Table of Contents
Interactive Brokers vs Questrade Comparison
|Commissions: Stocks||Fixed: US Markets $0.005/share - Min $1, Max 1% of trade value (USD)|
Canadian Markets $0.01/share - Min $1, Max 0.5% of trade value (CAD)
Tiered: US Markets - $0.0035 per share on first 300,000 shares (minimum of $0.35), down to $0.0005 for highest volume tier
Maximum of 1% of total trade value
|As low as 1 cent/share (Minimum $4.95 to max of $9.95)|
|Commissions: Options||US Markets|
Fixed: $0.65 per contract - Min $1 (USD)
Varies between $0.15 to $1 per contract depending on volume and type (USD)
|$9.95 plus $1 per contract|
|Commissions: ETFs||Set of no transaction fee US ETFs, all others follow Stocks pricing above.||Free to buy
Sell as low as 1 cent/share (Minimum of $4.95 to max of $9.95)
Various Trust accounts
Corporate and Trust accounts
|Account Currencies||Most major currencies||USD and CAD|
|Fractional Shares||Allowed (Except in RRSP/TFSA)||No|
|Mobile App||IBKR Mobile is available on both iOS and Android. Application user interface is slightly complex, however it is intuitive once you get past the learning curve.||Questrade app available on both iOS and Android. App is user friendly and provides all necessary basic information.|
|Desktop App||Interactivebrokers.ca has a variety of in-depth features for traders to access. These features can be a little complex for beginner traders but are nevertheless very useful for those who understand them.||Questrade.com is an easy to access website that allows clients to quickly view quotes, news, historical info, and charts all on one page.
An advanced version called Questrade IQ Edge has more advanced charts and screeners as well as alerts for stocks that you are tracking.
|Advanced Data Streams||A combination of commissions and amount of equity in your account is used to calculate how much real-time market data is available. The breakdown is available here.||$89.95 fee that gives access to level 1 and 2 data from four Canadian exchanges and nine American exchanges.|
|Research Tools||Variety of research tools are available on the platform. Features such as scanning and back-testing can be done to analyze trades. In addition, news and other stock information is instantly available through partnerships with firms such as Morningstar. Continuously innovating, recently launched the IBKR GlobalAnalyst.||Questrade Market Intelligence - market research tool powered by Morningstar that offers detailed analysis for stocks and ETF.
Questrade Intraday Trader- tool for technical traders who want to visualize graphs and apply techniques to analyze data.
Questrade IPO Centre- bulletin board of up to date news to help inform decision making regarding initial public offerings.
|Consumer Protection (i.e. CIPF)||IIROC and CIPF||IIROC and CIPF|
|Learn More at InteractiveBrokers.ca||Learn More at Questrade.com|
In Canada, a number of online brokerages are available to meet a wide range of trading needs.
Each platform excels in different areas, and knowing which platform is right for your requirements is an important first step for any investor.
In a period where trading has become more widely accessible to the general public, online brokerages are increasingly looking to attract new clients to their platforms.
Details such as ease of use and commission costs all factor into decision making, and understanding the pros and cons of each platform can help make the decision easier.
One of the most well-known brokerages available to Canadians is Interactive Brokers.
Marketed towards slightly more professional traders, Interactive Brokers has a wide range of research tools available for your use while also boasting impressive access to markets worldwide.
In total, Interactive Brokers brings traders the ability to trade in 135 exchanges across 33 countries around the world.
In Canada, the company is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) as well as the Canadian Investors Protection Fund (CIPF).
The American based company has clients in over 200 countries worldwide that use their platform to execute trades on everything from stocks to precious metals.
With over 100 order types, clients on the Interactive Brokers platform are able to trade using a variety of strategies, from simple market orders to much more advanced tactics.
For these reasons, Interactive Brokers has become one of the premier trading platforms in the country.
Questrade is another name that comes up frequently in conversations about the best brokerage for Canadians.
