra time to provide web links for further reading which was a nice bonus.

Account Activity / History

Located under My Portfolio and My Accounts 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 myQuestrade. 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.

Trade Confirmations
Statements
Account Activity

For existing long-time Questrade members carrying trading activity prior to February 4th, 2011 you will need to visit the old Penson site. You will also need to know your 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 accounts (for stocks & options trading) 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 myQuestrade’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 myQuestrade 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 only be requested by contacting them directly by phone or through Live Help.

And, as a handy note, shareholder communication is often times sent through normal mail, however, there is now a new way to change this allowing you to receive all investor correspondence electronically. Visit InvestorDelivery’s website for more details.

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 myQuestrade 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 IQ Web, a fully functional web-based trading platform (for Internet Explorer 9+, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome 22+, Firefox 13+, Safari 5.1.2+ for Mac Users); Questrade IQ Edge, a streamlined desktop-based trading platform (for Windows 7/8.1/10+); and Questrade IQ Mobile, their first mobile entrant in the field of trading (for iPhone/iPod Touch iOS 6+, and Android OS 4.1+). There is one other trading platform offered by Questrade, not part of this suite, but very much fully functional. It is integrated into myQuestrade and is found when you log into your account (you may have already even set it up as your home base). It is simply called Trading with Questrade and is always visible as a clickable link, labelled as “Trading”, at the top nav bar. It is a non-install web platform designed for tablets, netbooks, and other systems/devices (e.g., Linux – Ubuntu 13+, Fedora 20+) that may not have the capability (or access) to the specific minimum requirements outlined for the IQ suite. In other words, it is the fallback trading platform for everyone else that doesn’t quite fit into the other categories. 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.

Questrade IQ Web
Questrade IQ Edge
Questrade IQ Mobile

Questrade IQ Web makes use of Microsoft’s Silverlight multimedia add-on. Silverlight is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash. Flash is by far the most popular of the two browser add-ons but Questrade steered clear of using it when developing IQ Web. Why you ask? Because Flash has been widely criticized for its never-ending security and performance problems, and so, due to safety concerns using Flash by its traders, and to better provide a more fluid experience Silverlight was selected instead. And it was certainly an excellent choice because its responsiveness within the top four most popular browsers is significantly faster than if it were to have been done using Flash (CPU usage is also kept to a minimum). If you don’t have Silverlight installed already you will be prompted to do so when you attempt to use this online trading platform for the first time.

In terms of features and functionality, Questrade IQ Web is an excellent amalgamation of power and usability. It introduces the concept of Gadgets into its platform lexicon. A gadget is an arrangeable (drag-drop, snap-to, resizable), user-customized window of a view into your trading/market details. IQ gadgets include: Activity (a logs viewer), Balances, Inbox, Time and Sales (current global activity of a stock), Level 1 Quotes, Level 2 Quotes (if you paid for this addition), Quick Charts, Orders, Position Summary, and Watch List. Unlike its IQ Edge cousin, Questrade IQ Web can change its theme to be either Dark (default) or Light. There are two layouts available for IQ Web: Standard and Advanced. The default layout is Advanced. The difference between the two is that Standard does not permit any gadgets besides Balances and Level 1 Quotes (located on the right sidebar); windows are not arrangeable nor customizable; and you cannot adjust the route nor sub-route for your orders. Because of these limitations we recommend you remain in the default Advanced layout to have full access to all of IQ Web’s features. The Standard layout would be for those who just want to make quick and simple trades without any care for other details that might be cluttering their screen. Sessions timeout after 30 minutes of inactivity. Any custom changes you make in IQ Web only get saved when you manually log out; so don’t mistakenly think you can just close the browser and assume your changes will be recorded. We also noticed that any and all of your changes are lost permanently if you attempt to switch between the Standard layout and the Advanced layout. So be careful to pick and stick with one, or risk having to customize your gadgets again.

