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With the stock market pushing all-time highs and the recent Reddit mania, it’s no coincidence that investing has increased in popularity and resulted in more people looking for a free trading app like Robinhood Canada.
The Canadian equivalent to Robinhood is Wealthsimple Trade. (Current Promo: $50 Cash Bonus)
Unfortunately, Wealthsimple Trade does not allow users to trade options – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
If you are looking for a low-fee trading platform that offers the ability to trade stocks, options, and other asset classes along with access to free research tools, then Interactive Brokers might be a better fit for you.
Is Robinhood Canada Available?
No, you cannot use Robinhood in Canada. Only United States citizens, United States permanent residents or those with a valid United States visa can sign up for a Robinhood account.
Is Robinhood coming to Canada?
There hasn’t been any official announcement from Robinhood that they’ll be coming to Canada.
In the United States, Charles Schwab, SoFi and many others offer $0 trades, however Canada has not seen a similar trend.
Robinhood did announce plans to enter the UK market last year, however global expansion plans have since been put on hold.
Alternatives To Robinhood In Canada
The best alternative for Canadians is Wealthsimple Trade which is a similar zero commission trading app and is offering a $50 cash bonus when you fund your account.
Various other discount brokerage options are also available to Canadians if you’re looking for more features.
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New: National Bank Direct Brokerage is now offering $0 commission trades. We’ll share more information after we have a chance to do an in-depth review of the platform.
How The Robinhood Substitutes Stack Up
|Promotion:||$50 cash bonus||Not Available for Canadians||NA|
|Commissions: Stocks||$0||$0||Fixed Structure:
$0.005 USD per share for US stocks
$0.01 CAD per share for CAD stocks
Minimum commission of $1 per trade
|Commissions: Options||N/A||$0||US: Depends on the premium and ranges between $0.25 – $0.65 USD per contract with a minimum per order of $1 USD|
|Commissions: ETFs||$0||$0||List of US ETFs are commission free, transaction fees paid by client|
|Investment Types||Stocks, ETFs, & cryptocurrency through WS Crypto||Options, Stocks, ETFs, & cryptocurrency through RH Crypto||Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, FOPs, Warrants, Structured Products, SSFs, Currencies, Metals, Indices, Fixed income, Mutual funds
|Account Types||TFSA, RRSP, & non-registered cash accounts||Personal Cash & Margin||Cash, Margin, RRSP, TFSA, Individual, Joint, Trust, Family Account, Professional Advisor|
|Account Currencies||CAD & USD|
(USD account available through Plus subscription)
|USD||Most Major Currencies|
|Desktop App||Recently released||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced Data Streams & Research Tools||Limited|
Plus Subscription ($10/month) provides real-time snap quotes
|Level II Market Data & Professional Research|
(gold account needed)
|Advanced research, trading, and monitoring tools available, recently launched IBKR GlobalAnalyst|
|Account Protection||CIPF up to $1 million||SIPC up to $500,000||CIPF up to $1 million|
By now the majority of Canadians have heard of Wealthsimple.
Their initial offering, Wealthsimple Invest, brought the phrase robo advisor to the main stream.
Their new offering, Wealthsimple Trade, is a free app that’s the most similar thing to the Robinhood mobile app that’s available to Canadians.
Wealthsimple Trade allows Canadians to buy and sell thousands of stocks and ETFs on major Canadian and US stock exchanges.
Wealthsimple Inc. has been around since 2014 and boasts 175,000 customers who’ve invested over $5 billion. (including their robo advisor business)
They’ve also recently introduced Wealthsimple Crypto with the aim to become a central piece of Canadians’ investing strategy.
They are a division of Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc. who are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
- Stocks: $0
- ETFs: $0
- Free trades: Zero commissions, zero nonsense approach
- No account minimum is required, open a cash account with as little as you want and get started
- Intuitive mobile app, very easy to get started online
- Account types available include individual non-registered cash accounts, TFSAs and RRSPs
- Instantly Transfer up to $1,500 from your bank account every 3 business days
- Plus Subscription costing $10 per month that enables real-time market data through snap quotes and increases your instant transfer limit to $5,000 every 3 business days, as well as the highly anticipated introduction of USD Accounts, thus allowing you to buy, sell, and hold US equities without worrying about racking up foreign exchange currency fees. (Non-subscribers still receive market data delayed 15 minutes)
- NEW: Purchase Fractional Shares for certain Canadian and US companies
- Only Canadian dollar account options are available so if you are looking to trade stocks or build your ETF portfolio in USD you will be charged 1.5% on the conversion each time you buy and sell – while other players in the online brokerage arena charge a conversion fee as well, the difference is that Wealthsimple does not allow you to hold, deposit or withdraw funds in USD, so you’ll be paying that conversion fee on every USD denominated trade – again, this isn’t a deal breaker, it just depends on how you will be using the platform(Note: This can finally be mitigated with a USD account through the Plus Subscription)
- No ability to trade Options
or buy fractional shares
- No advanced features, however this aligns with their target market for this product
IB was ranked by Barron’s as the best online broker in 2021, increasing in rank from their tie for the top spot in 2020.
IB has been around for decades and their Canadian offering has been available for many years.
Offering various account types, both registered and non-registered accounts, including TFSA and RRSP account options.
