DIY stock trading in Canada has been around for decades, but mobile app trading is relatively new in comparison. As many of us spend more time on our mobile devices rather than our computers, it makes sense to add trading to the list of things we do on our phones or tablets.
Apps like Robinhood and Acorns in the US brought mobile trading apps into the spotlight, and luckily for Canadian investors, there are a number of investing apps that are convenient and easy to use, safe and secure, and many of them offer features comparable to web based PC platforms.
Unlike our list of the best Canadian brokers, here we’ll try and focus on the experience each platforms offers to smartphone users. Read on to find out more about what each app offers, who it’s best for, how much it will cost you, what accounts you can trade with, and more.
Best Stock Investing Apps Compared
$6.95 - $8.75
Free buying AND selling of 100+ ETFs
$4.95 - $9.95
Free BUY of ETFs (full prices for ETF sales)
Best in Canada, Up to x40 on certain instruments
Easiest desktop and mobile app for trading
Free buying and selling of 80+ ETFs
Only TD ETFs are free, otherwise $9.95 per trade
$9.99 (first 50 trades free)
Best Stock Trading App: Qtrade
QTrade’s app is fast and, easy to use and navigate, and Qtrade also has excellent customer support, making it perfect for beginners who need some extra assistance.
The mobile app gives users access to extensive information on major North American exchanges and real time quotes for individual stocks. It also uses the latest encryption technology for enhanced security features.
The MDJ editorial team has made no secret of our love for QTrade, which is our top recommended DIY online broker in Canada. Qtrade has consistently rewarded our faith and support by innovating impressive new details and re-investing in elite customer service, plus outstanding user experience.
Qtrade also consistently offers the best sign up offers we’ve ever seen from a Canadian trading app. If you open a Qtrade account before March 1st 2023, and deposit a minimum of $5,000 before the end of the month, you get $50 free and up to $2,000 in cash back.
- Minimum Balance: $0
- Trading Fees: $6.95 – $8.75 (Free to buy and sell ETFs)
- Account Options: TFSA, RRSP, LIRA, RESP, RRIF, LIF, Margin, Non-registered
- Current Promotion: $50 Free Cash + Up To $2,000 Cash Back
- Full Review: Qtrade Review
Lowest Fees Mobile Investing App: Questrade
Questrade’s mobile app revamp in the fall of 2021 was a game changer for one of our top recommended DIY trading platforms.
Questmobile (their new and totally redesigned mobile app) features an intuitive interface, streamlined design, and biometric login. Questrade built the app with speed and ease of use in mind—and it shows!
Questrade’s stock trading app also features Learning Mode, which allows investors to access definitions, stock and ETF information, and real time snap quotes (a step up from the previous 15 minute wait).
Questrade recently lost out to Qtrade for our top recommended online trading platform. Their new online platform (redesigned to match the app) has caused more negative reactions than positive ones (it’s not our cup of tea either)—but as far as apps go we’ll be the first to admit that Questmobile is excellent.
- Minimum Balance: $0
- Trading Fees: $4.59-9.95 (ETFs free to buy)
- Account Options: TFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, RIF, LIF, Non-registered, Corporate, Trust, Margin
- Current Promotion: $50 in free trades
- Full Review: Questrade Review
Best Day Trading App: AvaTrade
Day trading can be a pretty tough game, and honestly, the odds will rarely be in your favor. However, if day trading is in fact your strategy of choice, then AvaTrade’s apps are the way to go.
With AvaTrade, you’ll be making forex and CFD trades, so, you want an app that works well. For easy on the go trades, AvaTradeGo will best meet your needs. It’s got a Google Play store rating of 4.3, including positive feedback on its usability and functionality, as well as responsive customer service.
AvaOptions is another app that users can choose from to help day traders visualize their spot and options trades using charts to assist users in making more informed trading decisions.
Finally, AvaSocial is AvaTrade’s award-winning app that allows users to learn from experts while gaining experience in the world of day trading. Users will be connected to mentors and groups where they can engage in copy trading, as well as ask questions.
With AvaTrade’s trading apps, you will be protected by AvaPrtect, as well as have access to a large library of educational tools to help you on your day trading journey.
Minimum Balance: $100
Trading Fees: Varies by volume. Forex starts at .9 pips and stocks and ETFs start at 0.13%.
Account Options: Non-registered accounts only, but also a wide range of account types, such as demo accounts, retail accounts, professional accounts, and spread betting accounts.
Current Promotion: Refer a Friend Promo; get $250 for each friend who signs up and trades with AvaTrade.
Full Review: AvaTrade Review
Best Canadian Big Bank Stock Trading App: BMO Investorline
BMO Investorline is our pick for best Canadian trading app if you want to stick to the major banks.
