Qtrade vs Questrade: Which Brokerage is Better in 2024?

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This Qtrade vs Questrade comparison takes a deep dive into how the two top brokerages for Canadians compare.

Online brokerages have made it simple and cost-effective for anyone to build a self-directed portfolio. And with several brokerages to choose from, Canadian self-directed investors have lots of options depending on their needs.

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or seasoned investor, chances are you’ve heard about Qtrade and Questrade and you may be wondering how they differ. While you can’t make the wrong choice with either brokerage, it’s important to understand what they offer in order to make an informed decision. 

In this Questrade vs Qtrade article, I discuss the key differences between the two covering their account types, assets available to trade, fees and commissions, trading platform and more.

Let’s dive in!

What is Qtrade?

Qtrade is a Vancouver-based online brokerage arm and a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. The brokerage was founded in 2000 and is owned by one of the leading independent wealth management institutions in Canada, Aviso Wealth.

With Qtrade, Canadians can trade Canadian and US-listed stocks and ETFs on the TSX, TSXV, CSE, NEO, NASDAQ and NYSE exchanges. 

What sets this brokerage apart is that it has comprehensive suites of tools, investment accounts, and excellent customer service that has attracted several awards and recognition over the years from reputable publications like MoneySense and Globe and Mail.

With comprehensive suites of securities, ranging from stocks, mutual funds, bonds, options, GICs, and IPOs trading, Qtrade has positioned itself as a one-stop-shop for self-directed investing in Canada.

Pros of Qtrade

  • Multiple accounts: Qtrade is an online brokerage with support for multiple investment and trading accounts including registered accounts.  
  • No account minimum: You can join Qtrade and start trading with as little as $1 since it has no minimum deposit requirement. 
  • Diversification: Investors get access to several stocks that trade on major Canadian and US exchanges such as TSX, CSE, Aequitas NEO Exchange, NYSE, Nasdaq and more.
  • Excellent customer service: Qtrade is widely acclaimed for its excellent customer service – something that is very rare in the brokerage space.
  • Commission-free ETF trading: With a commission waiver on over 100 ETFs, Qtrade makes it simple and affordable to build a low-cost ETF portfolio.
  • Comprehensive tools: Regardless of your investment level, you may need tools to plan, trade, analyze, and manage your portfolio. The brokerage has all the tools you need to do that in addition to watchlist alerts and real-time quotes.
  • Educational resources: Qtrade has multiple educational resources to help you build your knowledge about the strategies and tactics of the stock market.

Cons of Qtrade

  • Qtrade currently charges a quarterly administration fee of $25 (waived if conditions met) which can quickly add up to increase your investment cost.
  • Its trade commissions are not the cheapest in Canada.

Who is Qtrade Best For?

Based on the above analysis, it’s safe to say that Qtrade is best for:

  • Beginner, intermediate and seasoned investors looking for a brokerage with comprehensive suites of accounts and tools.
  • Self-directed investors looking for a brokerage with excellent customer service.
  • Investors looking to build a diversified portfolio but don’t mind the commissions and quarterly administration fees.

Learn more about this brokerage on this Qtrade Review

What is Questrade?

Questrade is also an online brokerage like Qtrade but it has been around since 1999. Like Qtrade, the online brokerage features in every ranking of the best online discount brokerages in Canada.

Besides having no monthly, quarterly or annual fees, Questrade also allows you to buy ETFs for free. This makes it one of the low-cost brokerages in Canada for those looking to build an ETF portfolio.

The interesting part is that you can trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, IPOs, FX, CFDs, international equities and precious metals on Questrade. Also, Questrade supports several investment accounts such as personal (non-registered), margin, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, LIF, LIRA and RESP accounts.

Like Qtrade, Questrade also offers comprehensive trading tools that make it suitable for investors of different classes.

Pros of Questrade

  • Multiple accounts: You can choose from a comprehensive collection of investment and trading accounts on Questrade. 
  • Low fees: If you’re looking to save costs on self-directed investing in Canada, you can’t make the wrong choice with Questrade because it has no monthly fees and inactivity fees
  • Low commission: Questrade charges 1 cent per share (minimum of $4.95/trade and maximum of $9.95) when selling an ETF and trading stocks. This is one of the lowest commissions you will find in Canada.
  • Comprehensive tools: Questrade has all the tools you need to stay on top of your investment ranging from research tools,  real-time snap quotes, charts, and an automatic rebalancing tool.
  • Robo-advisory service: If you’ll rather let professionals manage your investment account, Questwealth Portfolios is a robo-advisory service for Canadians looking for managed accounts.