Layout – IQ Web
Gadgets – IQ Web
Order Entry – IQ Web

Questrade IQ Edge is the big daddy of this suite and although it looks very similar to IQ Web it does carry some interesting differences. IQ Edge allows for an unlimited amount of workspaces. 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 to active traders. The other big difference between IQ Edge and IQ Web 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, 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 IQ Web. However, most of these customizing 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 big deal because most people just position their gadgets at a particular spot and maintain the application window at a set size. Interestingly, any gadget customizations you make in IQ Edge does not transfer over to IQ Web, 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 also only carries the “Dark” theme (recall that IQ Web carries both a “Dark” and “Light” theme).

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 of IQ Edge. It will still run normally on 64-bit 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 version of IQ Edge will be made available.

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

And now we move our attention towards Questrade’s other platform. It is aptly named “Trading” and although it is not specifically part of the IQ suite it nevertheless exists as a very well integrated trading platform within the myQuestrade environment. It serves as Questrade’s answer for those who, for one reason or another, may not have access to (or be compatible with) one of their IQ offerings. 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 its IQ Web and IQ Mobile siblings, it does not require a download or any third-party add-on (i.e., Microsoft Silverlight plugin) to be fully functional. As such this platform can also serve as an alternative option for Windows and Mac OS X users who for security reasons may prefer not to use Silverlight at all.

Taking a spin with this platform was an incredibly liberating experience. It 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. It’s very clear this platform preludes Questrade’s bolder steps of one day folding IQ Mobile and IQ Web under one unified branding — a full-featured, exclusively web-based, experience for every device and every system anytime, anywhere; a glimpse into the nascent future of stock trading platforms.

Notable differences between this platform and the IQ family include the inability to set trading routes and sub-routes, lack of multi-leg option orders, no alerts, nor workspaces. If you are looking to use one or more of those missing features then you must use IQ instead.

Layout – Trade Platform
Balances – Trade Platform
Activity – Trade Platform

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, feature-rich 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 that spanned several months 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, myQuestrade, 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 – IQ Web
Videos – IQ Edge
Videos – Trade Platform

Now, to give you a better sense of who Questrade is and how much they’ve improved here’s a flash from the past with a historical look at their prior trading platforms. If you are not interested in knowing more about their past feel free to skip over this paragraph. Some time back, prior to Questrade IQ, Questrade offered a few other trading platforms for stocks and options: QuestraderWEB was their free trading platform, and QuestraderPRO and QuestraderELITE were desktop applications requiring a monthly subscription fee. For the remainder of this discussion I will only focus on QuestraderWEB. QuestraderWEB was a 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.

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-directing investing. Really known as managed investing, Portfolio IQ takes away the stress of investment decision making and puts them in the hands of 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 disrupter 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 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.

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

Portfolio
Risk Level
Composition
Conservative Income
Low
80% fixed, 20% equity
Income
Low – Medium
60% fixed, 40% equity
Balanced
Medium
40% fixed, 60% equity
Growth
Medium – High
20% fixed, 80% equity
Aggressive Growth
High
100% 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 Assets
Annual Fee
Less than $2,000
No Fee
$2,000 – $99,999
0.7%
$100,000 – $249,999
0.6%
$250,000 – 499,999
0.5%
$500,000 – $999,999
0.4%
$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. Due to Canadian securities regulations 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 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. For example, 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. 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. Although they don’t have security guarantees against intruders breaching accounts on your end, 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. Also note that Questrade is a CIPF member and so Canadian investors are covered up to $1,000,000.

Final Thoughts

Reviews online are overwhelming negative towards Questrade. Prior to writing this review I 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.

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! 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 milieu. There are a few areas that can be improved such as remembering user settings 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.

Should you join? Yes — a resounding YES! Questrade offers a remarkably rich tapestry of features well tailored for new investors and seasoned traders. 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

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 (2191 votes)
“Questrade – An In-Depth Look” written by Emma Li – 

This Review has 7,823 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. Yusuf W.

    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 between now and March 15).

    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.

  3. Reggie White

    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 > My Funds > Withdrawal Funds.

    It's a pretty simple and efficient process.

  4. Kane

    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?

  5. 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 the 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.

