Do you want to manage your own investments with a self-directed trading platform? Questrade and Wealthsimple are two of the most reputable trading platforms in Canada. You can sign up for an account in a matter of minutes and start trading as soon as you load funds into your account.
There are key differences between the two platforms. Learn about the features and fees of each before you sign up.
Questrade vs Wealthsimple: Quick comparison
Questrade and Wealthsimple were both founded and are based in Canada. Questrade opened its doors over 20 years ago, while Wealthsimple was founded in 2014.
Questrade offers stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds and more. This makes it more suitable for seasoned traders or those looking to expand their trading experience beyond the scope of equities.
Wealthsimple limits its investment types to stocks and ETFs. This makes it fairly easy to execute trades and manage your portfolio. It also allows Wealthsimple to charge zero commissions on all trades.
Questrade vs Wealthsimple: Fees and minimum deposits
Questrade and Wealthsimple are both known for offering low fees and an easy-to-use service.
Questrade charges commissions for its trades while Wealthsimple offers all of its trades for free. There are no account fees for either platform, though Questrade will charge a quarterly inactivity fee if you don’t make any trades on your account.
Questrade offers far more account types than Wealthsimple, which only offers the basics. However, a non-registered account, a TFSA and an RRSP sets you up for the basics, allows you to take part in the tax benefits of registered accounts, and affords you flexibility with a cash account.
Questrade vs Wealthsimple: Research options and trading tools
Both providers offer in-house blogs, webinars and masterclasses to help you get familiar with the building blocks of self-directed investing. Both sites also have extensive FAQ sections to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about how their services work.
That said, Questrade is ahead of Wealthsimple in terms of more advanced research options. Wealthsimple offers watchlists for its stocks and ETFs, but very little in the way of market insights or forecasting tools. Questrade, on the other hand, uses real-time market data and industry research to help you decide when to buy and sell your investments.
However, Wealthsimple is launching Wealthsimple Plus, which will offer tools like real time quotes and live price alerts.
Can I access my account through a mobile app?
Yes. Both Questrade and Wealthsimple offer a mobile app to give you easy access to your investments on the go.
Questrade Apple App Store rating: 1.8 Google Play rating: 2.1
Wealthsimple Apple App Store rating: 4.7 Google Play rating: 4.3
Questrade vs Wealthsimple: How is my money protected?
Both Questrade and Wealthsimple are reputable trading platforms that are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). They are also both members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which insures your investments for up to a million dollars in case your provider becomes insolvent.
You can also take advantage of a number of safety features with both services. For example, Questrade uses facial recognition software and will alert you instantly if it detects any suspicious activity on your account. Wealthsimple offers two-step verification and encrypts all of your personal and financial information.
Questrade vs Wealthsimple: Which provider is the best fit for me?
It’s safe to say that Wealthsimple may be a better fit if you don’t have lots of money to invest right off the bat (since there is no minimum deposit), you are only interested in trading equities, and you value free trades over fancy tools.
Questrade could be the best fit for you if you’re a more experienced investor and you want to trade advanced assets like options or have access to a (riskier) margin account. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for more advanced research options and don’t mind paying a bit more to access them.
Think about Wealthsimple if you want to trade commission-free.
Choose Questrade if you want to trade more than just stocks and ETFs.
Alternatives to Questrade
Here are the top alternatives to Questrade:
CI Direct Trading: This online platform offers commissions as low as $1.99 per trade (up to $7.99 per trade for equities). You'll pay an annual fee of $24.95 if you keep less than $5,000 in your account, however. You’ll have access to a number of market research tools.
Qtrade: You can trade a variety of assets and access a number of informational tools (real-time data, screening tools). Commission fees vary (Between $6.95 and $8.75) for equities, a similar range as Questrade. However, unlike Questrade, Qtrade charges $25 (waived if you hold $25,000 or make 2 trades per quarter). Read our full breakdown here.
Wealthsimple: You will have access to fewer assets and investment types with Wealthsimple, but you can take advantage of commission-free trading. Plus, there’s no minimum balance with Wealthsimple, unlike Questrade. If you want a cheaper platform and don’t mind having fewer assets and account types, this is for you.
Questrade and Wealthsimple are both reputable trading platforms in Canada. The main difference between the services has to do with what type of investments you can make, as well as how much you’ll have to pay to execute trades. Find out more about what sets these popular trading platforms apart and sign up today to start investing with the provider of your choice.
Frequently asked questions
Your money is invested in the same way with both trading platforms. You’ll just need to load funds into your account via a bank-to-bank transfer or some other form of payment. From there, you’ll be able to log in to the platform to choose the investments you want to purchase.
It depends which trading platform you go for. You’ll need at least $1,000 to get started with Questrade while Wealthsimple doesn’t require a minimum deposit.
If you want to use Questrade or Wealthsimple but you don’t want to manage your own investments, you might like to compare the robo-advisors for each platform. These services will make automated investments on your behalf using specialized algorithms.
Absolutely. If your risk tolerance or your personal situation changes at any time, you can move your investments around manually. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to make trades with Questrade, while you can rebalance your portfolio with Wealthsimple for free.
It depends. If your holdings are in a registered account like a TFSA, RRSP or RESP, then you won’t have to pay tax on any interest you earn. If not, you’ll have to declare the interest you make when you file your taxes.
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. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.
Claire Horwood is a writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, loans and other financial products. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, and an Associate’s Degree in Science from Camosun College. Much of Claire’s coursework has focused on writing and statistics, with a healthy dose of social and cultural analysis mixed in for good measure. In her spare time, Claire enjoys rock climbing, travelling and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee.
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