Cons of Questrade

  • High initial deposit: You need a minimum balance of $1,000 per account to start investing on Questrade.

Who is Questrade Best For? 

Questrade is best for:

  • Investors looking for a low-fee self-directed brokerage
  • Self-directed investors looking for a brokerage with low commissions, comprehensive accounts and trading tools. 
  • Self-directed investors that don’t mind the $1,000 account minimum to start trading. 

Learn more about this brokerage on this Questrade Review

Questrade vs Qtrade: In-depth Comparison

The table below shows a highlight of the key differences between Qtrade vs Questrade:

Key FeaturesQtrade Questrade
Account minimumNone$1,000
Monthly feeNone (but has a $25 administration fee/quarter – waived if conditions met)None
Supported securitiesStocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options, GICs, IPOs, and secondary/treasury offeringsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, IPOs, FX, CFDs, international equities and precious metals
Supported trading accountsMargin, cash, RSP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, FHSA, TFSA and RESPMargin, TFSA, RRSP, RIF, LIF, LIRA, FHSA and RESP
Commissions on stocks and ETFs$6.95 to $8.75 (no commission on 100+ listed ETFs)Free ETF purchase; 1cent per share for stocks & ETF sales (min:$4.95; max:$9.95)
Accessibility on the web browser and mobile appYesYes
US$ Registered Accounts FeeUS$15 per quarterFree
PromotionsUp to $150 sign-up bonus$50 Trade rebate or $10,000 managed free in the first year

From the table above, you can see how Questrade and Qtrade compare across their key features.

Next, we’ll take a detailed look at each of the features: 

Qtrade vs Questrade: Account Minimum 

Qtrade doesn’t have an account minimum which allows you to start trading with as little as $1. In contrast, you need a $1,000 account minimum to start investing on Questrade.

While the account minimum doesn’t affect how the brokerages perform, it is something to consider if you’re looking to start investing with small amounts.

Related: Here are 10 Ways To Start Investing With Little Money

Qtrade vs Questrade: Supported Securities

Both Qtrade and Questrade provide access to a great selection of securities across the Canadian and US markets. They both support stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options, GICs, and IPOs.

But if you’re interested trading other more advanced asset types like precious metals, FX and CFDs, Questrade has you covered with support for these security types.

That said, if you’re just interested in stocks, ETFs or options, either Qtrade or Questrade will do. For FX, CFDs and other exotic asset types, Questrade is the better choice.

Qtrade vs Questrade: Supported Trading Accounts

Qtrade and Questrade support the important registered accounts ranging from margin, FHSA, TFSA, RRSP, RIF, LIF, LIRA, and RESP.

In addition, you can go beyond individual investment account at both brokerages with their support for non-personal accounts like corporate, investment club, joint, trust accounts.

Qtrade vs Questrade: Fees and Commissions

While Questrade doesn’t have monthly, quarterly or annual fees, Qtrade charges $25 quarterly as an administration fee (waived if conditions met). 

This simply means it will cost you a $100 fee (excluding commissions and other fees) to trade on Qtrade annually. By investing in Questrade, you can invest this fee in your portfolio and boost your returns.

For commissions, both platforms have partial commission waivers. Qtrade commission waiver is limited to 100+ ETFs while Questrade waiver is limited to buying ETFs. 

However, when it comes to commissions on stocks and ETFs, Questrade is better than Qtrade. This is because Questrade charges only 1 cent per share with a minimum of $4.95 per trade and capped at $9.95.

Qtrade, on the other hand, charges up to $8.75 per share depending on the investor class.

So based on commissions and fees, Questrade slightly edges out Qtrade.

Qtrade vs Questrade: Coverage and Regulation

Your assets on either Qtrade or Questrade are covered up to $1 million per insured category by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). They are both regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), the self-regulatory body of Canadian securities firms.

Besides this, Questrade offers additional private coverage of $10 million.

Qtrade vs Questrade: Trading Platform

The two online discount brokerages are both accessible on web portals and mobile apps. In addition, they both have comprehensive tools with Questrade offering access to an automatic portfolio rebalancing tool through its partnership with Passiv.

In terms of the available trading platforms and ease of use, you really can’t go wrong with either brokerage. But if you’re concerned about customer support, Qtrade could be your perfect option.

