Investing, Stock Market

Qtrade Review 2023: Everything You Need to Know

Qtrade is an online discount brokerage that many Canadians prefer for its robust tools, a wide range of trading accounts and impressive customer service. 

It is one of the few companies currently offering the best online trading platform in Canada. 

The platform is used by traders and investors that prefer the self-directed investing approach to the financial markets. 

With Qtrade Direct Investing, self-directed investors get to buy and sell ETFs, options, stocks, and other securities while paying low commissions. 

In this article, I will give you a detailed Qtrade review and also compare the Qtrade Direct Investing platform to some of its competitors. 

Continue reading to find out how Qtrade can help you achieve your investing goals!

Qtrade Review

What is Qtrade?

Qtrade’s official name is Qtrade Direct Investing. However, Canadian traders and investors often shorten the name to “Qtrade”. 

It is a popular online brokerage with headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. It is a division of the Vancouver-based wealth management company, Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. 

The Qtrade Direct Investing platform has been around for quite some time and is loved by many for its robust set of trading tools, investment accounts and superb customer service. 

With Qtrade Direct Investing, you can buy more than 100 ETFs without paying a dime as a commission.

The platform also gives access to US and Canadian-listed stocks, IPOs, options, GICs, mutual funds and secondary or treasury offerings. 

Many other reliable sources have also described Qtrade as an ideal platform for beginner, intermediate and expert traders or investors that are interested in self-directed investing. 

How Does Qtrade Work?

The Qtrade Direct Investing platform allows users to buy and sell US and Canadian ETFs, stocks and other securities.

To use the Qtrade platform effectively you need to first sign up. After signing up, fund your account and follow these steps. 

  • The first step is to use the planning tools and investment calculators of Qtrade to set your trading and investing goals.
  • After that, use the research and screening tools provided by Qtrade to identify which securities best suit your risk tolerance level and investment goals.
  • Next, search through the well-researched reports and data on Qtrade to validate and analyze the investment account you desire. 
  • Go ahead and begin your trading journey after you decide upon the type of investment account that suits your needs.
  • You can track different companies and prevalent market trends by using watchlist alerts and real-time quotes offered by Qtrade. This will also help you rebalance your investment portfolio in a way that aligns with your desired result. 
  • Finally, review your trades and holdings consistently to be aware of their performance evaluation over time. Doing this will also give you great insight into the best ways to rebalance your portfolio for maximum gains. 

Through Qtrade, you can buy and sell ETFs and stocks listed on the exchanges below:

  • NASDAQ – National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
  • TSX – Toronto Stock Exchange
  • NYSE – New York Stock Exchange
  • CSE – Canadian Stock Exchange
  • Aequitas NEO Exchange
  • TSXV – TSX Venture Exchange 

Qtrade Accounts

Qtrade is currently rated among the few Canadian online brokerages offering a great selection of trading and investment accounts for self-directed market participants.

Below is a list of securities and investment accounts offered by Qtrade.

  • US and Canadian-listed ETFs and Stocks
  • GICs
  • Options
  • Secondary or Treasury offerings 
  • IPOs
  • US and Canadian bonds (both corporate and government bonds)
  • Mutual Funds

Also, on the Qtrade Direct Investing platform, you have access to the following trading accounts:

  • Registered accounts (TFSA, LIF, RIF, RESP, LIRA or LRSP, and RSP).
  • Cash
  • Margin

All of the Qtrade registered trading accounts can trade Canadian and US ETFs, stocks, GICs, options, bonds and mutual funds. 

Qtrade Plans

The Qtrade Direct Investing platform has three plans for which they charge commissions and fees from its users.

The type of Qtrade plan you choose determines exactly how much you will pay as commissions for trading securities available on the platform.

Let’s discuss each of the Qtrade plans one after the other below.

1. Qtrade Investor Plan

This plan is suitable for beginner traders and investors with lower capital. There is no minimum balance requirement to begin trading under the Investor Plan.

Below is a table showing the fees charged by Qtrade under the Investor Plan.