  6. Denis Goodnow

    Anyone attempt Norbert's Gambit as a way to significantly reduce the conversion fees from CAD to USD (or vice bersa) 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.

  7. Ulrick

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

  8. Camden Munns

    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".

  9. 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.

  10. Shawn Southard

    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.

  11. Gail W.

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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 myQuestrade. It's pretty easy and quick.

  14. 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?

  15. Silas Eggleston

    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.

  16. Maddex R

    Anyone know when questrade posts t5008 slips during the year?

  17. Zeb E

    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.

  18. 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!

  19. Quillan D

    Anyone know if questrad accepts bitcoins for deposits?

  20. Eden

    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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. Jamarion B

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

  24. Dequan Atkins

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

  25. Christopher Webster

    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.

  26. Campbell W.

    Its easy. Inside My Questrade go to click the My Accounts tab > Account Management > Currency Settlement (located under the Summary section). Hope that helps ya!

  27. Nehemiah M.

    Can someone point me to myQuestrade and how to change currency settlement preference?

  28. Emilio Kauffman

    Although i appreciate the intense work put into making this review i am satisified with having the questrade $50 offer code so thank you and i will be joining tomorrow.

  29. Gerard H.

    T5 and RRSP contribution slips will be made available to all those wondering within the first 60 days of this new year.

  30. Caleb N.

    Hi @Anonymous. That's a common question. Because it is a registered account the moment you make a deposit into the account it is counted as a contribution right away. You will get a tax receipt for tax deduction purposes. So cash inside RRSP is still counted as a contribution.

  31. Levon L.

    Hey cool i am creating a questrade account right now and esignatures works! Looks like i am almost set to go. Hoping i can begin trading tomorrow because i have a few picks i want to get into asap!

  32. Shane

    I was looking for a questrade offer code and it lead me here. Much thanks and god bless!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I'm a total n00b and was wondering. Yea so i have a questrade rrsp account now. So does it count as an RRSP contribution if i transfer money into it or do i have to like buy stocks and stuff for it to count as contribution?

  34. Federico Veronesi

    If it wasnt for this $50 offer code for questrade you mentioned above i would wait until my partner got back from overseas. I can't resist free cha-ching! 🙂

  35. Vito Hawk

    Thsi review is massive! Bookmarked and shared on Facebook. Hey 95% rating is a good enough indicator for me so thank you.

  36. Orland

    Although i am a US citizen i just wanted to inform other people that are in my situtation that you can indeed open a Questrade account like me but you must have a Canadian residency address. It's that simple. So you should be able to even get the $50 questrade promotions too.

  37. Glenn

    Nice work putting this together. I remember these guys when they first started nearly two decades ago and never really considered joining. Reading this i now have to go call and do some digging with ScotiaBank because in many ways i didnt know i had other options that could save me money if i switch over to someone like this.

  38. Flor Martens

    Anyone recently shorting a stock? Just wondering i use the bid price or what? I was going to ask their online live help rep but it seems you guys here are more in depth and more conversational.

  39. LaTrell V.

    Anyone else having issues with the money organizer site: Mint when connecting to Questrade? I spoke with their reps and they say it should be fine so i was thinking to talk with Q's guys and they said it's likely Mint has some bug on their portal's site. It's very strange and annoying because i depend on them to combine all my portfolios. I wish mint would take the matter seriously because obviously Quest trade is the biggest in Canada and so alot of people use them. Hope its resolved soon. If anyone has tips to get it working (if it works for you) i'd love to here it.

  40. Austin

    Great questrade review! And as bonus you gave me $50 questrade offer code that worked! Thanks so much.

  41. C-Type Anderson

    Punch drunk. Was becoming fed up looking for a thorough review on online stock brokers and finally hit the mother load of good luck here. My wife and I are getting more involved with our finances since we are starting a family and wanted to make sure we got a full understanding of these guys. Looks like a good place to park for our RESP.

  42. Anna

    Oh great now you are forcing me to tweet this review to my girlfriends. We are in a Stock Trading neighborhood group and always on the look out for awesome trading tips. This is fantastic and i really aprpeciate the hard work put into it.

