Questrade Review
Investing Personal Finance

Questrade Review

Questrade is Canada’s largest and most popular online brokerage company as of January 2018. They were founded in 1999 and offer a full range of investing / trading products and services for both the average investor and high-volume active trader.

Their journey from industry laughing-stock in its early years to its current place atop the field, consistently, as the best brokerage firm in Canada (cited by Globe and Mail, MoneySense Magazine, and Deloitte annual rankings) has been a long and fascinating one.

Within this in-depth Questrade review I will explore their impressive range of offerings and debate if you should join.

Questrade Offer Code

Use Offer Code: Canada to get $50 free from Questrade.

Commissions & Fees

Stocks1¢ per share: $4.95 min, $9.95 max – Active @ 1¢/min, $6.95 max
ETF (Exchange Traded Funds)Free (No commission charge)
Mutual Funds$9.95/online. Offline add an additional $45 for trader fee
Options$9.95/trade + $1/contract – Active @ $4.95/trade + 75¢/contract
Managed Investing (Portfolio IQ)Cost varies – 0.35% to 0.70% (minimum of $2,000 in assets)
Canadian IPOs$9.95/order – minimum order size of $5,000
International StocksCost is 1% of trade value (minimum charge of $195)
Precious Metals$19.95/trade
Forex TradingCost is integrated in the pip spread @ approx. 1.0 – 1.7 pips
Bonds/CNSX Securities/GICsFree (No commission charge) – minimum order size of $5,000
Debenture Trading$30/trade

Questrade Offer Code

Get $50 – Use Offer Code: Canada
Questrade Offer Code

The above table should be glanced at again! It is not a typo, nor an exaggeration! Questrade offers the cheapest trades in virtually every investment category in all of Canada. There pricing structure hasn’t changed since their inception and is so impressive that it actually encourages new and small investors to jump into the investment game while also drawing in disgruntled investors from other brokerages.

Questrade conveniently can cover all transfer out fees imposed by other financial institutions if interested in moving your existing trading account to them. This makes the allure to join even more tantalizing.

For stock trading, Questrade offers a unique democratic pricing structure. Long-term, less active, investors have the popular option of 1¢ per share with a minimum charge of $4.95/trade and a ceiling maximum commission charge of $9.95. Active traders — those who make high volume share trades — have the choice of 1¢ per share (1¢ minimum / $6.95 maximum), or a $4.95 flat stock commission charge. All account holders can switch between these pricing options at any time. But be aware that a switch to the active trader program involves subscribing to one of Questrade’s several advanced market data plans.

Since 2013 Questrade continues to have no commission charge on the purchase of ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). ETFs are free for everyone. This has radically changed the face of index investing for the better. It has opened up a whole new world for those who prefer to purchase on a monthly basis to take advantage of dollar-cost averaging. It also makes compound interest and re-balancing portfolios that much sweeter.

While we’re on the topic of ETFs, many other brokerages (including banks) still charge a fee for ETF trades, strangely enough, ensuring the ill-advised “timing the market” strategy as a common practice by many amateur investors at these other financial outlets in hopes of saving on commission costs. This is obviously no longer necessary while investing at Questrade. With so many turning to ETFs these days due to their low MER and diversified reach it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air to be able to do so at no cost. All indications seem to be that Questrade was the first discount broker in Canada to do this, and I applaud them.

Questrade also makes it abundantly clear that they don’t charge setup fees, annual fees, and hidden fees on any of their services which is a welcome change from the industry norm. A special note should be given, however, to how they handle account inactivity.

Although historically Questrade has never charged an inactivity fee, they recently did a subtle change to that policy. It’s actually not that bad when you peruse the details. If anything it’s quite reasonable. This policy adjustment can potentially charge $24.95 (no tax) per calendar quarter. All Questrade account holders, however, including households having the same physical address (which can also be a group of strangers when using the myFamily program), with combined equity assets of at least $5,000 are exempt from this inactivity fee. This fee also does not apply to charitable accounts, forex accounts, individuals 25 years of age or younger, and all new accounts opened for only 6-months. If, however, this fee still does apply to you then simply make at least one commissionable trade per quarter (once every 3-months) and you will not get charged. Further, if you are inactive for a quarter and do get charged, then by making at least one trade in the following quarter will trigger a refund up to $24.95 in commission-free trades as compensation. Fair enough.

For most investors this policy change is trivial since their assets are almost always over $5,000. And so most people 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.

New Accounts

There are two sets of accounts offered by Questrade: Self-directed and online Managed Investing.

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

Managed Investing: These accounts are for those who want Questrade to manage all investment decisions on your behalf, for a nominal annual fee. They require the least amount of effort on your part and tend to earn higher returns in the long-term. From my analysis, these accounts are indeed handled by a real staff (the Questrade Wealth Management division) behind the scenes. Under their management, they consider your personal goals and risk tolerance to match, manage, monitor, and adjust for the best investments without your daily involvement. Questrade calls this Portfolio IQ.

Questrade Accounts

Investment StyleAccount Type
Self-Directed Investing
  • Standard Margin:
    Individual (popular), or Joint
  • Trust:
    Informal, Joint Informal, or Formal
  • Entity:
    Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Investment Club, or Corporation
  • Registered:
    TFSA, RRSP, LIRA, RIF, LIF, Individual RESP, or Family RESP
  • Forex (FX) & Contract For Difference (CFD) Trading
Managed Investing
  • Actively Managed by Staff Assigned To Your Account @ Questrade

Please note, unlike self-directed, managed investing comes with a price — a $14/year minimum management fee charge. 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 be going in-depth on their managed investing side in a later section of this review.

Initial Deposit Requirements

Although immediate access is gained after joining (don’t forget to use the Questrade offer code: Canada to get $50 free during sign-up), your account isn’t activated. To officially activate your account, so as to begin trading, an initial deposit is required.

