TD Direct Investing Review 2020: Trading Fees, ETFs, and Brokerage Account Options

   (Editor Rating)

TD Direct Investing Review Summary:
  • Trading Fees and Pricing
  • Account Options
  • ETF Trading Fees
  • Customer Service
  • Platform Options
  • Overall Banking Convenience
3.8

Review Summary:

There is no denying that TD Direct Investing is a world-class platform to buy and sell investments on. The convenience of being able to take care of all of your banking needs “under one roof” is also a valuable consideration for many people. The tradeoff for the excellent platforms and convenience, is the fees. The cost of doing business with TD – is literally the cost of your trading business.

If you run your day-to-day banking with TD, the safety and convenience of keeping everything with one of Canada’s most trusted companies might make the higher fees worth it for you. For other Canadian investors, the same user-friendly platforms and account options can be enjoyed for a much lower price at our most recommended Canadian online broker: Questrade. 

Pros

  • One of Canada’s most trusted financial companies
  • Easy and convenient if you already bank with TD
  • Modern, easy to use platform
  • Good amount of account options to choose from

Cons

  • Higher trading fees, ETFs in particular
  • Very high account fees unless you maintain a $15K balance

TD Direct Investing is not rated as one of the best Canadian brokerages

View Alternative, Better-Rated, Brokers

The TD Direct Investing online discount brokerage is amongst the most popular of Canada’s online discount brokerages.  TD has consistently been on the forefront over the last decade as investors have moved from expensive “full service brokers”, to the much cheaper discount broker model that we see today. 

As one of Canada’s largest companies and a brand name that extends outside of Canada’s border, it is no surprise that TD’s online trading platforms are amongst the most popular in the country.  Read our full TD Direct Investing review to learn more about their trading fees, accounts, and the different broker platforms that exist under the broader TD umbrella.

TD Direct Investing’s Trading Fees and Prices

When discussing TD Direct Investing’s Trading and account fees, it’s important to consider that TD (and their major competitors at RBC, Scotia Bank, CIBC, and BMO) are not known for trying to be the lowest-cost providers of banking and investing services in Canada.  Instead, they seek to provide ultra-safe products, and user-friendly customer experiences, for a competitive price model.  TD Direct Investing certainly accomplishes that goal.  They provide elite-level usability and user options, for a similar price point as their competitors.

TD Canada Account Fees and the TD Household Program

The vast majority of TD Direct Investing customers are going to fit into their zero-account-fee platforms: TD WebBroker and the TD Mobile Investing app.

The key factors in determining if you will have to pay TD’s account maintenance fees are if your portfolio is more than $15,000 OR you are part of the TD Household Program.

The TD Account Maintenance Fee is $25 per quarter, or $100 per year.

While the $15,000 threshold for an individual’s TD Direct Investing assets is pretty easy to understand, investors can also avoid the account maintenance fee by meeting one of the following conditions as part of the TD Household Program.

  • If multiple people in your household use TD Direct Investing, and your combined assets are above $15,000.
  • At least one member of your household sets up a $100+ monthly automatic contribution  through the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP).
  • You complete 3+ commissionable trades in the preceding quarter (three-month stretch).
  • Someone in your household uses TD Direct Investing for their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

TD Canada Stock Trading Fees and Advanced Dashboard

When it comes to the TD Direct Investing trading fees, you’re going to pay $9.99 every time you buy or sell shares of a company or units of an ETF.  You can trade on any North American stock market.  

If you – OR your combined household – make more than 150 trades per quarter, TD will lower that trading fee down to $7.00 per transaction, as every TD Direct Investing account in your household will now qualify for Active Trader commission pricing.  That said, the vast majority of everyday investors will never hit this mark, so for most people $9.99 is the relevant number.

There are no ECN fees when using TD Direct Investing.

TD Canada ETF Trading Fees

Unlike Questrade, Qtrade, and Virtual Brokers, TD Direct Investing does not offer free ETF purchases or sales.  Buying an ETF is treated exactly the same way as buying a stock/share, and you will pay the same $9.99 commission (or $7.00 if you qualify for Active Trader status).

