Qtrade: A Versatile & Holistic Trading App?

August 20, 2020
Brokers
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Qtrade is an online broker that has been operating since 2001, offering mutual funds, stocks, ETFs and bonds. They offer an application called Qtrade Investor with an interface that makes it somewhat more useful for experienced traders than for begginers. The platform charges nominal commissions and trading fees on most of its assets, but it doesn’t charge trading fees with mutual funds. There are no inactivity fees as well associated with using Qtrade. However, there is a minimum fee of $25 per quarter and the fees for options can be high.

Join now if you’re interested in trading mutual funds without paying any trading fees or keep reading our review to see the strengths, weaknesses and potential alternatives that Qtrade offers for trading different types of assets.

We analyzed hundreds of data points relevant to the costs, benefits and features of trading with Qtrade and scored our findings on a 10-point scale across 10 distinct categories.
Fees 3
Signup Process 7
Minimum Deposit 10
Ease of Use 4
Deposit & Withdrawal Options 4
Customer Support 6
Asset Classes 3
Referral Program 1
Demo Account & Educational Resources 7
Safety & Regulation 10
Total 55

Introduction

Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. (Qtrade) is a Canadian stockbroker and application that is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). It was founded in 2001 after the parent companies of Credential Securities Inc. and Qtrade Securities Inc. merged to form the bigger parent company, Aviso Wealth. Qtrade has been providing safe investment opportunities for the past 20 years because it is regulated by one of the top regulator authorities in the world while offering stocks, ETFs, bonds and mutual funds. Among major developed &developing countries Qtrade is mainly available in Canada & India.

Qtrade’s Pros & Cons

Qtrade has a few pros and cons like any application. Let’s have a look at those so you can decipher if the app is right for you.

Pros

  • Low non-trading fees
  • Low fees for trading stocks and ETFs
  • 100 free ETFs that you can trade with
  • An account fee of $25 every quarter
  • Good demo account

Cons

  • Limited customer service options
  • Poor interface
  • Limited visualization options for statistics

Now that you have seen a summary of the good and bad associated with Qtrade, let’s dissect the features of the app one by one to gain more insight.

Qtrade Account Types

There are 4 types of accounts you can open with Qtrade, namely:

  • Cash Account
  • TFSA Account
  • RRSP Account, and
  • Margin Account

The different types of accounts cater to different types of traders. Let’s see what each account has to offer.

Cash Account

An account designed for buying and selling stocks, bonds and mutual funds. This is ideal for individuals or groups of individuals looking to trade together.

TFSA Account

This account type is for self-directed investors. It allows you to invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. Your investment earnings and withdrawals are exempted from tax in Canada.

RRSP Account

A Registered Retirement Savings Account

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is an investment account designed to help you save for retirement. It is registered with the Government of Canada. You can invest funds to an RRSP for yourself, and you can also contribute towards a fund for yout spouse or common-law partner. Your contributions are tax-deductible and can be used to reduce your tax.

Margin Account

This account is for consumers looking to trade on margin, allowing them to take leverage while trading. You can buy and sell options within this account type.

Here’s a breakdown of our 10 scoring categories, each scored out of 10 for a total of 100 points.

#1 Qtrade Fees

Fees associated with using a trading application can have a significant impact on your earnings. Let’s have a look at the different kinds of fees associated with the Qtrade accounts and how you can use this information to become a more profitable investor.

Trading Fees In Qtrade

Trading fees include fees that are incurred once you trade on a platform. Let’s have a look at Qtrade’s fee structure to determine if this broker fits the bill for your investing needs and trading style.

It is important to note that there are two big tiers within the Qtrade platform depending on your average trading volume. The more you trade, the less you’ll have to pay in fees. When you sign up, you start off in the Qtrade Investor tier, but if you trade over 150 stocks per quarter or have a balance of over $500,000 in your accounts, then you’ll become a Qtrade Investor Plus, which gives you access to lower fees.