ActionInitial Deposit
Buy Stocks & Bonds$1,000
Trade Option Spreads$5,000
Write/Sell Uncovered Options$25,000
Managed Investing$2,000
Forex & CFD$1,000 USD*

For stocks and options, you will need to maintain a minimum equity balance of $250, after meeting the initial deposit requirement, to keep your active account in good standing. If, however, you plan on doing managed investing then it’s required that you maintain $1,500 in account value once you’ve invested. If that value drops below $1,500 then your investments will be liquidated.

Once this initial minimum deposit has cleared, Questrade emails you a confirmation message. For offline applications you will be contacted by one of their representatives confirming trading can begin. It takes roughly 1-3 business days for Questrade to receive and process this deposit.

* Canadian currency deposits into forex & CFD accounts are auto-converted into US currency.

Sign-up Process

Opening an account with Questrade is a remarkably quick, intuitive, and painless process. It took me no more than two minutes to open a general account, which immediately gave me access to practice within trading platforms, and to post on their vibrant discussion forum. It took me under twenty minutes to open their popular individual margin trading account.

Questrade Offer Code

The online application requires your social insurance number (for reporting interest and dividends earned to CRA, but you are given the option, on the page, to not allow them to use your SIN), employment information (or source of income if unemployed), and a form of identification (e.g., driver’s license). And although they have an offline alternative that you can printout and fill in, 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 signature signing process.

Questrade Sign-up

One of the first things you are required to do when signing up is to define a user ID and password for your new account. Doing so provides the incredibly convenient ability to return to an incomplete application at a later time.

I found that sessions during sign-up time-out after 30 minutes of inactivity. This is more than enough time to collect required documents and credentials, and to review your inputted details for any mistakes.

Ways To Fund Your Account

Funding Method
Online Banking (via bill Payment)Interac Online
Cheque (Certified is preferred)Pre-Authorized Deposits
Transfers from Another BrokerageWire Transfer
Bank DraftStock Certificate
Money OrderYour Questrade Accounts

Accounts numbers consist of ten numerical digits (e.g., 12345678-90). This is a step up from their pre-2011 six character alphanumeric size, and as such it’s been reported that some external banks still enforce an eight character limit for payee accounts when you attempt to send money to Questrade. To get around this our readers have indicated that you only need to provide the first eight digits of your Questrade account number. Using this helpful workaround your funds will still be delivered successfully.

When making a deposit using online banking or via Interac you should keep in mind that it’s not possible to send USD to your Questrade account — only CAD. This is due to a limitation of EFT at the issuing bank, not Questrade. All the other funding methods shown above support the ability to fund your account with either CAD or USD. Withdrawals of USD funds from your Questrade account to a USD bank account works perfectly fine.

If you need to deposit USD currency right away and none of the methods above fit your needs, you still have few more options: You can convert your existing CAD balance, held within your Questrade account, to USD using the Exchange Funds tool (found under Requests). This can take up to 24 hours to process. Or, you can take advantage of Norbert’s Gambit (see the FAQ)! Successful conversions have been confirmed by readers of this Questrade review.

Before withdrawals can be initiated, Questrade requires that you provide a void cheque or a pre-authorized deposit agreement form signed and stamped by your bank. This only needs to be done once per bank account. It takes roughly three business days to process a withdrawal and for the funds to arrive into your bank account.

Member’s Account

Your account’s primary control portal is known as myQuestrade (alternatively, Questrade Account) and it is a beautiful experience with well thought out organization and visual appeal. There is a lot of love put into this portal, providing a consistent fully immersive and responsive experience. I found that it worked seamlessly with every smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop I could throw at it.

This portal fully integrates trading and account management together effortlessly. It gives immediate access to buying and selling securities, working with research tools, using a bustling library of partner apps (and developer’s API) on any of your devices, viewing your account activity, analyzing balances and positions, managing your personal details, viewing statements, making fund transfers in & out of your accounts, uploading & downloading your documents, exchanging CAD/USD currency between accounts, taking corporate action on shareholder communications, transferring positions, opening additional accounts, retrieving tax slips, exercising options, interacting with mutual funds, and more.

Questrade Investment Summary

Once your account is activated for trading you are conveniently asked when you log in for the first time 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 your account management page or the online trading platform. This is definitely a helpful time saver, but, if necessary, you can jump between each via an always-visible top menu bar. And you can change your home base at any time from the Settings page.

They also have several self-help areas, including a robust learning centre of ebooks (e.g., options strategies, and Forex & CFD trading), 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, ask questions among other engaged investors, share expertise, and browse a growing library of how-to resources and help guides. I found this area to be very enjoyable, especially because so many were sharing incredible investment advice and unique tips that I may not have discovered in other ways. A welcome surprise was seeing Questrade’s representatives so consistently involved in this forum’s discussions.

The Exchange Discussion Forum

Reports

Located under the Reports menu option are a slew of subcategories providing details about trading and general account activity. Some of these subcategories include: Investment Summary (pictured above), Trade Confirmations, Account Activity, Statements, Investment Return, and Tax Slips. Collectively, these reports allow you to explore all of your investments (stocks, funds, bonds, etc), buying power, total equity, current cash balances and positions (in CAD and USD), and more.

Questrade Account Activity

Your 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 made available electronically for each year.

Questrade Statements

New statements are published on the 15th of each month and made available for immediate download as PDF files. These reports have improved dramatically over the years and contain a rich tapestry of useful colourful charts and graphs to make it easier to understand your performance to-date and compare it against previous years. Going further, these statements are very detailed, and very carefully constructed not to just be intuitively understood by the layman investor, but goes in-depth to provide breakdowns of the month’s activity details, a summary of all trades settled by the end of that month, conversion rates, allocations, current and historical rates of return, dividend distributions, and special notes from the brokerage.

