Before I dive into the Questrade review, let me provide a brief background of who I am … I’ve been an avid stock and ETF investor for the last many years (over 25 to be exact), especially once I sold my company.
In the past, and when I was actively running my small business, I had a fairly straight forward investment philosophy where I divided my assets into three equal buckets: equities, cash, and real estate, however, once I sold my business, my asset allocation needed to change quite significantly.
Incidentally, you can download a free copy of my book, The Kickass Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing, Three Simple Steps to Create Massive Wealth with Your Business’s Profits.As a result of the business sale, starting in 2017, I became fairly active in creating a new asset allocation model.
I’ve worked with a few different investment advisors over the past many years, however, as I became better educated in finances and investing, I became more comfortable with investing on my own rather than having an advisor do the trades and asset allocation for me.
My normal go-to platform for the last 20-years has been one of the large Canadian bank online brokers, however, I’ve grown somewhat frustrated with the fairly restricted list of GICs available through their platform. That alone wasn’t enough to prompt me to look for an alternate online discount broker.
What I have been most frustrated with is how difficult my current bank makes it for me to buy gold, silver, and international equities, and that’s where my hunt for a new solution began.
The markets have been particularly volatile for a better part of this year, and considering the uncertainty with the economy, precious metals, in particular gold and silver, act as an excellent hedge against inflation.
And that brought me to Questrade.
Questrade has partnered with Sprott Money, and through them, I am able to own gold and silver in a regular self-directed trading account (non-registered), and a registered account (TFSA, RRSP, RESP). The catch with Questrade and Sprott is that although I own the metals, they are held by Sprott, and they are actually stored in a separate account under my name.
And while I do realize I can buy a standard gold ETF, and I do own that as well, I wanted to own the physical precious metal without having to take delivery of the metal itself.
Next, I wanted to buy international stocks in foreign markets in foreign currencies, (not just in USD) and Questrade allows me to do that as well. Through my Questrade account, I can buy stocks in up to 15 different worldwide markets including Honk Kong, London, Australia, and many more, and of course, you can purchase USD as well.
And that’s what led me to Questrade.
The lack of GIC, precious metals, and international equities options.
Before I get into how to sign up for an account, I wanted to provide a quick backstory on Questrade (and if you want to open an account with Questrade, you can use the following Questrade Promo Code – click here).
Let’s dive into the Questrade review.
Questrade – Who, What, How Much …
I want to get a few of the common questions out of the way first:
Who is Questrade? What is Questrade?
Questrade was started in Canada in 1999 by Edward Kholodenko and his partners. Their head office is based in Toronto, and their goal was to offer a low-cost alternative for the DIY investor and Canadian investors.
At present, Questrade Canada has over $9 billion in AUM (assets under management), and they’re signing up over 52,000 new accounts per year in Canada. Needless to say, they’re not a small player. Questrade offers the following – stocks (shares), mutual funds, options, ETFs, multiple currencies, precious metals with trading both on desktop and through their mobile app with real-time market data and trading.
What Products Does Questrade Sell?
Questrade sells all of the products that you would normally be able to buy, sell, and trade at one of the large Canadian bank online brokerage platforms – it’s designed for Canadian investors.
What’s different about the Questrade trading platform (other than their low fees) is their value add including Morningstar research tools, ease of use of their platform, market data, and the lower per-trade costs for each transaction.
Questrade sells the traditional stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, international equities, and its pricing is quite competitive.
For example, most of the larger online brokerages charge $9.95 to buy an ETF, whereas with Questrade, it is free. Same with stocks … most online brokerages charge $9.95 per trade, and Questrade charges 1 cent per share with a minimum fee of $4.95 (max $9.95 per transaction).
While Questrade isn’t the cheapest in the market, they offer the breadth of product selection, are large enough that they’re going to be around tomorrow, and they have many extra tools not found by the larger brokerages.
Questrade sells on cost, but, what I’ve found is that they also do extremely well with their platform. As a result, I’m going to gradually move more of my trading and accounts over to Questrade over the coming year.
Is Questrade Good for Beginners?
If you’re a beginner investor, and you’re not wanting to spend more than a few minutes on your investing journey, then ABSOLUTELY, Questrade is the right place to start, especially since they have their Robo-advisor tool – Questwealth (see review on Questwealth below). If you’re not wanting to use Questwealth, and you want to buy your own stocks (shares), bonds, and ETFs, then you can use the Questrade research tools like Morningstar to help you in your investing journey.