Asset/Activity Trading Fees
Mutual Funds Free
US Stocks

$8.75 per trade

 or 

$6.95 per trade if you trade over 150 stocks per quarter or have a balance of over $500,000.

Options

$8.75 + $1.25 per contract

 or 

$6.95 + $1.25 per contract if you trade over 150 stocks per quarter or have a balance of over $500,000.

Inactivity Fees No inactivity fees
Commissions $6.60 per $2,000 traded on US Stocks
Financing rates  Range from Prime + 0.3% (for CAD) to Prime + 1.25% (for USD)
Commission on US government treasury bonds $18.70 on $10,000 trade
Canada government bonds $1 per every $1,000 of the face value of a bond with a minimum fee of $24.99 and a maximum fee of $250

As you can see, trading mutual funds with Qtrade is absolutely free. However, Qtrade does charge a commission of $6.6 per every $2,000 traded, which is a little higher than what other competitors charge, like Questrade which has a $5 commission and Capital.com, which has no commissions at all.

The financing rate depends on the base currency and on the particular tier you’re at. Additionally, it also depends on the total amount you end up borrowing, becoming lower as you borrow more. You’ll get the lowest possible rate of Prime + 0.3% (2.75% as of today) for a CAD Margin Account of $100,000+ in the Investor Plus tier, and the worst-case scenario would be a USD Margin Account of less than $100,000 in the Investor tier, in which case you would pay Prime + 1.25% (4.50% as of today).

This would put the average interest rate on margin accounts at around 3.6%, which is one of the lowest among competitors like RBC Direct investing and Questrade. The latter has a rate of 8.5% and RBC Direct Investing has a rate of 5.5%. Hence, Qtrade’s financing fees are of great value, even in the worst of cases.

The fees for trading government bonds are also quite low as long as you trade large volumes. For instance, if you are trading more than $25,000 the trading fees 0.1% of the amount, which is very competitive. However, if bond values are low then it can be expensive to trade with Qtrade as there is a minimum fee of $24.99. If you were to trade, say, $1,000, then the $25 fee would equate to 2.5%, which is rather high for these types of operations.

Non-Trading Fees

These are fees that are associated with anything not directly involved in trading like maintaining an account membership or depositing or withdrawing money.

Membership Fees

There is a $25 fee associated with maintaining your subscription to Qtrade that you have to pay every quarter. This is not a bad deal if you are a regular and experienced trader. However, if you are a student or someone with low funds or income or if you’re not a very active trader, then the $25 fee may be more than you bargained for. You would have to make an effort to trade enough to cover that fee if you don’t want to end up losing money.

Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

There are no deposit and withdrawal fees associated with your Qtrade account. This augers well because often deposit and withdrawal fees can add up with trading and commission fees to make trading less profitable, especially when you want to collect your earnings. Hence, as far as trading fees are concerned you are covered by Qtrade and do not have to worry about depositing or withdrawing funds.

The high fees for stocks in comparison to other competitors, coupled with the quarterly membership fees are what make Qtrade lose points in this respect compared to other competitors, enabling Qtrade to score only a 3 out of 10 on the fees dimension of our scoring system.

Qtrade Fees Score: 3/10

#2 Signup Process

Signing up with Qtrade is pretty simple and straight forward, however, the verification process can be a bit slow, as it takes 3 days to verify your account. Let’s look at the process to get you started:

Step 1: Go To Qtrade’s Website

From the Qtrade website, click on “Open an account” in the top-right corner.

Step 2: Provide Basic Account Info

You just need to give basic details like your email address and password to get started

Step 3: Add Personal Information

This step includes basic biographical details like your name, date of birth and physical address.

Step 4: Select Trading Platform And Account Base Currency

This step basically involves choosing the asset classes that you are interested in trading and your base currency which can be USD or CAD.

Step 5: Fill In A Questionaire

You’ll need to answer a couple of background financial questions like your job and salary and the knowledge you have with trading with different financial instruments.

