Questrade Review for 2017 – $50 Promo Offer Code

Congratulations! If you're considering opening a Questrade discount brokerage account, you have have likely managed to get a handle on your personal finances and are now ready to put your money to work for you. Read our in-depth Questrade review below and take advantage of our exclusive Questrade promo code when you open up an RRSP or TFSA account. Then sit back and watch your investments grow, while you focus on cutting investment fees to the absolute bone!

Questrade Review Summary

No Fees on ETF Purchases
Lowest Per-Trade Costs ($4.95)
No Annual Account Fees
Great Service (Inc. Chat)
Great Promo Offer
Questrade Pays Your Transfer Out Fee
Some Negative Online Reviews (Most are Dated)
Mobile App Needs Improvement

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5  

Not Perfect but Cheap, Reliable and Great Promo

Bottom Line: Questrade is Canada’s low cost leader with $4.95 trades and No-Fee ETF purchases! We recommend this discount brokerage for all Canadian DIY investors that make less than 40 trades per month.

Or just input the following Questrade promo code- a1b9d1d9

Questrade Promo Offer Code: Exclusive to YoungAndThrifty

When you combine our special promotional offer of $50 in free trades, with the fact that you can purchase Questrade ETFs for $0 - you are basically guaranteeing yourself no trading costs for several years worth of portfolio re-balancing.  Zero dollars in trading costs equals more money compounding in your investment account! Simply click here to take advantage of our $50 in free trades promo code or enter the code {a1b9d1d9} once you get to the Questrade website.

Intro: Our Experience with Questrade

Questrade has been in operation since 1999 and they are the largest independent Canadian online brokerage.  They are super popular amongst Do-It-Yourself investors like me primarily because of their ultra-low fees.  Right from Day One, Questrade has focused on offering a streamlined platform that competed primarily on the basis of its low-cost advantages.  While they have added several bells and whistles over the years (routinely grabbing one of the top spots in the Globe and Mail's & MoneySense Magazine's rankings), their main attraction to investors like myself is their simplicity and their ongoing commitment to remain the cost-savings leader in the Canadian market.

All of us at Young and Thrifty have been with Questrade for 7+ years - so you are getting the collective wisdom of several user experiences over a prolonged period of time.  While they offer many different options as part of their overall platform, we're going to focus primarily on their bread and butter - the simple brokerage accounts that let you buy and sell stocks and ETFs for the lowest fees in Canada.

 

Questrade Review is Now 2017 Updated

I personally have been a Questrade user for over eight years now and have been pretty happy with the platform and the company.  Before Questrade, I was with a Big Bank brokerage and was dissatisfied with the high commissions that I paid on every trade that I made.  (That was back then when the big fish could get away with charging $25-30 per trade.)  When I found Questrade, I was pretty happy with the $4.95 per trade fee, and that ultra-low price hasn't increased since eight years ago - in fact, you can now buy ETFs for FREE (they do make some money when you sell them of course).

If I'm looking to find a fly in the ointment of my Questrade review it would be that I could do without the frequent platform changes (the original platform issues now seem to resolved) and that the mobile app isn't exactly breathtaking.  That said, Questrade has really evolved over the past eight years into an excellent option for Canadian DIY investors.

Questrade is considered Canada's low-cost leader, have low-to-non-existent account fees, and have Canada's lowest commissions at just $4.95/ trade.  They have grown their Canadian online investing presence over the last couple of decades to now manage $4.5 billion in assets.

Comparison: Questrade vs RBC, Scotia iTrade, and TD Direct

Here's a general look at how Questrade stacks up against three of Canada's Big Bank brokerage competitors: RBC, Scotia iTrade, and TD Direct .  While the cost has gone considerably down from the $25-$30 per trade back in the day, to just under $10 per trade, there are still some areas such as registered account fees where Questrade simply beats the competition hands down.

As you can see, Questrade's pricing is second-to-none.  If you compare Questrade VS. RBC, VS. Scotia iTrade and VS TD Direct, They have much lower prices. In fact, these are the lowest prices in Canada, hands down.  When you're just getting started, these account fees can really hurt your portfolio growth because $100 is a fairly large percentage of the $3,000 or so that most of us start investing with.  Going with Questrade allows that compounded investment returns snowball to get larger and gain momentum at a faster pace.

If you were pondering about Questrade VS TD Direct, Scotia iTrade or RBC, we definitely think Questrade beats the competition any time. We wrote a whole piece about the best brokerages in Canada We also tested Questrade against Qtrade (available in a new page).

Questrade Advantages

Here's what sets Questrade apart from some of the other options on the Canadian market.

1. It's Cheap!

At a $4.95 minimum and $9.95 maximum, Questrade refuses to be beaten in this area.  The total that you pay if you buy general shares of average companies is almost always below $6.00.  The only time it ticks up closer to the $9.95 figure is if you're buying hundreds of shares or units.  (The overall fee is $4.95 + $0.01 for every share or unit.)  If you're buying penny stocks or tens of thousands of dollars worth of a single stock, then you might hit that max price point, but I've never come close.  Of course, I pay hardly any fees at all due to the no-fee ETF purchases feature that really sets Questrade apart for me.

The other thing to keep in mind is that since I started investing with Questrade over eight years ago, the prices haven't gone up. There aren't too many companies that can say that in any industry!

If you trade options it is $9.95 + $1 per contract.  (Personally, I would almost never recommend someone get started in options, so I'll just leave it at that.) They also have fewer hidden fees than many other brokerages.


How much can you save if you go with Questrade versus the other brokerages?