SecurityFee
Equities$8.75
Options$8.75 + $1.25 for each contract
ETFsThere are no commissions for over 100 select ETFs
$8.75 for other ETFs
Mutual Funds$8.75
Fixed Income and Exchange-traded debentures$1 for each $1,000 face value

If you are a self-directed investor who trades more often and you have a larger portfolio, this investor plan might not be right for you. Consider checking out the Qtrade Investor Plus Plan discussed below. 

2. Qtrade Investor Plus Plan

Qtrade offers this plan/program to users that meet the following requirement:

  • Have at least $500,000 in combined assets of all the accounts under one client ID
  • Executed a minimum of 150 commission-generating equity or options trades in the last quarter

The table below shows how much the fees Qtrade charges its users under the Investor Plus plan.

SecurityFee
Equities$6.95
Options$6.95 + $1.25 for each contract
ETFsNo commissions for 100+ select ETFs
$6.95 for other ETFs
Mutual Funds$6.95
Fixed Income and Exchange-traded debentures$1 per $1,000 face value

If you compare the fees in the above table to that of the Investor plan, you will notice a difference of $1.80 less charge on Equities, Options, Mutual Funds and other ETFs. 

3. Qtrade Young Investor Plan

Qtrade created this plan specifically for investors and traders between the ages of 18 and 30.

To qualify for the Young Investor plan/program, you need to be in the specified age bracket and have a $50 or more recurring deposit every month. 

There is no quarterly admin fee or minimum account balance required to use the Young Investor plan. 

However, a flat rate commission of $7.75 will be charged when trading ETFs, stocks and mutual funds. 

Qtrade Fees

Qtrade offers some services for free but charges administrative fees for others.

Below is a table showing both the free services and the administrative fees attached to other services on the Qtrade Direct Investing platform.

ServiceFee
Electronic funds transferElectronic Statements and ConfirmationsDRIPs (Dividend reinvestment plans)Customer SupportRIF, LIF and LRIF scheduled paymentsFREE
Administration fee$25 per quarter
(waived for users holding $25,000 and users on the Young Investor plan)
Account transfer (out)$150
Account closure$100 (only within the first year)
Formal trust accounts$100 for setup + $50 per year after the first year
Paper account statements$6 per quarter (waived for users on the Investor Plus plan)
Paper trade confirmations$2.50 per trade
U.S dollar registered accounts (TFSA, RIF, RSP)US$15 per quarter per account
Additional payments for registered RIF, LIF and LRIF$50 (scheduled payments are free)
Partial de-registration of registered account (withdrawal)$50 (includes LLP and HBP) (excludes TFSA and RESP)
Full de-registration of registered account (withdrawal)$125 (includes LLP, HBP and TFSA)
Swap fee$45 per security traded
Credit sell out$20 (plus the phone commission rate)
One-time sales$50 (excluding commission)
Foreign depository settlements (outside U.S and Canada)US$100 per transaction
Confirmation / Statement replacement$10
Dishounoured items$40
Account inquiries (investigative)$50 per hour (min. $50)
Estates$250 min.
Safekeeping$30 per certificate per month
Cheque requests$10 per cheque (fee may apply)
Certificate re-registration (includes GICs)$50 per certificate
Physical certificate or DRS (Direct Registration System) (Canada) per withdrawal or deposit$150
Physical certificate or DRS (Direct Registration System) (Canada) per rush request$300
Physical certificate or DRS (U.S.) per rush request$450

Pros and Cons of Qtrade

With all the information provided so far in this Qtrade review, some advantages and disadvantages of the platform can already be seen.

Nevertheless, let’s highlight and discuss each of the pros and cons of Qtrade below so that you can have a clear picture:

Pros

  • No minimum balance: While some Canadian online brokerages require a minimum balance to allow you to invest, Qtrade doesn’t.
  • Free trial: With Qtrade, new users get a 30-day free trial account that gives full access to all the basic features on the platform. Having access to the analysis and research tools on a trial account gives new users enough time to decide if they prefer Qtrade or not.
  • Multiple account options: Qtrade is one of the few Canadian online brokerages that offer multiple trading and investment accounts.
  • Over 100 commission-free ETFs: More than 100 select U.S and Canadian ETFs are tradable without paying commissions on Qtrade. This should save you a lot of money if you trade ETFs more than other securities. 
  • Superb Customer care service: Qtrade boasts of having received so many awards for the impressive customer care service it offers to clients.
  • Diversification: The Qtrade platform makes it easy to build a low-cost diversified ETF portfolio that cut across Europe, Latin America, and North American markets. 
  • Educational resources: There are so many expert-educational resources available to traders and investors on the Qtrade platform. These resources are good for beginners and intermediate stock traders looking to expand their knowledge.
  • Robust tools: The availability of real-time quotes, watchlist alerts, charts and many other robust trading tools make Qtrade stand out among its peers. These tools also make Qtrade suitable for beginners, intermediate and expert traders altogether. 