Online Discount BrokerPer Transaction Cost to Buy ETFsPer Transaction Cost to Sell ETFs
TD Direct Investing$9.95$9.95
Questrade$0$5
Qtrade$0 – $8.75$0 – $8.75

TD Options Trading Fees

Personally, options trading isn’t a part of my investment portfolio, but if you’re into the adrenaline rush of shorts, hedging, etc., then TD is going to charge you $9.99 per trade + $1.25 per contract.  That drops to $7.00 per trade + $1.25 contract fee if you reach Active Trader status.

TD Direct Investing Platform Comparison

TD Canada Investing has three separate platforms and then one platform that commonly gets mistaken for being available to Canadians (thinkorswim).  Below is a chart summarizing the information on their site.

PlatformWebBrokerAdvanced DashboardThinkorswim
Best forInvestors and tradersActive tradingActive U.S options trading
Minimum deposit and account balance00$25,000 U.S.
North American stocks and options tradingYesYesU.S Only
Advanced order types: stop, stop limit, trailing stops (by price and %), trailing stop limitYesYesYes
Streaming market dataNoYesYes
Market ResearchDaily, weekly, and special reportsFinancial statements, earnings estimates, ratio analysis and analyst ratings400+ technical studies and 20 drawings, including eight Fibonacci tools

TD Direct Investing Account Types: TFSA, RRSP, Non-Registered

As a top-end online broker, TD Direct Investing offers all of the usual accounts including:

  • Non-registered accounts (both CAD and USD)
  • Margin Accounts
  • RRSP (both CAD and USD)
  • TFSA
  • RESP
  • RRIF
  • LIF
  • LIRA

The bottom line is that while you might pay more in commissions to use TD Direct Investing, you’re going to absolutely have access to all of the accounts that you could ask for as a Canadian Investor.

TD Direct Investing FAQ

Is TD Direct Investing Safe?

Yes!  TD Canada employs state-of-the-art cyber security.  Your investments will not only be backed by one of the oldest and most trusted companies in Canada, but you will also enjoy the protection of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) – which covers you for up to $1 Million in fraud insurance per account.  Of course, it should be noted that while TD and CIPF will protect you from criminal behaviour or corporate issues, there is no protection available from poor investment performance. 

Can I Open a TD Account Online?

Yes, it’s fast and easy.  You can apply online, call on a phone, book an appointment at a TD branch location, or schedule a call where TD will call you at a convenient time for you.

What is the difference between the TD Investing WebBroker and Advanced Dashboard?

Please refer to our chart above for a full comparison of the WebBroker vs Advanced Dashboard platforms.  The basic idea is that the Advanced Dashboard is going to give you market data that is up-to-the-minute (no delay).  There is also some extra data (TD calls this “Level 2 data” concerning the bid-ask prices as they happen in real time.  The bottom line is that unless you’re actively trading each day (not something we encourage) then I wouldn’t worry about the Advanced Dashboard at all – WebBroker will be more than enough information!

Can I place a pre-market order when the North American stock exchanges are closed?

Yes, Pre-market or after-hours orders can be entered online using WebBroker or Advanced Dashboard or with an Investment Representative. Contact us for details.

Is there a minimum investment to open an account?

No, but there is the maintenance account fee described above if you have less than $15,000 in your account.

Is there a TD Direct Investing practice account?

No, not at this time.

Will TD cover my transfer fees?

Yes!  If you wish to transfer your broker account from another institution you are likely to be charged an exit fee of some kind.  TD will reimburse you up to $150 in order to offset that cost.

Who Is TD Direct Investing Discount Broker Best for?

Ultimately, if you read our full Questrade Review you’ll quickly see why we recommend Questrade over TD Direct Investing for most Canadian investors.

That said, it’s not like TD Direct Investing is miles behind or anything!  The WebBroker platform itself might be the best in Canada according to the Globe and Mail’s Rob Carrick.  If you ignore the difference in ETF commissions, Questrade or Qtrade won’t save you much relative to TD’s offerings.  However, that free ETF purchasing perk is a massive consideration for many MDJ readers!

FT

FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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