Let's look an example if you are determined to buy and sell individual stocks and not go with our preferred ETF investing strategy.  Let's be conservative, and say you do one trade a month (and this only counts purchases, not selling - after all you're not ready for retirement yet right?).

Questrade: $4.95 x 12 = $59.40
Other brokerages:$9.95 x 12= $119.40

Sixty dollars might not seem like very much, but over time and compounded, it certainly adds up.  Once you have a slightly larger portfolio that requires more re-balancing and/or begin to buy and sell more stocks or ETFs, this $60 can easily be multiplied by 3x-5x.

2. Questrade ETF Investing

If you decide to embrace index investing with vanilla ETFs (such as the ones that we recommend here) then the gap in investing fees becomes even wider.  These investing fees used to be the sole advantage that mutual funds had over ETF investing and why a lot of people used to recommend getting started with the TD-eSeries of mutual funds (still not a bad option).  Questrade has completely negated this advantage with their free ETF purchases.  For most portfolios under $200,000, re-balancing can usually be done simply by adding to whatever asset class is underrepresented at the time - no need to sell anything to put your portfolio back in balance.  (If all of this sounds like a foreign language to you, take 30 minutes to page through our free eBook where I'll explain all of this ETF/index investing stuff in more detail.)  This means that you basically pay no money to invest through Questrade (if you stick to a disciplined ETF/index strategy) until you have already started to build some serious wealth.

Purchasing three Exchange Traded Funds as part of your portfolio every month = $0 (Before 2013, this would have cost $4.95 x 3 x 12= $178.20 annually.)

For example:

VXC- Vanguard FTSE All-World Ex-Canada Index ETF
VCN- Vanguard FTSE Canada All-Cap Index ETF
VAB- Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond ETF
Other Brokerages ETF Investing:

$9.95 x 3 ETFs x 12= $358.20 annually
If you are an ETF fan, going with Questrade is a no-brainer.  You can save $358.20 annually and not have to worry about timing the market because you are buying "the market" every month whether it is up or down.

If you save $358.20 annually at an annualized growing rate of 8.0%, after 40 years, that savings almost equates to $108,000. $108,000! Talk about the magic of compound interest.

Warren Buffett, my idol, loves compound interest and his recommendation for his estate after he is gone is to have it invested in low cost index funds just like the ones we are recommending.  Index investing gurus reiterate time and again the time real key to investment success isn't jumping on the hottest stock, but rather focusing on keeping costs as low as possible.

3. No Commissions When Purchasing ETFs

As illustrated in the example above, the thing that sets Questrade apart from some of the other excellent discount brokerage options in Canada is that there are no commissions charged when purchasing Exchange Traded Funds.  This started in 2013 and I have taken full advantage of it by purchasing ETFs on a monthly basis without any added cost.  This makes your couch potato investing much easier and really, a no-brainer.  It was a game changer at the time, and remains a major perk that we recommend taking advantage of.

There are no worries about only using specific ETFs or having minimum purchase amounts or anything like that.  Simply wire the money to your Questrade account, and purchase the same ETFs you did the month or quarter before.  Getting wealthy usually means setting a boring plan and then efficiently executing - it's not exciting but it's very effective if you can stay away from needless fees.

While the free ETF feature certainly shines relative to online brokerage competition, where you really see the difference is when you compare it to the traditional methods of mutual fund investing in Canada.  Canada has the highest-priced mutual funds in the world - often charging in the 2.5% territory.  This can easily chew through 30%-50% of the average investor's returns over the decades of responsible retirement saving.  Keep your investments simple and low cost with Questrade's discount brokerage or a robo advisor option!

4. No Annual Fees for Registered Accounts

The no-fee registered accounts are another of Questrade's game-changers that has forced the market to adjust.  I remember when I first signed up for a TFSA at one of the Big Banks, I was charged an annual $100 management fee.  This was another reason why I took my money out of the Big Bank and switched it over to Questrade.  Questrade charges no annual fee for registered accounts (such as an RRSP or a TFSA), allowing you to keep more of your hard earned money.  If you think about a $100 fee applied to your $5,500 TFSA contribution (maximum contribution limit annually as of writing) that is 1.8% right there off the top - a killer of future returns. These days, the annual fees for the Big Banks are around $50, which is better, but obviously still not as good as $0.

5. Holding USD In Questrade's RRSP or TFSA

Another great thing about Questrade is that they allow you to hold USD in your registered accounts.  I have USD investments in my RRSP and the option to do this is great.  It's good to know I don't have to do the dreaded currency conversion unnecessarily when I have USD to invest.  You can also convert your CAD into USD with their currency converter too or use Norbert's Gambit to save money on foreign exchange fees.  Avoiding needless currency conversion fees are another way to keep your money working for you instead of going to pay for some Bay Street CEO's third yacht!

6. Questrade Will Pay Your Transfer Out Fee

Questrade will pay for your Transfer Out Fee charged from your other financial institution, provided that you transfer a minimum of $25,000.  This payment of the transfer out fee is a pretty good deal considering transfer out fees can be hefty (like $150) at most places.  When combined with our Questrade promo offer code, it is obviously a pretty strong incentive for people to switch from their other brokerage to Questrade.

7. Questrade's IPO Centre

If you're into buying IPO's then you might be interested to know that Questrade allows you to purchase IPOs for FREE (no commissions).  If you were wondering what the heck an IPO is, it stand for Initial Public Offering, and it occurs when when private company goes public (offers shares on a stock exchange) for the first time like, like Snapchat did recently. Questrade has an IPO Centre where you can look at the most recent IPO's, sign up the the IPO Bulletin.  To buy an IPO you just click "buy" and fill out the form.