Cons

  • Higher trading commissions: While other Canadian online brokers offer commission-free trading of all ETFs and stocks, Qtrade only does so for 100+ select ETFs. 
  • High fees: Qtrade charges $25 as a quarterly admin fee and which makes a total of $100 annually. This is enough to begin investing and trading with a no-fee brokerage platform such as Wealthsimple Trade. 

Qtrade New Account Promo

Qtrade is currently offers up to $150 cash bonus to new members that meet the following eligiblity:

  • Register for a new Qtrade account by using the promo code BONUS150 or this referral link by June 30, 2023
  • Transfer a minimum of $1,000 into your new account and trade at least once within 60 days of account opening
  • Get your $50 signup bonus within 60 days of account opening
  • Receive your cashback of up to $2,000 around October 31, 2023

You will get the $50 sign-up bonus on up to 3 new eligible accounts you funded. That sums up to $150.

Is Qtrade Safe?

Now you may be wondering, is Qtrade safe to use? Well, it is normal to be worried since you won’t want anything to happen to your hard-earned money.

The answer to this question is yes. Qtrade is among the safest online brokers in Canada right now. There are so many reasons why I say Qtrade is safe.

First, Aviso Wealth, the parent company of Qtrade is a reputable Canadian wealth management institution with approximately $100 billion worth of assets under its administration.

Second, the platform is under the regulation of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Another reason is that all deposits on Qtrade are protected by Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) up to the tune of $1 million for each insured category.

Also, GIC deposits on Qtrade are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) for up to $100,000 per insured category. 

RELATED: VirtualWealth Review: Qtrade Guided Portfolios Review

How to Open a Qtrade Account

Opening a new Qtrade Account is easy and can be done within 15 to 20 minutes on a desktop computer or mobile phone. 

Follow the steps highlighted below and you can easily open a new Qtrade account:

  • Visit the Qtrade website here
  • Click on “Get offer now”
  • Enter your email address and full name
  • Create a strong password for your new account
  • Confirm your email
  • Login to your new Qtrade account
  • Follow the prompts to complete the registration process

Qtrade will approve your new account within 1-3 business days if you provided all the necessary information and uploaded the right documents during your registration.

You should expect to be contacted via email if Qtrade requires extra clarification or information to complete your registration process.

After your new Qtrade account has been approved, you can then proceed to fund it via bank transfer, electronic funds transfer or any other method. 

With your funded Qtrade account, you can immediately begin your trading and investing journey. 

Qtrade Direct Investing Alternatives

Qtrade is a great self-directed investment platform that offers commission-free ETFs but it is not the only option out there.

There are many other Canadian brokerages that offer self-directed investing like Qtrade. 

Some of the popular alternatives include Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade. Let’s see how Qtrade compares to these two competitors. 

FeaturesQtradeWealthsimple TradeQuestrade
Monthly FeeNone (but a $25 administrative fee is charged quarterly)None for the Basic plan

$10 for the Plus plan
None
Minimum required investmentNoneNone$1,000
SecuritiesStocks, ETFs, IPOs, Options, GICs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Secondary or Treasury offeringsStocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrenciesStocks, ETFs, Precious Metals, IPOs, FX, CFDs, GICs, Bonds, Mutual Funds, and International Equities
Trading AccountsMargin, Cash, LIF, RRIF, RESP, LIRA, RSP, and TFSAPersonal accounts, TFSA, and RRSPMargin, RESP, TFSA, LIF, LIRA, RIF, and RRSP
Commissions on ETFs and StocksCommission-free trading on 100+ select ETFs

$6.95 to $8.75 on other ETFs or Stocks
Zero commissions on trading all ETFs and StocksZero commissions on Buying ETFs
1cent per share on selling ETFs and also trading stocks
CIPF ProtectionYesYes
Trial accountYesNot AvailableYes
Trading platformMobile app and Web browserMobile app and Web browserMobile app and Web browser

The above table reveals some clear differences between Qtrade and its competitors. Wealthsimple Trade for example outshines Qtrade in terms of commissions and cryptocurrency offerings. 

