Investing > Questrade Review

Questrade Review

Whether it’s great trading platforms or competitive prices, Questrade has it all. The broker offers a rich uite of research tools suitable for pros and beginners alike.

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Being recognized as one of Canada’s best-managed companies 8 years in a row is quite an accomplishment, especially in the super-competitive world of brokers.

Questrade has been on an upward spiral these past few years, spicing up their offer with cool, modern platforms and racking up over 50,000 customers every year.

The offer is competitive in just about every aspect here, and the company has also decided to treat itself to a banking license for its 21st birthday, it seems. That’s exactly what every 21-year-old brokerage firm should get from its executives when it grows to adulthood.

As a whole, Questrade is a broker with few weaknesses. The intuitive trading platforms and good prices supplemented by research capabilities that will give most competitors a run for their money. On the other hand, educational resources are lacking in content and can be used only as a basic introduction to trading. This broker caters to the Canadian audience, providing them with a better service in some areas.

Fast Facts

  • Regulation: IIROC (Canada)
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Demo account: Yes
  • Asset coverage: CFDs, Forex, Spreads, Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options
  • Best for: Traders from Canada, looking for an intuitive platform and good prices

Ratings

  • Commissions & Fees: 9/10
  • Investment Selection: 6/10
  • Account Options & Features: 6.5/10
  • Usability: 7/10
  • Educational Resources: 4/10
  • Customer Service: 7/10
  • Overall: 6.5/10
Open Account on Questrade’s website

Investor Warning: There are risks associated with using an Internet-based trading system. These include the failure of hardware, software and Internet connection. Questrade does not control signal power, reception or routing on the Internet, configuration of your equipment or reliability of its connection. We cannot, therefore, be responsible for communication failures, distortions or delays when trading via the Internet. Questrade Inc. employs back-up systems and contingency plans to minimize the possibility of system failure.

The company was innovative in 1999 when it got its hands on high-speed internet, and is still innovative now, developing new tools and platforms, and keeping their overall offer interesting with original user experience ideas.

Despite the growth and accolades Questrade has gotten over the years, the brokerage isn’t perfect and it is not for everyone. Let’s see if this intriguing, modern online brokerage suits your tastes and needs.

What is Questrade?

Questrade is a Canadian online brokerage platform established in 1999 and owned by its parent company, Questrade Financial Group Inc.

The parent company offers financial services to a global audience through its subsidiaries Questrade, Questrade Wealth Management Inc., Community Trust Company Ltd., and Questrade USA Inc.

The brokerage has around $9 billion in assets under administration and hundreds of thousands of users, mostly from Canada.

For the last 8 years, Questrade has held the title of Canada’s best-managed company, as well as other awards, and is also one of the fastest-growing brokers with tens of thousands of new accounts opened every year.

Summary and Overview

  1. A broker with a long track record and a good reputation in Canada.
  2. Be careful, as Questrade doesn’t provide users with negative balance protection.
  3. There are many different account types, however, the minimum deposit is high, and non-Canadian clients will likely find it very complicated to open an account.
  4. The pricing is competitive with no-commission trades and ways to get discounted prices overall.
  5. An impressive assortment of trading platforms that are very easy to use.
  6. Outstanding research with powerful analytical tools and great third-party news providers.
  7. The educational resources are lacking and provide only the basic tutorials.

Is Questrade Safe? Is it Legit?

After more than 20 years of existence, Questrade has built up a good reputation as an online broker.

The company is regulated by the tier-1 regulator Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which are some of the top financial authorities in Canada.

Unlike Questrade, most top-level brokers are under the supervision of 2 or 3 tier-1 regulators, however, the company’s track record is very much clean and serves as a good argument for its trustworthiness.

Brokers that offer forex and CFDs usually provide investor protection to clients, and Questrade does an especially good job in this department. Basically, if the company should fail due to bankruptcy, or some other such event, clients are guaranteed up to $1 million CAD coverage, courtesy of CIPF.

On top of that, Canadian clients get and an extra level of insurance of up to $10 million CAD in case the company defaults, so yeah… You probably won’t lose money if the company goes bust, as the insurance is just too good.

As is the case with the majority of brokers, you’ll likely find online forums where Questrade is firmly criticized for poor management and downright accused of scamming its users.

Some of these accusations may be unfounded, but the company has indeed had a few bouts of shady behavior in the recent past. One such example is the incident in 2017 when one of the company’s subsidiaries, Questrade Wealth Management Inc. paid $2.9 million to settle a serious allegation.