I use and read Seeking Alpha extensively for my stock research as well, and now use Questrade to place my trades.
Questrade is probably one of the best online brokerages in Canada.
Can You Make Money on Questrade?
The short answer is yes, you can make money on Questrade. If you don’t know what you’re doing though, you can also lose a lot of money on Questrade. I have many investments where I have done extremely well. For example, I bought Amazon stock in 1999 and never sold it. I also bought Apple in 2012, Netflix in 2014, Shopify in 2017, and still own those stocks. I’ve also lost a lot of money on Questrade, for example, I bought a short position on the S&P in the spring of 2020, my timing was off, and I lost a lot of money.
Questrade Promo Code
Questrade has a promotion – if you purchase through this link, you will get $10,000 managed for free, or $50 in trade commissions rebated when you open your first account. This is part of the Questrade referral code.
Is Questrade Safe & Is Questrade Legitimate?
Questrade protects your account with up to $10 million in private insurance. Not only that, but, they’re members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), and IIROC (the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada), so Questrade needs to meet Canadian regulatory requirements. If they fail to do so, then they could lose their CIPF and IRROC standings. Having said that, it is still possible to lose money through Questrade with bad trades, and for that, there’s no protection. If you buy $10,000 of stock ABC at $100 per share, and the stock value declines to $50 per share in the future, then you’ve lost $5,000 (on paper and until you’ve sold). So you’re protected in the event that Questrade goes out of business, but, not for bad trades or bad investment decisions.
Next, Questrade has security features on their account as follows:
Digicert – it will advise when it’s safe to go ahead with your transaction
Last Login – will alert you when there’s suspicious activity in your account
Touch and Face ID – you can enable your account for touch and face ID authentication (should you choose to enable this)
PIN access – will allow you to have a preassigned PIN that you need to enter when you chat or call
What is Questrade IQ Edge?
Questrade IQ Edge is a free application offered by Questrade that you download to your desktop. It is available for active and pro traders. Once you do, you can interact with a large amount of industry, stock, and economic data to allow you to essentially view data, and practice trades. You can get more information on Questrade IQ Edge here.
IQ Edge is perfect for the active traders, the regular user, or intraday trader to play with the trading platform and view live streaming data, and review Questrade trades (including precious metals) before you go live with them. Questrade provides IQ Edge for free (no fee to access or per trade) to Canadian investors.
The IQ Edge has some help functions inside the desktop application along with some training and how the streaming data works. You can see a screenshot of the IQ Edge desktop above (if you look carefully you will see some ETFs and mutual funds listed).
How Can you Access Your Questrade Online?
Questrade has an mobile app that’s available for iPhone and Android mobile phones, and they also have full desktop access.
The Questrade Robo-Advisor – Questwealth
So as not to be outdone by the myriad of options in the Robo-advisor space, Questrade also has a solution they call Questwealth.
Questwealth provides active management – meaning, they design the portfolio based on your investment criteria, and automatically adjust based on your risk profile. So, for example, if you’re a senior living on a fixed income, you can choose to invest with 90% fixed income, and 10% equities and the Questwealth portfolio will automatically make the portfolio adjustments as the market moves up and down.
The portfolio is automatically rebalanced as market conditions change.
When up sign up for the Questwealth service, the system asks a number of questions, in particular, your propensity for risk, and your investment time horizon. For example, someone with a 15 plus year investment time horizon is going to have a very different portfolio construct then someone with a one-year investment time horizon who need the cash to buy a home.
With Questwealth, it’s very easy to switch the investment mix as your circumstances change.
Questrade Customer Service:
Fortunately, I haven’t needed Questrade customer service more than a few times, but, when I have called them, my hold time was fairly insignificant. Questrade offers support through chat, email, and by phone. The chat feature is available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST. In addition, Questrade won the DALBAR Seal of Service Excellence for the second year in 2019.
Questrade Fees & The Questrade Account Fees – How Much Does it Cost to Trade on Questrade?
As a DIY investor, Questrade is the premium online brokerage, and although Questrade doesn’t charge an annual fee, if your account remains inactive (an inactivity fee) for a quarter, they do charge a $24.95 account fee. All you need to do per quarter is make one trade, a single purchase, OR, have a balance of at least $5,000 in your combined accounts.