Step 6: Choose Funding And Withdrawal Options

This step involves choosing how you plan to fund your account and how you would like to withdraw your funds later on. As you’ll learn further down this post, this includes options like using credit cards or bank transfers, among others.

Step 7: Submit Your Details And Wait For Verification

You just need to submit your details and wait for the approval of your credentials for the activation for your account. This process may take up to 3 days.

The signup procedure is simple but a time of 3 days to open an account is a long time as a result of which the app scores a 7 out of 10 in this dimension.

Qtrade Signup Process Score: 7/10

#3 Minimum Initial Deposit

There is no minimum initial deposit hence, it scores a 10 in this dimension. This really helps you to get started with the platform right away without much of an initial investment. you could always try out the platform and check out its educational resources to see if it is right for you.

Qtrade Minimum Initial Deposit Score: 10/10

#4 Ease of Use

One of the cons of using this broker is that Qtrade’s interface seems outdated and counterintuitive. Below you can see a screenshot of the interface. The data is visible in the form of area and bar charts but the design seems text-heavy and the colour resolution is a bit off-putting. The interface looks like something from the late 1990’s designed for Windows XP. However, despite the layout, it does bring some pretty good research tools that can help the trade-savvy become very profitable investor, such as the fundamental data feature discussed below.

Research Tools In Qtrade

Qtrade has interesting research tools that can help you in trading better to
maximize your wealth. Research tools are available in most apps however, and ones Qtrade offers are similar to the ones offered in other apps. Let’s have a closer look at some of these research tools in the broker application.

Qtrade Trading Ideas

Trading Ideas advice you on how you should trade to maximize your returns. The trading ideas are provided by third-party vendor Morning Star and the system is based on an algorithm. Even though this tool can help you earn profits, its interface and graphics seem outdated, as you can see in the screenshot below that looks like graphs made in Excel 2003, which can be a bit of a turnoff for some users.

Qtrade outdated

Take note that, no matter what recommendations a tool like Trading Ideas may give, they should only be used in decision making after consulting news and announcements regarding your assets.

Charting Feature In Qtrade

Charting is a feature in which the application projects the price of your
asset. It helps you predict the potential future price of your assets allowing you to decide whether you should trade or not. Charting can give you a time series trend to identify entry and exit points for different trading strategies.

Qtrade’s Fundamental Data Function

Qtrade also offers fundamental data tools that allow you to see the
financial statements of a firm that you want to invest in. It’s a very cool feature because you can literally analyze the financials at your fingertips without going to different websites, making research a lot easier. However, again, the interface is text-heavy and requires effort from the user to understand all the data and numbers.

This can easily overwhelm new users as well as newbie investors with lots of information that they may not even know they need, let alone know how to use. In this sense, visual graphs or comments on particular financial statistics would be a lot of help for non-literate users to make more sense of all that data.

Qtrade interface

Summarizing, the research tools that come with Qtrade have great value but are severely limited because of the text-heavy interface and outdated visualization graphs that make trading look mundane and unappealing. Because of this lack of quality of user experience, the final score is 4 out of 10 for ease of use.

Qtrade Ease of Use Score: 4/10

#5 Deposit & Withdrawal Options

The withdrawal and deposit options are slightly limited with Qtrade. You can only deposit and withdraw funds using wire transfer or online banking. Depositing through a wire transfer can take several days and the funds can only be transferred from accounts that are in your name. In the case of withdrawals, the funds can only be withdrawn via bank or wire transfer which can take up to 2 days.

This is rather disappointing since many current online brokers offer many more options to both fund your account and withdraw from it, including debit/credit cards, e-wallets like PayPal or Skrill, and others. The limited number of options means that Qtrade’s score for in this category is a paltry 4 out of 10.

