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Questrade Review, $50 Coupon Code and TFSA (2015)

To skip the review and go straight to the $50 Questrade trading credit, click here.

My wife and I decided to start a small RRSP and TFSA trading account on her behalf, basically to top up her pension. So, we had some thinking to do, which discount brokerage is best for her situation? To help with the decision, I dove back into the Million Dollar Journey archives and found my review on Canadian Discount Brokerages.

Here was our criteria:

  • Only a small initial deposit of $5,000;
  • No annual fees;
  • Low trading commissions;
  • Ability to settle funds in USD in registered accounts to reduce forex charges (typically up to 1.99% per conversion); and,
  • No need for mutual funds as we can use ETF’s instead.

The title probably gave it away, but from our criteria, we decided to go with Questrade. So far, I’m fairly impressed with what they offer for such low prices. We chose the $4.95 for 495 shares commission option which comes with free data feeds and no  annual/monthly fees (balance must be greater than $5k or there is a fee of $19.95/quarter).

The WebTrader Basic option (the free one) has a fairly intuitive interface with FREE real-time charts (US ONLY, CAD stocks have 15 min delay). This is a huge feature for me as not even CIBC’s Investors Edge had this. They also offer more expensive, non-free platforms for more aggressive traders.

The only downside that I’ve discovered so far is that after you place an order, you can’t “change” the order. You must “cancel”, and re-order the stock. This doesn’t cost any extra, but is a pain in the behind. I guess that I’m accustomed to the Interactive Broker interface where modifying your buy order is as simple as hitting the back space key to change the number.  Edit Oct 2011:  You can now “modify” your order once it’s been placed.

The sign up was quick and easy which required only a few minutes online and some hand signed paper work to be mailed in. Any questions that I had was quickly answered by the live chat option on the Questrade website. It only took Questrade 1 day to approve my application upon receiving it in the mail. Very impressive so far. Edit Oct 2011:  You can now digitally sign off on your application skipping the snail mail delay.

Update: Questrade now offers the lowest cost TFSA discount brokerage account in Canada.

Update: Questrade was the first brokerage in Canada to accept USD within an RRSP.  This is a huge advantage because now you can hold USD in your RRSP and reduce those dreaded FOREX fees.  We consistently use the USD RRSP to settle US stocks (and dividends) in USD without any added fees. This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of using a Questrade RRSP.

UpdateQuestrade has improved their commission structure with democratic pricing.

Update: Million Dollar Journey readers have voted Questrade as their #1 discount brokerage.

Update:  We opened a TFSA with Questrade.

Update May 2013: Questrade now allows clients to purchase ETFs without any commission!

Update:  You can use DLR/DLR.U ETFs at Questrade to reduce your conversion fees from CAD to USD (reduces your fx fee from 1.99% to around 0.30%).

$50 in Free Trades for New Sign ups:

Questrade also offers a referral program. If you deposit at least $1k when you open an account from a referral, you will receive $50 in trading credit for the first 30 days of opening your account.

If you are considering opening a Questrade account and would like the $50 in free trades, sign up through the link below.  The link will bring you to a Questrade URL that will automatically recognize you as a referred client.  If you decide to sign up later or if you’ve already started an application, in the form field “Affiliate ID” or “Promotional Code” use MillionDollarJourney to get your $50 in free trades.

Sign up and get $50 in free trades with Questrade!

If you have any questions regarding the $50 trading credit or want to confirm your $50 referral after signing up, you can contact me here.

For Webmasters:

If you are a webmaster and would like to take advantage of the new affiliate system that they have, you can join their new affiliate system here.  Make sure to use MillionDollarJourney as your parent affiliate ID for quick approval.

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free newsletter service below (we will not spam you).

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FrugalTrader About the author: FrugalTrader is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 871 comments… add one }

  • Peter @ SeekingWealth.ca June 11, 2014, 8:49 am

    I used Questrade for the first couple of years when I just started investing and trading and had a decent experience. There were quite a few outages over the years, and I was unhappy so I moved everything over to TDWaterhouse and I must say that there is no comparison. The TDW platform is excellent, fast and reliable.

    Questrade is great if you are only making a few trades here and there, but if you will be trading regularly I would suggest TD Waterhouse.

  • Nikolai June 11, 2014, 8:58 am

    @ Peter @ SeekingWealth.ca

    I have a similar story and ended up with TD Waterhouse too. However, now I am about to reconsider TDW. I think they are slowing down – in terms of quality, platform features and, most importantly, caring about their customers. I had a number of incidents with them, all resulted from negligence on their side. The last one (still unresolved) was about FTR shares on my account. TDW has lots of troubles with reporting – in general, but with FTR they have completely missed the fact that most of their distributions for last 3 years were ROC. However, this year (and, of course, very very late) they have adjusted the dividends – but only for 2013. Completely ignoring 2011-2012. I have filed two (TWO!) requests with them to review the information and adjust the reports and both were accepted (I have the reference numbers) and….forgotten :) Not to mention that with TDW you do need to question all their numbers, they are really bad at reporting. Sometimes the information in the tax documents and online account history does not match.

