Qtrade vs Wealthsimple: Battle for Canadian Investment Accounts

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qtrade vs wealthsimple2

When we’re discussing Qtrade vs Wealthsimple, the question quickly becomes: Are we talking Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Trade or Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Invest?

The two offer very different value propositions!

If we’re talking a strict battle of discount brokerages, we believe that it’s a no contest.  Qtrade is simply a much better all around brokerage than Wealthsimple Trade.  I would actually hesitate to call Wealthsimple Trade a brokerage at this point considering the severe limitations of its buggy app platform.

This article is going to stick to a comparison of discount brokerages, but if you want to learn more about our #1 rated robo advisor, see our full-length Wealthsimple Review.

Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Broker Quick Comparison

Qtrade

Wealthsimple Trade

Free ETFs

Yes

Yes

User Experience

Excellent - consistently ranking #1 in the country.
Worst in the country.  Only began rolling out a desktop platform in late 2020.  Many bugs on both desktop and app platforms.

Customer Service

Truly elite customer service. The #1 reason to go with Qtrade.
You get what you pay for… and it’s a free app.  Enough said.

Trading Fees

Very competitive, $6.95/ Trade for Investor Plus Program members / $7.75 for investors aged 18-30/ $8.75 for everyone else.
None.  All you will pay is a 1.5% currency conversion fee.

Account Fees

$25 per quarter - WAIVED IF you hold more than $25,000 in the account.
$0 - but very limited account options.

Research Tools

Very solid variety and depth.

None.

Safety

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CIPF Member

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Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Fees

Let’s get the trading fees discussion out of the way right off the top.  Wealthsimple Trade is built on one value proposition: We have the lowest fees in Canada, and it’s impossible to get lower than us because it is completely free to trade on our app.

Now, that said, so far, Wealthsimple Trade has provided Canadians with exactly as much product as they are paying for. I wish I could be more positive about the trading app (I can’t even really classify it as a discount brokerage, because it doesn’t even come close to offering the platform and resources that other discount brokerages do) because I love what Wealthsimple Invest has done for so many investors in Canada.  

Wealthsimple Invest is an excellent finished product that has been the main focus of the company from the beginning. Wealthsimple Trade on the other hand is a very limited app that is “being built to fly after it jumped off the cliff”.  Big difference there.

Qtrade is amongst the lowest fee brokers in Canada, and its no-fee ETFs are an excellent feature.  However, that elite customer service that will help you out when mistakes are made and/or questions need to be answered, doesn’t come free.  Consequently, you’ll pay $8.75 per trade in most cases.

Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Trade: Account Options

Our top contenders for Canada’s best discount brokerage all offer a wide array of account options.  If you want access to a joint account for your spouse and yourself to share – they have that.  If you want a corporate account – no sweat.

Investing with Qtrade means that you will have access accounts addressing:

  • RRSP
  • TFSA
  • Spousal RRSP
  • USD RRSPs
  • USD TFSAs
  • Joint Accounts
  • Investment Clubs
  • Estates
  • Trusts
  • Options Trading
  • LIRA
  • RESP
  • RRIF
  • LIF
  • Cash

Investing with Wealthsimple Trade means that you will only have access to:

  • Individual Accounts
  • TFSA
  • RRSP

That’s it.  No USD accounts, no spousal account, no joint accounts – Not even any RESPs!!

For me, this area of comparison alone makes Qtrade vs Wealthsimple a non-contest.

Qtrade vs Wealthsimple vs Questrade

While the Qtrade vs Wealthsimple Trade comparison isn’t much of a fight, the more relevant comparison for DIY investors looking to compare Canada’s best brokerage options would be Qtrade vs Questrade.


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.

FAQ

Final Verdict

When deciding between Qtrade or Wealthsimple your decision tree should look like this:

1) In return for $0 trading fees, am I willing to put up with only being able to buy and sell stocks on a buggy app that has limited accounts available?  If yes, then choose Wealthsimple Trade.

2) If you are willing to pay trading fees that are still lower than almost all brokerages in Canada – in return for award-winning platforms and customer service, then choose Qtrade.

3) If you want the absolute easiest way to get money from your paycheque, and into an index investment portfolio, then I would actually recommend checking out Wealthsimple Invest (not Wealthsimple Trade) and seeing if their product is worth the higher MER fees that you will pay versus a Canadian discount brokerage option.

Jordan

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