Looking Inside a Questrade Statement

Because I view myself as an average investor, the styling approach laid out in these statements are an excellent bonus offered by Questrade.

Although Questrade highly endorses the viewing, downloading, and/or printing of monthly statements online as PDF files, and provides them free of charge, they still offer the alternative option of mailing out paper statements. This alternative, however, does cost $20 per statement. If you still prefer these hardcopies, then you can put in a request directly by phone or through their live help chat window.

Dual Currencies

Questrade’s margin and registered accounts are comprised of two sub-accounts — one that holds Canadian funds, and the other for holding U.S. funds. This is incredibly convenient since it stops unnecessary automatic conversion charges, common at virtually all other brokerage firms, when trading U.S. instruments. Questrade does not do automatic currency conversions. Other brokerages, on the other hand, do this simply because it maximizes their profits. Good for them, bad for you.

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. The same is true when funding your margin (or registered) account by either currency type; the funds will automatically be placed into the associating sub-account of the same type.

Funds can be moved between sub-accounts using Questrade’s Exchange Funds feature, but just take careful note that by using this tool it will involve a conversion based on the spot rate at the close of market in Toronto plus a spread fee. This spread fee is 1.99% for both margin and registered accounts. If total equity exceeds $100K, however, this fee drops to 1.70% for margin and 1.00% for registered accounts. If converting between USD/CAD, a better approach would be to use the Norbert’s Gambit technique because it eliminates almost all currency exchange fees. Please see the FAQ for more details.

Questrade Exchange Funds

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 concurrently inside registered accounts (i.e., TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RIF, LIRA, LIF) at no cost which in and of itself will save a colossal 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.

Trading Platforms

Questrade has four trading platforms: Trading with Questrade, a fully functional web-based trading platform for Windows/Macs/Linux desktop users, as well as for mobile devices; Questrade IQ Edge, a streamlined desktop-based trading platform for Windows 7/8.1/10+ and macOS 10+; Questrade Mobile, their mobile entrant into the field of on-the-go trading, for iOS and Android; and Questrade FX Global, their web-based forex & CFD market trading platform for most desktop and mobile users.

This entire suite is free to use and practice accounts (with virtual money) are available without even having to activate a real trading account. Many of these platforms include snap quote live Canadian/U.S. streaming level 1 data, a charting package, research tools for fundamental and technical analysis, and more. 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 probe deeper into each of these unique platforms in turn and see what they have to offer.

Trading with Questrade

This is Questrade’s most popular free trading platform. It serves as the primary trading gateway for most users entire investing 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) their Mobile or IQ Edge applications. As such, this trading platform is what Linux users turn to when needing to trade stocks, ETFs, and options.

Trading with Questrade - Stocks

Trading with Questrade is craftily integrated into the Questrade Account portal and is reachable through the prominently displayed green Trade button located at the top menu bar. For convenience, this platform can be set as your home base when you log in. This platform is a fully compliant HTML5 browser-based responsive experience, it does not require a download, nor 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’s very featured-packed. It also introduces the concept of Gadgets into the platform lexicon. A gadget is an arrangeable user-customized view into your trading/market details. Some of these gadgets include: activity (a logs viewer), balances, time & sales (current global activity of a stock), level 1 quotes, level 2 quotes (if you’d paid for this extension), news, orders, charts, position summary, and a watch list. Any custom changes you make to your platform layout are automatically saved and restored when you re-log back in.

Trading with Questrade - Charts

This platform was surprisingly lightning fast and responsive in every web browser I tested it in. Memory and CPU footprint usage was astonishingly small despite the depth of options, activity, and functionality it had to offer. I also found that 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 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. Additional 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.

Impressively, this web-based trading platform has almost all the features found in IQ Edge, its bigger brother in this family. Notable differences include the lack of multiple workspaces, heat maps, and surprisingly, the inability to change color themes — you’re stuck with that white look, unlike IQ Edge which has selectable themes. So, if you feel you may need one or more of these missing features then I’d recommend you use their desktop-based IQ Edge platform instead.

Questrade IQ Edge

Questrade IQ Edge is the big boy of this suite. It comes as a free install-based native PC (or Mac) desktop application. And although it is commonly used by many investors, regardless of experience, this platform was specifically engineered to cater to active and professional traders.

Questrade IQ Edge - Order Entry

Interestingly, Trading with Questrade and IQ Edge share many features in common. But I did find the following unique 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 targeted purpose that suits a trading environment style. Multiple navigable workspaces is a valuable asset for active traders.

Other key differences I uncovered was that IQ Edge offers significantly more advanced options for order entries, such as conditional orders (e.g., trigger orders at a specific time, price, or volume automatically), creation of bracket orders, more extensive alerts, and multiple order entry windows. This platform also includes more extensive research tools and heat maps.

Questrade IQ Edge - Drawings

I also discovered a few subtle differences as well. IQ Edge allows for extensive gadget customizing, which takes them well beyond what is possible in Trading with Questrade. Most of these customizable features, however, are visual (e.g., drag-drop, resize, custom colourizing, blinking text). It depends on the gadget. Curiously, gadgets don’t have a snap-to feature and so they do not auto-arrange when the main application window resizes. It’s a bit annoying 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 their other trading platforms (assuming the same gadget exists), and vice versa. Ticker symbols and the related data inside gadgets (e.g., alerts), however, are properly maintained across different trading environments.

Thankfully IQ Edge incorporates different user-selectable colour themes, ranging from dark (default), light, and a sky blue. This is a welcome change from the screen burn-in white theme that their other trading platforms (excluding FX Global) are unfortunately hardwired to only use.