The platform is advertised as a low cost, discount brokerage that is perfect for everyday traders.
One of the biggest selling points of the platform is its ease of use.
For first time investors, the app uses a simple interface to break down information like stock charts, news, and historical data in a way that is easy to understand.
Established in Toronto in 1999, Questrade has offered a wide range of services in Canada throughout the past few decades to meet the changing needs of customers.
Currently, plans which range from basic, enhanced, and advanced are offered to give traders a customized experience meeting their specific needs.
These different tiers ensure that both beginners and seasoned investors have a product that works for them.
Interactive Brokers Highlights
The IBKR platform offers some of the lowest and most competitive commissions in Canada.
Their tiered and fixed pricing options provide you with the flexibility needed to minimize your trading costs.
Their zero commission ETF buying and selling is something that can be taken advantage of by both professional and casual traders.
While other brokerages may offer low or even zero commissions, Interactive Brokers’ tiered pricing system allows all user types to benefit.
Individuals trading millions of shares a month will pay substantially lower fees compared to other platforms.
So whether you’re trading high or low volumes, IBKR has options that can fit anyone.
A second key area where IBKR shines is around the advanced tools they offer.
While the research tools may be hard to pick up at first, mastery of them can be a very powerful instrument for any trader.
From scanning to back-testing, traders who wish to make informed decisions that take into account factors such as price history or news related to the stock can be sure that IBKR has everything that they are looking for.
The brokerage partners with firms such as Morningstar to build reputable financial news and information right into the platform.
And Interactive Brokers is continuously innovating in this space, like with the recent launch of the IBKR GlobalAnalyst.
Seasoned investors are likely to find great value in having this wealth of information at their fingertips.
One of the main benefits all types of traders will appreciate is the ability to open up a large range of accounts.
Aside from the more traditional TFSA and RRSP type accounts, 10 other account types ranging from small business to family office accounts are available.
This level of flexibility is likely to open the door and attract a much wider range of investors into the platform.
While the majority of casual investors are likely to be fine with a limited set of account types, having these additional options can open up additional investment opportunities for those who understand how best to leverage these different accounts.
Lastly, Interactive Brokers caters their services towards more professional traders.
As a result, the user experience has taken a back seat in exchange for a platform that is loaded with advanced features.
The slightly difficult to navigate platform is likely to dissuade amateur investors, but seasoned traders will likely prefer the tradeoff.
While a simpler Interactive Brokers Lite version of the application is available for casual investors in the United States, the option is currently not available in Canada.
The Questrade platform is well suited for casual investors.
For those who do not mind the absence of more advanced features, Questrade offers a user-friendly experience with its simple mobile app and easy to navigate website.
In addition, one feature that many casual traders look for is an easy set up process, which Questrade offers.
While there is a $1,000 account minimum (versus $0 at IBKR), the sign-up process is quick and straightforward.
There are no fees associated with setting up an account, and funding and trading can be done right away.
Aside from the basic free version, Questrade also offers an “Enhanced” account type perfect for those who may be looking to get more information and research tools but are still not high volume, full time traders.
This tier offers real time level 1 live streaming data.
While the account usually costs $19.95 a month, spending $48.95 on commissions will result in a full refund of this monthly fee.
With trades costing $4.95 per transaction, it would be fairly easy for a trader that just trades occasionally to reach this dollar amount.
Considerations When Choosing A Platform
- Advanced traders who trade high volumes will pay very low fees and commissions using the IBKR platform.
- IBKR has been critiqued for having a hard to navigate desktop platform and mobile app. However, this is mainly due to the fact that the IBKR is loaded with features, making the learning curve a little steep.
- Questrade offers clients a platform that is easy to set up and use.
- While many of the features IBKR offers are not available on Questrade, casual investors may find that these additional features are not necessary when beginning to trade.
- Overall, the brokerage you choose will depend on your level of experience and frequency of trading.