All of this being said, I have to note that entering the IPO game is a risky one and not really all that relevant to most retail investors - especially ones that are just trying to execute super simple index investing strategies.

Reviewing the Cons

Of course, with the ultra low-cost nature of Questrade, there comes a few trade-offs.  Here are some of the areas Questrade could use some improvement.

1. Customer Service

Although they have made improvements on their customer service, it is still lagging compared to some of their full-service (more expensive) competitors.

The "Chat with Us" feature allows you to type and instant chat with a Questrade representative (Monday to Fridays from 8:00AM to 8:00PM EST) but you can't do it on weekends and if you enter a message, it will be an automatic email reply - still not a bad option, but not as good as immediately solving your problem.  "Chat With Us" is probably the best way to reach someone at Questrade, and when you go online during those times someone answers and types back to you within minutes.  We have used this feature several times and has always received prompt service, however some online reviewers have had more negative experiences to report.

You can also phone them (I haven't phoned since chat with us started but remember waiting on hold for at least 20-30 minutes back in the day) and their hours are from Monday to Fridays 7:30 to 8:00 PM EST).

Other Big Bank brokerages are bigger of course, and consequently provide more services such as 24-hour phone support.  If this is more important to you than absolute cost savings then Questrade might not be the best fit.

They do have lots of self-help information, such as The Exchange (contains blogs, how-to's, videos, and pre-printed information like how to get started with your account). Personally I prefer sources of information like this that I can access online and allow me to solve my problems for myself as opposed to waiting on hold somewhere for an employee to become familiar with my account.

Ultimately, most of the negative comments that I have read online stem from investors that are trying to do fairly complex maneuvers or are comments created several years ago on Questrade review articles like our old one, when they were still refining their online platforms.  If you stick to basic investing strategies such as the ones we recommend on this site, I highly doubt that you'll have any problems.  If you're trying to day-trade your way to wealth by making dozens of trades every day in a margin account that you're borrowing money in, then a more expensive online platform might suit your needs better.  I just find that's such a small segment of the population that it's not really worth going into depth on.

2. The Platform Changes Frequently

As mentioned previously, Questrade has changed their platform a few times (I have lost count in the past eight years) but I have gotten used to it.  It takes a few months to get used to the new platform visually, but eventually it all becomes second nature again, and in general, the platform is easy to use.  Questrade's updates have left the site looking better and more modern, so the change is usually for the better.  That being said, the platform, despite the updates, is easy to use and very intuitive, you can pick it up within minutes.

This may be the case for many other online trading brokerages, (I have heard similar grumblings about all discount brokerages at some point) but there is some downtime whenever the platform is updated or refreshed in which you will not be able to access your accounts at all and you will just see a screen that says "sorry for the inconvenience" or something like that.  I have had a few isolated experiences when I've logged in while a platform change was underway, only to see errors pop up on my account history page.  This downtime as been less and less as Questrade has improved over the years, but still not something I would expect from a full-service platform like the ones the Big Banks put forth.

3. Questrade's Mobile App Could Be Improved

I am not an active trader and the more difficult it is for me to access my accounts the better (meaning I will have to sit down at my computer to review my accounts) because this means less tinkering with the portfolio.  That being said, if we're being honest in our review, it needs to be mentioned that Questrade's app has not been its most successful endeavor to date.

I'm not a big app person (I like to see my whole computer screen when I do my investing) but in reading forums related to Questrade, a lot of customers using the app are not satisfied with it.  Now, Questrade is promising big things with their new App that is due to roll out any day.  Currently in the App store there is a 'one star' rating on the app and it was last updated in 2015.  You can scroll down to see some screen shots of the app if purchasing ETFs or stocks from your cell phone is a deal-breaker for you.

In a perfect world, the Questrade app would include less bug fixes and more usability... but it's still more than adequate for index investors who just want to take a peek at their portfolio from time to time and are too busy to log into their computer.

4. Dated Negative Online Reviews

In the spirit of trying to provide an unbiased Questrade review, we've pointed out some of the commonly cited concerns about investing with Questrade.  If you search online you'll find several reviews by folks that are not huge fans of Questrade.  I think this is due primarily to a few reasons:

  1. Questrade undeniably had some customer service and platform issues 5+ years ago.  While they have come a long way and fixed most of these problems, their negative online reviews will live on forever.
  2. It's natural for a few unsatisfied customers to dominate the online feedback relative to the thousands of fans (like myself) who have had very few problems with the platform.
  3. When executing more elaborate and complicated online trading manuevers, you may want some of the bells and whistles of a more expensive brokerage.  If you are a simple index investor, you will likely have very few problems.  Kyle and Justin both report having 0 problems with the platform - but then again they have only purchased a few ETFs over and over again and have never tried to open a margin account, do a limit order, or use options.

We can only directly report what our experiences have been, and for all of us, the massive advantage of low fees has been well worth a few hiccups here and there.  Overall, folks must be generally satisfied with Questrade because their assets under management numbers keep exploding every year!

A Peek Inside Questrade

No Questrade review would be complete without taking a look at the various platforms.  You can always check out Questrade's free trial to pretend to see what the platform looks like and tinker around with it without risking any real money.

Here's what Questrade's platform and watch list looks like and what the order entry to buy shares looks like:

Here's another example of what a watch list might look like with the Questrade trading platform.  I really like the colours in the red and green to help you discern/ visualize how the stocks that you are watching are doing more easily.  If you're wondering what a watchlist is, the basic idea is that if you pick stocks you might want to keep your eye on how your "targets" are doing at any specific time.  This allows you to quickly pull up a screen and see if there have been in any movements in the companies that you are interested in.

