Questrade Review 2023
Our Opinion & Rating
- User Experience
- Account Opening
- For ETF Trading
- Annual Fees ($0)
- For High Volume Traders
- App Rating
- Customer Service
Questrade Review Summary
Million Dollar Journey was one of the first writers in Canada to publish a firsthand Questrade Review back in 2008. I’ve had at least one account with Questrade for over 18 years now, so it’s tough to find someone that can give more a complete Questrade Review!
Our comparison of Canada’s best online brokers shows that not only myself, but the whole MDJ editorial team still thinks that Questrade is a worthy contender on the Canadian brokerage scene.
That said, I’m not a huge fan of the changes made to their trading platform over the last year (why mess with a good thing?). And although I’m happy to see the customer service has gotten slightly better, the 2023 Surviscor numbers confirm my personal experience of still leaving something to be desired.
Check out our Questrade vs Qtrade comparison, as well as our Qtrade review for in-depth looks at the battle between these two brokerage standouts for your investment dollar.
- No Fees To Build an ETF Portfolio!
- No Inactivity Fees
- Very Low Trade Costs (ideal for building a dividend-heavy portfolio)
- $0 Annual Account Fees (if you meet the balance requirement)
- 24-Hour Paperless Account Opening
- Globe and Mail “B+” Rating
- Good Promo Offer (see below)
- Solid USD Trading Options
- FHSA account
- Better options online for those interested in doing in-depth analysis research on stocks prior to purchase
- Only 2.1/5 app rating on Google Play – reviews mentioned delay in pricing on app vs desktop
- No free stock or mutual fund purchases
- Mediocre customer service
- New trading platform still has some kinks that need to be worked out
- Only a 1.7/5 rating on the Apple App Store
Is Questrade Safe & Secure?
One of the most common questions that I have gotten in the comments below is:
The answer: Yes!
Here’s the deal. Off the top Questrade is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
This fact holds a lot of weight because these organizations hold its members to a pretty high standard as far as investor safety goes. Since the CIPF was founded in 1969, no eligible customers have suffered a loss of property. The CIPF has paid claims/expenses of roughly $43 million, net of recoveries, on the odd occasion where there has been a member insolvency.
Questrade has been around since 1999, and controls over $30 billion in assets as of 2023. On top of MoneySense and Rob Carrick giving them their stamp of approval, Questrade has won eight annual awards as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.
Finally, Questrade has created an online security guarantee. The company will 100% reimburse you for any unauthorized transactions in any of your Questrade accounts that result in a loss to you AND your account is insured for up to $10 Million in the incredibly unlikely event that Questrade goes broke (“insolvent”). This is of course on top of the latest in online security features. My guess is that if you’re promising 100% reimbursement on losses, you’re going to take security pretty seriously.
“When I first wrote this Questrade review back in 2008, there were very few Canadian online discount brokerage accounts available to Canadians who wanted to open a DIY RRSP account, TFSA, or non-registered account, and trade their own stocks and ETFs.
Over the last 15 years, many Canadian online brokers have drastically improved their offerings, but Questrade remains one of the top low-cost brokers due to their focus on low fees and outstanding account options.
May 2023 Questrade Review updated by Frugal Trader. The MDJ editorial team collectively has several accounts with Questrade and benefits from daily firsthand experience.
Questrade Fees – Focused on Dividend Investing and ETFs
While Questrade has introduced some shiny new features (and excellent marketing) the last few years, the key reason that they are one of our top choices for best low cost discount online broker in Canada is their low overall fees, and especially their low or no cost trading fees with things like commission-free ETF purchases.
It’s worth noting that Questrade has zero fees on popular accounts such as RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, and non-registered accounts.
Questrade Fees Summary
- Free ETF Purchases (there are fees on ETF sales)
- Low Commission on Trades @$4.95/ trade
- ECN Fees Capped at $5.00 / trade
- No Account Fees on RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, and Non-Registered Accounts
- $25 Quarterly Account Fees on other account types (if certain conditions are met, the fee will be waived)
If you’re new to MDJ, you might want to have a look around for more information on why we recommend dividend investing and index-investing approaches for 99%+ of investors. Basically, if you’re trying to jump into day trading, time the market, or get rich on crypto, you had better be willing to risk it all, and committed to becoming educated on what it takes to be a professional trader.
We wouldn’t recommend this course, as far too many have lost far too much with these tactics.
If, on the other hand, you plan to make relatively safe and consistent investments with a high likelihood to earn a decent return over the years, then Questrade Canada is a place to DIY your nest egg and cut your costs to the bone.
Throughout the years, experts have echoed the idea that the average investor can’t control their returns, they can (and should) control their investment costs. By controlling your costs, you are adding more to the future of your money, and that’s never a bad thing.
