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Questrade vs Wealthsimple

The internet and the introduction of mobile applications has created the ability for newcomers to break into the discount brokerage and wealth management arena. Today we look at 2 of those discount brokerage firms Questrade and Wealthsimple and compare their services.

Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade are online brokerage trading platforms established to offer clients various products and services to invest in. Wealthsimple is a relatively new platform, while Questrade has offered its clients low-cost brokerage services since 1999. Both platforms offer numerous benefits and advantages to their clients. Below, we shall compare Wealthsimple trade/crypto and Questrade platforms and look into some of the different services, fees, and features they offer to the market.

Wealthsimple Trade and Crypto Trading Platform

Wealthsimple Trade is a Canadian financial investment and trading platform that provides various online products and services. It’s a platform that offers approachable and simple means to investment and wealth management for investors or people who have very little experience in investing. You need to meet the relevant eligibility requirements to open a Wealthsimple Trade and Crypto account. Some of the advantages and features of Wealthsimple Trade and Crypto platform include:

  • There is no account minimum or cost of opening a Wealthsimple trade account, so you can begin trading with $1 after linking your bank account.
  • Opening an account is convenient and easy, and one can download the Wealthsimple trade application or sign up on the desktop computer and get started. You will need your Social Insurance Number along with documents to prove your identity e.g. Driving License, Passport etc.
  • Wealthsimple allows buying fractional shares on the select US and Canadian stocks.

Pros

  • Easy to set up – creating and signing up for the Wealthsimple trade account is easy and takes only a few minutes. After inserting your personal information, you will be required to answer a few survey questions about your investing, trading and finance interest.
  • Simple trading platform for beginners – Wealthsimple Trade is a simple platform for beginners who want to start investing or trading Canadian equities and ETFs . It’s a platform that is well organized and easy to use and navigate.
  • Buying Canadian Shares and the Wealthsimple branded ETFs is FREE.

Cons

  • Trading US equities or anything other than the Wealthsimple bundle of ETFs will prove to be very expensive. For US Equities you are charged an exchange rate on each trade (buy and sell) as all funds are held in Canadian dollars.  While Wealthsimple is introducing a premium account at $10 per month to eliminate their exchange rate fees it is not entirely clear whether funds will be held US dollars so traders may still incur exchange fees on every trade. Considering the average Canadian invests in the US markets due to the higher returns the Wealthsimple “free trade” model becomes unjustifiably expensive with all these quietly added charges.
  • The product was initially released as an app and the website followed. As a result the website lacks many of the features you will find on the app. When asking support for help with those missing features they will merely re-direct you to the app to resolve the issue.

Questrade Trading Platform

Questrade is one of Canada’s leading discount online brokerage firms. It provides various platforms to trade and research services. It’s a good trading platform if you reside in Canada or for prospective international clients looking to trade in the US and Canadian stock exchanges. Questrade offers trading in options, stocks, exchange-traded funds, and mutual funds. The platform provides international equities, guaranteed investment certificates, precious metal purchases and access to initial public offerings.

Platforms and Tools

Questrade has two primary trading platforms, including IQ Edge and IQ Web. IQ Edge is a desktop trading platform available for macOS and Windows, while IQ Web is browser-based. The platforms provide similar overall functionality; however, IQ edge provides more comprehensive customization and trading tools and is the most preferred platform for active traders. Below we take a look at some of the detailed features of the two primary trading platforms.

IQ Edge overview

IQ edge has various predefined and custom layouts available and is a versatile platform with a great balance of features that eliminate unnecessary complexity. IQ edge provides more features than the IQ Web platform and is developed for more experienced and proficient investors. For instance, the market view tool feature is built to offer various types of heat maps and rich multiple views that you can filter across exchanges to view the worst and best performers.

IQ Edge trading features

IQ Edge runs well on Mac and Windows. The platform supports full hotkeys, and you can set default order values for options and stocks and the order parameters, including the duration, order type and route.

IQ Web overview

IQ Web is an easy-to-use platform and provides a well-rounded experience. Traders can stream stock charts watch lists and easily customize options chains. The IQ Web platform offers great core trading necessities, including charts, quotes, watch lists, trading news, and account management.