They also offer a robust set of market research tools, including their recently launched IBKR GlobalAnalyst and a variety of market data subscriptions.
Their Canadian headquarters are in Montreal and they are a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
Trading fees under their fixed commissions structure: $0.005 USD per share for US stocks
$0.01 CAD per share for CAD stocks
Minimum commission of $1 per trade
For higher volume traders, they offer a tiered commissions structure.
US: Depends on the premium and ranges between $0.25 – $0.65 USD per contract with a minimum per order of $1 USD, price goes down if your monthly volume is higher
Canadian: Starts at $1.25 CAD per contract, minimum per order of $1.50 CAD, price goes down if your monthly volume is higher
- ETFs: Some US ETFs are available commission free however transaction fees may be passed on to you
- Low commissions, will probably work out positive for most folks vs other brokerages however they’re volume based so they can actually become more expensive if you trade high volumes
- Ability to purchase fractional shares, not offered by most other brokerages in Canada
- Interest rate to borrow on margin accounts is one of the lowest in the industry
- Interest paid to you on uninvested cash account balance is one of the highest in the industry
- IB SmartRouting technology aims to get you the best possible price at the time of execution – Learn more here as well as robust trading tools
- Customer support is available 24 hours a day by phone and live chat on business days in addition to the ability to email IB as well.
- RSP accounts are $12.50 CAD quarterly and will also be charged $50 CAD fee for withdrawal/deregisration
- $10 USD activity fee per each account – Calculated as $10 USD subtract any commissions from trades you made or completely waived if you have an account balance of $100,000 USD. If your balance is less than $2,000 USD, the fee is $20 USD subtract any commissions
QT has become a strong player in the Canadian online brokerage space over the last decade.
Offering both self-directed investing and their Questwealth Portfolios, Questrade strives to offer lower fees than its competitors.
QT has a variety of registered and non registered accounts available to Canadians to meet the needs of every investor.
Boasting 50,000 accounts opened every year, 21 years in the Canadian market and as a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), Questrade has $9 billion in assets under administration. (Stats as per the Questrade website)
Questrade strives to make opening a brokerage account online as simple and fast as possible.
- Stocks: 1 cent per share with a minimum of $4.95 per trade and maximum of $9.95 (+ exchange and ECN fees if applicable)
- Options: $9.95 per trade + $1 per contract (+ exchange and ECN fees if applicable)
- ETFs: Buying is free, selling is the same price as stocks but can be lower if you have an advanced market data package
- Low trading fees vs the bank brokerages
- Desktop app, mobile app and advanced trading app
- Availability of advanced data streams and trading tools
- NEW (June 1, 2021): Instant deposit is now available up to $3,500 using a Visa Debit card
- Account minimum of $1,000 to begin trading, may be slightly high for beginners
- Questrade used to charge inactivity fees, they removed this last October
Commission Free Trading in Canada
While there is a lot of discussion around US based apps such as Robinhood, it’s important to note that Canadians are just as interested in getting in on the action.
Once upon a time you needed a decent sum of money in a trading account with a bank, possibly even a broker executing trades on your behalf, investing in the stock market has become much more accessible over the past few years and Canadians are taking notice.
While Canada lags behind in zero fee options trading, the demand for the platform and similar alternatives is very high.
The desire for Canadians to be able to trade from their mobile devices looks to only be increasing, while the barrier to entry is at the lowest it’s ever been.
Advancements in technology have made it possible to buy and sell on the stock market from the palm of your hand and Robinhood has become a household name in a short period of time, even in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Robinhood?
- Robinhood is a zero commission trading platform that boasts over 13 million users. The company allows users to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin without any fees on their laptop or mobile device through a very easy-to-use app.
When was Robinhood founded?
- Robinhood was founded in 2013 with $3 million in seed round funding. Robinhood has a number of notable angel investors, including the well-known Jason Calacanis.
What is the equivalent of Robinhood in Canada?
- The equivalent to Robinhood in Canada is Wealthsimple Trade. Wealthsimple offers a commission-free trading platform for Canadians with a mobile app and desktop platform.
Is Day Trading Legal in Canada?
- Yes, day trading of stocks is legal in Canada. While in the US you need a minimum of $25,000 to day trade, Canada does not have a government-set minimum.
Why is there no Robinhood in Canada?
- There are a few reasons why Robinhood is not available in Canada. One reason is that Canadian securities regulations are much more stringent than those in the United States, making it difficult for a company like Robinhood to operate there. Additionally, the Canadian market is much smaller than the U.S. market, so it would be more difficult for Robinhood to make money in Canada.
Is Wealthsimple same as Robinhood?
- Wealthsimple and Robinhood are both investment platforms, but they have different features. Wealthsimple offers more comprehensive services, such as personalized financial planning and automatic portfolio rebalancing. Robinhood is more geared towards people who want to invest in individual stocks.
Can I trade options in Canada?
- Yes, you can trade options in Canada. However, you must be approved by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to do so. The CSA is a national organization that regulates the securities industry in Canada.
How can I invest in US stocks from Canada?
- There are a few different ways to invest in US stocks from Canada. You can open a US brokerage account and buy stocks directly, or you can invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that invests in US stocks. Another option is to use a Canadian broker that offers access to US exchanges, such as Questrade.