Questrade ETF Fees
While this is technically true, what they fail to mention is that the vast majority of our transactions will be purchases if we are building a basic “couch potato” passive index investing portfolio.
With the excellent Canadian all in one ETFs available to investors today, many Canadians would do very well to just log into their Questrade RRSP or TFSA each month and purchase that same ETF over and over again for their entire working lives.
Alternatively, if you want to really cut costs to their absolute minimum, you can buy your bond ETF, domestic market ETF, and international ETF separately, and then rebalance each month simply by adding a little more to the asset class that has the worst over the preceding month, in order to keep your overall asset allocation where you want it.
The only selling you should really have to worry about is when your portfolio gets close to the $1 Million level and can’t be re-balanced by monthly additions, or when you are ready to start selling pieces of your portfolio to fund your retirement living.
Paying $5 to take your spending money out for the year is a small price to pay when you’ve had the benefit of investing for free over the last 30+ years!
Comparing Questrade’s Fees with Competitors in 2023
Here’s how the Questrade free ETF purchasing stacks up against some of the big names in Canada.
$4.95 + ECN fees
$9.95/m + $1 per contract
$4.95 - $9.99
$9.99 + $1.25 per contract
$25 per quarter unless certain requirements are met
$0 for 40 selected ETFs; $9.99 for others
$9.99 + $1.25 per contract
$100 per year unless certain requirements are met
$9.95 + $1.25
$25 per quarter unless certain requirements are met
… How Does Questrade Compare with its #1 Competitor: Qtrade?
Yes! free buying AND selling of 100+ ETFs.
Free buying of ETFs, BUT does charge the normal trading fee to sell ETFs.
Consistently ranking #1, high availability and friendly to customers
Has made big gains over the last three years, rated just behind Qtrade by most publications
Truly elite customer service, basically, the #1 reason to go with Qtrade
Have made some improvement over the last year, but still lacking
Very competitive, $6.95/trade for Investor Plus Program members, $7.75 for investors aged 18-30, $8.75 for everyone else
A rock bottom $4.95 for up to 500 shares, to a maximum of $9.95.
ECN Fees (additional trading fees)
Charged - often small amounts for most investors
$25 per quarter - WAIVED IF you hold $25,000 in the account OR you make 2 trades per quarter or 8 in the last 12 months OR you add $100+ automatic recurring monthly contribution (our preferred option)
No inactivity fees
Free Electronic Funds Transfer. Additional fee for transferring out.
Free Electronic Fund Transfers up to $50,000 CAD and $25,000 USD. Additional fees for wire transfers and transferring out.
Research Tools and Education Materials
Has been at the top of Canadian brokerage ranking in this category for over a decade
Made excellent gains in the last few years
Mutual Fund Purchases
$150 Sign-up Bonus
$50 in Free Trades
For another low fee alternative in Canada, have a look at our Questrade vs Wealthsimple comparison. For more details on Questrade vs Qtrade view this comparison.
What Can I Invest in With Questrade?
Questrade makes it easy to hold all of your baskets in one place, from your tax-advantaged accounts to your dividend earning investments. When it comes to choosing an online broker, this is an important feature to look for if you value simplicity and convenience.
When you open a Questrade account, you’ll be able to invest in:
- International and Canadian Stocks
- International and Canadian ETFs (purchases are free!)
- Mutual Funds
- Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
- Guaranteed Investment Certificates
- Precious Metals
We’ll get into more detail about the trading fees and other information you will want to consider when planning your investment strategy below in this Questrade review.
Dividend Investing with Questrade
If you’re like many investors, and looking to build a healthy portfolio of money-generators that will spin off cash for the 50ish years of your retirement, then you probably purchase shares of your targeted dividend paying companies most months. This strategy makes a ton of sense if you’re using the Smith Maneuver or investing in a non-registered account (not an RRSP, TFSA, or RESP).
When it comes to the basic standard of buying basic shares, Questrade’s fees are quite low – although not quite as cheap as the free ETF purchases (nothing beats free).
Here’s how Questrade’s fee structure works when buying a share of a company : $4.95 (standard charge on every trade) + ECN Fees (up to a maximum of $5.00) = Overall Cost
If you’re not familiar with ECN fees, the acronym stands for Electronic Communication Networks. All you really need to know is that companies charge Questrade about $0.0035 per share when you buy a share with them.
There are ways to shrink this miniscule number even further using limit order and whole board lots – but that starts to be way too much to worry about for the average Canadian investor. Here’s a common example one might see if they are a monthly dividend investor.
Ex: I decide to target three Canadian Dividend kings with my contribution this month, so I split my $1,200 contribution equally between Bell Canada, IGM Financial, and Fortis. All traditionally loved by dividend-savvy investors. This is what my investment would likely look like for the month.
