Investing, Stock Market

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: A Detailed Comparison 2023

The similarities between Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade often make people confused when choosing between the two platforms. 

That shouldn’t be so because the two platforms have notable differences across almost every part of their profiles.

By reading this Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade comparison to the end, you will find it easier to choose between the two popular self-directed brokerages in Canada.

Let’s start with an overview of each of the brokerages.

Questrade Wealthsimple
Photo credit: Anna Nekrashevich

Overview of Questrade

Questrade is a digital brokerage that allows Canadians to take full control of their investment online.

Founded in 1999, Questrade boasts of having $30+ billion in assets with 250,000+ accounts opened with it annually. 

Note that Questrade has both managed investing and self-directed brokerage. For the sake of this comparison, we shall focus on the self-directed brokerage only.

One thing that sets Questrade’s self-directed brokerage apart is the robust collection of securities, investment accounts and trading and research tools.

With Questrade, you can trade ETFs, Stocks, IPOs, FX, CFDs, bonds, precious metals, mutual funds and GICs. 

You can invest in these securities using a TFSA, RRSP, RIF, RESP, LIRA, LIF or a registered account.

Questrade waives commission on buying ETFs but charges 1 cent/share when selling ETFs and trading other securities.

The commission ranges from a $4.95 minimum to a $9.95 maximum. 

Key Benefits of Questrade

  • Lower fees: Questrade waives commissions on buying ETFs and also doesn’t charge monthly fees or account inactivity fees like other brokerages.
  • Multiple investment accounts: Questrade supports multiple investment accounts including taxable and registered accounts. It is one of the few platforms that support self-directed trading with an RESP account. 
  • Multiple securities: You can trade and invest in a wide range of securities on Questrade. 
  • Robust tools: Questrade gives you access to demo accounts, charts, real-time snap quotes and a lot of trading and research tools. There is also an auto-rebalancing tool available to all users.
  • Welcome bonus: When you sign-up for Questrade with a promotional code, you will get a $50 cash bonus after trading your first $1,000.

The major drawback of Questrade is that it requires a minimum balance of $1,000 before you can start investing.  

This requirement could be a stumbling block for beginner investors that want to test the waters with a small amount of money. 

READ MORE: Questrade Review

Overview of Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade is arguably the most popular commission-free platform in Canada. 

It is often rated as among the best platforms for self-directed investing in stocks, ETFs, fractional shares and cryptocurrencies. 

The Wealthsimple Trade platform was launched in 2019 to provide commission-free trading services to Canadian investors. It was the first platform to do such in Canada.

Between 2019 and today, Wealthsimple Trade has grown its customer base to over 2 million with over $20 billion in assets under management. 

Notably, Wealthsimple Trade is one of the few online brokerages in Canada that supports commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs, and cryptos.

One other unique feature of Wealthsimple Trade is that it supports the trading of fractional shares and provides access to a USD account that eliminates FX fees on trading US-listed securities. 

Key Benefits of Wealthsimple Trade

  • No minimum balance: The platform allows you to start trading with any amount, eliminating pressure.
  • Zero-fee trading: You are not charged any commission for buying or selling stocks and ETFs on the platform.
  • Crypto trading: You can trade over 50 cryptocurrencies on the platform without commission.
  • Access to fractional shares: It was the first platform to offer access to fractional shares trading in Canada.
  • No FX fee: By offering access to a USD account on its premium plan, Wealthsimple Trade eliminates currency conversion fees on your US trade. 
  • Welcome bonus: You will get $50 when you open a Wealthsimple Trade account and trade at least $150.

The major drawback of Wealthsimple Trade is the limited securities and trading tools available on the platform.

If you are looking to invest in mutual funds, IPOs, GICs, options, bonds and precious metals, then Wealthsimple Trade is not for you. 

READ MORE: Wealthsimple Trade Review 

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: In-Depth Comparison

ProfileQuestradeWealthsimple Trade
Supported account typesPersonal account, RESP, RRSP, TFSA, RIF, LIF and LIRAPersonal account, TFSA and RRSP
Available securitiesStocks, ETFs, GICs, Bonds, Mutual funds, IPOs, Precious metals, CFDs and Foreign equitiesStocks, ETFs and Crypto
Minimum investment$1,000None
Trading toolsAdvanced Basic
Commissions0% when buying ETFs. 1 cent/share when selling ETFs or trading other assets0%
Monthly Fee$0$0 for the basic plan. $10 per month for the premium plan
FX conversion fee1.45%1.5% on the basic plan. None on the premium plan
Web and Mobile appYesYes

Here we shall take a side-by-side comparison of the key differences between Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade.

