I have been a Questrade client for a few years now, so I thought I would write up a Questrade review of my own. Here’s a Questrade promo code to give you $50 in free trades: a1b9d1d9 If you make 10 trades, they’ll refund your $50 in free trades (from what I recall a few years back). I was very very attracted to their $4.95 low commissions. They are a good basic online brokerage. They are ranked #1 in online discount brokerages by Globe and Mail. I just signed up for another account with Questrade- a TFSA account (or tax free trading account). So what do I really think of Questrade? Well, let’s break it down:
- It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to trade. They don’t charge the typical $29 commission that other online brokerages charge (or GASP: $100 commission fees for full service brokerages).
- It only costs $4.95 up to a max of $9.95 per trade.
- Funding your account is straight forward (if you put in Canadian currency). You just need to set up a “bill payment” from your online banking account- it’ll take 1-3 days.
- They have extended help hours (until 10pm eastern time!) via their Live Chat medium (I personally found live chat faster than waiting to speak to someone on the phone); it’s like “MSN messenger style”
- No annual fees of any sort for RRSP’s… I get charged $105 for “maintaining” my BMO investorline RRSP self-directed trading account. Not really sure what they need to maintain, but that’s another story.
- You just need a minimum of $250 in equity to keep your account in good standing.
- They are the ONLY brokerage in Canada to accept USD in registered accounts. They only charge you $5 per transaction of USD stocks.
- I like how they have “$50 in free trades” offers! (trading for free? that’s even better than $5!) If you enter: a1b9d1d9 as the promo code, you’ll get $50 in free trades too.
- Questrade’s free webtrading platform is a little hard to navigate. I think this is because Questrade is targeted towards real day traders (not just wannabes)
- The layout is really basic and.. frankly, hard on the eyes…. I find the BMO investorline one much more clear, concise, and easy to look at.
- The webtrading platform is a bit wonky sometimes, for example it showed that I had a $23,431 profit when it was actually only $249. I find that it’s wonkier after hours.
- They charge you $3 for paper statements (I know, you save the environment, but I think you have to print it out at home for tax purposes anyways, no?)
- Difficult to fund with US dollars. I just sent my request for a pre-authorized deposit the other day. I heard it takes up to 20 days (?!) They made it sound easy, I just needed to send my signature. I’ll keep you posted on how long it takes.
- Questrade’s quotes and charts are pretty basic. Budget-basic.
- There’s different websites for your trading platform and your account (e.g. fund your account) which can get kind of confusing.
Questrade is so great in that it only costs $5 a trade. Really, you can’t beat that! It’ll help you to make smaller more frequent trades and not “waiting to cover the cost” of your commission, waiting so long that the stock ends up dropping back down and you end up losing money. Sound familiar?
However, what I don’t like about them is the inconsistency…their customer service in inconsistent (I waited 20 minute by phone and 20 minutes online to speak to someone), their webtrader platform is sometimes “off” on off-trading hours etc. I’ll post about my experience next time. That said, I just signed onto a TFSA account. Lol, what can I say? I’m cheap and thrifty- I like the idea of $4.95 trades.
So, what I do personally is keep two accounts. Questrade and BMO investorline. I like BMO investorline because it’s the easiest to use and their chart analysis is great. I like Questrade because it’s just so cheap. I get the best of both worlds. I hope you enjoyed my Questrade review!
Update – June 2012
Back in May Questrade announced that they were going to charge an inactivity fee of $9.95 per month if you did not make one trade per month. You are exempt if you have assets over $5000 or if you are a new user (under 6 months), or if you are younger than 25 years old.
Due to the customer feedback Questrade amended their changes and came up with this: View full article here
Here’s a top-level summary of the inactivity fees:
- To remain active, you must make one (1) commissionable trade per quarter.
- Each quarter (3 months) your account is inactive, you will be charged a $19.95 inactivity fee.
- If you trade in the quarter following incurring an inactivity fee, the trades will be commission-free up to $19.95.
- All clients 25 years and younger are exempt no matter their activity levels.
- And finally, clients (and households with the same physical address) with combined assets of $5,000 or greater are exempt
Update – January 2013
As of February 1st, Questrade will be offering free buys on ETF’s! To see more about this visit their community forum for their announcement