Here's what Questrade's investment return page looks like in the chart format, there are other formats such as the graph format too if you prefer that:  As you can see, it's an easy way to visually analyze your portfolio's performance.

Here is what a detailed quote would look like on the Questrade Platform.  It is similar to that of most online brokerages, but if you haven't used it before this might look a little intimidating.  The truth is that once you get beyond the initial scariness, the math involved is not that difficult.  You can see how much each share costs, what the ticker symbol is (AAPL), and how the stock has fared over the last few years.  Personally, I don't use this information all that much because again - I am a couch potato investor - but it's there if the need to pick stocks is an itch that must be scratched.

Questrade IQ Edge

Another platform that Questrade has, if you trade frequently and want to look like you are a day-trader (complete with two computer screens!), and it is free to use and switch to, and a matter of preference, if you like a darker screen rather than a white one and if you want more trading options than the regular platform.

With the IQ Edge, you can have a custom trading environment (you can adjust the platforms on your screen to accommodate your own preferences better).  It also has pre-installed option trading layout, and IQ Edge gives you the ability to make advanced trading orders, such as conditional orders and multi-leg options strategies.  IQ Edge is highly customizable and created for advanced traders (not my style).

Here's a screen shot of what IQ Edge looks like, as you can see it's much more detailed compared to the regular Questrade Platform, and is complete with advanced trading tools:

IQ Web Platform

Finally, if you would like yet another Questrade Platform to choose from, there is another free platform you can switch to.  With the IQ Web platform, you can personalize it by adding 'gadgets' so that these are easily accessible only to you when you log on.

Here is a screen shot of a quote on IQ Web (don't worry it's not my margin account number, but a screen shot of a sample Questrade account):

Here's what IQ Web looks like and the options for the gadgets that you can add to personalize your platform:

Of all the different platforms, which one is for you?  Well it's very individual.  But personally, I like the regular one just fine and don't have any inkling to try out the other platforms.  The basic one works just fine for my needs.  However, it is nice that it is an option to switch to if needed.

Questrade Mobile App

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Here are a few shots of what the Questrade Mobile App platform looks like.

Image 1 is what a quote would look like on the mobile app.  It is available for both iOS and Android.  It is synced with your online trading account so you can trade and look at your portfolio 'on the go' which is very appealing for busy people who can't get in front of the computer.  The Mobile App platform includes research tools like Intraday Trader and Market Intelligence so you can look up your favourite stocks.

Of course it's not as detailed as the regular platform, but it performs well if you need to just execute a trade quickly or want to look at your portfolio during your commute on the bus.

Image 2 is what an order entry screen would look like on the Questrade Mobile App, as you can see it's pretty straight forward and replicates what the order entry screen would look like on their regular platform.

Finally, Image 3 is what your watch list would look like on the Questrade Mobile App.

Statement and Account Histories

Statements are online and posted on the 15th of each month.

Here is what the statement screen looks like, the number of statements available is reflected under the month, and all you have to do is download them to look at them.  The actual PDF statements are super detailed with colours and graphs galore!  It breaks it down to your performance to date and even compares your performance to a few years ago.  It also details all the dividend payouts, all the transactions etc and is very very detailed.  My account statement is 14 pages long, that's how detailed it is!  There is no need to worry about all this reporting if you are super simple index investor, but it's comforting to know that it is there nonetheless.

Here is an example of one of the pages in the detailed statement you will receive monthly:

One of the great things that I like about Questrade is that you can quickly toggle and review your account activity, and sort by date (e.g. to look at the previous month), and by activity (such as trade, dividend, or withdrawal).  It's really handy to have when you want to quickly review what your dividend income has been across all your accounts.

Here's a look at the bar where you can toggle your account activity by date and activity, as you can see you can "select all" or "deselect all" or even just select individually.  In this picture I have selected Trades and Dividends.  Once you select that a summary of all the trades and dividends that you have requested for that time period will show up.  You can then export it to Excel if you wish.

Why I'm Sticking With Questrade After Eight Years

Hopefully you now have a good idea of what Questrade looks like before you decide to take the plunge.  Instead of switching to another brokerage, I have stuck with Questrade.  Why have I been a loyal Questrader for the past eight years?

Well there are a few reasons for this:

  • I really really like the free Exchange Traded Funds (no commissions charged for purchase of exchange traded funds) that started in 2013 and that dramatically lowered the cost of my index investing.  To me, this is a huge feature when compared to other brokerages.  I am able to dollar cost average and purchase on a monthly basis to avoid trying to time the market (which we all know doesn't work that well for most people)
  • I really like the overall low fees and how the fees have not increased since I signed up eight years ago.  You really can't beat $4.95 a trade (unless it's the $0 per trade ETFs offer).
  • I like that Questrade is 'grassroots' and Independent and not affiliated with a big bank or oligopoly.  I have always liked rooting for the underdog.
  • I like that they have a refer a friend program.  For every friend you refer, you get $25 deposited into your account, and for every third friend you refer, you get a $50 bonus.  If your friend deposits $1,000 they get $25 into their account, and if they deposit $50,000 into a new Questrade account, they get $100 into their account.
  • The chat function to access customer service for Questrade is perfect for me (I'm not a phone person).  I'm not familiar with the Big Banks' customer service and whether they have a chat function, but I don't like waiting on the phone for 45 minutes to speak to someone. (In fact, I don't really like speaking to people in general, so the ability to just instant message someone is great.)
  • I also like that there is no annual fee for registered accounts.  When you have a finite amount that you can deposit into registered accounts (e.g. $5,500 annually for the TFSA), the last thing you need is to get gouged by fees.
  • Funding the account is easy, all I have to do is transfer money as if it were a bill payment - I've been doing it for eight years with 0 problems.
  • According to MoneySense's Canada's Best Online Brokerages of 2016, Questrade ranks as the best for fees and commissions and has honourable mention for overall best independent broker and ease of use.  It stands out as overall best independent broker because of its steady improvement in service.

