I recently switched our investment accounts to Questrade (thanks to Million Dollar Journey’s referral and review) and thought I would add my two cents on my experience so far. To be honest, I was attracted to Questrade by their ultra-low commissions. Questrade has two commission plans: you can either opt for the flat $9.95 plan or if you usually transact less than 1000 shares, you could opt for the cheaper $4.95 plan. As I only buy stocks like VTI (trading at around $145), VEA (trading around $48) and some of the Canadian blue chip companies, I would typically be paying only $4.95 for making a trade.
- Low commissions. $4.95 per trade is very attractive considering that I was paying $29 at the big bank brokerage.
- Opening an account was straightforward and intuitive. Transferring securities and cash in-kind was smooth.
- Questrade offers live help via chat that is very useful if you work with computers in a cubicle. You can get your queries answered while working instead of waiting on the phone for a customer rep. I have been able to get help whenever I needed it and almost always the issues have been resolved.
- The 1% fee charged on foreign exchange transactions is comparable to major competitors.
- As the broker’s target audience seem to be traders and not investors, there is a learning curve involved in using the trading platform.
- Questrade does not offer EFT transfer for US dollar funds. To move US dollar funds you have to write a cheque that takes as long as 20 days to clear or request a cheque and then make a visit to your bank to deposit it. It is a mystery why Questrade cannot offer EFT transfers when E*Trade does.
- When you open an account with Questrade, you will have to remember three passwords: one each for MyQuestrade (for adding, withdrawing, exchanging funds, requesting help etc.), WebTrader (the trading platform) and Penson Financial (for accessing account history etc.).
If you are willing to put up with some quirks, Questrade’s low commissions might make a switch worthwhile if you are paying $29 at your current broker. You may also want to check out the reviews of other discount brokers: BMO InvestorLine, Credential Direct, Qtrade, RBC Direct, Scotia Direct and TD Waterhouse.
[Update: Frustrated with Questrade's customer service representatives, who couldn't promptly fix an error on their part, I moved out of Questrade in a few months.]