Qtrade vs Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade is a top contender in the investing app space of Canada. It is also regulated by the IIROC and investments in the brokerage are covered by the CIPF. 

Below is a highlight of how Qtrade and Questrade compare with Wealthsimple Trade.

Key FeatureQtrade QuestradeWealthsimple Trade
Account minimum None$1,000None
Monthly feeNone (but has a $25 administrative/quarter)None$0 / $10  
Supported securitiesStocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options, GICs, IPOs, and secondary/treasury offeringsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, IPOs, FX, CFDs, international equities and precious metalsStocks, ETFs, and cryptos
Supported trading accountsMargin, cash, RSP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, TFSA, FHSA, and RESPMargin, TFSA, RRSP, RIF, LIF, LIRA, FHSA, and RESPTFSA, FHSA, RRSP, RRIF, LIRA, Crypto, non-registered personal accounts
Commissions on stocks and ETFs$6.95 or $8.75 (no commission on 100+ listed ETFs1 cent per share (no commission on purchasing ETFs)None
Accessibility on web browser and mobile appYesYesYes  

Looking at the above table, you can see how Wealthsimple Trade outshines Qtrade and Questrade in terms of commission-free trading. 

Besides a full commission waiver on ETFs and stocks, Wealthsimple Trade also doesn’t have an account minimum.

But as you can see, Wealthsimple Trade has limited investment and trading accounts compared to Qtrade and Questrade. Also, you’ll need to subscribe to the premium plan to get access to some features like USD account.

And if you need comprehensive research and trading tools, you’ll have to look beyond Wealthsimple Trade for now. However, with commission-free trading, you can’t also make the wrong choice with Wealthsimple Trade especially if you’re interested in fractional shares and crypto trading.  


How to Choose the Best Online Brokerage in Canada 

It’s easy to get confused on which to choose between Qtrade vs Questrade because both brokerages offer competitive and unique benefits. 

However, when it comes to choosing which brokerage is perfect for you, consider the factors below. 

  • Supported accounts: Consider the supported investments and trading accounts of the brokerage based on your investment objective. Also, factor in your future needs when evaluating the accounts as you may need to open more accounts when your situation changes. 
  • Fees and commissions: The fees and commissions of a brokerage can determine the overall returns of your investment. Regardless of your net worth, you need to choose a brokerage with low fees and commissions if you want to make the most of your investment. 
  • Account minimum: This is also something to consider if you don’t have a lot of cash to start investing with. A low or no minimum deposit requirement gives you more flexibility on how much to invest. 
  • Tools: Regardless of your investment level, you need tools to finetune your investment strategies. Choosing a brokerage with comprehensive research and trading tools will simplify everything and save you time and costs.  
  • Customer support: Whether you’re a beginner or advanced investor, you may need professional support at one point or the other. So choose a brokerage with excellent customer service.

Learn about the Best Investment Apps in Canada

Some FAQs on Questrade vs Qtrade

Are Qtrade and Questrade the same?

Qtrade and Questrade are different online brokerages that have almost the same investment and trading accounts. However,  the two brokerages differ in terms of minimum balance, fees and commissions.

What is the downside of Qtrade?

The major downside of Qtrade is that it has a $25 administration fee per quarter (waived if conditions met). You can do without this fee through other online discount brokerages like Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade.

What is the downside of Questrade?

The major downside of Questrade is that it requires a $1,000 account minimum which makes it restrictive to investors looking to start investing with little amounts. 

Is Questrade or Qtrade better?

Both Questrade and Qtrade are among the best online brokerages in Canada. However, Questrade is better if you’re looking for a low-fee self-directed brokerage without regard to the minimum balance.
On the other hand, Qtrade is better if you’re looking for a brokerage with excellent customer service and support for several account and investments type if you don’t mind the quarterly administration fees.

Final Thoughts on Questrade vs Qtrade

To excel as a self-directed investor, you need all the right tools and resources in your investing toolkit. This is why choosing the best brokerage for your unique situation is important.

While you can’t make the wrong choice with Qtrade and Questrade, now you have a better understanding of what to look for when narrowing down your selection.

If you want a low-cost brokerage with broad support for different investment type and accounts, Questrade is a great choice. For excellent customer service and commission-free trades on 100+ ETF, I highly recommend Qtrade.

And if you need to extend your comparison, Wealthsimple Trade should be your first point of call because it also ranks among the best investment apps in Canada.

This brings us to the end of my Questrade vs Qtrade comparison. If you still have any questions, please let me know in the comment section.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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