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Scotia iTRADE review

This robust trading platform offers discounted fees for active traders and a practice account, so you can try before you decide.

Buy, sell and trade ETFs, Equities, Options and more with competitive commissions.

Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Details

Scotiabank’s self-directed investment platform—Scotia iTRADE—offers robust market research tools and support for a wide range of accounts, securities and order types. In this Scotiabank iTRADE review, we take a close look at features, fees, benefits and disadvantages to help you decide if this platform is right for you.

Quick take

  • Good for active traders, as they’ll get discounted trading and access to a premium platform.
  • Look elsewhere if you don’t trade frequently, as you’ll face higher commissions and activity fees, or if you want to pay low or no commissions charged by discount brokerages.

Who is Scotia iTrade good for?

Scotia iTRADE is a good fit for investors who want to manage their own portfolios with the help of an established Big Five Canadian bank. It’s a user-friendly platform that’s designed for beginners and experts alike and can be used to trade many different types of investments. Scotia iTRADE is especially good for:

  • Active traders. If you make at least 150 trades per calendar quarter, you only pay $4.99 per Canadian or US equity trade instead of $9.99—that’s a minimum of $750 in savings for active traders.
  • Young investors. If you’re between the age of majority and 26 years old, Scotia iTRADE will waive the $25 low activity quarterly account fee and $100 RSP account administration fee.
  • Newcomers to Canada and international students. Scotiabank’s StartRight Program helps new residents and international students start off strong with benefits like free banking for 1 year, unlimited fee-free international money transfers and 10 free equity trades with a minimum $1,000 investment in a Scotia iTRADE account.
  • Traders looking for in-depth research and insight. Scotia iTRADE offers detailed reports on market trends, stock performance and companies as well as financial research from leading organizations like Refinitiv and the Center for Financial Research & Analysis (CFRA). Create watchlists, find stocks with iTRADE’s stock screener, get technical event alerts, customize your own charts and more.
  • Existing Scotiabank customers. You’ll likely get the most benefit out of this trading platform if you’re already a Scotiabank customer, though you can absolutely still use the platform if you bank elsewhere.

What features does Scotia iTRADE offer?

Scotia iTRADE has a lot to offer new and experienced investors.

  • Wide range of securities. Buy and sell equities (stocks), bonds, options, exchange traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and new issues (IPO stocks).
  • Many order types. Place market orders, limit orders, stop orders, trailing stop orders, day orders, all-or-none (AON) orders, market-if-touched (MIT) orders.
  • Canadian and US securities. Access major Canada and US exchanges like the TSX, Nasdaq and NYSE.
  • No minimum balance. You can start trading with any amount in your account.
  • Cash accounts and margin accounts. Buy and sell securities in a cash account using your own funds, or short sell securities with a Scotia iTRADE margin account (margin trading not available for registered accounts).
  • Pre-authorized deposits. Set up automatic recurring deposits to your investment account.
  • Automatic dividend reinvestment. Set up a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) and/or Dividend Purchase Plan (DPP) to grow your wealth faster.
  • Practice account. Get a feel for how Scotia iTRADE works with a free practice account, which gives you access to most features as well as $100,000 CAD and $100,000 USD of fake funds.
  • Research tools. Use the analyst research centre and technical analysis tools to make more informed investment decisions. Read more on these below.
  • Sustainable investing. Use the sustainability profiling tool to identify your values. View environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores for 1200+ companies, and align your investments to what matters to you.
  • Scotia iTRADE U. Browse free educational resources for new and experienced investors including how-to videos and guides.
  • Additional platforms with more features. You can access Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk Standard Service and Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk Premium Service for a fee. This will give you access to real-time data and customizable tools for in-depth analysis.

Account types

Scotia iTRADE supports many different types of account. If you’re interested in buying US stocks, all registered accounts support US dollar transactions except RESPs, for which Scotiabank offers a different US-friendly option.

What research tools does Scotia iTrade offer?

One of the best advantages of using Scotia iTRADE is its vast array of research tools.

Analyst research centre

Using the tools in Scotia iTRADE’s analyst research centre, you can deep dive into market performance and company data from leading global research and data providers like the Centre for Financial Research & Analysis (CFRA) and Refinitiv.

Get full, detailed perspectives on thousands of publicly traded companies. You can also view investment consensus data and stock picks based on information from more than a dozen independent providers including Reuters, Sabrient and ValuEngine.

Technical analysis tools

Scotia iTRADE accounts offer real-time market data, the ability to create watch lists and a stock screening tool that offers the option of looking up stocks based on technical events such as price movements. The platform also comes with customizable charting tools that can help you map out technical indicators and monitor price movements.