Qtrade Deposit & Withdrawal Options Score: 4/10

#6 Customer Support At Qtrade

The customer support is only available via email and telephone. The phone service usually takes 5 minutes to commence before someone answers. The email service is fairly quick, though, with queries often being replied in one day. However, the customer service misses a chatbot or live chat where customers can instantly get answers for their queries. The limited yet effective customer support means that Qtrade scores a 6 in customer service.

Qtrade Customer Support Score: 6/10

#7 Asset Classes Offered By Qtrade

There are a few asset options that one can trade with this broker. Qtrade is good in terms of giving a myriad of options to users for stocks and government bonds. Some the asset options include:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Options
  • Bonds

However, the fact that the app is based in just the US and Canada and does not include asset classes like CFDs, cryptos and commodities, it only receives a meagre 3 out of 10.

Related: Read out our reviews for other financial strategies such as developing passive income streams that can help you retire early.

Qtrade Asset Classes Score: 3/10

#8 Referral Program

Qtrade does offer a referral program, unlike many other brokers that don’t. This referral program requires your friend to sign up and provide details like your email address. Once your friend has been an active member for 3 months you get a credit of $25. The bonus amount is small and takes a lot of time to be rewarded, which can be really frustrating. because of the long process and the inefficient amount rewarded in comparison to some other referral programs out there, Qtrade only scores a 1.

Qtrade Referral Program Score: 1/10

#9 Demo Account & Educational Resources Of Qtrade

Qtrade offers a demo account for up to 30 days. The account has similar functionality as to the main account and you can use it to get acquainted with the platform and how to trade.

The site also offers plenty of reading material and other educational resources like videos for the new trader, and even for the more experienced ones. However, it could do with much more material and resources. Because of little educational material and a demo account that only lasts 30 days, Qtrade scores a 7 out of 10 in this dimension.

Qtrade Demo Account & Educational Resources Score: 7/10

#10 Safety & Regulation Of Qtrade

The app is secure because it is regulated by IIROC which is an established regulatory authority with its own compliance procedures that ensure that the app is run in a way that makes the procedure helpful and safe for users. The safety score is 10 out of 10.

Qtrade Safety & Regulation Score: 10/10

Now we’ll compare Qtrade to our highest-rated broker, Capital.com, which scores 91/100 points.

Qtrade vs. Capital.com

One of the major differences between the 2 platforms is usability and user interface. The interface of Capital.com is excellent, as it is quite intuitive and easy to use for both experienced traders and beginners alike. 

Capital.com is also a much easier platform to start with. This is due to the fact that you can start with an almost null minimum initial deposit, and it offers a much more detailed, fully-functional limitless demo account that you can use for as long as you want to test practice using the platform and to test your investing strategies. You’ll also get access to lectures, articles and lots of other educational resources to help you better understand the platform and trading in general, and become a profitable trader. Some of the features offered by Capital.com are:

  • Free financial webinars.
  • Educational courses for traders.
  • An extensive market glossary.
  • Comprehensive CFD trading guide.
  • Cryptocurrency trading tutorial.
  • Investmate, Capital.com’s investor education app.

As you can see, Capital.com offers a comprehensive guide not only for understanding the platform itself but also for understanding all the trading options that the application provides. Finally, the intuitive interface can really assist you in making more sense of the data during the decisions making process, instead of cramming a lot of text-heavy data on your screen. 

Qtrade In Summary

Qtrade has no trading fees on mutual funds and in case you are a seasoned pro at trading mutual funds you may want to have a look at it Similarly, you can get started right away because there are no minimum deposit or inactivity fees. You can click the link below and get started with treading mutual funds through Qtrade right away.

Capital.com has a good interface with a lot of options in the CFDs and currency options that Qtrade lacks. Qtrade has good options in terms of trading stocks and research features such as fundamental data can help you analyze a firm’s financial status on your fingertips. However, the poor interface was a real turn off for me compared to Capital.com which has an intuitive and clear interface that anyone getting started in trading can understand. Hence, I recommend Capital.com as a more holistic trading application.

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