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. When speaking with Questrade’s technical staff, I was told that this platform is written from the ground up using optimized C++ code and deployed specifically for Intel processors, ensuring the speediest of responses for the most serious of traders. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing there is no 64-bit version for IQ Edge on PC platforms. For Macs it is natively 64-bit. Don’t get me wrong, this will still run perfectly fine on 64-bit Windows-based PC systems. It just won’t be running as efficiently as it could be. Here’s hoping in the near future an optimized 64-bit Windows version of IQ Edge will be made available.

Questrade Mobile

Because many of us spend a lot of our time on mobile devices, it only makes sense that we want to be able to swipe, tap, and invest on-the-go as well. Questrade Mobile fills that void.

Questrade Mobile - Quotes / Charts

This free platform is a surprisingly very powerful, very capable mobile trading platform. Operating anywhere at any time, this app is available for iOS and Android devices from their respective app stores. The visual layout and organization of features is very well thought out — I can navigate and use the app with intuitive ease. And although they conveniently provide an interactive help tool I found there was little need to use it.

Questrade had originally planned to release a similar version for Windows Phone and Blackberry but, understandably, due to those aforementioned device’s almost non-existent market share, the idea was scrapped late in the development cycle. As such, users with those devices, including Linux, will need to use the browser-based alternative trading platform: Trading with Questrade.

I found Mobile’s feature set to be nearly identical to their Trading with Questrade platform, but with visual tweaks to better suit portable device operability. You can even perform account management actions directly within the app.

Questrade Mobile - Order / Watch List

After using this platform for several days it’s clear to me Questrade is continuing to aim Mobile to be as feature-rich as IQ Edge over time so that even active traders can be less dependent of their desktops. I’m sure this will be greeted with overjoyed smiles by those traders who have been yearning to be more fully unshackled from their IQ Edge dungeons. 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 Mobile, possibly surpassing their web-based sibling over time.

There is no question that Mobile is an integral component to Questrade and quite possibly view it as the most important in this entire platform 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.

Questrade FX Global

This is their free specialty web-based platform geared specifically to foreign exchange (FX) and contract-for-difference (CFD) traders. For the curious, FX contracts and CFDs are over-the-counter derivatives. FX Global gives you the ability to speculate on the price movement of currencies, energy, agriculture, metals, and equity indices from one account.

Questrade FX Global - Charts

FX Global lives and breathes within the web browser. And my tests found the interaction to be seamless across every device I checked. That includes: PC, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices.

The platform conveniently tracks all trading activity in real time. I could execute trades from live bid/ask quotes just with a simple click or tap at any time. I was also able to keep tabs on open positions, watch for instant profits and losses, view account balances, and analyze historical activity, all on-screen.

Other positive noteworthy features in my evaluation include the ability to switch environment themes (i.e., dark or light), up-to-the-minute embedded news, research tools, technical analysis indicators, watch lists, and push notification alerts to your phone.

Questrade FX Global - Trade

I found this platform to be designed very well and I could long and short hundreds of global currency pairs and CFDs with ease. The entire experience was surprisingly much more natural feeling than I was expecting; and this is coming from someone who has very little prior experience in the FX & CFD markets. Trading within the platform can be done 24 hours a day from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, but, if necessary, existing forex account holders can also place orders for free over the phone.

Research Tools

One of the keys to successful investing is through tenacious market research — doing your homework. And so, while compiling this review I felt an honourable nod should be given to Questrade’s stand-out research tools: Market Intelligence and Intraday Trader.

When you login, both tools are found tucked away under the Market Research menu selection.

Market Intelligence is the place to go when you need to get the latest market news in North America, Europe, and Asia as it happens. With research data and ratings provided by MorningStar, I was able to successfully look up a lot of valuable material (e.g., reports, earnings) on whole industries, companies, and specific stocks without having to leave my account. There is also a very useful criteria-based email alerter to keep track of stocks. You can set it up to alert you on price changes, volume fluctuations, bid sizes, and more.

Market Intelligence

The other research tool, Intraday Trader, is a comprehensive technical analyzer that monitors the NSYE, NASDAQ, AMEX, TSX, TSX Venture, and ARCA. By providing an event triggering watch list (pre-set or custom), it’s able to scan those markets and cross-reference technical patterns of interest throughout the trading day. When a target has been triggered I get notified with charts and a description on what caused it and why. It’s clear that the goal of this tool is to give you a heads-up on potential trading opportunities as they are happening. Interestingly, I began noticing over the following days that I kept returning to use this tool and adding more refined complexity to my event triggers. In short, using this tool can become quite addictive.

Intraday Trader

Managed Investing (Portfolio IQ)

Self-directed investing (aka DIY trading) is offered essentially by every discount brokerage in Canada and has been a popular choice by the general public due to the cornucopias of easy-to-use tools and support made available to investors desiring complete control over every aspect of their financial 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, another option exists. 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 re-balancing, and puts this work into the hands of experienced portfolio managers of their Questrade Wealth Management division.

Portfolio IQ - Review

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! However, the difficulty lies in trying to figure out how exactly to do that. This is where I feel Portfolio IQ comes to the rescue.

I discovered that Portfolio IQ was Canada’s first online wealth management service. Another accomplishment by Questrade. When speaking with one of their managers, he expressed that the advent of Portfolio IQ is to grow and become a definitive market disruptor. To make managed investing accessible to everyone. He went on to say that because managed investing has typically been an exclusive club for the very rich, their goal was to hark back to their motto of unlocking all things restrictive to the masses by doing away with convention. That’s a bold statement. So naturally I signed up for an account and had a look around.