- BCE at $52 per share: 7 shares = $364
- IGM at $36 per share: 11 shares = $396
- FTS at $42 per share: 9 shares = $378
If I wanted to maximize my contribution, I could buy another share of BCE with the leftover money, but let’s just go with this for now.
Each of these trades would cost $4.95 + ECN fees of roughly (.0035 x 10 shares) $0.035, for a grand total of less than $4.96. So the total for all three trades for the month would be ($4.96 x 3 = $14.88).
Now, I realize that some people are buying more than 10 shares at a time. If you purchased $10,000 worth of Bell (BCE) stock, then you’d be buying 192 shares, and your ECN fees would be a grand total of 67 cents. Personally, it’s not really a factor I care to pay attention to.
Plus, don’t forget that with our Questrade promotional offer coupon of $50 in free trades, you can start your dividend investing journey for free!
Questrade Enhanced and Questrade Advanced
The vast majority of investors in Canada will not get much value from Questrade’s “professional trader” platforms: Questrade Enhanced and Questrade Advanced
However, If you’re an active trader, you can also gain access to one of several market data plans that Questrade offers. For a monthly fee, you can get active trader pricing, live streaming data, and other data add-ons. This is perfect for active traders. Here are your options:
- Basic (Free with all accounts): This is great for novice traders, and you’ll get free Canadian level 1 snap quotes, free U.S. level 1 snap quotes, and one-click real-time data.
- Enhanced ($19.95/month CAD): you’ll get everything that comes with Basic, plus enhanced level 1 live streaming data, live streaming for Intraday Trader, and additional data add-ons. In addition, if you spend more than $48.95 in trading commissions you’ll get an automatic $19.95 rebate.
- Advanced ($89.95/month CAD): This package is for the most active traders. You get active trader pricing unlocked, advanced Canadian level 1 and level 2 live streaming data, select U.S. level 1 live streaming data, and individual data add-ons are available. You can earn a partial rebate if you spend more than $48.95 in commissions — for this, you’ll get an automatic rebate of $19.95. If you spend more than $399.95 in trading commissions, your monthly fee is automatically rebated.
Opening a Questrade TFSA, RRSP, RESP Account
Opening your Questrade RRSP, TFSA, or RESP accounts is easier than ever before. Given how complicated this process was in the past, the Questrade team has really upped their game.
Opening your Questrade Canada account can now be done completely online, and in as little as 24 hours.
Basically you click here and our $50 questrade promotional offer code will be automatically applied. Then you simply select which accounts you would like to open. The main options available are TFSA, RRSP, Margin (non-registered), and Forex. There are also options for “more” and then a Questrade Portfolios option which is similar to a robo advisor, and which I’ll talk about a little later.
The Questrade sign up process will guide you through the following three steps:
- Create a user ID
- Build Profile
- Setup Account
You’ll need a few documents and/or snippets of info including:
- Your preferred email address (used to create your User ID)
- Your name and home address as they appear on your Government ID
- After creating your User ID, you’ll need your new Questrade login and password
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Employment information including your income, plus your income from other sources
- A Government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport (which can be uploaded via scanned document or picture)
Once you’ve completed the sign up with these documents, the final step to opening your Questrade RRSP or TFSA is to go to your normal “all-in-one” bank account or chequing account that your pay gets deposited into, and then to send your investing dollars over to your shiny new DIY Questrade account.
Once you have funded your Questrade account from your regular bank account, and you are ready to invest! You can set up seperate Questrade RRSP and TFSA accounts as recurring payees, significantly helping you save time in the future.
Technically – you can open a Questrade brokerage account without any actual money in it!
In order to actually purchase your first share of a stock or unit of an ETF though, you’ll need to have at least $1,000 in the account.
While most of our readers know that we recommend sticking to dividend-stock investing and basic index investing, Questrade offers a ton of choice when it comes to what you purchase within a TFSA or RRSP.
Questrade RRSP Account Details
Once you have set up your Questrade RRSP and have entered your deposit information into your online banking platform, it’s time to choose how to invest that money. It’s also worth noting that Questrade will transfer your current RRSP or TFSA over to their platform for FREE!
In case you haven’t brushed up on some of the specifics of RRSPs lately, the point of the Registered Retirement Savings Plan is to help you save for retirement but sheltering your investments from the tax man’s icy grasp, and allowing you postpone paying taxes when you are working (and hopefully in a high tax bracket) to when you are retired (and likely in a lower tax bracket).
You can check your last tax return to find out how much you can invest within your Questrade RRSP account. A lot of people don’t realize that RRSP room is like a fine wine – it just gets better with age! Each year the Canadian government allows you to put up to 18% of your income into your RRSP up to a maximum amount (in 2023 the RRSP contribution maximum is $30,780 for the past year).