    Regards,
    Anna

  43. Jerome S

    It's only because of questrade's amazingly low commission charges that i will take a crack at it so i can do more short selling. This could save me a bundle.

  44. Sebastian V

    Looks like Questrade receives an "A-" from Better Business Bureau!

    That's good enough for me! Thanks for the fantastic questrade review and more importantly for my sake a valid questrade offer code for $50 smackers!

  45. Earnest C.

    Yea i signed up with their eSignature thingy and it worked like a charm. Got up and going in 24 hours (i wired my $ in).

  46. Bill Patterson

    If memory serves me Questrade will email you when tax slips are available in their usual Client Notices.

    For Interest and Dividend slips (T5) they are available in early March.

    For those who made contributions to their RRSP registered accounts between March 2nd and Dec 31st of the previous tax year slips are available in early February (if not slightly sooner). For those who make contributions between January 1st and February 29th then the corresponding slips are available between the 1st of February and end of March of the following year.

  47. Camren

    When does Questrade post tax slips each year?

  48. Joel P

    Just came here through search because i am looking for a trading platform that is inviting to beginners. From your super duper review of questrade i will give them a try and see how things work out for me.

    I appreciate the $50 questrade promotional code.

  49. Colby H.

    @Josh W., that's correct there is no fee to make transfers from one institution to another. Have fun.

  50. Nevada

    I plan on trying out RBC DI but am with iTrade, Questrade, and TD DI. As it stands Questrade provides me with the best experiences.

  51. Josh W.

    So how easy is it to transfer stocks from Scotiabank (iTrade) to Questrade because i am sick of iTrade's $19.99/trade fee?

    There shouldn't be any fee to transfer funds right?

  52. Ted

    questrade promo code worked for me! Received a deposit of $50 today! Giving you my thanks!

  53. Boondocks

    Got me $50 from the offer code today. I opened a registered account. However, i almost forgot i had to fund my account with the minimum $1,000 to get the free $50. So dont forget!

    Anyway, had to come back here and give my huge gratitude for an awesome review!

  54. Mama Loves

    Questrade is fine Skyler. I have my Margin, TFSA, RRSP, and my daughter's RESP with them.

    They're always improving all time and am happy with them.

  55. Camille V.

    I'm now with both Questrade and TD Direct Investing and I've never had a problem with Q; on the other hand TD messed up my account big time last month.. and the worst thing is they have been so tied tight with them that i cant just leave them which is why i am with both companies. :s

  56. Ben

    Ugh! I knew i should have opened a trading TFSA account with these guys than to open a low-interest bearing savings account with my local bank. And now i see i could have gotten $50 in free trades from that questrade offer code shown above. Darn!

    I guess it's too late to move my money since CRA will penalize me for withdrawl from my TFSA and deposit into a new TFSA (re-contribution can only happen once a year).

    Does Questrade support the ability to transfer my TFSA account to them from my bank?

  57. Smart Invest

    Handy tip for n00bs out there. When using IQ or any other platform to trade (or get a quote) TSX-listed securities make sure to use .TO at the end of the trading symbol.

    So for example a Claymore ETF like CDZ would actually be CDZ.TO

    For those buying Calymore ETFs (like me) Questrade offers a PACC (pre-authorized cash contribution plan) to purchase additional units of Claymore ETFs commission free. Doesn't get sweeter than that.

  58. Adonis

    Ok, ok i am back to say that QuestradeIQ is growing on me and i was wrong to bash the loss of QuestraderWEB. So i take it back. It's really good.

  59. Cecil

    Finally a $50 offer code for questrade. Was hunting for a good one. Thanks!

  60. Sam

    So far its been 9-months. Wanted to return and express my thanks to this brilliant questrade review in making me aware of these guys. It's been an enjoyable experience. Cant be happier with the joining.

  61. Clifford Ames

    Ok confirmed the Canada questrade promo offer code works! Thank you!

