Questrade Review (A Real Investor Review)

Questrade is a serious player in the discount broker market. It’s your best alternative to the banks to date.

It is an independent discount broker not owned by any financial institution. Without the backing of a large Canadian bank, Questrade is able to compete with the like of BMO InvestorLine, TD Direct Investing, RBC Direct Investing or Scotia iTrade.

One of the biggest Questrade drawback for me has now been resolved! They have instant money transfer if you use a VISA Debit to make your transfer.

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Questrade

The best discount broker for new investors with free ETFs, and the lowest stock trades.

DISCLOSURE: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link. Using an affiliate link means that, at zero cost to you, I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link.

Questrade offers the cheapest trades!
The best broker for small accounts and new investors.
Quickly create your account online and get started with $50 in Free Trades.


Questrade Summary

It’s the BEST platform for new and small investors. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, this review is for you and you are on your way to keep more of your money.

  • Are you looking for your first discount broker?
  • Are you looking for the lowest commission to invest?
  • Are you looking to have a dual-currency account?
  • Are you looking for no account fees?
  • Are you looking to buy ETFs for free?

Don’t eliminate Questrade from your discount broker options just because you cannot walk into a branch. As it happens, none of the bank branches can actually help you with their discount broker either since it’s an online service.

Chances are, if you walk into a bank branch for discount broker questions, they will end up calling someone to help out. It comes to the same with Questrade.

In my most recent discount broker survey (see at the bottom), Questrade usage rank 6th with bank discount brokers leading the pack. It highlights how many investors seek to have everything in one place. It’s not a bad approach to managing your money but I think it’s important to understand the fees you pay annually, and more so when you are just starting as you want more money working for you.

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FAQ – Your Questrade Answers

How to fund a Questrade account

It’s as easy as paying a bill and it’s exactly how you do it. Questrade is the institution and the account you want to deposit the money is the account number. After 3-5 days, the money is in the account. Do make sure the account you are funding from matches your name.

The initial funding of a Questrade account takes the same amount of time once the account if fully approved. It’s faster than the banks to get started, or at least it was when I started with Questrade.

How to transfer CAD dollars to your Questrade account

The new way to fund your account is to use a VISA Debit. It’s a way to make an instant transafer. Most banks are now upgrading their standard bank card to be VISA debit cards. I know Tangerine and RBC supports it.

Otherwise, the process of funding your account works through online payment which is a delayed approach.

Moreover, you can make one-time transfers or set up recurring transfer to any of the accounts you have. Rather than sending from your bank or you are fetching from Questrade.

How to transfer USD dollars to your Questrade account

To transfer USD to your account in USD without any currency exchange will require you to setup the pre-authorize steps outlined above.

How to withdraw funds from Questrade

Withdrawing funds from Questrade is also easy and you have a couple of options.

  • A cheque by snail mail
  • An electronic fund transfer (EFT) which takes 3-5 business days

How are dividends paid with Questrade

Once enrolled in the DRIP program, all dividends paid from a stock or ETF are automatically re-invested. Questrade will purchase whole shares based on market price. Any remaining cash will be deposited in your account.

Trading Costs

This is probably one of the most important criteria for everyone. I like to look at the cost of a transaction to ensure I am satisfied to invest $1,000 minimum at this cost.

The basic online stock transaction will set you back between the minimum of $4.95 and maximum of $9.95. The actual price is 1 cent per share with a minimum and maximum value. You can find all the transaction costs and fees on their website. When it comes to ETFs, all transactions are free. The dream for any index investors as you really are paying very little for your portfolio.

The trading fee is less than all the bank discount brokers unless you trade over 1,000 shares at a time. As per many of the discount brokers, using a real person to execute a trade is an extra $45.

Mutual fund transactions are $9.95. If you are investing in mutual funds, such as the BMO Monthly Income Fund, make sure you understand all the fees that come with mutual fund investing.

If your investing approach includes index investing, you should have your index portfolio with Questrade. With no purchase fees on ETFs, you can do monthly contributions, benefit from the dollar-cost averaging approach and have all of your money work for you. Rebalancing a portfolio with ETFs can be minimal if you sign up with the $50 trade commission rebate.

Stocks1¢ per share – Minimum $4.95 and Maximum $9.95 per trade
ETFsFree purchases, standard commission when selling
Mutual Funds$9.95 per trade
Options$9.95 / trade + $1 / contract
Over the phoneAdd an additional $45 for trader fee

Accounts

Opening an account with Questrade is by far the easiest I have found so far. You can do it all from the comfort of your home at your computer. It supports digital signature.

When opening an account, you need to be ready to transfer $1,000 to fund your account and complete the steps. The process is also very simple, it’s done just like you would make a bill payment to your bank account. Below are the three steps Questrade expects to activate your account.

  • Step 1: Fill the form online
  • Step 2: Upload a copy of the documents needed (Driver’s license for example)
  • Step 3: Fund from your bank account

DRIP is another benefit with Questrade for those seeking income and wanting to put their earned money at work. DRIP plays a big part in my investing strategy and Questrade provides the support.

Questrade is one of the platforms that can support dual currencies and it’s a must-have if you are going to be interested in holding US companies in your portfolio.

Performance Monitoring

In this day and age, you would expect that a discount broker can provide you with the performance of your account. Profit & Loss is present in many areas of the website as well as the return percentage in the account section.

There is an investment return section which can help keep track of your return per account. I personally would not stop tracking my performance on my own using a spreadsheet.

See how I track my Rate of Return (or ROR) for accurate performance tracking. The first priority of a discount broker is to properly report on income tax, showing you the performance return is becoming mandatory along with reporting on fees spend but it’s limited.

Investment Research

At first, the market research section is overwhelming. It’s a summary of the market from multiple views and a lot of data to look at. What you may be interested in for researching stock investment is under market intelligence research.

Like many of the discount brokers, the market research data comes from third party providers. In the case of Questrade, the partnership is with Morningstar. There isn’t any recommended list unlike the Scotia iTrade research I have seen.

Customer Service

My experience is limited to email and chat support but it was efficient and useful. The chat questions I had were also answered efficiently. I have not asked complicated support questions but in general, it’s important to get the terminology right.

Questrade Referral

Discount Brokers Available

While the easiest path to selecting a discount broker is to use the one affiliated with your bank, there are options available with different feature set and cost that may best fit your needs. Be sure to review all of your options.

 
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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.