Opening a Portfolio IQ account is straight-forward and only requires an initial deposit of just $1. As an extra bonus, this review’s Questrade offer code — also known as a Questrade referral code — can be used when opening a managed account to receive a free cash bonus. Once open you’re taken through a quick, simple to use point-and-click/tap questionnaire to set up an investor biography that identifies your risk tolerance, existing financial circumstances, market knowledge, and investment ambitions. This is all used to help crystallize the best portfolio that will matter to you. If your goals change, then you can adjust your biography to keep things in balance, which will then automatically update your underlying portfolio model accordingly.

Portfolio IQ - Tolerable Risk

ETF Portfolios

There are five portfolios and they all deal exclusively in ETFs. Composition is an assortment mix of sectors, markets, and countries.

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 have three tiers. Each tier has a different set of sector-specific and country-specific ETFs. It is your account asset value that determines which tier position you’re automatically assigned within the portfolio you’ve selected.

Fee Structure

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 selected portfolio, and your very own assigned team of specialists will begin actively managing and adjusting your portfolio as opportunities arise in the markets. I found they vigilantly kept re-balancing assets to stay within my risk tolerance without any daily involvement on my part, which was nice.

I didn’t find any trading or trailing commission fees. I did uncover a nominal annual management fee, however, which varies based on your existing total account asset value. This fee only gets charged when you have at least $2,000 in savings within your managed account. If it does apply then it’s broken up and charged proportionally on a quarterly basis. Relative to other brokerages and banks, this management fee is by far the lowest I’ve seen.

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 you’re not fully satisfied for any reason, Portfolio IQ is an extraordinary entrant into the managed investing arena. It 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 due to the incredible euphoric frenzy of the 1990’s internet IPO boom, and recently with the bitcoin cryptocurrency mania (via Initial Coin Offerings).

Because IPOs usually tick up on first day closings, it makes total sense 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 wealthy are usually the only ones who are granted access. 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 by introducing their IPO Centre. This centre is a very welcome sight and seems well positioned to grow into something incredibly special.

Questrade IPO Centre - List

Type of Offerings

The Questrade IPO Centre showcases newly available issues of Canadian equity, fixed income, and structured notes. For historic reasons, they also give access to a detailed back catalog of previous offerings. Each IPO’s respective fact sheet, investor summary, terms, preliminary and final prospectuses are also readily available.

Although the IPO Centre mostly has Canadian offerings, U.S. IPOs do show up from time-to-time as well. Due to Canadian security regulations though, U.S. and other foreign-based companies must file their prospectuses in each province individually in order to be sold to residents of that particular province. Since 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 already strong enough to satisfy the capital they’re seeking to raise, it’s only logical that most offerings you see listed in the centre are Canadian by nature.

Fun fact: TSX has a very large mining focus. This is because many international mining/resource companies file a prospectus, raise money, and choose to be listed here in Canada.

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

My only complaint is that the number of IPOs to select from isn’t as bountiful as I would prefer it to be. I am not sure if this is due to the unseen battle that they surely must have with underwriters to be granted access to new filings, or if their staff is just being lethargic in pursuing more pickings.

How To Take Part

The IPO Centre is reachable on your desktop/laptop , smartphone, and tablet. When you see an IPO or other new issue you like, it’s a simple click/tap of the Buy button found next to that offering. Alternatively, you can call their trade desk to put in a request. All IPO and secondary offering purchases are commission free.

Questrade IPO Centre - Order

Once your order has been placed, this is referred to as an “expression of interest”. An expression of interest makes Questrade aware you are putting in a commitment to buy a number of shares. This does not guarantee, though, that you will actually get any or all of the shares you’ve requested.

When placing an expression of interest on their website, the trade desk contacts you to confirm the order within an hour. In rare cases I found it took 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 your interest to the offering’s underwriter.

For instant notification of newly announced IPOs and secondary issues, I recommend subscribing to their mailing list known as the IPO Bulletin. Surprisingly, I found that notifications arrived roughly thirty minutes sooner than the time it took for new issues to appear on the centre’s front page. That revelation can potentially lead to unique first access opportunities. Nice!

Canceling a request can be made within two business days (this may vary depending on the province) of receiving, or deemed receipt of, a prospectus and any related amendments (found at the online centre).

Processing Time & Distribution

Processing time for orders can vary but usually it takes around three weeks from when the underwriters first launch the IPO and when the offering closes. Times can be shorter when dealing with some secondary offerings and preferred treasury shares. Once allocations from the underwriter are received, Questrade informs customers 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 request 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 only 50% to your original order request.

Customer Service

Customer services are the make or break for practically every company, irrespective of the industry they’re in. If customers have an issue, be it executing a hanging order, a problem with account management, or just to get in touch to have someone walk them through a task, it’s critical that customer service be attentive, knowledgeable, and understanding. You can have all the best technology and intuitive user experience in place, but if you lack basic customer service support, you’re company is doomed.

Now let’s delve into Questrade’s customer service experience so I can give you my impression on their online and offline (i.e., telephone) efficacy.

Most people will likely prefer to communicate with Questrade through online means. As such, you have a few options: Email, and Live Help real-time chat.

Email response times were relatively quick. I sent four different emails regarding four distinctly different issues, and their reply times varied between one hour and eighteen hours. That’s pretty good. Their response content was very good as well. Nothing was canned, which is common when dealing with other companies over email.

As for the online chat feature, while putting this review together I noticed that Questrade had repeatedly repositioned their live help’s green Chat button. I figure it’s probably because they are still finalizing on the best placement for it. But nonetheless, their chat button tends to be conveniently a fixed overlay on the right corner of most pages. It’s operational from Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00am – 8:00pm ET. When clicked it brings up a pop-up window.