  62. Tysen Carel

    My 2cents to the conversation below on registered vs non-registered accounts. For the tax concious any gains can be offset by your capital losses from prior years (i believe it is for any unclaimed from prior 4-5 years). Gains are taxed by way of 50% of it at your current tax bracket. So effectively you are looking at around 15% tax rate at the highest tax bracket. Seems in line with the U.S. which in my opinion is comically low despite my benefiting at such a low rate. We should be paying more on capital gains since people who can afford it (i am in the 1%) aren't technically paying our fair share since we are investing our fortunes in the stock market and not doing actual work.

  63. Glen Terwilliger

    Anyone here a Questrade Forex enthusiast? How tight are the spreads? I've used Interactive Brokers for forex trading and just wondering how they compare.

  64. Jasmin

    Amazing questrade review. Crazy, super details!

  65. Carmine

    if you plan to learn @skyler then i suggest you try their virtual account since it doesnt involve real money. For real money i recommend a non-registered account because you can at least deduct capital losses against your gains; registered accounts dont have that privilege. But as the other fellow said you do get taxed whereas registereds either don't or is deferred.

  66. Maximilian C.

    LOL i just noticed the conversion rate in Questrades registered accounts are much more favorable to me than using other places like XE or even my local banks. That alone just got me to tell my friend to hook up with them. Thanks for the questrade offer code btw!

  67. Skyler

    Great discussion here. I notice some talk on registered accounts and so i am on the verge of pulling the trigger and opening a registered account and was wondering if some had advice to newbies starting online trading with Questrade which type of account is more suitable for a starving undergrad wanting to acquire experience. Should i just go with a regular or a tfsa or other registered type of account?

  68. Adriano E

    As far as i know @steve you can indeed add other users to your account. I believe some of the screenshots above show this but i am not entirely sure you can pre-select how a specific person has certain types of account access. If anything i believe it only gives full access or a pre-set limited access to all.

    I strongly recommend you speak to one of their online agents which are pretty knowledgeable and quick. The link to them is somewhere in this comment section or review.

  69. Steve the Shop Owner

    I am a sole properitor and i thank you for a wonderfully detailed questrade review and your snapshots really make things crystal clear. I was wondering how many authorized personel i can add to my account once opened?

    I have several family members that work for me and i would like to give them certain access to the trading account (each having different types of privileges). Does Questade offer such granularity for accounts?

  70. Reece Knox

    AFAIK @carey the vast majority of OTC and pink sheet stocks aren't eligible to help in a registered account as per the rules governed on ALL Canadian brokers. However i recommend you talk to them via their livehelp window to see if a specific OTC/Pink stock is there to be help in a registered account such as a TFSA. Hey, you never know.

  71. Carey

    Anyone know if opening a TFSA account one can then buy OTC or PINK stocks?

  72. Jan

    Hi @Sandwich Monster. Like the questrade review's discussion says, Questrade appears to be trying to allow a wider base of users since IQ Mobile is primarily for iOS users (iPhone) and Android users. Which leaves out Linux and Windows phones to name a few.

    Their Trade Platform is independent and so it allows for Linux users (like me) who use a custom rom on my phone to have access to trading. So for me Trade is definitely essential otherwise i cant get online to trade.

    My guess is Trade will replace IQ Web as HTML 5 becomes more ubiquitous. At least that is what i can see after reading this in depth review.

  73. Sandwich Monster

    I just tried and successfully was able to use Trade and IQ Mobile on my tablet and so I am a bit confused as to why the need for both platforms? Why not just one or the other? Anyone know?

  74. Boyd

    There is so much advice out there but to narrow things down opening a TFSA in Questrade basically means you wish to use it to trade stocks and ETFS but any gains you make are not taxed by CRA. A regular account isn't so lucky (in terms of realized capital gains). It really depends on what you want to do. TFSA has its own restrictions like any withdraws can't be contributed back into the account again until the next year (Canada nationwide rule for this type of account).

    Questrade appears to be the best for low cost, no silliness trading and this $50 questrade offer code helps tremendously for new comers since you can do a lot of trades on the house 💡

  75. John

    Been with Questrade for four months now and wanted to return to this questrade reivew to give my mini review.