Apparently, QWM failed to recognize and properly respond to conflicts of interest while selling some ETFs to another Canadian company, WisdomTree Asset Management Inc.

Incidents like this tend to look deliberate, but QWM cleared its name by voluntarily paying the fee quickly and by buying $15 million in WisdomTree ETFs.

Something You Should Know Before Trading

You can get in trouble if you’re not careful for two main reasons:

Questrade does not offer negative balance protection, which means that you can end up owing money to the company if you make enough bad trades. In this case, Questrade can sell the assets from your portfolio as they see fit to get their money back, but will warn you to settle your debt beforehand.

Also, trading CFDs is inherently risky, and 74-89% of investors lose money when trading CFDs with this broker. Make sure you know what you’re doing before trading CFDs with Questrade.

Account Types

Questrade offers dozens of specialized account types, which is a good thing and a nuisance at the same time. Let’s see what account best suits your trading strategy.

Margin Accounts

The main perk of the Margin Account is the higher leverage to invest in ETFs, stocks, options, and other products. You can also open a joint margin account, that allows you to retain all the perks of an individual account, with the added ability to pool funds from more users.

There’s one very important factor to keep in mind here. Questrade doesn’t automatically exchange currencies on margin accounts, rather, the broker will give you a loan.

For example, if you want to buy US securities, you need USD, and if you only have CAD on your account, your Canadian Dollars won’t be exchanged into US Dollars. Rather, you’ll be given a loan in USD, equal to the amount of money you need for that security.

Be careful here, as you can get in debt if you aren’t aware of this detail, and of course, there’s also the interest that can range from 3% to 6% roughly.

Savings Accounts

There are multiple paths to take if you want to open a savings account with Questrade. The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is the most popular choice, as it doesn’t incur annual fees, and lets your money grow without getting taxed.

Registered Retirement Savings Account (RRSA) is made for, you guessed it, retirement savings. There are no annual fees as well, and all your regular contributions benefit from tax deductions.

Questrade Retirement Portfolios
Questrade offers the savings accounts that don’t require fees.

A good way to save up for your kids’ college fees is the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), as all deposits are taxed at a much lower rate, and there are occasional free government grants that can boost the growth of your balance.

There’s also the family version of this account, which is basically the same thing, but for multiple children or beneficiaries. Also, note that Questrade’s Savings Accounts are for Canada-based clients only.

Forex and CFD Accounts

Like with some other brokers, you can open an account for trading forex and CFDs. Through this account, you can access the global markets and trade 24 hours a day, depending on when the markets you like are open.

There’s also the option to create a joint forex and CFD account, which allows you to share the joy of trading with a partner or family member, as well as pool contributions so your trades have more of an oomph.

Entity Accounts

Institutional traders will probably like the Corporate Account, which gives them access to the full range of investment types, as well as lowered, corporate taxes.

Alternatively, there’s also the Investment Club Account which allows up to 10 people to work together and pool funds for bigger investments. However, these two accounts are available for Canadian clients only.

Trust Accounts

The Individual Informal Trust account doesn’t require any formal documentation or trust agreement, as it is meant for people who want to trade on the behalf of a minor.

The account is a great way for parents to make trades for their children since the account is easy to make and has no restrictions on the number of order types or features in general. Also, you can make a joint version of this account if you want to pool funds and share this responsibility with your significant other.

A bit more strict version of the trust account is the Formal Trust account. This account has all the same features as the aforementioned informal trust, but this is a legally binding account and you can have more than one beneficiary. Also, there’s no joint version of this account.

How to Open an Account With Questrade

Getting an account up and running is really easy and fully digital for Canadian users, in total, the entire process should take about 30 minutes. There are a few steps you need to complete before your account is completed and you can start trading.

Questrade Account Setup
If you want to open an account on the Questrade platform it’s good to know that you can do that with zero effort.

First, choose an account type you want, or if you’re up for it, creating multiple accounts at the same moment is also possible. Then you need to add the typical personal information, including your country of residence, citizenship, employment information, and social insurance number.

After that, just review the data, verify, and accept the terms and conditions, and you’re almost done. Finally, you just need to make a required initial deposit of $1,000, which is a lot higher than most brokers, and that’s it.

It’s a very simple account creation process for Canadians, but not so much for international clients. As a non-Canadian client, you actually need to meet up with the brokerage’s agent in real life to get your documentation verified, after which you need to send your physical documents to the company through the mail.

This is quite a hassle, and the entire process will likely take around a week or two, so being a Canadian citizen is definitely an advantage in this case. Also, since there’s a ton of different accounts with specific characteristics, it’s probably a good idea to look at the list on the company’s website in order to get a fuller picture of the offer.