Customer Service - Live Help Window

After speaking with several 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 external web links (those found outside the Questrade domain) for further reading which was a nice bonus. If the chat feature is unavailable (e.g., weekends, holidays, or outside service hours) you’re still able to leave a detailed message. When I tried this, I did receive a decent response when a representative returned.

For customer support over the phone, they are available Monday to Friday, 7:30am – 8:00pm ET. For forex trading, they are open much longer, including Sundays. When I did phone in, I found that they support English, French, and Mandarin languages. Coincidentally, being trilingual I was able to speak to representatives in all three languages. Hold times varied based on what I was calling about. During midday on a workweek I found the wait time for a new customer to be about one minute. When calling in as an existing customer, the wait time was much shorter. This may be coincidental, but I also found that using their live help was much quicker than calling into their offices. Overall, speaking over the phone with their different departments was a very relaxing and helpful experience. They know their stuff! And not once did I feel they were rushing to get the conversation ended quickly. It felt like I actually mattered.

App Hub

Questrade has partnered with several financial service providers to help enhance your investment experience through third-party apps. Types of partner apps include trading platforms, stock pickers, performance recorders, statistics analyzers, portfolio monitors, etc. Once you grant permission to an app, it can access your account details (personal information is still kept private), retrieve market data, and assist you with placing trades through your Questrade brokerage account.

App Hub

Granting permission to a third-party app is as simple as finding an app of interest within the App Hub library, clicking the Add to My Apps button, generating a special (and necessary) authorization token, downloading the associating partner’s app (and/or signing up for an account via their website), and then inputing your generated authorization token within the app.

The only apps authorized by Questrade are the ones listed in their library. If a third-party app is not listed there, then that specific app will not have access to your account. In other words, you cannot arbitrarily generate a generic authorization token for an unauthorized app.

Interestingly, you can create and register your own app and become a partner with Questrade. I will discuss this in more detail under the Developer Platform section of this review.

One strange quirk I did find, when you add a partner app it became difficult, if not impossible, to return to the App Hub library at a later time to add another app. Why Questrade didn’t add a navigable link back to the library on the My Apps page — if you’ve already added at least one app — is beyond me. Either this is an oversight, or a bug. I’ve reported this problem to them. Hopefully they fix it soon because the only way I could figure out how to return to the App Hub library was to remove all my apps. That’s very inconvenient. By the time you read this review it will probably already be fixed.

Beyond that little issue it was really fun and quite advantageous to have access to so many third-party apps.

Security

Questrade’s security measures have improved dramatically over the years. They use an impressive 256-bit SSL class 3 extended validation for both logging in and trading. Extra security during the login process can be provided by enabling two-factor authentication. For those unfamiliar, two-factor authentication is an additional security layer which requires not just a username and password, but you must also use another device that you currently have in your possession — typically a phone — to input a special code shown on that device during the login process.

Questrade has an online security guarantee which insures investors against unauthorized transactions which result in a direct loss. This security guarantee, however, 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%.

They are 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 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.

Other noteworthy features: When joining, you must provide at least two security questions and answers — one of which gets asked when you attempt to log into your account from an unrecognized device. Once signed into your account your last login information is prominently displayed at the top-right corner with the date, time, device used, browser user agent, and the operating system of who last accessed your account.

And lastly, a special appreciation goes out to the ability to set up a personal identification number (PIN) from your customer profile page. This PIN is optional, but is used to make it quicker to identify you when phoning in. You still have to provide other information about yourself when speaking to a representative, but the verification process is much quicker. I found this very handy, especially because I had to call in several times to better review their customer service.

Developer Platform

Developers interested in writing their own applications or using tools from other third-party vendors can rejoice because Questrade has their own application programming interface (API). It’s free to use and can execute, modify, and cancel stock & option orders on Canadian and U.S. exchanges; retrieve balances, and positions as far back as sixteen months; and fetch delayed and real-time market data. Their SDK with sample code is available for download in C++ and C#.

Questrade API - Create Your Own App

After a quick glance over Questrade’s very clean online API operations documentation, within ten minutes I had created my first, fully functional application in Microsoft Visual Studio C#. It’s very easy to make an app! I also love how they give access to a practice server for testing applications on. And once I had fixed all my bugs, I then was able to switch over to the live server. Very smart!

Questrade API - Coding An App in C#

Questrade implements Representational State Transfer (REST) for reading and writing data, and the OAuth 2.0 authorization framework for their security protocol. Everything communicates through HTTPS only. The great thing about using REST and OAuth is that development time is significantly reduced, as was evident by the time it took for me to make my first app, because they are widely used, simple to understand, standards for a lot of online development.

I noticed there is an option to partner with Questrade so that your application can extend beyond your app’s library, and be made available to every Questrade customer. I did not test this feature because my application was just a simple proof-of-concept for this review, but I did speak with a technician who told me that there is no cost when partnering. Your application goes through a thorough quality assurance review, and if they feel your app will enhance their customers’ experiences, they will happily add it into the App Hub. Please note, though, if you develop a trading platform where your users make trades within your app on the live server, then your users will still get charged the same commission fees that they would have paid if they were using one of Questrade’s standard trading platforms.

Conclusion

Questrade

My journey through the expansive financial world carved out by Questrade was a very enjoyable one. Although their list of achievements include free ETFs, very mature trading platforms, quality customer service, IPOs, and a comprehensive developer platform, their most impressive feature has to go to being able to execute trades as low as 1¢ per share (1¢ minimum for active traders; $4.95 minimum for non-active traders).

It has been decades now and Questrade continues to carry the honour of being Canada’s lowest cost discount brokerage company. 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 lowering commission costs.

In MoneySense’s Canada’s Best Online Brokerages 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.

