When it comes to self-directed investing, there are a lot of platforms to choose from. And this Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade post takes a look at two of the most popular self-directed investing platforms in Canada.
Both platforms offer a wide range of features and benefits, but which one is the better option for you? What services do they offer and how do they compare?
In this post, we will compare and contrast Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade, so that you can decide which platform is the best fit for your needs.
Let’s get started!
What is Wealthsimple Trade?
Wealthsimple Trade is a commission-free investing app from Wealthsimple that makes it simple and easy for Canadians to start investing with little money.
It was launched in 2019 as the first commission-free trading platform in Canada. Since then, Canadian investors have been enjoying commission-free stocks and ETFs like our American neighbours do through Robinhood.
As you might know, Wealthsimple is one of Canada’s top digital investment firms with over $15 billion in assets under management as of the time of writing this article.
Investments in Wealthsimple Trade are held by one of the leading registered investment dealers in Canada, the Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc.
With fractional shares trading, a USD account, and no minimum balance, Wealthsimple Trade sets itself apart from other online discount brokerages in Canada.
Pros of Wealthsimple Trade
- Commission-free trading: You can trade stocks and ETFs commission-free on Wealthsimple Trade with no limit. This is a rare offer in the world of self-directed brokerage in Canada.
- No minimum investment: You can start trading on the brokerage with as little as $1 because it doesn’t require a minimum balance.
- Fractional shares trading: If you want to reduce your investment risk and easily diversify your portfolio without spending much, you will benefit from Wealthsimple fractional shares.
- USD account: If you want to trade and hold US-listed securities, Wealthsimple Trade has a dedicated USD account for you. That means you won’t have to deal with currency conversion to buy USD stocks. However, this is only available when you subscribe to its premium plan that charges $10 per month.
- Cash bonus: Trade your first $150 trade on the app and get a $25 cash bonus deposited to your account.
- Freemium: Wealthsimple Trade allows you to use the basic features of stock and ETFs trading without monthly fees. This helps you save costs and boost your investment returns.
Cons of Wealthsimple Trade
- FX fee: There’s a 1.5% foreign currency conversion fee when you trade non-CAD listed assets with the Wealthsimple Trade basic plan.
- Limited assets type: Wealthsimple Trade only supports Canadian and US stocks and ETFs at the moment. This makes it less accessible to traders looking to invest in other securities like GICs, bonds, mutual funds, options etc.
- Limited advanced tools: Intermediate to experienced traders may not find Wealthsimple Trade ideal because it currently lacks advanced trading tools including research and analysis tools, advanced order types etc
Who is Wealthsimple Trade Best For?
Going by the above pros and cons, it is safe to say that Wealthsimple Trade is best for:
- Beginner and low net worth DIY investors looking for a commission-free trading platform
- Investors looking for fractional shares and crypto trading
Learn more: Wealthsimple Trade Review
What is Questrade?
Questrade is a Toronto-based online discount brokerage and wealth management company founded in 1999.
As one of the popular and leading online brokerages in Canada, Questrade currently has $30 billion in assets under management. Annually, over 250,000 accounts are opened on the brokerage.
Questrade distinguishes itself in the industry by offering a low-cost trading platform with robust assets and investment accounts. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, GICs, mutual funds, bonds, CFDs, FX, IPOs, precious metals, and international equities on Questrade.
Its eligible investment accounts include:
- Taxable accounts
The interesting part is, buying ETFs on Questrade is commission-free. However, the brokerage charges 1cent per share on ETF sales, with a minimum of $4.95 and maximum of $9.95. The same fee applies when buying and selling stocks on Questrade.
With advanced trading tools, Questrade is accessible to both beginners, intermediate and seasoned self-directed investors in Canada.
Pros of Questrade
- Low fees: Questrade is one of the lowest cost online brokerages in Canada. In addition to free ETF buying, it has no monthly fees, annual TFSA and RRSP account fees, inactivity fees and more.
- Multiple assets and accounts: Questrade could be your one-stop-shop for all your self-directed needs as it supports multiple securities and investment accounts.
- Solid tools: Besides charts, practice accounts, real-time free snap quotes, and research tools, Questrade offers an automatic rebalancing tool (through Passiv).
- Cash bonus: You will also get a $50 trade rebate when you sign-up on Questrade and make the minimum investment of $1000 on your Questrade account.
Cons of Questrade
- High minimum investment: Questrade’s $1,000 minimum investment makes it less accessible to self-directed investors who want to start with small amounts.
Who is Questrade Best For?
Questrade is best for:
- Self-directed investors looking for a low-cost trading platform
- Experienced investor that want access to several asset types and advanced trading and research tools.
- Investors looking for a trading platform with robust tools, assets, and investment accounts without minding the minimum balance.
Wealthsimple Trade Vs Questrade
So far, we have learned about what Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade entails. Let’s now go over their key differences to help you make an informed decision.
So, which one is the better option? Let’s take a closer look at each platform and see how they compare.
Both Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade support Canadian and US-listed stocks and ETFs.
However, Questrade also supports several other asset types including bonds, CFDs, FX, IPOs, precious metals, and more
On the other hand, you can invest in Canadian and US fractional shares through Wealthsimple Trade but you can’t do the same on Questrade.
That said, Questrade’s self-directed investing beats Wealthsimple Trade hands down if you’re only interested in a platform with wide support for different security types.
Wealthsimple Trade supports only three investment accounts at the moment – TFSA, RRSP and personal accounts.
Questrade, however, provides more choice to Canadian investors. Not only does it support TFSA, RRSP and personal accounts, it also supports RIF, RESP, LIRA and LIF. In addition, you can open joint and corporate accounts.