As a point of comparison, here are the fees from some competing online brokerages:
- RBC – $9.95/trade, and $9.95/ETF trade
- Scotia iTrade = $24.99/trade, and $24.99/ETF trade
- TD Direct = $9.99/trade, and $9.99/ETF trade
There are two options to choose from in regards to fees when making a stock or ETF purchase:
Fixed Questrade Pricing – low-fee – this is ideal for high volume shares and options trading
- Stocks = $4.95/trade
- Option = $4.95 + $0.75/contract
- ETFs – buying is free, selling is $4.95 per trade
- ** note – you need to make a trade inside each quarter to avoid the inactivity fee
Variable Questrade Pricing – This is ideal if you’re buying a few shares of a higher price security
- Stocks = $0.01/share
- Options = $6.95 + $0.75/contract
- ETFs – buy for free, sell for $0.01/share
- ** note – you need to make a trade inside each quarter to avoid the inactivity fee
Let’s Take a Look at the Questrade Brokerage Screen
Here’s a look at the inside of what the Questrade screen looks like. What I have provided below is a snapshot of a stock watch list where you can see the current prices of the shares.
And here’s a snapshot of what the investment returns page looks like in a bar form – as you can see, it’s quite easy to assess the performance of your portfolio.
What Research Tools Are Offered by Questrade?
You’re Ready to Sign Up to Questrade Brokerage
Getting Started with Questrade – Your Step by Step to Opening an Account with Questrade
Step 1 – Open Your Account – Questrade Promo Code
If you’re ready to open an account with Questrade, I’m going to walk you through, step by step, the process to get started, signed up, and then trading. It’s still quite fresh for me because I recently signed up myself (for the reasons I cited above), and if you use the link as found below, you will get $10,000 managed for free, or $50 in trade commissions rebated when you open your first account.
When you land on the page, you click on the OPEN ACCOUNT icon (that will allow you to open an account with Questrade). From there, you’re going to choose which accounts you want to open – margin, non-registered accounts, TFSA (tax-free savings account), RRSP (registered retirement savings account), forex, and Questwealth. And don’t worry, should you not choose the right one, you can always make the adjustment once the account has been open.
You will notice at the bottom right-hand corner of the image below that the $50 in trade commissions, or $10,000 managed free is included with the account sign-up.
Step 2 – Create your User ID
and then you will enter a your personal details.
and then you continue with entering the security questions, and responses.
Step 3- Fill Out Your Personal Information and Questionnaire
Once your user ID has been created, it’s now time to build your Questrade personal profile, then that includes your personal, employment, financial, and citizenship information. You will need to provide your spouse’s information, your address, date of birth, and social insurance number (SIN).
Step 4 – Set up the Individual Accounts
Now that you’ve entered your personal information, the next step is to set up the individual accounts you will use. At this stage, you can choose from Questwealth, individual RSP, margin, registered accounts TFSA (tax-free savings account), and so on.
When you set these up, the system will ask whether you intend to trade options, and the purpose behind the account (retirement, education, personal, and so on).
You will also have the e-sign the document package
And you will need to e-sign the documents.
Fund Questrade – Minimum $1,000 Required
In order to officially create your account, and get this going so you can trade, you will need to fund the account with a minimum cash deposit of $1,000. There are a few ways to fund Questrade – you can fund through online banking, Interac online, you can transfer funds to Questrade, or you can do a pre-authorized deposit.
- There are a number of financial institutions that work with Questrade including, but definitely not limited to:
- Bank of Montreal
- TD Bank
- People’s Trust
- HSBC Bank Canada
Buying an ETF Through Questrade
Now that you have your account setup, you’re ready to make your first ETF purchase.
At the top-right corner of the Etrade portal, you will see a green TRADE button.
You will now need to decide on the portfolio balance – how much of each security you will purchase inside your portfolio. In other words, your asset allocation, and that is outside of the context of this article.
** Questrade charges an inactivity fee and Questrade offers no fee for their desktop and mobile app – see the description above. You need to do at least one trade in the quarter to waive the inactivity fee (you certainly don’t need to be an active trader).
Questrade Promo Code
Questrade review has a promotion – if you purchase through this link, you will get $10,000 managed for free, or $50 in trade commissions rebated when you open your first account. This is part of the Questrade referral code.
Can You Purchase TDB8150 Through Questrade
The TDB8150 is the TD premium savings account and is exclusive to TD Bank and their online brokerage Webbroker platform. You can not purchase the security TDB8150 through Questrade. Asn an FYI, you can buy and sell TDB8150 through TD Webbroker quite easily, and there is no early redemption fee with TDB8150.