    I am not a person with a lot of words but i actually like them. They offer everything i am looking for and their trade tool (IQ as they call it) is very good, especially the one i keep using called IQ Edge.

    My only complaint is that i wish their Live Help representatives were a bit more responsive but maybe it's because they are getting more order requests. So its not a big deal but wanted to point it out.

    So, thanks so much Canadian Profiteer. You guys really helped put my mind at ease in this financial world.

  76. Waverly B

    To go one step further to your post Cookie Muncher just remember that there are free routes also available that one can use to avoid all ECN fees entirely; so you can just place it as a market order and not bother with making it a limit order. Questrade has all the free routers: MNGD, POST, and LAMP. Check out their ecn fees.

  77. Marcelino M.

    I'm here because i am sick of Interactive brokers. Their customer service is bad and i am always on hold so i am giving Questrade a try because i need a new outlet. I've tried calling them and they were very quick so that is good. Based on the popularity of this questrade review i will join and use the $50 promo code and see how things go.

  78. Cookie Muncher

    @David you didn't mention there are those tiny ECN fees but then it occurred to me that if one were to perform limit orders there won't be ECN or other fees to contend with.

  79. Anna A.

    Actually, as long as you have all ur debt paid off then a quality ETF is ready and waiting with your name on it. Most people think ETFs track equities but that isn't always true. For those conservative types i think its best with a diversified collection of bond ETFs.

    Granted you may need to buy a multitude of different holdings but with the questrade offer code i see mentioned above on this site you can alievate any hesitation in purchases since its free.

  80. Ulrich

    I can't believe i am going to join merely because this $50 offer code is staring me in the face. Can't resist 🙂

  81. Marcellus Hupp

    You should read the above questrade review again because it specifically says that transfering USD funds from a USD account via ETF is not possible due to Canadian restrictions. However, you should be able to do it through say Pre-authorized Deposit initiated at Questrade within your member's account, among other ways. Just read the review again for the details.

  82. Tommy S.

    @David, it still amazes me that no other discount broker seems to want to compete against questrade in this area on pricing. Thanks for the informative post.

  83. David Del Grande

    Hi everyone. I work for Questrade and want to clarify any confusion.

    Questrade's stock commission pricing is $0.01/share as indicated above in this review. It's a minimum charge of $4.95 and a max of $9.95.

    So some examples:

    #of shares – commission
    100 shares – $4.95
    470 shares – $4.95
    510 shares – $5.10
    650 shares – $6.50
    883 shares – $8.83
    975 shares – $9.75
    1,100 shares – $9.95
    15,782 shares – $9.95

    We have the lowest commission pricing in all of Canada. Hope that helps!

  84. Macy

    I thank you for this questrade review seeing as how i was coming here trying to find answers on how to switch my paper notifications of my holdings to be electronic instead. I didn't realise Investor Delivery was related to how i did that. I wish i knew earlier.

    So much thanks for a time saver.

  85. Shae Palmer

    Thanks for the questrade offer code. Wasn't sure to join but the $50 was the decider for us. Have a great day!

  86. Isidro

    Great review you got here! Plan on switching to questrade next week.

  87. Gillian

    @josh: i heard about this too way back through one of their customer representatives. They made it live a long time ago.

    It makes settlement and record keeping much faster. Recall that Penson Financial Services also served as their bank transfering unit. So by self-clearing we are able to add more of the other banks that currently arent showing up for pre-authorized deposits.

    This is one of those big deals no one is talking about sadly.

  88. No

    It's a really quite simple process @Joe and something that is talked about thoroughly in the questrade review above. You merely need to set your account to settle in trade currency.

    Most Questrade accounts (including registered) are actually sub-accounts that can hold both CAD and USD currency.

  89. Josh

    Ahhh so Questrade dropped their ties with Penson and became their own self-clearing service. All i can say is: Finally! One of the big reasons i left Questrade was because of Penson. I’m now reconsidering. A new day!