It’s not the cheapest option out there. However, many individuals are drawn to the convenience of keeping all of their financial and banking needs under one super-trustworthy roof.
The BMO Investorline mobile app emphasizes flexibility, simplicity, security, convenience, and comprehensive information. For our money, it delivers on these promises and gives the smooth user experience you’d expect from a world-leading brand.
Most reviews of the BMO Investorline app indicate that it is straightforward and easy to use – It’s a simple 5-second thumb tap to shift money from your BMO chequing account, to your discount brokerage account, and put it to work for you.
However, others note that it is not as detailed as the desktop platform. There are also several complaints from users experiencing technical difficulties on a semi-regular basis. And of course, the fly in the ointment is the higher trading fees relative to Qtrade or Questrade.
Minimum Balance: $0
Trading Fees: $9.95 (free to trade some ETFs)
Account Options: RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, LIF, LIRA, Non-registered, Corporate, Trust, Margin
Current Promotion: 50 free trades (up to $500 value)
Full Review: BMO Investorline Review
Best Big Bank Stock Trading App for Beginners: TD Direct Invest
TD Direct Investing’s basic stock trading app (part of the main TD app) is nothing to write home about but they’ve been making interesting moves in 2022 with their TD Easy Trade app (formerly TD GoalAssist)
While TD’s usual stock trading rates are among the highest of all the DIY brokerages, at $9.99/trade, TD Easy Trade gives users 50 free stock trades a year before those fees kick in. They also offer unlimited TD ETF trades.
That means that if you’re just starting out and want to stick to a big bank stock trading platform, TD Easy Trade gives you the chance to get used to things without incurring any fees. There aren’t any account fees either, so it gives users a nice little grace period where they pay nothing at all.
There are a couple of catches, though:
- TD Easy Trade offers RESP, RRSP, and Non-registered accounts only
- TD Easy Trade users can only trade TD ETFs or stocks on Canadian and US markets
If you want to set up any other kinds of accounts or check out any other kinds of assets, this isn’t the app for you. But if you’re just getting started and don’t mind the comparative lack of options, TD Easy Trade is worth a look (did we mention the app is free?).
- Minimum Balance: $0
- Trading Fees: 50 free stock trades (then $9.99/trade), unlimited free TD ETF trades
- Account Options: RRSP, TFSA, Non-registered
- Current Promotion: None (the 50 free trades offer is an annual feature)
- Full Review: TD Direct Investing Review
Lowest Fees for a Big Bank Stock Trading App: CIBC Investor’s Edge
Although CIBC Mobile Wealth, the mobile app for CIBC Investor’s Edge, started out clunky and unresponsive, it improved significantly after an update in late 2021.
CIBC Mobile Wealth connects users with a collection of tools that make it easy to monitor and understand your portfolio. They also have enhanced accessibility features for people who need them.
CIBC’s standout feature is relatively lower fees compared to other big bank platforms ($6.95/trade, or $5.95 for students, compared to $9.95 for most other big banks). They also have a special $4.95 price for active traders.
If you’re looking for rock bottom fees, this isn’t the app for you—but if you want to stick with a big bank and need more account or investment options than TD Easy Trade can give you, it’s worth a look. Just keep in mind that those trading fees do add up.
- Minimum Balance: $0
- Trading Fees: $6.95 ($5.95 for students)
- Account Options: TFSA, RRSP, LIRA, RESP, RIF, LIF, LIRA, Margin, Non-registered, Trust, Corporate
- Current Promotion: 100 free online equity trades and up to $3,000 cash back – expires March 1st, 2023
- Full Review: CIBC Investor’s Edge Review
Best Free Stock Trading App: Wealthsimple Trade
We can say with confidence that Wealthsimple Trade has the lowest fees of any stock trading app on this list. That’s because it offers commission-free trading for both stocks and ETFs. The pricing is, frankly, hard to beat.
That being said, when you get something for free you need to expect a trade-off. The Wealthsimple Trade app is clunky and confusing. It’s our least favourite mobile trading app by far.
However…if you’re looking for the cheapest platform, this would be it. And that’s why it’s on our list. If your priority is an easy-to-use, well-designed app, look elsewhere – but you WILL save on fees with Wealthsimple Trade. It’s just a trade-off you need to be willing to make.
Also, keep in mind that if they’re not getting their money from trading fees, they’re getting it from somewhere (usually from selling your data or trying to upsell you).
If you’re looking for a stock trading app that lets you play around with small sums without worrying about blowing your entire balance on fees that can cost up to $9.99 per trade, Wealthsimple Trade is a great choice.
