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Is Betterment available in Canada?

Betterment won't let you open an account if you live in Canada - but there are other investment services that will.

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Choosing a way to invest your money can be tough, and the growing popularity of robo-advisors gives you even more choices. US-based investment company, Betterment, provides online financial services that make investing easy by creating a portfolio based on your unique preferences and financial goals.

But can you take advantage of Betterment’s great features if you live in Canada? Are there any competitive alternatives for Canadian investors?

Is Betterment available in Canada?

Unfortunately, no. Betterment does not accept customers outside the United States for regulatory reasons – this includes US citizens who are residing or working abroad, although US military personnel living overseas may be able to open an account.

To open a Betterment account, you must currently reside in the US and need a permanent US address, a US checking account and a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Foreigners living in the States can possibly fulfill these requirements. But if you live in Canada, you’re out of luck.

As of the time of writing, Betterment has not announced any plans to begin offering services to customers based in Canada.

Are there alternatives to Betterment in Canada?

Yes. There are a number of robo-advisors in Canada that offer low fees, diverse investment options, professional investment guidance and more. Many of these services also come with the option of connecting with real, human professional advisors for additional advice and guidance.

Robo-advisors are a popular alternative to brokerage firms and self-directed investing platforms because of super low costs and the ability to “set and forget” your investments.

Robo-advisors use advanced algorithms to create and automatically rebalance portfolios customized to suit your individual financial preferences, risk tolerance and investment goals. Check out the table below to compare some of Canada’s most popular robo-advisors and read our reviews of each to decide which one is right for you.

How to compare robo-advisors

Compare robo-advisors in Canada

Name Product Min. Deposit Funding methods Management fee Available Asset Types
OFFER
Wealthsimple Invest
$1
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.40% - 0.50%
Stocks
Get a $50 bonus when you open and deposit $500 in your account. Trade and Cash accounts are not eligible.
Questwealth Portfolios
$1
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.20% - 0.25%
Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, Commodities
A robo-advisor offering low fee portfolios that are actively managed and dynamically rebalanced when market conditions change.
Moka
$0
Automatic bank withdrawals
$3.99/month
ETFs
The Moka app rounds up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change into low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
OFFER
Justwealth
$5,000
Direct deposit, Bank transfer, Automatic bank withdrawals
0.50%
ETFs
Receive a cash bonus of $50.00-$500.00 when you open a new Justwealth account. RESP accounts require no minimum deposit to begin investing.
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What features should I look for in an investment company?

There’s no investment platform that’s right for everyone, and each comes with its own features, fees, pros and cons. Consider the following points when shopping around to find the right investment service for your needs:

  • Is there a minimum upfront investment?

If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t have much to invest upfront. Or perhaps you have accumulated savings and are ready to make it grow faster. Newbies may find themselves drawn to investment companies with low barriers to entry including low (or even $0) upfront investments. Companies that require higher minimum investment amounts are often for investors with some level of experience or who have sizeable portfolios to manage.

  • Will your investments be managed for you, or do you have to monitor your own portfolio?

If you have some investing experience and enjoy getting your hands dirty tracking stock prices and following the latest business news, you might prefer a little more autonomy in managing your investments. However, if you’re still getting your feet wet and don’t understand all of your options, having securities selected for you based on your own risk-tolerance, financial goals and personality can be enormously helpful. That’s where robo-advisors shine.

  • What are the trading fees? For managed funds, what is the MER?

Most platforms charge a fee every time you buy and sell stocks. Over time and after many trades, this can add up. If you’re investing in mutual funds or other professionally-managed investment pools, you’ll be charged a fee that encompasses both trading costs and management expenses. This fee is known as a management expense ratio, or MER. The lower the MER, the faster your money will grow.

  • Are there any monthly or yearly account maintenance fees?

Some investment companies charge no account maintenance fees, drawing profits instead from trading fees, commissions and other forms of revenue. Other companies waive monthly fees if you keep up a certain level of trading activity or earn a certain amount on your investments within a given time period. Some companies prefer to keep things simple with a predictable monthly fee. Check out online reviews and read the fine print of your investment agreement to make sure you know what costs to expect.

  • What kind of professional help or customer support is available if you need it?

Customer service might sound like a less-interesting facet of an investment company. But don’t underrate its importance. When you want to take advantage of market trends and every passing second affects the value of an investment, having round-the-clock, on-demand service from company representatives can be crucial. Even if you aren’t independently managing your investments, it can be frustrating to be limited by short customer service hours or under-trained representatives when you need to ask a question or make a request.

Online stock trading

Compare online trading platforms

Name Product Finder Rating Stock Trading Fee Account Fee Available Asset Types Feature Table description
FREE TRADES
Wealthsimple Trade
Finder Rating:
★★★★★
3.9 / 5
$0
$0
Stocks, ETFs
Get 2 free stocks (total value up to $9,000) when you deposit and trade $150.
Pay no commissions when you trade Canadian stocks and ETFs with Wealthsimple Trade.
Interactive Brokers
Finder Rating:
★★★★★
4.1 / 5
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5%
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
Extensive trading capabilities and global investment tracking.
Access market data 24 hours a day, six days a week and invest in global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from one single account.
OFFER
CIBC Investor's Edge
Finder Rating:
★★★★★
4 / 5
$4.95 - $6.95
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $100/year
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs
Get up to $2,000 cash back. Conditions apply. Offer ends March 1, 2022.
An intuitive and easy-to-use platform with access to a variety of tools that help you make smart decisions and trade with confidence.
OFFER
Questrade
Finder Rating:
★★★★★
4.2 / 5
$4.95 - $9.95
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
OFFER
Qtrade Direct Investing
Finder Rating:
★★★★★
4.1 / 5
$6.95 - $8.75
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
Get a $50 bonus when you open a new RRSP, TFSA or RESP and start pre-authorized contributions of at least $200/month. Valid until March 1, 2022.
Qtrade Direct Investing offers low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options. Trade 100 ETFs free of charge and thousands more for $8.75 or lower.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Min. Deposit Funding methods Management fee Available Asset Types
OFFER
Wealthsimple Invest
$1
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.40% - 0.50%
Stocks
Get a $50 bonus when you open and deposit $500 in your account. Trade and Cash accounts are not eligible.
Questwealth Portfolios
$1
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.20% - 0.25%
Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, Commodities
A robo-advisor offering low fee portfolios that are actively managed and dynamically rebalanced when market conditions change.
Moka
$0
Automatic bank withdrawals
$3.99/month
ETFs
The Moka app rounds up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change into low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
OFFER
Justwealth
$5,000
Direct deposit, Bank transfer, Automatic bank withdrawals
0.50%
ETFs
Receive a cash bonus of $50.00-$500.00 when you open a new Justwealth account. RESP accounts require no minimum deposit to begin investing.
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Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Commission Available Markets Platforms
Forex.com
US$100
Minimum US$25
Forex
Metals
Commodities
Indices
Shares
Forex.com Desktop, Forex.com Web Trading, Forex.com Mobile Trading, MetaTrader 4
CFDs are leveraged products which involves greater risk than using cash resources only. You could lose all or more of your initial investment. Trade 80+ currency pairs and 220+ CFDs in equities, commodities and indices on Forex.com.
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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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