BMO Investorline vs Questrade 2021 Broker Showdown

The BMO Investorline vs Questrade 2021 comparison boils down to the best of big bank convenience and brand security versus the lowest fee discount brokerage in Canada.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to the best Canadian discount brokerages in 2021 for the full range of DIY online broker options available to Canadian residents, as well as our BMO Investorline Review and Questrade Review for a more in-depth look at each of the options presented below.

BMO Investorline vs Questrade Quick Comparison

BMO Investorline

Questrade

Free ETFs

N/A

free buying of ETFs, BUT does charge the normal trading fee to sell ETFs.

User Experience

Very good.  Perhaps second only to Qtrade in our personal rankings.
Has made big gains over the last three years.

Customer Service

Again, very solid.  Has the massive resources of a big Canadian bank to help answer the phones.
Problematic. During the recent pandemic they saw wait times of 4+ hours to answer basic queries.

Trading Fees

All of the big banks come in at some version of: $9.95 per trade, with a discount for high frequency traders.  Not ideal, but much better than 10+ years ago!
A rock bottom $4.95 for up to 500 shares, to a maximum of $9.95. Questrade clearly shines here.

Account Fees

$25 per quarter - WAIVED IF you hold more than $25,000 in the account.
$25 per quarter - WAIVED IF you hold more than $5,000 in the account, make one trade per quarter, or are younger than 25.

Research Tools

Very solid variety and depth.
Equally solid variety and depth.

Safety

CIPF Member
CIPF Member

Promo Offer

$50-$2,000 Welcome Bonus Use Code MDJCASH
$50 in free trades

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BMO Investorline vs Questrade Fees

While BMO Investorline (along with its big bank brothers at RBC Direct Investing, TD Direct Investing, CIBC Investor’s Edge, and Scotiabank iTrade) pride themselves on the full package of bells and whistles available – along with strong customer service – there is no denying that Questrade has significantly lower trading fees.

Whether it is their free ETF trades, their low-cost options trading, or their $4.95 everyday trading fees, they just can’t be topped when it comes to price (as evidenced in the quick compare chart above).

uestrade vs BMO Investorline GIC Rates

Much like the discussion in regards to safety or account options, both Questrade and BMO will allow you to invest in Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).  These are obviously very safe investments that belong in the “fixed income” part of your portfolio. 

For my money, when it comes to GICs, I’d check out our EQ Bank Review for the best GIC rates in Canada.  That said, if you want to keep life simple, most Canadian online brokers will allow you to invest in a very similar range of GICs.

Questrade vs BMO Investorline Account Options

Whether you choose Questrade or BMO Investorline, you’re going to have access to the full range of Canadian discount brokerage account options.  Simply stated, these are both mature companies who have consistently added to their product lines year after year.

While most Canadians will simply make use of the TFSA and RRSP options, both BMO Investorline and Questrade also offer a full variety of non-registered accounts, corporate accounts, spousal RRSP accounts, USD accounts, and pretty much anything else that you can think of. 

Qtrade vs BMO Investorline vs Questrade

Even though this article focuses on BMO vs Questrade showdown, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include some information on the MDJ #1 rated overall Canadian online broker. Read our full Qtrade review and our Qtrade vs Questrade comparison for more information on our favourite company.

In many ways Qtrade hits the sweet spot between the low fees of Questrade and the focus on convenience and support that BMO Investorline brings to the table.  While their trading fees aren’t quite as low at Questrade’s, they are substantially lower than those of the big Canadian bank brokerages (including Investorline).  

The main reason that we made Qtrade our #1 pick in 2021 is the strength the customer service strength that they showed during 2020.  Rob Carrick of the Globe and Mail picked up on this theme as well, as more and more Canadians want to switch to low-cost investing, but are finding the lack of customer service to be a real negative in the space.  This is where Qtrade really shines.

Questrade or BMO – Frequently Asked Questions

Final Verdict

When deciding between BMO Investorline and Questrade your decision tree should look like this:

1) Do I currently bank with BMO and want to keep my life as simple as possible?  If yes, then go with BMO Investorline.

2) Due to many years of economic stability do I trust the BMO institution more than Questrade, and will that motivate me to begin DIY investing?  If yes, then go with BMO Investorline.

3) If you answered no to the first few two questions, I’d check out our Qtrade vs Questrade article and decide on the best low-cost Canadian broker to handle my investments.

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