I can’t think of anything negative to point out about this company. It’s very clear they want to be in this industry and stay as the market leader in Canada. When speaking to several of their representatives online and over the phone you could feel a strong sense of pride in their written words and spoken tone. There is clearly a strong and positive ecosystem in their workplace environment. The staff seem exceptionally knowledgeable when assisting, providing a fulfilling experience. This is a far cry from my past dealings with other brokerages and banks.

For most of my stock trading life I had been connected at the hip with my local bank. This was before I became more enlightened with better options that were out there. I’m sure this is the case for most people. Many of us usually get our first investment accounts at big banks (e.g., BMO InvestorLine, Scotia iTrade, RBC Direct Investing, TD Direct Investing) because of the ease to do so — we have our savings and chequing accounts with them already so it’s just logical to open a trading account there as well. Such conveniences, however, bring with it abuses by these banks onto their customers. And so it wasn’t until I became completely disillusioned by my bank’s high fees and endless shenanigans that I felt it was time to explore other financial outlets. And hence, here we are today and why I felt this ultimate Questrade review was a necessary obligation to write.

Should you join? Yes — a resounding YES! For someone like me, as a casual trader, who has experienced headaches with banks and 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.

Now I’d love to hear your opinion on Questrade. Leave a reply below, share this review, and rate them using the ratings gauge found at the very top of this page.  Google Profile

Questrade Review
Editor Rating: 90% out of 100
Readers Rating: 95% out of 100 (2209 votes)
“Questrade Review” written by Emma Li —  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This review has been updated many times over the years and, during such time, many questions have been asked by my readers in the comments section. For your convenience, I have compiled the most asked questions, with their corresponding answers, below.

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).

Where can I get the Questrade offer code?

To get $50 free from Questrade, simply type the following Offer Code: Canada into the Offer Code input box during the sign-up process.

What is the best way to convert CAD/USD?

To elminate currency exchange fees almost entirely when converting CAD/USD, you will want to use Norbert’s Gambit. To do this, you will 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 margin accounts. Registered accounts (e.g., RRSP), however, cannot short because of Canadian government regulations.

Do their platforms support Mac/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. For Linux users, Trading with Questrade, their responsive HTML browser-based web application, is what’s used.

My bank doesn’t accept Questrade account #s

Most people will fund their Questrade accounts through their bank’s bill payment method. However, some banks still impose an eight character limit. You can get around this problem by using just the first eight digits of your ten digit Questrade account #.

How do I get trading reports before 2011?

If you have been a Questrade member before 2011, then you may have already discovered that their Trade Confirmations database, which claims to carry your trading details dating back to January 1st, 2009, in fact only rolls back to February 4th, 2011. Sadly, you may no longer have access to these older trading reports because Penson, Questrade’s old clearinghouse partner, who stockpiled these much older reports, has now shut its doors for good. When speaking with Questrade’s representatives, I got inconsistent answers on whether they still have these very old reports or not.

How do I stop paper-mailed investor documents?

Initially, shareholder communications (i.e., voting requests, annual meeting summaries, financial reports) are sent as paper mail to your physical address. For those who wish to save the environment by saving a few trees you can alternatively opt to receive these correspondence documents through electronic mail instead. A convenient free service called InvestorDelivery exists where you can set up to receive all of your investor correspondence electronically. InvestorDelivery requires a special ID that is stamped in the header region of each of your paper documents. So you’ll have to wait and receive a paper document of a security you own before you can switch over to its electronic alternative.

How do I avoid paying ECN Fees?

ECN fees are fees enforced onto Questrade by an external network that charges you for making a transaction which removes liquidity from the market (i.e., buying at the ask or selling at the bid). Questrade doesn’t make any money from ECN fees; they simply pass this collected fee to the designated network to execute your order. Although these fees translate to mere pennies, 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 (i.e., LAMP, MNGD, or POST) to avoid these fees completely.

How do I avoid mutual fund trailer fees?

Questrade will rebate mutual fund trailer fees. They call this their Mutual Fund Maximizer. Trailer fees are commissions by fund management companies paid to brokerage houses for being the retailer that sold you your fund(s). This commission is an ongoing source of revenue for brokerages as long as you keep holding onto those fund(s). You don’t see this fee because it’s part of the MER of the fund. So, Questrade is willing to rebate this fee back to you every 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).

What is the interest rate when buying on margin?

Most people will sign up for the standard margin 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 three days of the purchase, the margin interest rate can be as low as prime + 2.5%, which is in-line with most brokerages.

What is Margin Power?

Margin Power is a free service by Questrade that allows you to link your existing TFSA account (held at Questrade) to your margin account. Doing so increases your buying power within your margin account by leveraging the assets you already own inside your TFSA, making it enormously convenient to enter new positions without requiring a transfer of new cash or selling existing securities.

How do I register for a DRIP?

A dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), which is also known as a direct purchase plan (DPP), allows you to reinvest your stock’s dividend income automatically into the purchase of additional shares of that security without paying any trading commissions. To register for a DRIP, log into your Questrade account, navigate to Account Management > Find Forms, and download & fill out the one page PDF file: Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) Authorization. You’d then use Upload Documents to send your signed form to Questrade. It takes up-to 24 hours to process your request. If you ever sell off your security entirely, your DRIP will be canceled.

Replies to this Review

  1. Kailyn J. says:

    Just use Questrade Promo Code: Canada
    It’s the one shown somewhere on this page. It has a big graphic announcing $50 free trades.

  2. Ben Badger says:

    Anyone have a referral they can give me?

  3. Deondre says:

    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.

  4. Smith says:

    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.

  5. Sidney D. says:

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

  6. Brandon Lagon says:

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

  7. Rudy says:

    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.

  8. Investor383 says:

    Just used the questrade promo code you have at the top of of this page. Big thanks. $50 richer!!

  9. Kelton Paker says:

    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.