This amount is adjusted if you contribute to a workplace pension plan. For example, if you are a teacher and make pre-tax contributions to a pension plan, you’ll get less RRSP room than other Canadians might.
If you just opened a Questrade RRSP account, and have never had other RRSP investments over the years, it’s quite possible that you have a significant amount of room that you can make use of over the next few years.
Questrade TFSA Account Details
Your new Questrade TFSA account will be the flip of the RRSP. You’ll get taxed when you put money into it, but there is no “postponement” of taxes to worry about paying on the back end when you take the money out. Just like the RRSP (and RESP for that matter), the TFSA is what’s known as a registered account, and consequently, the TFSA umbrella will prevent taxes from eroding away your investment returns over the years.
The other similarity the Questrade TFSA has with your Questrade RRSP is that it is extremely easy to open, as you simply select which accounts you want to open when you register at Questrade for the first time.
One point worth noting when it comes to your Questrade TFSA Account: It should be called a Tax-Free Investing Account. I’ve long believed that adding the “S” to the TFSA has misled about 90% of Canadians into believing a TFSA is basically just a premium version of a high-interest savings account. Of course it is so much more than that, and can be used to shelter the same wide variety of investments as the Questrade RRSP account does.
You can contribute $6,000 per year to your TFSA and the federal government has stated that the plan is to increase that amount along with inflation over the coming years. Just like it’s RRSP cousin, TFSA contribution room does not disappear if it is not used in a given year.
Many people aren’t aware that this accumulation of TFSA room means that if you were 18-year-old (or older) as of 2009, then you now have $81,500 of investment space available in your TFSA. That will get increased to $88,000 in 2023.
Holding USD In My Questrade RRSP and TFSA
Investing in USD can save you a ton of money in currency conversion fees when you think about how much it costs to convert dividend income and new stock purchases back and forth over your investing lifetime. Questrade RRSPs and TFSAs to allow you hold both USD and CAD in your portfolio – and they do this for no added fees. (Each account is still $0.)
Questrade was the first online discount brokerage to allow investors to hold USD in a registered account.
Questrade RESP and Family RESP Accounts
If you have children and you think they might one day attend post-secondary schooling of ANY KIND (it does NOT have to be university) then you are throwing away free money by not opening a Questrade RESP account. Given how quickly post-secondary education costs are rising (2.5x-3x the rate of general inflation) can you afford to throw away free money?
Here’s how to get $10,000 in free money from our government.
- Setup a FREE Questrade RESP account and deposit $208.34 into it every month.
- Collect the free $500 Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) each year, up to a lifetime limit of $7,200.
- Invest the money in a conservative all-in-one ETF or even just a basic Canadian bond ETF.
- The interest/investment return you will make on your own money that you put it is nice – but you know what’s nicer? The $2,500-$3,000 return that you make on someone else’s money! (Especially when that someone else is the government!)
If your income is below $42,000 then there are some extra incentives for you.
The CESG cash, plus your investment returns within the Questrade RESP account will be taxed as income in the hands of the student. This means that it’s almost always tax-free because of the large amount of tax credits and deductions that students enjoy. Your original cash can be withdrawn tax-free as you already paid tax on it before investing it.
If you have more than one child, you can combine their contribution room into one big easy-to-manage Questrade Family RESP account (which is also free to open with no annual fees). The advantage to these accounts is that you can handle the withdrawals amongst your children in whatever way is convenient for you.
What If My Child Doesn’t Go to University? Do I Lose My Questrade RESP Money?
Here are the main points to think about if you’re worried about “wasting” RESP contributions:
1) The Questrade RESP account can be active for up to 35 years and you can use the RESP money for a HUGE variety of post-secondary studies. Everything from massage therapy to airplane mechanic courses can be covered. This combination means that it’s VERY likely your child will be able to use the RESP help at some point.
2) If you haven’t maxed out the CESG or contribution room for Child 2, you can simply take Child 1’s RESP money and use it for Child 2 within your Questrade Family RESP account.
3) If you have no children that ever attend any sort of post-secondary education, you can roll $50,000 into your RRSP (assuming you have the contribution room) and all you would lose is the free CESG money, and the investment earnings on the government’s cash.
4) You can withdraw the money you originally contributed tax-free without any penalties.
5) If you withdraw the investment returns that you made on your money, you will be taxed as if you earned the money as income, plus an additional 20% penalty. (This is a very unlikely scenario.)
Questrade Margin and Non-Registered Account
First of all – kudos to you for maxing out your Questrade RRSP and TFSA accounts! If you haven’t done that yet, you can probably keep life simple and skip this part of our Questrade review.
