Scotia iTRADE Review: Only Big Bank With Free ETFs

Dividend Earner

Dividend Earner

Updated on

3 min read Affiliate Disclosure

Scotia iTRADE is the discount broker platform from Scotiabank. It’s a comparable platform to all the other bank-owned discount brokers.

I used to be with Scotia iTRADE long ago. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t with Scotia iTRADE by choice since I previously was with e*trade Canada and I just stuck around after Scotiabank purchased the unit from e*trade.

It was working fine at the time but the online stock trading broker world is very competitive and Scotia iTrade wasn’t matching my needs anymore as a dividend growth investor.

I read many reviews about discount brokers and what I find interesting is that most never compare what matters for a dividend investor which is the ability to DRIP and benefit from the discounts.

TSE BNS

Scotia iTrade

The trading platform for Scotiabank; one of the most popular banks. Convenient and somewhat feature complete but with bank pricing with some free ETFs included.

Scotia iTrade 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, not the requirements of everyone else. 

Hidden Sort wdt_ID Features Scotia iTrade Comments
1 1 Stock Transaction Fee $9.99 Represents 1% with a $1,000 trade. Cheapest is Questrade with just under $6 per trade.
2 2 ETF Transaction Fee $9.99 If ETFs is what you need, no fees exists with others.
4 3 Dual Currency Account Yes 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 Yes A must for any dividend investor.
8 8 Access To Research Scotiabank research Good research from Scotiabank.
9 10 Account Minimum $50,000 across all assets at Scotiabank Not really easy for new investors.
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 Fresh Update The new update works really well.
3 13 Real-Time Quotes Yes, when you qualify It starts once you have over $250K in assets
5 14 Norbert's Gambit Yes, and Free ETF with DLR The BEST setup to exchange USD.

Scotia iTRADE FAQ

Can I have the fees waived with Scotia iTRADE?

No, there is no way you can avoid transaction fees.

However, you can avoid the maintenance fee by having a minimum of $50,000 in assets at Scotiabank.

How do I deposit money into my Scotia iTRADE accounts?

As a Scotiabank client, you can easily transfer money, otherwise you do it through a bill payment online.

You can always do a transfer of assets from another discount broker. That’s how I got started with a transfer.

How can I contact Scotia iTRADE customer support?

You can do so by phone. For anything urgent, do it over the phone.

Trading Costs

Fees do matter. It’s plain and simple but it’s relative to how much you invest.

The cheapest is Questrade with $4.95 or Wealthsimple Trade as a newcomer with limited features. The bank discount brokers compete with each other in terms of fees and once you have more than $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 you have fees of $9.99.

Investing Account Details

All account types are offered and fees are based on your total assets across all of your accounts.

The administration fee on accounts depends on the size of your holdings across Scotiabank. The minimum to avoid account maintenance is $50,000.

Moving around the interface should be easy and not a learning experience every time you want to make a transaction. I always make my trade with a limit order so you want to ensure the interface is not prone to mistakes.

In this day and age, you would expect that a discount broker can provide you with the performance of your account. It’s not clear what BMO InvestorLine has to offer here. Would love to hear what the users have to say.

I 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 priority of a discount broker is to properly report on income tax.

Investment Research

I like to read analysts’ research on different investments. I don’t necessarily base my decision on the research but analysts can highlight something that I may have missed.

For that reason, I like to have a discount broker that provides me with good research and from my experience so far, as a DIY investor, Scotia iTRADE has the most useful research.

Their research is theirs and unique. It’s well-presented and easy to understand.

Customer Service

You can reach the Scotia iTRADE customer support by email or phone. If you do try to execute Norbert’s Gambit, you will need to know how journalling works.

You can also request to be contacted or call. Phone support is available 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday.