Questrade is an online discount brokerage where you can buy and sell financial securities like stocks and ETFs. I have been using Questrade for 10 years (!!) and hold both registered and unregistered accounts with them! This Questrade review shares my experience with this online discount brokerage.
Questrade Review Summary
In a hurry? Here’s what you need to know about investing with Questrade.
- get $50 in free trades when you open an account
- only need $1,000 to get started!
- registered (RRSP, TFSA, RESP) and unregistered accounts available
- low trading commissions on stocks & free to buy ETFs
- both DIY investing or managed portfolios available
- options trading and margin accounts available
- technical support slightly slower than competitors
- need to understand the stock market to manage your portfolio
- Questrade is 100% online so need to fund account by eTransfers
A 100% honest Questrade Review
Many people are wary about managing their own investment portfolios, and the very first hurdle they encounter is setting up a brokerage account. This is a legitimate fear, particularly when it comes to online brokerages, as there are plenty of scam platforms out there. Questrade is a legitimate, licensed Canadian brokerage account. You can verify their registration on the Canadian Securities Commission website, aretheyregistered.ca!
This post is not sponsored by Questrade but I am an affiliate. This means if you sign up using one of the links below I do get a small payout for that! However, you’ll also get $50 deposited in your Questrade account for signing up.
Best features of Questrade
Opening an account with Questrade is easy and affordable. You can do it entirely online, and it only takes $1,000 to start your account. Many other brokerages require $5,000 or even $10,000 to get started, so Questrade is a better choice for most young people who know they should be investing but haven’t saved up a ton of money yet to begin.
If you sign up for Questrade using my link, you’ll get $50 in free trades.
Low-cost stock trading and free ETF purchases
The best features of Questrade are low trading commissions. Buying and selling stocks on Questrade is only about $5 or $6 depending on the trade and ETFs are free to buy! If you’re a new trader, or just an average person that’s not moving tens of thousands of dollars around each trade, keeping your fees low is super important. Questrades low fees let me grow my portfolio more quickly because I can buy small amounts of stock or only a few ETFs at a time.
The Questwealth portfolios
Questrade also offers managed portfolios, if you don’t want to manage your portfolio yourself. Their Questwealth portfolios are their robo-advisor arm that will automatically invest for you. There are 5 different Questwealth portfolios, based on your risk tolerance and investment goals. You’ll answer a few questions to determine which is best for you, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Having both self-directed investing and robo-advising services in one place is a great feature of Questrade. You can take advantage of both: keeping some money in your own hands while also taking advantage of Questwealth. You don’t need to have just one investment portfolio! And Questrade is a great place to keep all you portfolios to meet your financial goals.
Questrade TFSA, RRSP, RESP, and margin accounts
You can have multiple investing accounts with Questrade. They offer all registered accounts such as the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), and Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). They also offer unregistered accounts for trading, as well as margin accounts. You cannot trade on a margin in the RRSP, TFSA, or RESP, but Questrade does let you leverage the power of your TFSA for margin trading.
A margin account is a brokerage account that lets you make trades using borrowed money. While this is a risky investment strategy, it can help magnify gains for experienced traders. For example, say there is a stock you want to buy for because you think it will go up in price. You have $1,000 but you borrow $4,000 in your margin account to purchase $5,000 of the stock. Your investment rapidly grows to $6,000! You sell the security, return the borrowed $4,000, and keep $2,000 for yourself. Even though you only had $1,000 of your own money to start with, you now have earned an additional $1,000! Note that margin trading typically has higher fees, and you pay interest on the amount you borrow to trade.
Questrade TFSA Margin Power
One of the best features of Questrade is you can leverage the cash in your Questrade TFSA to trade in your margin account. This is called Questrade Margin Power.
Margin Power gives you more margin buying power in your margin account, based on the cash in your TFSA. You do not need to transfer any money or securities from your TFSA to your margin account. Instead, Margin Power simply reads the balance of your Questrade TFSA and gives you trading power in your margin account based on that balance.
Margin power is like a form of overdraft protection. It lets Questrade know you’re good for the trades you make in your margin account because you have money set aside in your TFSA. If you make any withdrawals from your TFSA, your Questrade margin power will decrease. Continue to contribute to your TFSA, and your Questrade margin power will go up! Your TFSA must be with Questrade in order to use Margin Power. It will not connect to a TFSA at another bank or brokerage.
Questrade Review: portfolio performance tracking and tools
Questrade will track your portfolio performance for you, whether you choose the Portfolio IQ option or you invest totally on your own. They’ll give you a summary of your accounts on your dashboard, as well as more detailed analysis of your performance over time in each portfolio.
The website and the trading platform are very easy to navigate. You can readily pull reports to show your contribution history, dividends earned from stocks, and more. Your T5 forms for unregistered will be available in your Questrade account at tax time, too. When it comes to buying and selling securities, it is very easy to look them up and view key statistics before you make a purchase. Questrade will also let you create a watch list, where you can place stocks you have your eye on but aren’t ready to purchase yet!
Questrade trading tools
One of the things Questrade does really well is their trading dashboard. You can easily add stocks to your watch list, view historical performance charts, and do multiple analyses on securities. You can even get access to current news articles and analyst recommendations directly in Questrade’s trading platform. In other words, you can do ALL your research as well as your trading all in one place!
Drawbacks & Downsides of Questrade
It’s not a real Questrade review if we don’t also review the downsides. Questrade’s low fees come from its low overhead costs. One of the things that is often criticized with Questrade, though I have had no personal issues with, is their support team. They are often flagged as taking a few minutes longer than industry competitors. I personally have found it very easy to connect with someone from Questrade on the phone and have my issues resolved.
My personal beef with Questrade is that it can sometimes take a long time for deposits to my daughter’s RESP to clear or for her CESG match to come through. Initially, when I set up the account, I was quoted 7-9 weeks for the first CESG deposit. Right now my contributions to her RESP generally show up within 1-3 business days, and her CESG match is deposited 2 weeks later at the end of the month. I don’t know if the lag is from Questrade or if this is true of all RESP accounts. I do know that money deposited into my TFSA or RRSP shows up the next day, which is much faster!
How to make the most out of Questrade
My Questrade review can be summarized simply: Questrade is an awesome low-commission trading brokerage that is perfect for your investments. This is a great option for people that want to manage their own portfolios or have a robo-advisor do it for them.
Questrade is an awesome place to keep long-term investments like your retirement nest egg or your child’s college fund. This is where you want to keep money you’re using to grow your lifetime wealth. Questrade, and investing in the stock market in general, is not the right place for your emergency fund or other cash you may need to spend on something else.
I hope you enjoy Questrade as much as I do! Leave a comment below letting me know what you’re investing for, and if there are any other financial reviews you’d like me to do next!