Once you have contributed the maximum amount to your RRSP and TFSA accounts, and (if you’ve got children) the Questrade Family RESP is on autopilot, your next step becomes a good news – bad news situation.
The good news is that you are in great financial shape, and there are options available for continued investing.
The bad news is that there is no more space under your tax-sheltered registered account umbrella. From here on out, you will be investing in the rain, and the tax man will get his chunk.
So, while there are semi-exotic accounts one could open if they want to exchange foreign currency or invest within a corporation, the option most people will opt for is a Questrade Margin Account.
The Questrade Margin Account is a fancy name for a basic non-registered account, with the added feature of being able to borrow money from Questrade and invest that money alongside your own. When you borrow money to invest it, this is called “investing on the margin”.
Now, I don’t recommend investing on the margin unless you really really know what you’re doing, and even then it often isn’t a good idea. The main takeaway from this though, should be that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BORROW MONEY to invest within a Questrade Margin Account. Most everyday investors in Canada will be best served by using this account to invest in Canadian-dividend payers (my Smith Maneuver account for example) or other Canada-based ETFs.
You can however, put almost any kind of investment in a Questrade Margin account. Here’s a few more quick Questrade review facts about the non-registered option:
- You can invest in short-selling (watch the Big Short to have Margot Robbie in a bathtub telling you what this means)
- There are no contribution limits to worry about like there are with the Questrade RRSP, TFSA, and RESP accounts.
- Investment returns inside an unregistered account are still treated much nicer than income you make from a job. Capital gains and dividends are eligible for special tax treatment in Canada.
- There are no taxes to worry about upon withdrawal like there are in a RRSP.
- You can engage in complex options trading (not everyone’s thing).
- Questrade Margin accounts are governed by margin falls. This part is important: If you borrow money from Questrade, and the investment drops below the margin requirement, Questrade will essentially demand that you pay them their money back. If you don’t immediately pay them back, Questrade can sell your investments and take the money in lieu of your payment.
Overall, using the Questrade Margin Account as a basic non-registered account is a great option. Getting into the more exotic options like leveraged options trading is best left to the more experienced.
Questrade’s FHSA Account
Questrade was the first of Canada’s online brokers to come out of the gate with a First Home Savings Account (FHSA). You can read all about the FHSA and how to get the most out of it (as well as what investments we recommend) by checking out our ultimate guide to Canada’s FHSA.
There is no fee to open the account, and investors have a wide variety of investment options to choose from. Remember that to open a TFSA, you need to be a Canadian resident and not have owned a home for at least the past four calendar years.
By being the first broker to offer clients this supercharged path to a down payment, Questrade was able to offer its clients the ability to immediately start saving. All initial indications are that accounts were running smoothly. The ball is definitely now in the court of the rest of Canada’s brokerages to keep pace.
Questrade’s Trading Platforms – A Peek Inside
Questrade, like many other online brokers that have been around for a while, has done its best in trying to stay fresh and relevant in terms of providing a range of trading platforms to appeal to a wide range of investors.
This is the platform most everyday investors will use. It’s simple interface allows users to view their holdings and earnings all in one spot, and trade with the click of a button.
It’s a secure, web-based platform, so you’ll be able to access it easily from anywhere without worrying about safety.
If you want access to more advanced tools, you can set up alerts, as well as access reports and data to help you make informed purchases.
We’ve got to hand it to Questrade for their effort in trying to create a user friendly app that actually works, but it looks like they are still on their quest to achieve this goal.
With a 2.1 star rating on the Google Play store, and a ton of negative reviews, it’s clear that while they are working on it, it’s not quite there yet. While they have tried to make it simple to use, they have taken away some of the key features liked by users. Others complain that the user experience isn’t great.
It does offer some interesting features like real-time info, an overview chart and customizable alerts. It also has a learning mode for those looking to learn the ropes before putting up the cash.
While that might not be enough for some investors, the app can be used for your basic trading needs, but likely not more than that can be done well.
For active traders, Questrade Edge offers a range of tools to help users maximize their results.
Some of the tools included are charting to help users analyze and map data, customizable alerts and workspace, advanced trading orders and a downloadable desktop version. One thing that Edge users will get that others won’t is access to research powered by TipRanks.
If FOREX and CDFs are in your investment wheelhouse, Questrade Global makes it easy to trade currencies and commodities on international markets.
Not only will you be able to trade directly on the platform, but you will also have access to live charting, economic releases and alerts. It’s got both desktop and app versions, so you can access the platform from home and on the go.