  10. Jonathon says:

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

  11. Sylvester H says:

    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 how to avoid the fee altogether.

  12. Glenn F says:

    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.

  13. Glenn W. says:

    dummy me i just noticed the questrade promotion code above. i guess i cant use it now because i already joined last month. too late?

  14. No C. says:

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

  15. Zayne Horton says:

    Great Questrade Review!

  16. Daren Crocker says:

    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.

  17. Carmine Whiteside says:

    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.

  18. Junior F says:

    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.

  19. Avalon Rogers says:

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

  20. Ibrahim Reel says:

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

  21. Max Cote says:

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

  22. Ignacio B says:

    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.

  23. Brandon says:

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

  24. Luc G says:

    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.

  25. Ryder Van Lare says:

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

  26. Bennett Pierpoint says:

    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.

  27. Elisha says:

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

  28. Gilberto says:

    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!

  29. Codey Hobbs says:

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

  30. Dominique N. says:

    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.

  31. Braden Walmsley says:

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

    So hooray for me! Assuming they arent pulling my chain.

  32. Paris says:

    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.

  33. Kaelen G says:

    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?

  34. Kenyon says:

    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!

  35. Sandeep Ponder says:

    Hey thanks for letting me know about their Trading platform and how i can use it on my old 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.

  36. Keagan S. says:

    Was checking the Deloitte site and indeed it looks like Questrade did win a Deloitte Canada’s Best Managed Companies award at some point. Nice! Glad i stuck with them.

  37. Ricki B says:

    I am still trying to figure it out (i am not a computer guy) why IQ Edge keeps logging me out every 30 minutes. 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.

  38. Jeramie Halstead says:

    Actually i believe there was lots of talk about Questrade’s BlackBerry Mobile app coming too but i believe it was dropped (i am still 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.

  39. Jerrod S says:

    Just wondering if BlackBerry Mobile is ready yet.

  40. Amari says:

    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.

  41. Finn M says:

    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.

  42. Austin Aff says:

    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.

  43. Shelton Vermillion says:

    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.

  44. Guy Van Bergen says:

    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?

  45. Stocks Are My Life says:

    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 has 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.

  46. Allison Artiquette says:

    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.

  47. Ronin says:

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

  48. Deshaun Eveland says:

    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?

  49. Kristopher says:

    Does Questrade allow trading of bitcoin currency?

  50. Michelle says:

    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.

  51. Brennon B. says:

    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.

  52. SeanP says:

    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?

  53. Raul says:

    As an extension to what this review is saying Questrade has an additional private insurance that covers up to $10,000,000. So your money is pretty safe with them. In fact its safer than your average savings bank account.

  54. Michael B. says:

    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.

  55. Zacary Healy says:

    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!

  56. Domingo F says:

    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!

  57. Byron P. says:

    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 Ventura Brokers still are adamantly pushing Flash in certain parts. 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.

  58. Loren says:

    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.

  59. Gerard says:

    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.

  60. Joe Bedell says:

    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).

  61. Sasha says:

    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 🙂

  62. Tavish Reston says:

    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.

  63. Stockster says:

    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 complaints and never any hassles. They are very quick in getting back to me and their chat is responsive.

  64. Darnell Ludlow says:

    Wow how things have come along way. From the different pictures 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 🙂

  65. Nikko Willmarth says:

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

  66. Prince Swayne says:

    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. Q seem to have worked out their issues and seem solid now.

  67. Elisha F. says:

    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?

  68. Alfie says:

    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 may auto convert what it needs from CAD to USD. Dont quote me on that.

    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.

  69. Gregorio Barkley says:

    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.

  70. Leonard says:

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

  71. Denver F says:

    @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.

  72. Jaeden says:

    Questrade 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.

  73. Gordon says:

    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.

  74. Brook Wolthers says:

    @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.

  75. Loren B says:

    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.

  76. Stock Learner says:

    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?

  77. Wade Walmsley says:

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

  78. Jacky says:

    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.

  79. Abbey S says:

    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.

  80. Jaydon says:

    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?

  81. Aldo Shatto says:

    I’d love to see a true Questrade IQ desktop version made for Linux. I know i have other options like 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.

  82. Daniel Bowen says:

    Thanks for the chat 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.

  83. Chadrick says:

    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.

  84. Creme Cherry says:

    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?

  85. Archie H says:

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

  86. Benito says:

    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.

  87. Rick W. says:

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

  88. Darell Tackett says:

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

  89. Cade Rochet says:

    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

  90. Brenton Vogler says:

    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.

  91. Yancy Crockett says:

    @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.

  92. Kelly says:

    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!

  93. JJ says:

    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.

  94. Arjun S. says:

    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.

  95. Whitley says:

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

  96. Braylon R says:

    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?

  97. Joe says:

    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.

  98. Benjamen R. says:

    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.

  99. Durell T says:

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

  100. Mara says:

    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".

  101. SpaceJunkie says:

    It’s been 4.5 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.

  102. Chanel S says:

    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 chat online and they can give you more details.

  103. Gia T. says:

    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.

  104. Allan D. says:

    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

  105. Ladarius says:

    @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.

  106. Telly Tunz says:

    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?

  107. Kenzie Chedister says:

    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.

  108. Ashton says:

    Anyone know when questrade posts t5008 slips during the year?

  109. Darius J. says:

    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.

  110. Sergio says:

    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!

  111. Renaldo says:

    Anyone know if questrad accepts bitcoins for deposits?

  112. Hailey F says:

    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.

  113. BeachPTA says:

    @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.

  114. Curious Me says:

    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.

  115. Kinsley says:

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

  116. Gaige says:

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

  117. Ulric M says:

    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.

  118. Immanuel says:

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

  119. Ben T says:

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

  120. Abraham Barns says:

    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.

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