Scotia iTRADE Review – Invest with Free ETFs

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 discount 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 compared what actually matters for a dividend investor which is the ability to DRIP and benefit from the discounts.

BNS - Scotia Bank

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.

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Questrade offers the cheapest trades!
The best broker for small accounts and new investors.
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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 Sortwdt_IDFeaturesScotia iTradeComments
11Stock Transaction Fee$9.99Represents 1% with a $1,000 trade. Cheapest is Questrade with just under $6 per trade.
22ETF Transaction Fee$9.99If ETFs is what you need, no fees exists with others.
43Dual Currency AccountYesA must to build a growing portfolio. US holdings play a big role in my performance.
64Synthetic DRIPYesA must have with a dividend growth investing strategy.
75DRIP DiscountYesA must for any dividend investor.
88Access To ResearchScotiabank researchGood research from Scotiabank.
910Account Minimum$50,000 across all assets at ScotiabankNot really easy for new investors.
1011AccountsNon-Registered; RRSP; TFSA; RESP; RRIF; LIF; LIRAIt's all of them. Can't ask for more.
1112Mobile AppFresh UpdateThe new update works really well.
313Real-Time QuotesYes, when you qualifyIt starts once you have over $250K in assets

Scotia iTRADE FAQ

Can I have the fees waived with Scotia iTRADE?

No, there are 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 are 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.

Accounts

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.

Transactions

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.

Performance Monitoring

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 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.

Mobile Capabilities

As it happens, I have made trades from my phone. Considering everything else we do with our phone, the mobile version of the platform is expected to work while understanding limited due to the screen size.

Please note that the banks are always working on improving the interfaces and small updates may introduce changes.

Investment Research

I like to read analysts research on different investments. I don’t necessarily based 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 the 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.

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.