  90. Tye Nelson

    Confirmation post — $50 questrade offer code given above is real and worked for me. My deposits came in the next day! Woohooo!!!

  91. Tyson

    Anyone know if they plan on integrating Mutual Fund Centre within IQ because right now i notice and it feels distinctly separate and inside myQuestrade. I tend to trade funds and so having it inside IQ would help tremendously instead of having to switch over to another window.

  92. Nathanael I.

    All this time i tought Questrade was QTrade. Seems they are two different brokerage firms. Huh? I am glad i found this. I guess my mind is made up after reading this questrade review. Huge insight i never knew about them.

  93. Nicholas Darner

    I wish the Trade Platform could change the colour scheme like it does for IQ Edge and Web. The white/gray look is nice but some times it gets boring and i want a Black theme to it.

  94. Timothy

    I didn't realize i could sign up for a new account and while waiting create a practice IQ account. That's pretty good. Very useful!

  95. Uberto

    Very extensive questrade review people! Wow! I was expecting only a few lines and BOOM i get the whole spread! Presents have arrived! ROFL!!

    Much appreciated.

  96. Carmelo

    Ahh shucks! You shouldn't have. This questrade review is mindboggling in its clarity and depth. Probably not necessary for the vast vistors who read it. At least you aren't one of those reviews like for movies that make you read the whole thing before you can decipher if it was good or not. roflmao!

    Yea so you guys did a kick-ass job here. I will become a member this week especially with that questrade offer code in hand 🙂

  97. Yates

    Goofing around with IQ Mobile on iPhone and Android and it feels like more effort was placed in the iPhone experience.

  98. Andre

    For the person asking regarding specific currency thing and dont quote me but if you hold CAD currency and want to buy US securities it is automatically converted to US$ and the security is bought. Because of buying power if the purchases take a day to convert you just assume it is bought on your margin buying power.

    Now if the equity gets sold in the currency of that equity (e.g. selling US equity in US$) an another process is made where it then converts it to CA$ and you are back to where you started. Don't quote me on this. I found it on their site somewhere.

  99. Jada McGlade

    I still cant get out of my head the idea of stock trading and how it differs from say something like online poker. Strange field. I am 18 and keep getting advice from family that i should learn to invest but just too paranoid about investing my money in stocks out of fear i will lose it.

    I should (and do plan) to read many investing books but its funny that even experts with 50+ years experience still seem like throwing darts at a board.

    At least with these Questrade folks i can ensure i am not going to be taken on some fees ride that i would see with other companies. So i guess when i am ready i will return this questrade review and open an account then.

  100. Debenture Trading God

    Just signed up and having a peak in my new account to familarize myself. Looks cool! I was a bit unsure but i think i am going to enjoy this place. I haven't tried out their trading platforms yet so i am relying on the details here. Can't wait to start trading!

  101. King T.

    Thanks for the $50 questrade offer code! Was in desparate need for one tonight.

  102. Adrien Moore

    I'm an Options trader and you've got my attention. I'll be back to read more later. Good work.

  103. Julie in LOVE

    Okay i joined Quest trade and wanted to give a heads up to newbies. It took me two days in total to go from not knowing who they were to being able to trade. The longest part was actually getting my bank to transfer in the minimum $1,000 to fund the account.

    It was amazingly quick and super easy.
    Lots of love for this questrade review! I've sent it off to my contacts on Facebook and Twitter!

  104. Feisty404

    All these years with Questrade and i never realized i could look to Limit my orders to avoid ECN fees. Sure that fee is tiny to non-existent (1/16th of a penny for my case on average) but still. I think your site is the only place i have ever read that mentions this unique but useful money saver. Surprised thank you!

  105. Capn' Crunch

    Okay i am signing up right now and its funny i can't think of a user ID that hasnt been taken. It's crazy! They must have a lot of members if the last 10 ids i've picked have been taken 🙁

    Had to resort to using my full name with random #s at the end. LOL!

  106. Stocks & Bonds Holder

    Wow, all these years being with them i never realised they had TFSA accounts until i read this questrade review. How dumb of me.