How to Sign Up with Questrade

As long as you're properly prepared, signing up for Questrade is super easy.  All you need are a few minutes in front of the computer, some government issued identification, and of course, the determination to tackle the basic steps of DIY investing.

Click here to open an account.  To open an account, you'll need to the following:

  • Your email address
  • Your name as it appears on your government issues identification
  • Your Social Identification Number
  • Information about your employer
  • Your phone number
  • Create a user ID and password and set up your security questions
  • Choose an account to open (you can save time by clicking on the Packaged Tab to open a TFSA, RRSP, and margin account all at the same time)
  • Put in Young and Thrifty's OFFER CODE "a1b9d1d9" to save $50
  • Continue following the prompts and sign the agreements online (they accept esignatures to make signing up for an account even easier)
  • Upload your documents (e.g. Photo ID) to Questrade for verification
  • Your account is now open and you can feel free to take a peruse around the platform
  • Then fund your account!  You can use an electronic fund transfer from your bank via direct deposit or check out the chart below for more option to fund your account.  If you  need a bit more help, Questrade has a good 1 minute video on how to fund your account
  • The minimum deposit is $1,000 to purchase stock and options, and if you were thinking of opening up a Portfolio IQ account, you  just need $1 to open an account and $2,000 to start investing.
  • Remember, you must keep at least $250 in your Questrade account to keep it in good standing
  • If you would like a PDF tutorial on how to set up your account, Questrade has a great one through their The Exchange website.  It walks you step by step on what to do after you have successfully opened and funded your account.

Using our referral link, you will be entitled for $50 in free trade. If you have used a link other than ours and have not signed up yet, use our Questrade promo code  a1b9d1d9 upon sign up

Online Security Guarantee

Many people are wary of doing anything money-related in an online setting, let alone using a discount online brokerage to buy and sell investments, but Questrade points to their Online Security Guarantee when they wish to ease these fears.  They will guarantee 100% reimbursement of any unauthorized transactions from your account that result in direct loss.  That's a pretty cool safety feature that I hope I never have to use!

Questrade is also a member of the IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) and CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund), which insures your account up to the limit of $1,000,000.  In excess of $1 million, you can contact Questrade at 1.888.783.7866 for additional private insurance of up to $10 million in protection.  If you’re not sure what the CIPF is, here is what their website has to say: “Investment dealer insolvency doesn’t happen very often.  In fact, since CPIF’s inception in 1969 there have been only 20 Member insolvencies.  CIPF has paid claims and/or related expenses of $43 million, net of recoveries, and no eligible customers have suffered a loss of property."  To my way of thinking, that's a pretty rock solid track record.

What's Questrade Portfolio IQ?

Questrade Portfolio IQ is a new robo advisor function for Questraders who want a little more help with their portfolio and want their investments managed on their behalf.  The unique thing about Questrade Portfolio IQ compared to other robo advisors our there is that it is somewhat actively managed, though combining index exchange traded funds and active management.  They will still re-balance your portfolio of course, like other robo advisors, but they will also do a little bit more.

Related: Questrade Portfolio IQ Robo Advisor Review

With Questrade Portfolio IQ, you won't have to worry about asset allocations and re-balancing on a regular basis.  They will do that for you.  The fees associated with Questrade Portfolio IQ are a bit higher than what you would get with the regular Do It Yourself Route.

To invest with Questrade Portfolio IQ, you will need a minimum of $2,000 to invest.  If you don't quite yet have $2,000, your account will be kept in cash until that minimum threshold is reached. The fee for Questrade Portfolio IQ starts at about 0.7% and the ETF fee is also added on top of that.

The Questrade Portfolio IQ platform looks great.  I have personally not tried using Questrade Portfolio IQ, but do know that people have been very receptive to the concept of robo advisors.  When you can rest assured that your investments are working hard for you, and you don't have to worry about rebalancing your portfolio, people really appreciate that.  To start off with Portfolio IQ, it asks for more detailed information to find out your investment style and personality.  Here's a peek at what Portfolio IQ looks like:

Overall Questrade Rating and Promo Offer Code

57 Comments

  1. Steve Zussino on January 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Great list of pros and cons.

    I agree with the harder to use platform

    The fees are among the lowest I have seen but the platform is one of the worst. This depends on how many trades you make per year.



  2. young on January 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks Steve. You’re a Questrader too? =)

    That’s true, if you don’t plan to make that many trades, then there isn’t really a point to go with Questrade- might as well go with something that is easy on the eyes.

    If you DO make many trades, then I think Questrade is worth it, despite the budget-looking platform. To avoid the confusion, I used the Bloomberg app for my itouch and it tracks how much I’m up or down, thereby avoiding the need to rely on the unreliable platform.

    That said, Questrade DOES have a few platforms where you can pay money for. I guess you get what you pay for. =)



  3. young on January 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Hey Steve,
    you know, the QuestraderWEB platform is free/ included, and it’s better than the webtrader platform. At least the + and – are in COLOUR! Not sure if you have checked it out yet. I guess I always just default to “webtrader” because it’s the top tab.



  4. mike on February 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Have you tried moving any money out of questrade since they “upgraded” their websites? It’s been a horrible experience for me. Try contacting customer support and you’ll be on hold for a lot longer than before. Perhaps you should update your review on them and warn people to stay away until all their bugs clear up.