QuestMortgage – Questrade’s BetterRate Mortgage Provider
In 2022 Questrade decided to branch out and include a mortgage platform. The President and CEO of Questrade, Edward Kholodenko, told new users that, “QuestMortgage will help thousands achieve their dream of homeownership in a simple, transparent and easy way, ultimately setting them on the path towards financial success and security.”
Here’s what QuestMortgage promises customers going forward:
- A simple user friendly platform.
- Mortgage advisor support through renewing or applying for a mortgage.
- Completely online interaction – no need to come in person to a physical location.
- A great low rate from the start with their trademarked BetterRate promise.
At the end of the day Quest Mortgage looks like a solid mortgage broker solution for folks that want to get things done online. I haven’t personally used this Questrade product (as I prefer to negotiate my own mortgage directly with my financial institution) but it’s interesting to see the DIY brokerage platform offer new products like this.
Questrade Uses CWB Trust Services
In the interest of full disclosure in regards to how safe Questrade is, the company announced in 2022 that CWB Trust Services would now handle the registered plans for Questrade as their official trustee.
The Trust company acts as trustee for over 1.5 million accounts with assets of over $90 billion.
Edward Kholodenko, the President and CEO of Questrade stated, “”CWB Trust Services is an industry-leader in registered plan trustee and custodial services,” and went on to add, “Their innovative and personalised solutions will help fulfil our service requirements, add value and ultimately ensure our clients become much more financially successful and secure.”
What this means to the average customer is that the parent company of CWB Trust Services (Canada Western Bank) stands behind the safety of your registered accounts. While the bank isn’t the largest in Canada, it’s still a pretty massive company with a $2.2 billion market cap and is fully regulated by the Canadian government as a Schedule One Bank.
2023 Surviscor Questrade Broker Rankings
Over the last two decades Glenn LaCoste and his team at Surviscor have ranked Canada’s online brokers according to over 100,000 service interactions across 45 firms.
Questrade came in a very respectable 3rd place behind Qtrade and the very niche broker CG Direct. ETF commissions on ETF sell orders, mediocre service experience, and ECN fees were cited as areas for improvement. Much improved customer response times, chat services, and the ease of opening an account via mobile app were cited as strengths.
LaCoste summed up the report by saying, “Good news continued throughout 2022 as most firm response times improved for the second consecutive year after many years of neglect that was blamed on increased trading volumes. The glaring concern is the trend within the big bank owned firms as four of the six fall outside the top 10, a trend that is also mirrored in our digital banking reviews.”
Overall, I was happy to see Questrade continue to improve and be included amongst the leaders.
Questrade Customer Service in 2020 – 2023
While Questrade continued to lead the pack when it comes to per-trade fees in Canada the rush to DIY investing – combined with Covid-related logistics issues – led to customer frustration with Questrade throughout the last year. With many commenters reporting wait times of 3-5 hours whether they used the call-in feature or online messaging, there was a premium to be put on customer service.
Now that’s not to say that Questrade won’t adapt and adjust to these new market realities in 2023 (we think it’s likely they will), but for now, Canadians’ consistent expectation of solid customer service means that Qtrade has climbed to our #1 position when it comes to crowning the King of the Discount Brokerage mountain.
All of that said, if you’re an experienced investor that rarely requires help when using your discount brokerage platform, then the consistent commitment to low fees might mean that Questrade is still the best fit for you.
Questrade Review: FAQ
2023 Questrade Review Conclusion: A Solid Brokerage for DIY Investors
still have an account with Questrade after 18 years – but it’s not the only discount brokerage that I use these days.
Check out my Qtrade Review for a look at the other Canadian online broker that I personally use – as well as an exclusive promo offer code that will give you a free $150 when you bring them your investing business.
I also really enjoy the intuitive nature of the Qtrade platform and the customer service advantage that they have. For me, that’s worth an extra dollar or two on trades.
With several of Canada’s discount brokerages looking to introduce new refinements and innovations in 2023, I’ll be sure to update my Questrade Review throughout the year.
I cannot stand questrade anymore. It’s been automatically logging me out of my account after 30 seconds for months now, so I am unable to trade and nobody has helped me. Please use any other platform
Never Again-Worst Customer Service I’ve ever experienced
I’ve had a horrible experience with Questrade transfers. In particular, an RSP transfer has so far taken 11 weeks and despite 35 emails, 5 phone calls and a few online chats is still “under investigation” which is their way of saying the transfer cheque was lost and their cooling their heels ‘investigating’ to stall re-sending it. Questrade really takes advantage of customer vulnerability. For weeks they would not give me any information regarding the transfer at all instead constantly deflecting blame to EQ bank (that is receiving the transfer) and having me call them multiple times. Personally, it seemed that they outright stole thousands of dollars from me – it took me so many messages and talking to so many people just to suss out that a cheque had been sent but never received by EQ. You’d think this would be a fairly simple thing to resolve but no the fight for the transfer is still ongoing almost 3 months in.