Commissions and Fees
There are no commissions when it comes to buying and selling stocks and ETFs on Wealthsimple Trade.
However, only ETFs buying are commission-free on Questrade. Selling ETFs and trading stocks on Questrade attract a 1cent fee per share.
While Wealthsimple Trade has optional monthly fees ranging from $0-$10 per month to access premium features, Questrade does not have any monthly fees. You get access to all its features for the same low commission per trade.
Finally, Wealthsimple Trade has a 1.5% foreign currency conversion fee on its Basic plan when you buy USD-listed stocks with the CAD cash in your account. But with the Wealthsimple Trade premium plan, the FX fee is eliminated.
There’s no minimum investment requirement on Wealthsimple Trade. You can start investing with any amount you have, even if it’s just $1.
On the other hand, you need a minimum deposit of $1,000 to start investing on Questrade. While the $1,000 requirement is still low compared to some other brokerages in Canada, it is still a drawback especially for beginners looking to start investing with smaller amounts first.
Both Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade are currently available on mobile apps and through web browsers.
While both Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade have intuitive interfaces, Questrade has more solid tools that make it accessible to both beginners, intermediate and seasoned self-directed investors.
But if you’re looking for the most user-friendly and intuitive investing platform, Wealthsimple Trade outshines Questrade.
Both Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade are safe and your investments on the platforms secure. They are both regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
Your investment in either Wealthsimple Trade or Questrade is insured by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) for up to $1 million per category.
That said, Wealthsimple Trade has security features including 256-bit SSL certificate encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA).
On the other, Questrade has the following special security features:
- 100% reimbursement on unauthorized transactions
- Security alerts
- Notification of safe trade periods
- Touch/Face ID
Finally, Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade offer a welcome bonus for their new users.
For Wealthsimple Trade, you will need to sign-up through this link and trade at least $150 to claim the $25 cash bonus.
On the other hand, you will need to sign-up for Questrade through this link and deposit the minimum investment amount of $1000 to get a $50 trade rebate.
Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade Canada Summary
The following is a summary of the above comparison of Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade Canada.
|Monthly fee||$0 for Basic plan; $10/month for Plus Plan||$0|
|Assets type||ETFs and stocks||ETFs stocks, GICs, mutual funds, bonds, CFDs, FX, IPOs, precious metals, and international equities|
|Account type||TFSA, RRSP and taxable accounts.||TFSA, RRSP, RIF, RESP, LIRA, LIF, and taxable accounts|
|Commissions||None||None on buying ETFs. 1cent per share for selling ETFs and trading stocks.|
|Foreign currency conversion fee||1.5% for Wealthsimple Basic plan||N/A|
|Trading platform||Web portal and mobile app||Web portal and mobile app|
Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade: Which to Choose?
By now, you probably have most of the information you need to choose between Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade’s self-directed investing platform.
The thing is, you can’t make the wrong choice with any of the two trading and investing platforms. However, it is important to first examine your investment needs and situation to narrow down the platform that is right for you.
As you can see from the above comparison, Wealthsimple Trade charges no commissions but it only supports ETFs and stocks.
This may not go well with you if you’re looking for a brokerage with a broad collection of assets such as bonds, FX, CFDs among others. In that case, Questrade may be your perfect option.
The same thing applies if you’re looking to invest in a brokerage with a wide range of investment accounts. Wealthsimple has only three investment accounts compared to Questrade’s seven investment accounts.
Also, Questrade may be your perfect option if you’re an intermediate or seasoned investor looking for a brokerage with solid tools and a flexible trading platform.
But if you’re like many Canadians, myself included, you should probably open an account with both Questrade and Wealthsimple. Buy and sell Canadian ETFs and shares commission-free on Wealthsimple Trade, and trade US-listed stocks and other asset types on Questrade.
Bottom line is, you really don’t have to choose between the two platforms – just go with both. And since there are no pesky account maintenance charges or inactivity fees to deal with, this option works perfectly for most investors.
Overall, the choice is yours to make as you can’t make the wrong selection with any of the two platforms that suit your needs.
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FAQs on Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade
Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade are both top online discount brokerages in Canada. This means that you can’t make the wrong choice with either of them.
However, Wealthsimple Trade is better than Questrade because of its commission-free trading on ETFs and stocks, fractional shares trading, USD account, and no minimum balance.
On the other hand, Questrade is better than Wealthsimple Trade in terms of trading tools, robust securities and investment accounts.
You can use both Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple if you want to enjoy the best of both worlds and don’t mind keeping track of your investment on multiple platforms.
Yes, you can transfer whole stocks from Wealthsimple to Questrade without any penalty. All you need is to first open a Questrade account and then ask Questrade to initiate the transfer by completing the required transfer forms. Questrade covers your transfer fee for up to $150 but Wealthsimple Trade does not charge for account transfer.
It usually takes 10 working days to complete a stock transfer from Wealthsimple to Questrade.
Verdict on Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade
Overall, both Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade are great self-directed investing platforms. They offer a variety of features and benefits, so it really comes down to your personal preference and investing needs.
If you’re looking for a platform that offers a wide range of features and options, Questrade is a good choice. But if you’re looking for a simpler platform with fewer features, Wealthsimple Trade may be a better option.
Either way, both platforms are great choices for self-directed investors in Canada. When narrowing your selection, ensure you consider the supported securities, investment accounts, commissions, fees, and minimum investment amounts and how they fit into your unique needs.
If you’re ready to start investing, use the buttons below to get a welcome bonus on both platforms.
If you need more help in choosing the perfect brokerage for you, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comment below.