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Investing Securities

You can trade Canadian and US-listed stocks and ETFs on both Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade. 

However, you can only trade CFDs, GICs, IPOs, FX, precious metals, bonds and mutual funds on Questrade.

On the other hand, you can trade fractional shares and cryptocurrencies on Wealthsimple Trade which is impossible on Questrade

Winner: Questrade

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Account Types

Questrade supports multiple registered account types including TFSA, RESP, RRSP, RIF, LIF and LIRA. 

You can also trade through a non-registered personal account on Questrade including cash, corporate cash and joint accounts.

Wealthsimple Trade, on the other hand, supports only two registered account types and one taxable personal account. That’s cash, RRSP and TFSA accounts. 

Winner: Questrade

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Minimum Balance

Wealthsimple Trade does not have a minimum investment balance requirement. However, Questrade requires a minimum investment of $1,000. 

The minimum investment balance may not be a problem if you’re looking to start investing with a large amount at a time.

Winner: Wealthsimple Trade  

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Commissions & Fees

Questrade waives commissions on ETF purchases but applies a 1 cent/share commission on selling ETFs and trading other assets. 

On the other hand, Wealthsimple Trade allows you to unlimitedly purchase and sell stocks and ETFs without commission. 

Questrade charges a low commission on each trade while giving each user full access to all the features on its platform. 

While Questrade doesn’t charge monthly fees, Wealthsimple Trade has a freemium schedule. The free plan of Wealthsimple Trade allows you to trade commission-free with a 1.5% FX fee. 

The Wealthsimple Trade FX fee is 5 points ahead of the Questrade FX fee of 1.45%.

However, you can subscribe to the Wealthsimple premium plan to get a USD account that eliminates FX fees. This will cost you $10 per month.

If you trade US stocks frequently, the Wealthsimple premium plan might be worth subscribing to.

Winner: Wealthsimple Trade 

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Trading Platform & Tools

You can access both Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade through their respective websites or mobile apps.

While Wealthsimple Trade offers the basic tools needed for self-directed trading, Questrade offers advanced tools. 

The robust set of trading and research tools available at Questrade makes the platform suitable for beginners and expert investors. 

Winner: Questrade for tools and Wealthsimple Trade for a user-friendly platform

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Safety

Both Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Assets on both platforms are insured up to $1 million per investor account by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

As per safety, both platforms use advanced encryption to protect your data from fraudsters.

However, Questrade takes a step further to provide 100% reimbursement on any unauthorized transaction discovered on your account.

Winner: Questrade

Over to You

Both Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade are good platforms for self-directed trading in Canada.

If your trading is limited to stocks, ETFs, fractional shares and cryptos, you may find Wealthsimple Trade more suitable due to its commission-free offer. 

But if you’re concerned about advanced tools, multiple investment accounts and securities, Questrade may be worthwhile.

Overall, you can’t go wrong choosing any of these two great platforms so long as you consider your investment needs and situation.

If you wish, you can sign up on both platforms to tap into their competitive benefits at once.

The final choice is yours to make!

Questrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: FAQs

Is Questrade better than Wealthsimple?

Both platforms are among the best Canadian self-directed brokerages. However, Questrade outshines Wealthsimple by supporting multiple investment accounts and securities. 

On the other hand, Wealthsimple outshines Questrade by supporting commission-free trading, fractional shares trading and no minimum investment. 

Can I use both Questrade and Wealthsimple?

Absolutely! You can have an account on both platforms at the same time without any penalty.  

How does Wealthsimple make money without fees?

It’s worth wondering how Wealthsimple makes money considering that it doesn’t charge commissions on trading.

To sustain itself in business, Wealthsimple makes money by charging currency exchange fees on its basic plan and management fees on its managed platform (Wealthsimple Invest).

What fees do Questrade charge?

While Questrade waives commissions on buying ETFs on its self-directed brokerage, it charges the following fees:

  • Stocks trading and ETF selling: 1 cent per share 
  • Options trading: $9.95 + $1 per contract
  • Mutual funds trading: $9.95 per trade
  • Precious metals trading; $19.95 per trade

Click here to learn more about the Questrade self-directed fees.
Note that Questrade has a different fee schedule on its managed platform called Questwealth Portfolios. Learn about the Questwealth fees here.

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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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