Questrade has made zero steps to compensate me, I’ve never been able to speak to a manager or superior and I have lost all faith in this company, all I can do is warn others.
Quick question. What happens to your investments should questrade file for bankruptcy?
In all likliehood, what would happen is that one of the other brokerages would buy Questrade out before it got to that point. If that didn’t happen there would be some sort of mechanism available to switch over to another broker. Questrade doesn’t own your money.
I’m opening up a questrade account and i just have a question about the options. On the choosing an account page i can’t seem to find the RRSP option, the only thing there is RSP. Is that the same as an RRSP? I know when i look it up it shows RRSP for everyone else so im wondering if questrade just recently changed their naming for their accounts? Thanks
It’s the same Michael.
Where is the setting for turning off the ability to borrow in a margin account?
I asked Questrade support and here’s what they said: “There is no feature to turn off the borrowing on a margin account. The whole nature of this account is that it allows you to borrow funds if you don’t have. If you don’t wish to borrow then you can just ensure to trade with the funds you deposit. Whenever, it exceeds the amount you have then you will be borrowing.”
I apologize Francois, this was an old feature of their accounts that I never dreamt they’d change. I will update the review immediately.
I had the same initial impression, however this does not work for trades with accounts valued over $1M USD. SOOO many issues with account locks for “inquiries”or “risk reviews”, delayed transfers on amounts of $100K to my bank account…all while being a “platinum member”.
I left TD because of the fees, but now think it’s worth it…I’m moving back.
I did not know that they had issues with larger accounts. Can anyone else share their experiences?
WOW sooooo glad I read this. Was looking for a broker with good trading platform for my new trading experience. CIBC fees good but platform really lacking, Customer service VERY important to a newbie, On line reviews were good for Questrade but you have convinced me that i need to go else where THNX Now mt search for good trading platform continues frustrated this is soon difficult
Hey Don – haven’t been here for years, but saw a bunch of notifications in my email and figured I would check it out again. I see lots of complaints, but understand, its the people with complaints that will post to a forum, not those that are content. You are looking for platforms – since TDW killed their active trader, questrade IS the best canadian platform out there now IMH (IQ edge). I have been with them for about 15 years I think, rarely have issues and have withdrawn at least a dozen times (EFT) with no problems (note with USD to CAD – you have to exchange first, then withdraw once funds moved to Cad side). I see some complaints about exchange fees, well, it was the same as TD was from what I recall. Part of doing business. Also see complaints about orders being dropped – it COULD be the ‘aggressive bid’ rule where you can’t place an order greater than 20% above/below last price. This affects stop limits (ie, stoploss $1, with a limit of 0.79 – the order will go in, but will get rejected once triggered.
This is all brokers, so maybe the person just doesn’t understand and blames them.
One thing for sure, if you also want to trade OTC/PINK in US market, this is the place to be. Maybe its not for those with million $ accounts, but why are you using a discount broker if you have $million account?
Just curious, who would you go with if you had a $million account?
I’m more concerned with Suz story of having issues withdrawing from the account. I can say, like you, I have never had issues when withdrawing funds via EFT from my margin account over to my bank, however; in a few years time I am interested in buying a home and will be using the HBP, but I will be depositing $25K into my RRSP, hold it for 90 days to trigger a tax refund (from what I’ve read can be ~8-10k) then I will withdraw the money to be used with the HBP, but I don’t want to have issues when withdrawing the funds.
Hard to say which platform is the best, but I like what I get from the Interactive Brokers. I would also imagine they are used to the large transactions because they, supposedly, deal more with the wealthier investors and traders. Also, I believe, IBC has, by far, the best mobile and standalone application.
As for the issues…Since beginning of April I am trying to move a small (<$10K) RRSP account from RBC to my broker and the only word I would use to describe it is "sabotage". RBC has came up with several excused for refusing a simple and straightforward RRSP all in-cash account transfer. So…as usually, "your mileage may vary".
That’s interesting, because I just moved my RRSP from RBC to Questrade less than a month ago, with zero issues. And I didn’t speak with RBC at all. I filled the transfer form that Questrade provides and they dealt with it, pretty easy.
One thing, Questrade did say that it could take about 20 business days to finalize, but it took about one week, so much faster than anticipated. Cash still sitting in my RRSP account waiting for trade :)
Hard one to answer – one of the banks probably (TD), but to be honest, all the banks trading platforms suck, so if you want to self manage, not sure the best route. If you are fine with some one else managing, I would use a full service (locally have used Odlum Brown & Hollis Wealth and they have done fine).
Personally I don’t know if taking out large sums would be a common issue with Questrade. Max I have done at once was $10000, and no problem with that, but if it was $100000???
