Qtrade Review: Innovative Portfolio Analysis

Qtrade is a leading discount brokerage competing with the big Canadian banks. It ranks among Canada’s best online brokers.

The platform offers a robust collection of investment products and accounts including stocks, MFs, options, ETFs, bonds, IPOs, and GICs, across TSX, CSE, TSXV, NYSE, NASDAQ, etc. It provides valuable insights like real-time quotes, stock screening tools, watchlists, market news, and portfolio analytics.

Qtrade is well-positioned to address the investors’ demand for more innovative products to meet their short- and long-term investment goals. It’s very simple to open an account on Qtrade for online trading.

All you need is your Social Insurance Number, a Government ID, and details of your income, assets, and net worth. You just need to create a profile, add money from your bank account and submit the application online. 

Qtrade is popular with investors given its:

  • Low trading commissions
  • User-friendly platforms
  • Excellent customer service
  • Wide range of account types
  • Powerful insights and tools
  • A wide selection of investment options
qtrade direct investing


A very innovative trading platform for seasoned investors. Slightly cheaper than then banks and with many good features.

Qtrade Summary

Here is a summary to get you started, but there is a lot more information below if you want to get into the details.

Choosing a discount broker is a personal choice and the discount broker should satisfy your requirements. 

Hidden Sort wdt_ID Features Qtrade Comments
1 1 Stock Transaction Fee $8.75 Represents 1% with a $1,000 trade. Cheapest is Questrade with just under $6 per trade.
2 2 ETF Transaction Fee $8.75 or 100 free ETFs If ETFs is what you need, check their free ETFs first
4 3 Dual Currency Account Yes, fees apply per quarter A must to build a growing portfolio. US holdings play a big role in my performance.
6 4 Synthetic DRIP Yes A must have with a dividend growth investing strategy.
7 5 DRIP Discount No A must for any dividend investor.
8 8 Access To Research - Most platforms are disappointing for research. Don't decide based on this factor.
9 10 Account Minimum $25,000 unless under 30 yo It's relatively small.
10 11 Accounts Non-Registered; RRSP; TFSA; RESP; RRIF; LIF; LIRA It's all of them. Can't ask for more.
11 12 Mobile App Available
3 13 Real-Time Quotes Yes, when you qualify It starts once you have over $250K in assets
5 14 Norbert's Gambit ? The BEST setup to exchange CAD to USD.

Qtrade FAQ

Can I have the fees waived with Qtrade?

No indications that any of the transaction fees can be waived. You can have your trading fee lowered to $6.95 if you are an active trader or you hold more than half a million but that’s still more than Questrade if fees are important to you

You can avoid the maintenance fee by having a minimum of $25,000, otherwise you have a fee of $25 per quarter.

Another innovative approach by Qtrade is to offer young investors a better price of $7.75 per trade with no account minimum.

How do I deposit money into my Qtrade?

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is the simplest way to transfer money into your Qtrade account from your banking account.

Alternatively, from your bank account or credit union, you can add money in the same way you would pay a bill.

How can I contact Qtrade customer support?

By email or phone. The details are clearly outlined on their site.

Trading Costs

The firm claims to charge the lowest commission in the industry. It charges just $8.75 for stock trades, no ECN fees, and provides 100 commission-free ETFs. 

It also has an Investor Plus program where it charges $6.95 for equity trades if the client makes 150 trades per quarter or maintains more than $500,000 in assets. Qtrade also offers a special program for young investors aged between 18-30 years at a $7.75 flat rate commission with no account minimum balance and no quarterly fee.

It also charges a 1% fee (minimum $45) on the sale or switch of all mutual funds held for less than 90 days. There are no trading commissions on buying and selling any of 100 free ETFs from a pre-made list of selected ETFs.

Qtrade provides statements and confirmations, electronic funds transfer, DRIPs, LIF, RIF, and LRIF scheduled payments, and customer support free of cost. They also offer a trial program free for 30 days, in case you want to give it a try first. However, the trial account provides view-only functionality and does not allow trading.

Investing Account Details

Qtrade provides personal, corporate, and business accounts to its clients.

The registered accounts include RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, while non-registered accounts include cash and margin accounts. Cash, margin, TFSA, and RRSP are the most popular accounts on Qtrade.

Similar to other discount brokers, the Qtrade platform gives an option of trading in Canadian or U.S. dollars and there is no minimum deposit to begin trading in a Qtrade Investor account.

Clients can place market, limit, or stop-loss orders with a minimum transaction fee of $8.95. The transaction fee of $8.95 beats all of the bank discount brokers except for CIBC Investor’s Edge but it’s still behind Questrade and Wealthsimple.

Qtrade offers detailed portfolio views to monitor and compare your performance. By far the most innovative graphical representation of a portfolio analysis. The snowflake visual is a great way to see the strength and weaknesses of a portfolio.

Additionally, the portfolio simulator is another innovation not seen anywhere else and could help many investors assess the impact of their choices ahead of making them.

Investment Research

Qtrade provides insightful pricing analytics for testing new investment ideas using valuable tools including value analyzer and technical insights.

From what I can see, their approach is different from the others in that it’s not providing the usual research from Morningstar and other data providers but it’s rather giving you new tools.

It does provide potential clients with a trial account to give the platform a test drive if you want more details.

Customer Service

Aside from their FAQ, you have to reach them by email or the usual phone Monday to Friday.

DISCLOSURE: Please note that I may have a position in one or many of the holdings listed. For a complete list of my holdings, please see my Dividend Portfolio.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog post represents my opinion and not an advice/recommendation. I am not a financial adviser, I am not qualified to give financial advice. Before you buy any stocks/funds consult with a qualified financial planner. Make your investment decisions at your own risk – see my full disclaimer for more details.