Where Questrade Shines

Pricing

One of the perks of trading with Questrade is the low prices, especially when it comes to stocks and ETFs. Users also have the option to upgrade their pricing scheme to the “Active Trader” package, which will give them lower prices for a fixed initial and monthly fees.

AssetsCost
Stocks$0.01 per share min. $4.95, max. $9.95
ETFsFree min. $4.95, max. $9.95
Options$9.95 + $1 per contract
Mutual Funds$9.95 per trade
EUR/USDAvg. spread cost is 1.7 pips

Trading fees can be lowered if you have the Active Trader pricing package, which will incur a monthly fee of 89.95 CAD if you want the Canadian version or for 98.95 USD for the US version.

Setting up alerts and notifications is super easy, and you can have price and trading volume alerts sent to you via email or SMS. Reading through your portfolio is very easy and understandable as well, however, this level of simplicity comes with a price.

Questrade Active Trader Package
The Active Trader package offers low prices and you can set up advanced options for a small additional fee.

You can’t figure out how much of your money went to commissions based on the platform’s limited fee report feature, which can be a real pain for traders who want to calculate their profits and expenditures in detail.

Whatsmore, the login process only has one step, meaning your account is a lot less protected than an account with two-step authentication. All in all, Questrade Trader is a fantastically user-friendly piece of software that’s great for casual traders, but it lacks advanced research functions and customizability.

IQ Edge

If you like a more feature-rich platform with a lot more research capability, then you’ll probably opt for Questrade’s desktop-based platform. The downloadable IQ Edge offers the same features and ease-of-use as its web-based counterpart, plus a little something extra.

IQ Edge has additional features like more charting tools with save-able layouts, advanced order types, and is much more customizable than its web-based counterpart. Whatsmore, clear fee reports with detailed commission fee data are available, and the search function provides more useful information.

As the most complex piece of software that Questrade has to offer, this platform caters to advanced traders who will make full use of the fantastic research tools and data provided on IQ Edge.

However, like Questrade Trading, the downloadable platform also lacks two-step authentication, which is one of the few things that makes this great platform look less impressive.

Questrade FX Global

Unlike the previous two platforms, this one is used for CFD and forex trading. You can get access to 15 global markets through FX Global, and trade products with up to 1:40 leverage.

This platform has a desktop version, as well as an elegantly designed mobile app, and offers a similar interface and access to research sources as the other platforms in Questrade’s repertoire.

If you’re interested in forex and CFDs, you can only do it through this platform, and if you’re investing in products like stocks or ETFs, you have to do it through one of the other platforms.

This separation is a real nuisance for traders who want to do both at the same time, because shuffling between two platforms is a good way to lose attention and make a mistake, and we don’t want that, especially when money is involved.

Mobile Platform

Accessibility and intuitive design are the common features of all Questrade’s platforms, and the mobile app is no exception. The app is available on Android and iOS, and it offers just about the exact same set of features as the web-based platform.

Questrade Mobile App
The Questrade mobile app was designed to provide you with all the options that the web-based platform offers.

So basically, it is extremely easy to use and has alerts, charting, etc. The app also syncs with all other platforms, and all changes made in one platform are translated onto its counterpart very quickly.

Something You Should Know About the Platforms

One of the most common complaints you’ll find about Questrade on online forums is that the platforms crash often and reject orders due to technical difficulties. This is one such example, where a trader was damaged because of technical difficulties that Questrade doesn’t want to take responsibility for.

Active traders rely on a stable network connection and fast execution, and can not afford to have their platform crash while they are in the middle of a big trade that has to be resolved quickly. If you’re a very active trader, keep this in mind, as there are more than a few complaints like this on the internet.

Range of Offerings

If you can think it, you can trade it with Questrade. Well… Except for cryptocurrencies and futures. Almost all investment types are on the menu with this broker, but only from the US and Canadian markets, however, these markets are usually more than enough for most mere mortals.

If you’re a forex trader focused on the North American market, this might be a place for you, because Questrade allows users to trade on most stock exchanges on the continent.
All in all, this is what you can trade:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Forex
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CFDs
  • Options

Although all major currency pairs are available, you won’t find any exotic pairs on Questrade. In essence, the company is geared towards traders focused on the North American market, and it does a pretty good job of offering a huge variety of products to its target audience.

However, If you want a suite of products that’s arguably even better, maybe you should take a look at Interactive Brokers, which is one of the best all-around brokerages nowadays. Alternatively, if you like cryptos, which are not available here, a forex broker like eToro might suit you better.