Wealthsimple’s robo advisor, Wealthsimple Invest, is one of the best in Canada, and we appreciate everything Wealthsimple offers to Canadian investors. We just really don’t love the Wealthsimple Trade app or the platform in general.
- Minimum Balance: $0
- Trading Fees: $0
- Account Options: TFSA, RRSP, Non-registered personal
- Current Promotion: $50 Cash Bonus
- Full Review: Wealthsimple Trade Review
Best Canadian Stock Trading App for iPhone and Android
Our top stock trading apps have largely positive online reviews. Questmobile has a 4 star rating on the Apple store and a decent 3.3 star rating on the Google Play (users seem universally pleased with the interface, but the biometrics gave them a little trouble back when the app launched).
My significant other and I use Qtrade, which is MDJ’s top pick for 2022. I’m a dedicated Google/Android user and she belongs to the “dark side” of the Apple universe. Neither of us have ever had any issues with the Qtrade app.
Generally speaking, I don’t see much difference when I look at any of the major stock trading apps on either my wife’s phone or my own. Obviously these companies understand just how important user experience is and are continuously working to refine their product.
Ten years ago it’s possible that you might have found bugs or glitches on the Android or Apple versions of specific trading apps, but those days are thankfully gone for the most part.
Nowadays the worst you’ll usually find is that the interface isn’t perfect, the load time is slow, or the customer service is iffy – and depending on your tolerance for those kinds of issues, you’ll be able to find an app that works for you.
It helps to check reviews on the app store of your choice before you make your decision—but it’s important to keep these two things in mind:
- Be sure to check the age of the review because these apps are continually being improved.
- Keep in mind that the quality of the app is only one factor you need to consider—if a trading platform has a killer app but doesn’t give you the accounts or investment options you want, then it’s not the right choice for you.
Best Canadian Stock Trading Apps for Beginners
As mentioned in our review section, we recommend Qtrade for beginner users. Their mobile app and trading platform have excellent consumer education resources and top-notch usability. Their simplicity and versatility makes them our top choice for best stock trading app for beginners.
Frankly, most of Canada’s big banks have user-friendly apps that will work for. RBC, TD, CIBC and Scotiabank have all created discount brokerage apps that most Canadians would find fairly intuitive after a little reading on how to buy stocks in Canada. What separates BMO from that group is the combination of a wide range of account options and free ETF trading.
Of course, Qtrade still gets my personal top vote due to its edge in consumer education and cool portfolio analysis tools that provide beginner traders with some unique investment insights. If you’re just learning how to buy stocks in Canada, it can help you get everything sorted out.
The other place where Qtrade really shines when it comes to beginner investors is in its customer service (where it has consistently ranked as the best in Canada for years). Customer service is never more important than when you’re just starting to get used to online investing and using the various platforms.
Best Free Stock Trading App For Canadians
It should be noted right off the bat that there is no such thing as a completely free stock trading app!
Sure, you might not pay anything upfront for a specific investing platform app, and you might even avoid per-trade fees. However, if you aren’t paying directly, then you can be sure that you’re paying in some other way.
Usually this payment comes from selling your data to the “big fish” further upstream and/or repeated ads that try to upsell you. If you’re familiar with the various controversies in regards to the “free” Robinhood stock trading app in the USA, then you know what I’m talking about.
Long story short, there’s a reason why we recommend tried-and-true discount brokerage apps such as Qtrade, Questrade, and BMO Investorline. They charge fees – but you get what you pay for.
If you want a very limited product that is free at the point of delivery, then your best bet for a free stock trading app in Canada is Wealthsimple Trade. You can also see other options on our free stocks trading page.
While this platform allows you to trade stocks for free, it has many usability issues (that it claims to be gradually fixing) and only offers a very limited number of account types to be opened. While Wealthsimple is our pick for the best free app, overall we believe that you’re better off avoiding free apps altogether and looking for quality instead
Canada’s Best Stock Trading Apps FAQ
Canada’s Stock Trading Apps: Final Thoughts
Canada definitely does not lag behind other markets when it comes to trading apps. There are more than enough apps to satisfy every type of investor.
Each app we’ve reviewed has something unique to offer, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to safety, cost, and quality.
When we look at those key points, we can confidently say that Qtrade and Questrade are among the absolute best Canadian mobile trading apps out there. They are both extremely user friendly, are constantly updated for optimum performance, and low fees for excellent service and a wide variety of investment options.
To learn more about these platforms check out our Qtrade vs Questrade rundown so you can choose the one that is better for you. If you are more interested in day trading, then consider trying AvaTrade or going over our list of the best Canadian trading platforms instead.
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