Use the backtesting feature on your account to see how your current investment strategy would have performed over the last 5 years. Plus, you can set up notifications for technical event alerts, so you can find out right away when the stocks you have your eye on are moving in a favourable direction.

Account performance and management tools

The Scotia iTRADE account dashboard provides a good overview of your holdings, dividends, gains and losses, transaction history and other key info. The Performance Reporting tool lets you see how your investments are performing relative to your other iTRADE accounts as well as popular indices like the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P/TSX Composite.

FlightDesk research tools

Account holders who have paid for access to Scotia iTRADE’s FlightDesk platform (more below), can stream quotes and options chains for Canadian and US securities in realtime, and customize charts along a wider range of parameters than you would have access to with Scotia iTRADE’s default investment platform.

What platforms does Scotia iTrade offer?

Depending on how deep you want to research your investments and track the market—and how much you’re willing to pay—Scotiabank offers 2 different platforms for investors:

Scotia OnLine

This is the default platform you have access to after opening a Scotia iTRADE account. The standard interface offers stock screening tools, real-time market data and features like watchlists and alerts. Additionally, it integrates with Scotiabank’s online banking platform, so you can see all your banking and investing accounts in one place.

Scotia iTrade FlightDesk

Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk dashboard screenshot

Screenshot of Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk desktop view.

For a fee ranging from $29.95 to $79.95 per month, Scotiabank offers Standard or Premium access to FlightDesk, an advanced, customizable, fast-access platform that lets you trade equities with just a single click.

While not suitable for beginner investors who want a user-friendly platform to make straightforward trades, FlightDesk offers a lot for experienced investors who want more control over their account interface and the ability to scrutinize investments on a more granular level.

Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk Standard

Stream real-time data on Level 1 assets listed on the TSX, NYSE, Nasdaq, Montreal Exchange (MX) and the Options Price Reporting Authority (OPRA).

  • Cost: $39.95 per month if you place 8 or less trades monthly or $29.95 if your account holds more than $50,000 in assets.
Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk Premium

Get data on Level 2 assets listed on the Nasdaq, and view Market by Price (MBP) data for TSX securities.

  • Cost: $79.95 per month if you place 8 or less trades monthly, $69.95 if your account holds more than $50,000 in assets or $39.95 if you place 9-29 trades monthly.

Scotia iTrade app review

Scotia iTRADE mobile app screenshot

Scotia iTRADE is available on desktop and mobile app, available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. With the mobile app, you can:
  • Trade securities. Buy and sell stocks, ETFs and options.
  • Monitor the market. Get real-time market data and track securities on your watchlist without signing into your phone.
  • Transfer money. Send funds between Scotia iTRADE accounts, other Scotiabank accounts and third-party banks.

Scotiabank released an earlier version of the iTRADE mobile app, which was poorly rated and has since been re-released. As of the time of writing, the old version of the app is still available for download. To find the latest version of the app, search for “Scotia iTRADE mobile” on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Reviews accurate as of August 1, 2022
Google Play Store3.2 out of 5 based on 31 user reviews
Apple App Store4.4 out of 5 based on 406 user reviews

How easy is it to use Scotia iTrade?

Scotia iTRADE is a user-friendly platform with a clean, streamlined interface and a wealth of resources to draw on when researching investments.

It takes minutes to apply for an account. You’ll have to verify your identity and load funds into your account. Use Scotiabank iTRADE’s practice account to get a feel for the platform before committing real money.

Scotia iTrade fee review

Scotia iTRADE fees vary based on the security you’re trading and whether you’re a regular trader or an active trader (150+ trades per quarter). Here’s an overview of what you can expect to pay.

Investment typeActive trader price*Regular trader price
Equities$4.99$9.99
Options$4.99 +$1.25 per contract$9.99 +$1.25 per contract
ETFs$4.99$9.99
Mutual funds$9.99$9.99
Bonds$1 per $1,000 trade value ($24.99 min/$250 max)$1 per $1,000 trade value ($24.99 min/$250 max)

*To be considered an active trader, you must make at least 150 trades per quarter.