IQ Web charts

The IQ Web platform offers advanced charting modules, including ten drawing tools and 30 optional indicators. It provides features that are user-friendly that make trading more convenient and efficient.

Pros of Questrade Platform

  • Trading experience
    • Questrade is an amazing trading platform that allows clients to trade through mobile applications and desktop trading platforms. The platform also offers a CFD and a forex platform that provide a different experience. Questrade trading allows clients to customize the different trading defaults while providing a portfolio listing and watch list display.
  • Mobile trading experience
    • Questrade’s platform is mobile-enabled, and you can adjust its display to the preferred size of your choice.
    • Watchlists built on the web platform are easily accessible on the mobile application. CFDs and trading Forex require the Questrade FX Global application.
  • Usability
    • Getting started on the Questrade platform is simple. New clients can sign up and register for a new account on the website and go through the various videos that provide guides to the several available platforms.
    • Questrade trading provides a web-based platform that displays basic quotes, watchlists, charting, and research tools. A few customization options include the order entry defaults and columns for reporting.
    • The web platform is easy to understand and use. The downloadable platform is called IQ edge, which is customizable and has additional order types and research features.
  • Research
    • The Questrade platform provides vital research tools for users consisting of technical and fundamental analysis on its website and trading platforms for logged in clients.
    • The Questrade research center has two primary research tools: the intraday trader tool and the market intelligence for news and analysis.

Cons of Questrade platform

  • Slow account opening for non-Canadians; opening an account takes a bit of some time due to the processing of verifiable documents. Payment options are also limited, particularly for those clients who want to invest funds via an alternative funding source or the e-wallet.
  • Limited account base currencies and high withdrawal fees for non-Canadians

Comparing WealthSimple vs Questrade

Wealthsimple trade and Questrade platforms support investment in various products and services. Below, we compare the two trading platforms and look into some of each platform’s services, features, and fees.

I. Questrade trading platform has been a low-cost brokerage provider since 1999. Today, it provides almost every type of trading investment from bonds, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, GICs, initial public offerings, options, and other equities like precious stones.
Wealthsimple trade and crypto began providing brokerage services in 2019 with a mobile application service called Wealthsimple trade. It offers 0% commission purchases, trades and sales on stocks and ETFs listed on the NASDAQ, NYSE, TSX-V and TSX exchanges.

II. When it comes to access to research tools and market data, Questrade provides real-time market data, while the Wealthsimple trade platform has up to a 15-minute delay on quotes. Questrade’s Tipranks tool helps investors trade in the Canadian and US stock rating and measures the performance of anyone who offers financial guidance and analysis. Wealthsimple trade provides $0 commission fees for selling or buying stocks, while Questrade offers 1 cent per share or $4.95 min to $9.95 max.

Both Wealthsimple trade and the Questrade platform have instant deposit features that help investors perform trades instantly after depositing funds up to certain limits. At Wealthsimple trade, the instant deposit amount is $250, which goes up to $1000 for premium users, while on the other hand, the instant deposit for Questrade is $35000.

Below is a quick breakdown of how Wealthsimple trade and Questrade platforms compare.

Online brokerage platforms Wealthsimple TradeQuestrade
Commission Fees to Sell or Buy Stocks01 cent per share/or $4.95 min to $9.95 max
Online platformsMobile app onlyMobile app and desktop
Minimum cash need to get started1$1,000 minimum
Account Types AvailablePersonal (non-registered), RRSP and TFSAPersonal (non-registered), RESP, LIRA, TFSA & RRSP, LIF, RIF, and Margin
ETFs (exchange-traded funds)0Free to buy;$4.95 to sell
GICs/ BondsN/A Min. $5000; fees may apply at withdrawal
Currency ConversionCorporate rate + 1.5%N/A

It is vital to ensure that you invest or deal with brokerage services or platforms that are legitimate, licensed, reliable and secure. Before handing over your savings to a financial institution, it’s important to research who is handling your money. At the time of writing both Wealthsimple and Questrade are a) regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and b) members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

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