Research & News

Now, research is one of Questrades finest qualities. The company offers a vast selection of handy research and analysis tools as well as some top-level news and data that will probably satisfy even the most nitpicky traders.

All the platforms have simple, clean charting tools, but the most advanced are the ones on the desktop platform with more than 30 indicators. This is not a high number, as some competitors have close to 100 indicators on their platforms, but the charting tools work great in conjunction with the data available on Questrade.

Questrade Research Tools
When it comes to research resources, Questrade offers a wide range of different research tools.

The company offers four market data packages to users for a price. These are the Basic, Enhanced, Advanced US and Advanced Canadian packages, which provide valuable info on North-American markets to users.

Moreover, users of the web platform have access to analysis reports provided by Morningstar, as well as a great fundamental research tool called Market Intelligence. This tool will give you a deeper insight into markets and companies through annual and quarterly financial statements, sector analysis, filings and insider trading overview.

The news feed is also top-notch, as it is streamed in real-time and easy to read. The information on display here includes news from credible third-party sources like Business Wire and Canada Newswire, and you can apply filters so that you can get the news that’s relevant for you.

Also, the platforms are integrated with Stocktwists, which is basically Twitter for investors, as well as a great tool for exchanging relevant ideas and picking up on new trading strategies. Tech-savvy users can also find something to keep them busy here because Questrade provides its API service in C# and C++.

Advanced traders might also like the P&L Calculator, which can determine probabilities based on inputs including price level, strategy, volatility, etc.

All in all, Questrade doesn’t joke around when it comes to research, as it provides an extensive suite of tools and information that is sure to pique the interest of pro traders and beginners alike. The analytic capability traders have with these tools is awesome, and the company stands among the top dogs of the industry when it comes to research and data.

Where Questrade Can Improve

Education

The offer of education on Questrade is best suited for new traders who want to learn the basics and get some practice through the platform’s demo account.

The bulk of Questrades educational resources are in the “How To” section on their website, where you can find a bundle of articles explaining the fundamentals of investing.

The entire section could be structured a lot better, but there’s a search function that’s very handy if you’re looking for a specific article. The company also has a very nice blog on the website, and honestly, it’s full of very interesting articles and worth checking out.

On the other hand, if you want tutorial videos, you can find some on Questrade’s Youtube Channel. You can find somewhere over 50 short videos explaining fundamental trading concepts if you go to the “Playlists” tab and open the “Trading: getting started” playlist.

Aside from this, Questrade’s educational video content is rare because webinars and live events are not held very frequently, however, at least they’re all free to watch on the company’s Youtube channel.

The company also has ebooks on topics like options trading, but aside from that, the only remaining, and probably the best educational resource offered by Questrade is the demo account.

Using Questrade’s demo account, you can trade in a realistic, simulated market with virtual money. This feature is great for trying out the platform, as well as testing the theoretical knowledge you got from reading articles without the risk of losing money.

The demo account starts with $500,000 and is only available as a simulation of the margin account, which is not perfect if you are interested in one of the other account types but still, it will help you learn how to use the platform.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive education to sharpen your investing skills, there are many better alternatives. For example, if forex trading is your game, you should take a look at AvaTrade, which is also super popular in Canada.

If you’re not a forex person, you can get a fantastic education with City Index. This broker has well-produced video courses that can take a newbie from zero to hero in no time and is definitely worth checking out.

Customer Service

The company’s representatives are available via phone, email, and live chat 5 days a week and are very courteous and competent in general.

Customer support agents can answer all typical questions regarding opening an account, Questrades offer, etc. but take a bit more time when faced with more complex questions, which is what you get from most brokers anyway.

Getting in touch with a representative through phone and live chat takes a few minutes, which is perfectly reasonable, but getting a response to your emails might take up to 3 working days, and that can be delayed even further because they don’t work during weekends.

The customer service isn’t perfect, as it has normal working hours, and isn’t available 24/7, however, the representatives do a very good job overall and seem to put in effort and attention when responding to clients’ queries.

The Bottom Line

Questrade is a great broker that primarily caters to its Canadian clientele and offers a good overall service with a few flaws. Especially noteworthy are the company’s easy-to-use trading platforms, powerful research, and competitive pricing, which is where the broker gets the most praise from users.

The educational resources are subpar when compared to the competition, and traders have to be careful when trading here since Questrade does not offer negative balance protection, which means that enough bad trades can get you in debt.

All in all, this innovative broker offers an impressive suite of services and is worth checking out, especially if you’re Canadian.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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