  • Chris June 26, 2014, 2:10 am

    I found customer service to be questionable as well.

  • Terri October 14, 2014, 7:03 pm

    BEWARE of Questrade!!
    Just want to warn people about this horrible platform. I’ve had numerous bad experiences with them over the past few years but have let it go until now. Today was the last straw. I currently own one stock. Last week I received a margin call and fulfilled it by depositing $8,000. A few days later, I received another margin call telling me $X amt was due today at 1PM EST. I was at a medical appointment today when they called me around noon and sent an email saying that I was in a real time margin call. As soon I got to my car (less than 5 minutes), I called. I spoke with someone and explained that I was on the road and he put me on hold and then came back and confirmed that they would give me until 1pm EST. I ran home and made a transfer for $5,230 immediately, responding to the most recent margin call email with a screen shot of the transfer as required. As I always do, I called them immediately as well to ensure that it was received and things were okay. He assured me not to worry, that it would be fine. He began discussing something else, and then right there as I was on the phone with him (after talking with him for approx. 15 min), I see that a large portion of my shares are liquidated. I told him this and he said “Oh no, that can’t be right.” After telling me he would look into it, I receive an email shortly after apologizing for the inconvenience. They cost me almost $5,000 and they are sorry for my inconvenience. I called and spoke to management, and was on the phone for an hour and a half and again was told “Sorry” and that the margin call time frame is simply a courtesy and does not have to be adhered to.
    This is unacceptable. My wife and I have been clients for a few years and always adhere to all procedures. I want to ensure that Questrade loses from this by letting all prospective clients know that this is how the company is run. And any current clients- be extra cautious, or I would advise, as I will be doing – move your money as soon as you can.

    • Mike November 9, 2015, 1:39 am

      Who are you with now??

  • John - Team Questrade October 16, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Hi Terri,

    My records indicate that our client services team has already contacted you about this and have let you know that when handling margin calls, we work on a best-efforts basis. We cannot guarantee that your position will not be sold to cover the margin call. Unfortunately in your case, your proof of deposit was sent to us after the deadline we provided, so your shares were subsequently sold to cover the margin call. In the future, please closely monitor your account and positions to ensure you do not enter into a margin call, or send us your proof of deposit before the deadline to avoid having your positions sold.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    John – Team Questrade

  • Aleks M December 4, 2014, 1:38 am

    Horrible discount broker. Started with them two days ago, first day of trading their routing is not working for couple of hours. Created stop loss limit order, and their trading desk cancelled it without my authorization, after being initially accepted. Incurred additional loss of over $400.00 because of that. When I complained, they were brushing me off, blaming technical issues, and telling me that they acted in my interest? Completely incompetent, and very client adverse. Not worth the saved commissions. Anybody can recommend a semi decent discount broker to transfer my and my wife TFSA accounts.

  • Jay G January 15, 2015, 5:21 pm

    Hi FT,

    Fantastic and informative website. I currently trade stocks through my TFSA at TD which charges 9.95 per trade. I plan to maximize my TFSA in the coming months, diversified over 25 stocks. I’m not eager to pay $250 in trading fees, and was considering purchasing the stocks in Questrade (no purchases over 500 shares) for $125, collecting the $50 coupon code and transferring a portion of my shares back into my TD TFSA ($25 Questrade transfer out fee) for a net charge of $100. TD might even compensate the transfer fee, but I’m unsure of their policy.

    As far as I can read $5000 is the minimum amount required in my Questrade account to avoid the 19.95 quarterly fee. Will I be subject to any other fees for my purchases and subsequent transfers?

    The user comments for Questrade have largely been negative and gives me pause before executing my purchases for fear of some complication, like a lag time between transfers where the stock price fluctuates and leads to over-contribution penalties in my TD TFSA. Has anyone else successfully tried to make cheap purchases on Questrade, and transfer a portion of them out to another institution while maintaining the $5000 minimum balance, thus minimizing the cost? Or is the headache not even worth the $150 saved?

    On a semi-unrelated note, does TD now offer self-directed RRSP accounts that deal in USD? Or is it still the wash system that inefficiently pays out dividends in CAD? Thanks in advance

  • Chris January 19, 2015, 8:37 pm

    @ Jay G

    All I can tell you and the best advice I can give: AVOID these crooks at all costs. Avoid them more then the worst Plague

  • chuck February 7, 2015, 1:35 am

    I absolutely agree. I’m looking into switching out of questrade. I filed a complaint with customer service 17 calendar days ago. I’ve called back 2x looking for updates. I was promised an update by the end of business Friday. It’s now midnight and no update.

    They made a mistake that cost me 1,500.

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