My name is David, and I work at Questrade.
We came across your comment, and we’re sorry to hear about your experience with us. We can only imagine how you must have felt at that moment.
We want to hear more from you and check what exactly happened there. Please send us an email with your contact information to email@example.com, and we’ll reach out to make things better.
Sorry for the trouble.
David – Team Questrade
I was a Questrade advocate for years. Had cash, TFSA, and RRSP accounts and was happy with the low fees and intuitive trading platform. There were a few minor issues along the way such as stock prices being incorrect after a purchase or currency exchange not being executed etc, which CSR solved.
This all changed when I tried to pull cash out for down payment on a house. I didn’t think $100k was outrageous given the context. For over 2 months, I got the run around from various CSR on why I couldn’t transfer funds out of Questrade into my bank. One CSR would ask for certain documents from my bank, which another CSR would then discredit and said was useless. I was stressed beyond belief as all the papers were already signed. My house almost fell through. I did not think it would take 2 months to transfer the money out when transferring in takes 1 day. Thankfully, my parents were able to borrow against their house to cover the down payment while I traded calls and emails with Questrade on a daily basis.
After the ordeal, I transferred RRSP out and lo and behold, the prices were all wrong. Not a single stock was transferred at the purchase price. Some were off by a few cents, some a few dollars. When I asked Questrade to correct them, CSR told me the account is closed, nothing they can do. They also continuously stressed that stock prices don’t matter. I lost $500 overnight. To this date, I still consider the $500 a small price to pay to be rid of Questrade. However, it’s still $500 that I shouldn’t need to lose. Due to this experience, I sold all the positions in TFSA within Questrade, transferred cash into margin account then out of Questrade little chunks at a time.
My experience has deterred many of my family and friends from Questrade and I would advise against ever signing up with Questrade. The “F” BBB rating is definitely justified.
Thanks for sharing your story Suz. I wonder if many other people have had issues with withdrawing funds from Questrade. I wonder if it’s a liquidity issue with Questrade, or if it’s a security thing.
I’m curious, when you say all the prices were wrong, were they over or under the purchase price?
Also, were the prices on the statements correct or only your final (transfer) statement show incorrect prices?
Strange. I do transfer out large amount form QT quite frequently and have never had any issues. Latest was two weeks ago. It is very possible that you hit the wrong person dealing with your case. I am not for or against QT. Most brokers offer similar services and have the same level of support.
I use both QT and IB (QT for registered and IB for no-registered accounts). What I don’t like about QT is their currency conversation hidden fees are very high. I calculated that they will charge close to 2% if they convert one currency to another and back. Usually banks charge that kind of fees, but QT is not a bank, and banks take higher compliance risks.
Yes, Questrade charges 2% service fees for currency conversions. Definitely an excessive charge fee, that’s why most people (and yours truly) will use Norbert’s Gambit to convert USD to CAD or vice versa for a fraction of the cost, from what I’ve read that is usually around 0.3%
Also, I don’t understand the part of purchase price being wrong. Did you transfer the shares, or you sold everything, transferred, and bought everything back at the receiving broker? If you transferred the shares, are the # of shares in the other end the same of what you had before? In that case the “purchase price” is only a reporting inconvenience. It happens all the time. You can call the receiving broker and tell them what the “purchase price” of record should be, and they will change it for you. I did that with RBC when I transferred out the RRSP & TFSA accounts from QT to RBC. The $500 loss is just a paper loss.
If the amount of shares transferred is lower in the other side, you have a problem, and should follow up. Definitely illegal and unjustifiable.
If you sold, transferred, and repurchased, well, that is is a bit of a risk you have to take. You maybe lost $500, but if you sold before a market downturn you could of have “made” $500. What I usually do, is that I have enough funds (on margin) on the other side, and I purchase the same funds prior to selling them in the other account. Like that I am guaranteed to have the same price, and I also account for trading fees + tax to be covered by selling a bit higher.
Question in regards to your promo code. You mention that it must be used within 30 days of opening my account. I am planning to open an RRSP account, and have contacted Questrade both via online chat and on the phone asking one specific question.
Does the $50 commission rebate from using a promo code have an expire date or can it be used in the future indefinitely?
The CSR on the online chat said it must be used within 30 days. Occasionally getting burned in the past with promo bonuses, I decided to also call Questrade with the same question. The CSR on the phone at first thought I was referring to the cash bonus, but once he understood I was referring to the commission rebate code, he had to place me on hold twice to confirm my question and was told that there is no expire date and can be used indefinitely.
Now, I came across your article and you state that indeed it needs to be used within 30 days of opening the account.
Which is it? So frustrated (not with you of course) right now.