Is Questrade really free?

Short Answer

Questrade is a Canadian online broker which provides a range of accounts to investors and traders at a low cost. There are no account opening charges or annual maintenance charges on RRSP or TFSA account, but there are other charges which are applicable such as commissions on executed trades, etc.

Detailed Answer

What is Questrade?

Questrade is a Canadian financial platform that allows you to invest and trade in multiple asset classes under one platform. The platform offers a range of accounts such as Tax-Free Savings Account, Individual Margin Accounts, Registered Retirement Savings Plans, etc.

Is Questrade really free?

Technically Questrade is free as there is no account opening charges or any annual charges for RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) or TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) charges. This makes the platform free to some extent but there are other charges which you have to incur such as commission on buying and selling of shares as well on trading, however, The buying of ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) is free on the platform.

Questrade Account - What are the charges involved?

Questrade offers two plans for traders as well as investors. It provides a dedicated plan for trades as “Active Trader”, where the commissions are low and there is another plan named “Self-Directed Investing” plan which included all the essential features such as margin trading, market data, etc.

1. Active Trader Plan

Under the ‘Active Trader’ plan, it offers two segments, a ‘Fixed plan’ and a ‘Variable plan’

a) Fixed Plan

Under the Fixed Plan, a fixed fee of $4.95 is charged per trade(Buy/Sell) for stocks, For Options, a flat charge of $4.95 plus $0.75 is charged per contract. In the case of ETFs, there is no commission for buying whereas a flat fee of $4.95 is applicable while selling.

b) Variable plan

In the variable plan, the commission rates are different as it is geared more towards small investors who buy and sell in smaller quantities. Here the commission is charged on the number of shares purchased. Here 1 cent is charged per share with a minimum of $0.01 per order and a maximum of $6.95 per order for stocks. A flat rate of $6.95 and an additional $0.75 per contract is charged for Options, and buying ETFs is free under this plan as well and a commission of 1 cent per share is applicable on selling.

Here you have to spend extra to access the live market data which is charged at $89.95 per month to access U.S data, and $89.95 per month for accessing Canadian data. Under this plan, you receive some rebates, depending on the commissions that you generate.

2. Self-Direct Investing Plan

Under the ‘Self-Directed Investing’ plan, the commissions are relatively higher.

The commission on stocks is 1 cent per share, with a maximum of $9.95 per order, For Options, a flat fee of $9.95 plus $1 is charged per contract. ETFs are free to purchase but are chargeable at 1 cent per share on selling with a maximum of $9.94 per order.

Other assets such as mutual funds are chargeable at $9.95 per order, and so on.

Apart from the pricing, the basic Real-Time market data is available for free under this plan whereas you will have to pay $89.95 per month for the advanced data pack to get access to Canadian or U.S data.

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Related FAQs

How can I buy a stock without a broker in Canada?

Canadian citizens above the age of 18 can open a TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) in which you can contribute up to $6000 annually. This can be in the form of stocks or other securities. You can also use an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) where you can contribute a higher sum which will be taxable, unlike the TFSA which is completely exempt from taxes.

How can I buy U.S stocks in Canada?

Canadian citizens can easily purchase U.S stocks. Many online stock brokers provide the facility to invest in US stocks. Questrade and Interactive brokers are some of the brokers who allow foreign investing. Apart from this, there are some other ways to directly as well as indirectly invest in US stocks. One of the non-traditional methods includes the TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) with which you can buy up to $6,000 worth of stocks per year.

Is E*Trade available in Canada?

Currently, Etrade is not available in Canada as the broker operates solely in the U.S. Therefore Canadian citizens cannot open an account with ETrade. The broker used to operate in Canada but stopped its operations after 2008. There are many other low-cost brokers available in Canada such as Questrade that you can consider while opening an account.

Is Virtual Brokers free?

No, Virtual Brokers is not completely free. Only the account opening and maintenance is free but there are multiple other charges that you will have to incur. There are platform charges for using the advanced trading platform that it offers. Similarly, you will have to pay commissions on the trades that you execute on the platform. Apart from that, there are also some additional administrative and market data fees that you will have to pay while using Virtual Brokers.

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How do I avoid Questrade fees?

The standard commissions that are charged by the platform cannot be evaded but you can save some of the additional charges in exchange fees or advance market data charges, you can get a full rebate on the market data charges by generating a certain amount of brokerage every month.

Is Questrade good for beginners?

Yes, Questrade provides an easy-to-use platform and gives access to many features that's easy to understand and perform, making it a good platform for new as well as seasoned investors. The platform contains an array of features that is suitable for beginners such as a simple interface, virtual trading facility, etc.

Is day trading legal in Canada?

Day trading is completely legal in Canada. Although Canadian brokers don’t require any minimum capital to start trading, unlike the U.S where brokers demand a minimum Capital of $25,000. The tax implications of day-trading are different from buying and selling regular shares.