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With the introduction of the internet and smartphones, investing has become accessible to the general public. All it takes for an investor to start is to open an account with a trading platform, transfer money, and start trading securities like stocks, exchange traded funds, and mutual funds .
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With so many brokerage options, it can become difficult to select the best one for your needs. In this article, we are going to compare two of the most popular platforms in Canada: Scotia iTrade vs Questrade. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and choosing the right one will depend on factors such as your trading strategy and time horizon.
Questrade is an online broker that offers both a self directed investing option and a robo advisor option with prebuilt exchange traded funds portfolios customized to different risk tolerances. Questrade was originally founded in 1999 and has over $30 billion AUM (assets under management).
With about 250,000 new investment accounts opened annually, the platform is constantly growing and adding new features. It’s great for both new and experienced traders, offering some of the lowest fees in the industry, different account options, and helpful trading tools.
- Tax free savings accounts (TFSA) and registered retirement savings plans (RRSP) are not charged fees.
- Intuitive and user friendly mobile app and online platform.
- Fees waived for transferring assets into a Questrade account of up to $150.
- No fees when purchasing ETFs.
- Low trading fees.
- Limited research tools.
- There are trades which will have ECN and forex fees.
- A subscription is required to see live quotes.
Scotia iTrade was launched in 2009 after Scotiabank purchased E*Trade Canada. Scotiabank is one of the big five banks in Canada, and Scotia iTrade is its online brokerage arm. It offers a robust platform for DIY traders who want to take control of their investments.
Scotia iTrade offers different investment account options and no commission trading for over 40 different ETFs. However, its high fees may put off new investors.
- Great online platform interface and functionality.
- Offers a practice account and extensive trading tools.
- Educational materials and research tools provided by Scotiabank.
- Discounts on commission fees for the active trader.
- Non registered accounts and registered accounts are both charged account fees.
- The premium platform is not free.
- Some of the highest standard trading fees in the investment industry.
The different fee structures between the two online brokers may be useful for different investor types. Both offer commission-free ETF purchases, but charge different fees on mutual funds, forex trading, and more.
Stock trading starts at $4.99 per trade on Questrade versus $9.99 on Scotia iTrade. It’s important for you to understand the detailed fee breakdown in order to be able to save money in the long run.
Questrade is a great trading platform for those looking to take control of their personal finances while paying low fees. The platform offers some of the lowest fees among online brokerages in Canada. The fee structure is appealing to new investors who want to learn to invest without taking a hit to their wallets from high fees.
ETF purchases are commission free, but investing in the stock market will come with some added expenses. With one trade a quarter or a minimum balance of $5,000, you can even avoid the quarterly inactivity fees for infrequent use and inactive accounts.
Scotia iTrade’s platform is great for active traders whose trade volume makes the flat fees and trading fees worth the access to the robust research and trading tools the online brokerage offers.
Although it offers free trades on some ETFs, active traders who are interested in options trading, stock trading, mutual funds, and other assets in the stock market will pay more in fees and commissions. In addition, investors may be looking at account fees for certain accounts.
Happy and educated clients keep investing with the platform and ensure both the platform’s and clients’ success. Customer service is key to this success. Resolving issues and talking with advisers about investment strategies is critical to building relations with customers and the success of the business and its customers.
Questrade has a high satisfaction rate for customer services. Access to a financial advisor or brokers is available when the market is open. Clients are able to contact the support team through phone, online chat, and email.
The Scotia iTrade has mixed reviews about their customer service. The trading platform offers support in online chat, email, and by phone. While these options are available, users have reported a high variance in response times for communications, ranging from a few hours to a few days.
Which Online Broker Is Best For You?
The best online broker for you will depend on your planned trading activity level, investment portfolio risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment goals.
Questrade is great for both infrequent and active traders who are looking for low trading fees and a simple to use mobile and web application. It’s geared towards individuals who prefer researching and picking stocks themselves through a self-direct investing approach.
Scotia iTrade is best for active investors who are able to take advantage of its educational resources and volume based discount on flat fees. It’s a great online brokerage for those interested in trading exchange traded funds (it offers commission free ETFs), mutual funds, and to trade stocks. It also offers both registered and non registered accounts.
There are advantages to using both platforms, however, picking the right one for your investment strategy can help you save on trading fees or provide you with the right resources to earn more despite higher fees.
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