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Alternatives to Charles Schwab Canada

Want to invest or save for retirement? Learn about some viable alternatives to Charles Schwab in Canada. 

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Charles Schwab is a popular US-based trading platform that offers a number of different investment products and bank accounts. Unfortunately, you can’t access this platform in Canada at this point in time. That said, there are a number of suitable alternatives you may want to invest in to grow your long-term savings across the border.

What is Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab is a US-based trading platform that lets US residents trade in a number of commission-free investment products. These include stocks, options and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It also offers a fee-free chequing and savings account that’s linked to your trading account so you can move your money around quickly and easily.

Does Charles Schwab Canada exist?

Charles Schwab isn’t available in Canada at this time, and it’s unclear if this service will ever make its way across the border. This is unfortunate given that there aren’t that many trading platforms offering commission-free services in Canada. That said, there are a couple of viable alternatives you might like to consider if you’re looking to save money when you trade.

What are some alternatives to Charles Schwab in Canada?

You can consider a handful of trading platforms if you’re interested in making commission-free trades in Canada.

Questrade

Questrade lets you make free trades when you purchase ETFs, though you’ll have to pay if you intend to sell them later. Most other trades will cost you between $4.95 and $9.95 per trade, depending on how many trades you make per month. This type of account may be best suited for those looking for long-term savings options.

The trading platform is regulated in Canada and also offers deposit insurance through the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). It also charges low annual management fees, which means you won’t have to pay large sums of money out-of-pocket to maintain your account.

Pros

Cons
  • Free purchases of exchange-traded funds
  • Low account management fees
  • Registered and non-registered accounts
  • Commission on stocks and other trade types
  • Minimum $1,000 account balance
  • Poorly reviewed mobile app

Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade is the trading platform that’s the most similar to Charles Schwab. It lets you trade thousands of stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on major Canadian and US exchanges. You won’t pay commissions to buy and sell your investments, and there are no account minimums. This means you can get started with as little as $1. It’s also a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

You can also sign up for a Wealthsimple Cash account, which will let you spend and save with the same account. You’ll be able to hold your investments in registered and non-registered accounts, and you can manage all of your trades on the go with Wealthsimple Trade’s easy-to-use online mobile app.

ProsCons
  • Zero commissions
  • Start with as little as $1
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Hybrid chequing/savings account
  • No ability to trade options or cryptocurrency
  • No online trading platform
  • Limited research options

Virtual Brokers

Virtual Brokers is similar to Questrade (outlined above) because it lets you purchase exchange-traded funds and mutual funds for free. That said, it may not be a suitable choice if you intend to sell your ETFs right away since you’ll have to pay a commission to carry out any sales.

The downside of this platform is that you’ll have to pay a quarterly fee to maintain your account, and there’s no option to open a linked chequing or savings account. You may also need to pay a platform fee starting at $75 per year, depending on which trading software you decide to go with.

ProsCons
  • Free ETF and mutual fund purchases
  • Multiple trading platforms
  • Many research tools
  • Most trades will cost you a commission
  • Account, admin and platform fees

How do I sign up with one of these services?

  1. It’s easy to sign up with one of these services by following a couple of simple steps:
  2. Use the online application to provide personal information like your name, email address, proof of ID and relevant documents.
  3. Review and submit your application.
  4. Get verified and load funds into your account to start trading.

Compare other online trading platforms

Name Product Available asset types Stock Fee Option Fee Account Fee ETF Transaction Cost
Wealthsimple Trade
Stocks, ETFs
$0
N/A
$0
Free
Get a $25 bonus when you open a Wealthsimple Trade account and deposit and trade at least $100.
Questrade
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, IPOs, Precious Metals
$4.95 - $9.95
$9.95 + $1 per contract
$0
Free
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, Currencies, Futures, Precious Metals
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
$1.50 min. per order
$0 (if monthly commissions are equal to or greater than US$10.00)
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum deposit to invest Funding methods Management fee Available asset types
Wealthsimple Invest
$1
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.40% - 0.50%
Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, Commodities
Get a $50 bonus when you open and fund your first Wealthsimple Invest account with a minimum initial deposit of at least $500. Trade and Cash accounts are not eligible.
CI Direct Investing (formerly WealthBar)
$1,000
Direct deposit, Bank transfer
0.35% - 0.60%
Mutual Funds, ETFs
CI Direct Investing offers access to an exclusive and personalized investment portfolio. Get up to $10,000 managed free for a year when you sign up for your first CI Direct Investing account and fund your account.
Justwealth
$5,000
Direct deposit, Bank transfer, Automatic bank withdrawals
0.50%
ETFs
Receive a cash bonus of $50.00-$225.00 when you open a new Justwealth account. RESP accounts require no minimum deposit to begin investing.
Moka
$0
Automatic bank withdrawals
$3/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).
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Compare up to 4 providers

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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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Charles Schwab is a popular US-based trading platform that offers commission-free trades to American residents. While it’s not available in Canada, there are a couple of suitable alternatives that you can use in the country. Find out more about which providers match up to Charles Schwab and sign up today to start investing.

Frequently asked questions about Charles Schwab Canada

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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