  5. young on February 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    @mike- I have checked out their new website and have tried contacting customer support (I was on hold for a ridiculous amount of time- used the online chat thing and then was on hold for 50 minutes, then called in and got through much quicker). I anticipate these are temporary issues because everyone is probably calling in and asking what their new account number is… I have a post coming up on Friday detailing the new changes. Thanks mike for sharing your opinion 🙂



  6. chris on February 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I have not found one person to say that they are satisfied with Questrade & their customer service. This company is THE WORST NIGHTMARE you could imagine – to deal with.

    Try calling them – they do not answer for hours
    – If you email -they do not answer for days or do not answer at all
    – try live chat – most of the time does not work
    – eventually if you get someone on the phone – person is plain lying to you or can not help or do not know anything
    – THE ARE RUDE AND OBNOXIOUS

    BEWARE – STAY AWAY !!!!



  7. young on February 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    @chris- Sounds like you have had a bad experience. I would not recommend emailing them, but I do find that livechat and calling them quite effective. I think with the recent changes to the interface, there have been MANY calls, and higher call volume. Before, I didn’t have to wait too long (maybe 10 minutes max) to speak to someone, but I’m sure it’ll resolve once everyone settles with the new changes. Again, I am okay paying $5 per trade and dealing with a smaller company than paying $29 per trade and dealing with a big bank.



  8. Real on February 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Questrade has mishandled their change over. They refuse to admit that and they say that 2 weeks to wait for a request is acceptable considering the changes being in place. I have reached the threashold for 10$ trades at big banks, I think it is time to move there. Do not go for Questrade if customer service is a priority to you.



  9. Dan on April 14, 2012 at 6:16 am

    DO NOT SIGN UP WITH QUESTRADE. Here



  10. young on April 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    @Dan- Transferring from another brokerage can be a big hassle- I remember it was when I was transferring over myBMOinvestorline stuff. Once it’s done though and things are within Questrade, it’s much easier to transfer between Questrade accounts.



  11. Japhro on April 25, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Avoid them for this and a ton of other reasons – they are unreliable, their platforms are full of bugs, which they expect their clients to vet via poor customer service and long waits for online or phone help. Bugs that are reported are not fixed for months, losing trades and cash for clients. Cheap? Hardly. Since when is bad service and losing money cheap? Avoid like the plague, or sign up at your peril



  12. Andrewww on May 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    hey young have you noticed the recent changes to questrade??? they changed thier hours and they now have an inactivity fee!!! but at least that’s for under $5000 account balance

    do you think thier going out of bussiness?



  13. Teacher Man on May 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Definitely not going out of business. I recommend using their online help function, always had much better luck with that. The inactivity fee is very minor as far as I am concerned (especially relative to fees you could pay elsewhere).



  14. astor on August 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    WARNING : I want to share with all people that are thinking to open a Questrade account and also to the already clients to be very carefull.

    I will relate one issue that it’s happening to me right now with them.
    I open an account on March 2012. I fill all the papers as canadian citizen as I am.
    after I bougth some dividends US stocks. I check the amount received and I notice that they take 30% for tax proposes and sometimes 35%. (as Canadians we have to pay 15% witholding tax on any US share and dividend payement).
    I call them to verify why it’s happening that. and the support desk (Laura), tell me that she will check that for me.
    After that she sent me an e-mail telling me that she recalculate all the taxes and she doesn’t see any 30, 35% taken.
    I sent to her all my stock list , with all the dividend payement and also I sent to her how I was calculating them.

    In front of evidence she accept that was an error ???. they consider me as non canadian ???. and they will correct that for me.
    I have to escalate to a supervisor ( Lulu, they refuse to give as the last name for all the staff), and she tell me this will be corrected very soon ( My demand was made at the begining of july one month and nothing happens).
    The relationship with a broker is based on confidence and transparency.
    I ask to them WHY ?, why laura have to see my calculation to assume the error
    the answer was : I don’t know
    I ask why they consider me as non canadian if all my papers are from a canadian?
    the answer was: We don’t know, the problem is the clearning broker with we work ?????.
    very evasive answer.
    She tell me something that is very suspicious : You are the administrator of your account ( that’s right) and you are responsable of ALL. WE COULD TELL YOU BAD ANSWER BUT IT’S YOUR RESPONSABILITY TO VERIFY WHAT WE TELL YOU !!!. THAT HAPPENS VERY OFTEN !!!.

    then I want to be aware if you are tradding with questrade to verify on all US dividends stock that you have to TRIPLE CHECK the amount they take for US taxes proposes.
    If Questrade make with hundreds of client that they trying to do with me. You could be stoled by 15.% and 20% without you realize that .

    BE VERY CAREFULL WITH THEM !!!



  15. Teacher Man on August 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Astor, do you think a language barrier may have impacted the situation. Also, if those stocks were not held in an RRSP, that could have been part of the error?



  16. Japhro on August 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Their accounting/reporting is inadequate, and there are constantly missing funds from my account, at least 5 times already I have caught them in miscalculations and so on. Be very, very careful with them, it is very hard to recover your missing funds, they mire you in endless red tape even when you prove that they are incorrect.

    Their favourite trick is to continue to charge you interest on money that you have paid back (on margin and after selling shares and settling balance), very hard to calculate as they do not include any specifics in their reporting, no specific trades for which the ‘interest’ applies to. Calculate all your trades and fees/commissions etc. manually in a spreadsheet, and you will likely find missing funds from your account.

    I can’t move my account until all my missing funds are back, and only have gotten back about half, still missing about $1700 so far. You cannot trust them, period.