    Right now my TFSA is with a credit union but i think it makes more logical sense to have it as a trading account since i can earn (potentially) more through cap gains.

  107. Marcus

    Hi my fellow Canadian questraders! Still in the process of signing up and making the necessary transfers from my other discount broker. I couldnt resist using the questrade promo code and no fees. I have been getting abused by my old broker and so i said ok lets do this.

    Hmm, i just realized i would like to have my mother on my account and ability to sign on through this one account you know like having authorized users for credit cards. I will have to talk to questrade some time next week to see if i can make this happen.

  108. Daren

    I just turned 19 and this review was pretty good after reading it all. I plan on joining but i dont know my Social Insurance Number. Is it mandatory to have it or can i provide another form of id? I guess i can call the government to find it out or something. I will look up and see what to do. I'll be back.

  109. Jacques Sanders

    I'm purely interesting in joining because there aren't too many places that offer IPO's especially at a low cost rate. I will have to give them a call to see what they have to offer. My hope is they offer US IPOs too, not just Canadian. Anyway i really, really am indepted for the hard work put into this writing.

  110. Eat Your Oats!

    Funny that i discovered this questrade review by desparately looking for an answer as to why i wasnt able to add questrade in EasyWeb bank account. I think you guys are doing an amazing job keeping this thread so current because i never knew i could ignore the extra digits. That goes a long way because i can now add them into my accounts, not just at TD.

    Thumbs up to everyone!

  111. Waverly Stern

    I did a thorough look around and yea this $4.95 per trade is the cheapest i could find. Good enough for me. Questrades got a new customer.

  112. Leonard

    Questrade IQ Mobile app is awesome and hopefully it will continue to improve over the years. Some nice new additions would be include charts and support 2-step credentials. Yes i know questrade and for that matter most sites dont support 2-step but it would be nice since questrade is moving towards mobile heavily. Anyway, again its great and just hooking up with questrade to get at mobile is more than worth it. 😎 I still have $20 of my questrade promo code so i am living it up! 😛 😛

  113. Shea

    Thanks for the social icons. I tweeted this beast out to my followers.

  114. Randolph

    ROFL. You know your questrade review is too detailed when you start getting into a discussion ont he underlying coding methodology (c++) being used by its trading platforms. I love it! Thumbs up bro!

  115. August

    I came here after not knowing what democratic pricing meant. lol! Dummy me i know. Well after reading this thick review i now understand. I will probably hook up with them in a few days

  116. Hugh L.

    I am also a buy and hold investor and was looking for a place like Questrade to park. I will admit that in time i will likely become more active and so i like to be the one who decides when that happens.

    First-rate work!

  117. Hubert

    It's funny that i learned more about IQ Edge through this amazing questrade review than i did from their actual site. Bookmarking this page for future reference.

  118. Shea Hilton

    Actually @crumpstump if you read this questrade review you will notice it says that all accounts will remain active and open if you keep at least $250 in equity so even though you hadnt used your account for nearly a decade it is reasonable to think it would be fine.

    However, i dont think you can grandfather your account into using the questrade offer code for the $50 in free trades. I think you will need to open a new account or potentially have to start a new application independent of your current account. Best way is to speak to their representative to see what your options are. Better to be safe and find out info.

  119. crumpstump

    Honestly, i didn't realize Questrade was still around. I was with them some 8 years ago and never really used my account. I only found out they existed by stumbling onto this Questrade review from a social bookmark site

    Ok i just checked and noticed my questrade account is still working. Huh? Well that is nice to see i didnt get charged anything to have it sitting around. I totally forgot about it. Hey, can i make use of this questrade promo code/offer code thingy or is it for only new members? Seeing as how i havent used my account for years i guess i could just create a new account and use the promo code?!?

  120. Dale Dine

    I've used Internet Explorer and i can say although IQ works perfectly with it i notice that this trading platform runs much faster in Firefox, and Chrome. So i recommend everyone skip Safari and IE and use FF and Chrome instead. Just my objective analysis if that helps

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