Fee typeCost
Registered account fee (less than $15,000 across all iTRADE account)Balance across all iTRADE accounts is:
  • Under $15,000: $25
  • $15,000-$24,999: $100
  • $15,000-$24,999 and you make 12+ commissionable trades annually: FREE
  • $25,000 or more: FREE
Low activity fee$25 per quarter per account (waived if you make 1+ commissionable trade per quarter or if you’re a young investor under 26 years old)
Account transfer inFREE
Account transfer out (full/partial)$150 per transfer
Wire funds inFREE
Wire funds out$25+
Copies of Statements, Confirms, Cheques and Tax Receipts (registered accounts)$5 per item
CCPC (Canadian Controlled Private Corporations) set-up fee$300
CCPC annual fee$100
Monthly paper statement$3 (paperless statements are FREE)
Unclaimed account (not fully activated or no valid mailing address on file)$60
Account closureFREE

Pros and cons of Scotia iTRADE

Pros

  • Easy to get started. It’s easy to download the app, load funds into your account and start investing with no minimum balance.
  • Strong research tools. Get market insight from reputable independent sources. Benefit from stock screening tools, extensive company data and more.
  • Wide range of accounts and securities. Open registered and nonregistered accounts. Access many types of securities including stocks, bonds, funds, options and more.
  • No minimum balance. There’s no deposit required to open an account.
  • Special pricing for young investors. The $25 low activity quarterly account fee and $100 RSP account administration fee are waived for investors between the age of majority and 26 years old.
  • Discounts for active traders. If you make at least 150 trades per calendar quarter, the fee for trading Canadian and US equities goes down from $9.99 to $4.99.
  • Easy for existing customers. The Scotia iTRADE app lets you easily transfer funds between your investment account and other Scotiabank accounts.
  • Practice account. Try out Scotia iTRADE with a free demo account that comes with $100,000 CAD and $100,000 USD in fake funds for you to practice trading.
  • Sustainable/ESG investing tools available. Find out what’s most important to you with Scotia iTRADE’s sustainability profiling tool. Plus, view environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores for 1200+ companies.
  • Referral bonus. When you you refer a friend, both you and your friend can choose between 50 FREE equity trades or up to $100 cash (amount depends on how much your friend deposits in their account).
  • Premium tools for advanced traders. Experienced investors can tap into deeper market insights and highly customizable tools with FlightDesk (additional monthly fee).

Cons

  • Non-competitive trading fees. Compared to discount brokerages and other major Canadian Banks, Scotia iTRADE’s trading fees are somewhat high.
  • Does not support fractional share trading. You can’t trade fractional shares on Scotia iTRADE, making it tougher for investors with limited funds to buy into companies with high-value stocks.
  • Advanced tools not suitable for all investors. Beginner and intermediate investors will likely be overwhelmed by certain tools designed for experienced traders such as those offered on FlightDesk.
  • High minimum balance to get account fee waived. Depending on your balance and the number of trades you make annually, you could be charged $25 or $100 in annual account maintenance fees.
  • Inactivity fee. You’ll have to pay a $25 fee if you don’t make at least 1 trade per quarter.

Is Scotia iTRADE safe?

The Scotiabank Online Security Guarantee offers a full reimbursement of funds lost due to unauthorized account access as long as you’ve taken reasonable steps to protect your account such as creating an unpredictable password and maintaining up-to-date software protection on your computer.

Scotia iTRADE is owned by Scotia Capital Inc., which is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Additionally, Scotia Capital Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), a not-for-profit corporation that safeguards investors’ money in the event a financial institution goes bankrupt.

How does Scotia iTRADE keep my money safe?

Some of the safeguards Scotia iTRADE has in place to guard against unauthorized account access include:

  • Data encryption
  • 2-step verification on the Scotia iTRADE mobile app
  • InfoAlerts to make customers aware of activity within their accounts
  • Security questions/answers
  • Firewalls
  • Optional fingerprint or facial recognition login on Apple and Android devices

How do I sign up?

If you think you meet all the eligibility criteria and you’re ready to start investing with Scotia iTRADE, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the green ‘Sign up’ button below to be securely redirected to the Scotia iTRADE website.
  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.
  5. Set up a Scotia iTRADE practice account if you want to get used to the platform before diving in with your own funds.

How do I contact Scotia iTRADE support?

Scotiabank iTRADE customer service can be contacted by phone, email, mail or fax. You can also visit a Scotiabank branch to speak to an agent in person if you want more information about your account.

Bottom Line: Our Scotia iTRADE review

  • Use Scotia iTRADE if you’re looking for a platform that supports many order types and provides access to a wide variety of Canadian and US securities.
  • Offers special pricing for young investors and active traders, premium market research tools and advanced features for experienced investors.
  • Watch out for high trading fees if you don’t meet certain minimum requirements. Consider another platform if you want to trade fractional shares.

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, 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 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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