  17. Teacher Man on August 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Hmm… well good to know Japhro, this is very different from our collective experience dealing with them. I guess I also keep things fairly simple and don’t use margin accounts. I know that my US RRSP holdings have been calculated just fine.



  18. Questrade on August 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Hello Astor,

    My name is Jaanu and I work at Questrade. What you are referring to is the U.S./Canada tax treaty, which allows Canadians with non-American tax status to claim certain tax exemptions including withholding tax on dividends paid by some U.S. corporations.

    We are in contact with our clearing house to correct the dividend tax withheld for your eligible securities. For an update on this issue, please contact client services directly at 1.866.783.7866.

    Here



  19. Japhro on August 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Questrade’s accounting/financial reporting is very rudimentary. I had to have my accountant create a new spreadsheet which inputs all the trades and comms (because QT supplies data separately) and calculate running profit/loss. This has shown dozens of errors on QT’s part (all in their favour btw). Now I am in the process of sorting all of that out. The problem is, that they want me to prove every single item, and make a claim for every single item separately. this is tremendously time consuming.

    They do not have a single accountant on staff either. Just csm phone staff that know little to nothing.

    They might be ok for a small amount, buy and hold account, but to day trade they are a nightmare.



  20. Teacher Man on August 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Well as a person that believes the idea of day trading is ridiculous I am definitely fine with the great service I’ve gotten from the boys and girls in green at Questrade!



  21. Joe on September 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    in queue for over 2hrs as a client needing assistance and no response! bucket shop



  22. Andrewww on September 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    get on live chat its way faster.

    btw has anyone tryed Forex with them?



  23. Teacher Man on September 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I agree Andrew, as long as you don’t do live chat at 4 in the afternoon. On weekends I get on right away. I’ve never tried Forex. I just assume the IB would probably be the route most forex traders would go.



  24. Raj on January 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I do have questrade account.

    The commission is cheapest among the other discount brokerage but the service is horrible.

    I transferred some money, it didn’t show up in the account (bc I transferred from a joint account)

    Transferring money take time.

    Also check the currency tranfer fee (it is about 1.5%) BOTH way from Canadian to US and US to Canada.



  25. Teacher Man on January 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    This is why you use their USD RRSP Raj!



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  29. Herald on October 31, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I have been with Questrade for over 5 years and overall I have had an OK experience. Their pricing is fair (but not the best), their customer service is OK, for the few things I have had to contact them. They do have some fees that you should be aware of, for example if you exchange funds from CAD to USD (to be able to use their RRSP USD features, they will charge a markup fee of 2% in top of the forex spread. So in my case it was over $2000 that Questrade took away for this. I find that kind of fee outrageous!! I wish I knew this before hand, I would of have never made the transaction. But this was not advertised in any of their documents or website. Of course, God forbid consumers should need to know this kind of stuff! I have moved all my non-registered accounts somewhere else with more transparent fee structure. What a disappointment!



  30. Kyle on October 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    This is true Herald, but at the same time Questrade is one of the only brokerages that allows you to keep USD in your RRSP. Many of the major banks don’t even allow this.



  31. […] Questrade Review […]



  32. Quest Trade Sucks!! on March 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Quest Trade customer service really bad. I have never seen such a poor response towards customers request.

    I went in their office to open an account I requested the representative to let me know about any offers or promotions. She only informed me about the offer for which i was not eligible. For the one i clearly qualify she didn’t mention that.
    After opening the account i got to learn about the offer which should have been given to me by quest trade i.e “1 month free unlimited trading” for new accounts.
    So i reached out to the customer service and requested them to provide me that offer. The representative assured me that he will back date the offer as its not my fault. But after 2 days on following up on my request the same agent told me that my request was denied and i cannot get the offer.
    I will only get 5 trades free i should take it or leave it.
    It’s the worst attitude i have ever seen for any customer service. I would ask you guys to stay away form them. Its better to pay few cents extra than to get poor customer service.



  33. Kyle on March 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    This is vastly different than anything we’ve heard from Questrade clients before QTS. Can you provide the name of the person you dealt with and we’ll check up on it?



  34. Heppell on June 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I’ve been using their services over a 3 years and called them for several questions as I learned the investment process. Always great service. The pros up there are awesome, compared to other brokers. The cons are bearable and actually all just fine with me. It takes a while and they need lots of info to set up accounts.. Well that makes me feel good about security. The platforms are not that great.. I use other several platforms to figure out trades, I use questrade as a broker to fill my orders… The US dollar thing? I can get Canadian/US money in my account in 2-3 days with my direct deposit setup.



  35. Larry Page on September 5, 2014 at 5:44 am

    QUESTRADE IS THE WORST BROKER EVER!

    So many hidden charges, and hidden fees, and restrictions, coupled with terrible customer service, and a confusing platform. This is just a bad company.

    Do not recommend. I get better service from my regular bank, even if it’s not great.



  36. Kyle on September 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I disagree Larry, what hidden fees did you receive? What sort of fees do you pay at your regular bank? Care to compare? I basically pay $0 fees in my account (purchased ETFs trade for free).



  37. W on February 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    What is your opinion about Virtual Brokers?
    I’m undecided if I should go with VB or QT for ETF investing.



  38. Kyle on February 15, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Nothing wrong with VB. Low fee leader over the years. I personally find Questrade’s platform a lot easier to use.



  39. LL on April 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    DO NOT USE THIS BROKER!!!

    I wish I did my due diligence before signing up for Questrade. ALL of their advertising is extremely misleading!!!

    1.) $4.95 Trades!?? Sounds cheap. They don’t tell you about the additional ECN fees + fees this and fees that. Some of my trades have cost me $25-$100 per trade!! This is way more than the banks & other brokers charge.