Also, Questrade takes a lead over Qtrade in the number of securities offered to traders and investors.

For a better understanding, let’s get into a deeper discussion of how Qtrade compares to each of these two competitors.

Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade was established in 2019 as the first platform in Canada to offer commission-free trading of stocks and ETFs. 

Even though Qtrade is much older, the Wealthsimple Trade platform offers excellent solutions that have helped it rank among the best online brokers in Canada right now. 

While Qtrade only offers commission-free trading on more than 100 select ETFs, the Wealthsimple Trade platform charges zero commission on all ETFs and Stocks.

However, Wealthsimple Trade offers limited tradable securities compared to Qtrade. You can only trade ETFs, stocks and cryptocurrencies on Wealthsimple Trade. 

Also, Qtrade outshines Wealthsimple Trade in the amount of research and trading tools that are available to users.

Meanwhile, Wealthsimple Trade has some unique features that Qtrade and other competitors lack. These features include fractional shares trading and USD account offering. 

However, like Qtrade, the Wealthsimple Trade platform also offers CIPF deposit protection up to $ 1 million per insured category and it’s regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

RELATED: 

Qtrade vs Questrade

Questrade is another popular online brokerage in Canada that is even older than Qtrade. 

CIPF deposit protection (up to $ 1 million) is available on Questrade and the platform is regulated by the IIROC just like Qtrade and Wealthsimple Trade. 

Traders and investors on the Questrade platform pay zero commission when buying US and Canadian-listed ETFs. However, the platform charges 1 cent per share when selling ETFs or trading stocks.

One thing that is common to Questrade and Qtrade is that both platforms offer a free trial account and a robust set of trading tools. 

Although both platforms offer similar features, there is a slight difference between them.

While the Qtrade platform doesn’t have a minimum investment amount, a $1,000 minimum investment is required to start trading on the Questrade platform. 

This might be a turnoff for some investors and traders. Nonetheless, Questrade remains a great choice if the $1,000 minimum investment still fits your plan and pocket. 

LEARN MORE: Questrade Review

Conclusion on Qtrade Review

In summary, Qtrade is a great option for self-directed investors in Canada. It is ideal for all kinds of investors, from beginners to more experienced ones.

The platform offers low commissions, advanced trading tools, a user-friendly platform and great customer service with a good mobile trading experience.

If you’re looking for a brokerage that will give you the resources you need to be successful, Qtrade is worth considering. 

I hope this Qtrade review has helped help you to understand everything you need to know about the brokerage.

If it has, please share it with your friends who may also be on the lookout for a great self-directed investment platform.

FAQs on Qtrade Review

What withdrawal methods are available on Qtrade?

At the moment, you can only withdraw funds via bank transfer on the Qtrade Direct Investing platform. 

Can I buy Bitcoin or Crypto on Qtrade?

No, Qtrade does not support trading of commodities like silver, gold, oil, Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, foreign currency or Forex and securities listed on any market outside the U.S and Canada. 

Does Qtrade reimburse transfer fees?

On a new online account, Qtrade will reimburse you up to $150 of your transfer-out fees if you transfer more than $15,000 to the Qtrade Direct Investing platform from another brokerage. 

How do I close my Qtrade account?

You can do so by withdrawing all the funds in your account and then sending a mail about account closure to [email protected] 

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About John Adebisi

John Adebisi is a CPA, FCCA and MBA holder with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting & Finance. He has over a decade of experience in writing personal and business finance content for audiences across North America, Europe, the UK and Africa. In addition to his writing experience, he also has a strong background in financial research and analysis, giving him a unique perspective of the financial markets. John derives pleasure in helping people make smart financial decisions, and he believes that knowledge and experience can be valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn how to manage their money.

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