    2.) Their promotional bonuses!? They will advertise that if you transfer over, they will give you these promotional bonuses. THEY DON’T!!! I signed up with two separate trading accounts with Questrade. I have yet to get any of my bonuses despite calling in several times. They say they will even pay for your transfer costs. Extremely bad service!! Took one month to set up both my accounts.

    3.) Their website is down for upgrades after trading hours every day! This means you can’t research or put orders through after hours. I’ve been with Questrade for 3 months now. Grrr

    Now I understand why they say Questrade is a discount broker. You pay for what you get. Consumers beware!!!



  40. Kyle on April 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I can honestly say I have never experienced any of these problems LL. I’m not saying your account is false, I’m just saying I don’t think they are problems everyone faces. I’ve actually traded almost totally for free with Questrade due to their free ETF purchases policy.



  41. Xhulio on April 27, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Worst Costumer Service ever. I have spent hundreads of dollars there and when I threatened them that I will close my account, they told me to go right ahead..

    I was going to cash out some money and they made it so hard. The guy on the phone said that he needed a void check to verify my bank account which is redicilous because A you had to do that when you first made the account and B) I have been sending Bi-Weekly payinments out of my bank account for the the last year…. Makes nooooo sense.



  42. Rob on May 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    It doesn



  43. Kyle on May 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Rob, do you really think that the majority of people ever need to purchase more than 995 shares? Or need to know what a triggered stop sell is? If you are investing at $20,000 a crack and day trading stuff using options and limits you have way more appetite for risk than I do my friend.



  44. Rob on May 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    My post was a reply to the article not your post, but it doesnt change simple math.



  45. Kyle on May 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Would you agree though then that if you’re an average millennial investor and buying blocks of a hundred shares or less, then free ETF purchases are a pretty good deal?



  46. dross on April 26, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    not sure why but calculating capital gains/losses is far harder now than it used to be.on’t know why this is such a futile and manual process in this year of 2016.TFSA is far less hassel.Questrade doen’t even list equity symbol.TD Webroker far easier to calculate taxes.



  47. Jen on January 4, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Has anyone tried to withdraw money from their Questrade account, let’s say to a bank account? Is there a fee?



  48. John McKay on January 26, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Great summary Kyle, I’ve been a Questeader for more than 10 years. I’ve never had any major problems, I did get locked out of a trade due to a mystery glitch once. I’ve seen the platform change several times and I’ve got to say it’s not all that great but it’s acceptable. Never ever had an issue about price or hidden fees because there aren’t any. All of their fees are listed and very transparent. Low cost trading? You bet. I’ve recently moved away from Questeade because I’ve analyzed my past 10 years of trading and found that I am better off keeping my bloody hands off the keypad. I’ve tinkered and botched up a few investments over the years. For me, Questrade has been an excellent low cost trading platform, my life has changed now, time, energy, research, discipline that type of stuff. I no longer do my own trades (I’m a robo guy now). Have to say, learnt a lot ……. and Questrade is a very viable option for those that want to get into things.



  49. Kyle on January 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks for the input – Ten years is a great amount of time to give a review based on! I hear on keeping your hands off the keyboard and going robo – we’ve heard from many readers who’ve enjoyed this transition.



  50. Tom on March 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    One thing you should be aware if you use them for ETF’s. There is no charge to buy, but you are charged “the usual commission” when you sell.

    I looked everywhere and couldn’t find what the “usual” commission is. Would want to track that down before you get tied in.



  51. Kyle on March 5, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Not sure where you looked Tom, but Questrade is up front about it being $4.95 + ECN fees (about .01 per unit) to a maximum of $9.95.



  52. Jim on March 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    After a lot of people posted their bad experiences with Questrade, I just checked my account where I only bought ETFs. However, I found a worrying issue (I do not know if it was a real problem). I had shares of VFV in my TFSA. I checked vanguardcanada website and found that VanguardCanada distributed the capital gains as cash for VFV shares. However, I can only find the Dividend cash distribution in my TFSA account. It seems that Questrade did not record the capital gain cash distribution for me. If it was true, it means that I lost a lot of money. I found the same problem with VIU shares as well in my TFSA account. Did anyone have the similar problem with Questrade? I cannot believe this happened. I will check it with Questrade to see what happened.



  53. Jim on March 14, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Recently I posted a comment about the capital gain cash distribution. I just had a chat with Questrade agent, who was very nice and patient. I learned something from this chat that TFSA account does not receive any capital gain cash distribution. However, if RSP or margin account, we will receive a tax slip to claim the tax deduction. So there was not any mistake at all with Questrade. So far so good with Questrade.



  54. Kyle on March 15, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Appreciate the feedback Jim – sounds like pretty good customer service experience overall?



  55. Kyle on March 15, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Editor’s Note – Check out Jim’s follow up comment.



  56. derek on November 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I recently opened an account with Questrade as a Non-Resident Canadian Citizen. Most brokerages in Canada (and USA for that matter) will NOT open a brokerage account if you are a non-resident of the country where the brokerage firm is domiciled. Questrade accepted me after being vetted by their lawyer in the country I currently reside in. Before I opened the account I asked a lot of questions via chat and email. The reps have been nothing but exceptional with responses to my questions regarding account documentation, fees related to opening the account, trading fees, withholding taxes as a non-resident, etc. My account was opened without problem after all the necessary documents were received. I transferred money internationally without problems. I have since made several trades buying ETFs and individual securities without problems. So far, I am very happy with Questrade’s service and hope it continues.



  57. Kyle on November 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the thorough review Derek – appreciate your unique experience!



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