Is Qtrade Direct Investing free?

Qtrade Direct Investing does charge a commission for real stock trading on US markets, so in this sense it is not a free-to-trade broker. However, it might still be a reasonable choice for some of you, as there are many other aspects other than commissions that are important when you choose a broker. If you wish to stick with Qtrade Direct Investing though, then you will find the fees they charge below. Alternatively, you could check our article detailing the best zero commission brokers and how their apps scored in our test.

We should note that the payment-for-order-flow model, which is used by some zero-commission brokers to generate income (rather than relying on commissions), could potentially create a conflict of interest between you and your broker. This could result in trade execution (like routing your orders to specific market makers) that might be unfavorable for you under certain market conditions, especially when using market orders (as opposed to limit orders, which seem to be less affected).

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Overview of Qtrade Direct Investing fees and charges

When it comes to brokerage fees, Qtrade Direct Investing is a mixed bag. To see how they may affect you, first you need to figure out your approach to trading - i.e. whether you are more of a buy-and-hold investor or if you want to trade frequently; or what type of assets and in what volumes you'll want to trade. Alternatively, use our questionnaire to help you tell whether Qtrade Direct Investing fees are beneficial for you. Continue reading about Qtrade Direct Investing fees and charges to see if this is the right broker for you, or if a similar broker like RBC Direct Investing or Questrade might suit you better.

Here's a high-level overview of Qtrade Direct Investing's fees

Qtrade Direct Investing Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Average CAD 8.75 per trade (CAD 6.95 if you make 150+ trades per quarter or have a CAD 500k+ account balance)
EURUSD fee - Not available
US mutual fund fees Low No fee
Inactivity fee Low $25 per quarter, charged as account fee if you fail to make a minimum number of trades or deposits during a quarter

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing fees explained

Online brokerages in general charge much lower brokerage fees than traditional brokerages do - this is largely because online brokerages' businesses can be much better scaled: from a purely technical standpoint, it doesn't make that much of a difference for them if they have 100 or 5,000 clients.

This is not to say, however, that they don't charge any fees at all. They make money by charging you various rates for various actions or events. Usually you need to keep an eye on the following three types of fees:

  • Trading fees - these are brokerage fees that you pay when you actually carry out a trade, like buying an Apple share or an ETF. What you pay is either a commission, a spread or a financing rate. Some brokers apply all of these.
    • A commission is either fixed or based on the traded volume.
    • A spread is the difference between the buy price and the sell price.
    • A financing rate or overnight rate is charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than one day.
  • Non-trading fees. These are usually related to some operations you carry out in your account, such as depositing money, withdrawing money, or not trading for an extended period.

We compare Qtrade Direct Investing fees with its closest competitors, RBC Direct Investing and Questrade.

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing trading fees

Qtrade Direct Investing's trading fees are mixed, which means that some asset classes come with high trading fees - be sure to check these carefully.

Let's break down trading fees according to the different asset classes available at Qtrade Direct Investing.

Trading fees

Qtrade Direct Investing's trading fees are average.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Qtrade Direct Investing has average stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
US stock $8.8 $7.4 $5.0
UK stock - - -
German stock - - -

Fund fees

Qtrade Direct Investing fund fees are low.

Fees of a $2,000 fund purchase
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
Mutual fund $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU mutual fund - - -

Bond fees

Qtrade Direct Investing has low bond fees.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
US Treasury bond $25.0 $18.5 $0.0
EU government bond - - -

Options fees

Qtrade Direct Investing's options fees are high.

Options fees for 10 contracts
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
US stock options $21.3 $16.6 $20.0
US stock index options $21.3 $16.6 $20.0
UK stock index options - - -
German stock index options - - -

Currency conversion fee

Qtrade Direct Investing will charge a Currency Conversion Fee for all trades on instruments denominated in a currency different to the currency of your account. The fee is charged as the following: 0.9% mark-up for positions under CAD 9,999.

Margin rates

Qtrade Direct Investing margin rates are high.

Qtrade Direct Investing margin rates
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
USD margin rate 8.3% 7.5% 11.5%
EUR margin rate - - -

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, Qtrade Direct Investing is a rather cheap broker.

Non-trading fees include various brokerage fees and charges at Qtrade Direct Investing that are not related to buying or selling assets. This can be a withdrawal fee, deposit fee, inactivity fee or account fee.

A high-level overview of how Qtrade Direct Investing stacks up in terms of non-trading fees
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee Yes No No
Account fee Yes Yes No

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing deposit fee

Usually, brokers don't charge anything for deposits, and Qtrade Direct Investing is no different.

Qtrade Direct Investing deposit methods
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No Yes
Electronic wallets No No Yes
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing withdrawal fee

Qtrade Direct Investing generally doesn't charge a withdrawal fee.

Qtrade Direct Investing withdrawal fees and options compared
Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No Yes
Electronic wallets No No Yes
Withdrawal fee for bank transfer $0 $0 $0

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Qtrade Direct Investing fees
Qtrade Direct Investing inactivity fee

Qtrade Direct Investing does apply an inactivity fee and it is $25 per quarter, charged as account fee if you fail to make a minimum number of trades or deposits during a quarter. Keep this in mind to avoid getting charged after a longer idle period. The fact that Qtrade Direct Investing charges an inactivity fee makes it less ideal for you if you are a buy-and-hold investor.

The inactivity fee charged by Qtrade Direct Investing is low.

Qtrade Direct Investing RBC Direct Investing Questrade
Inactivity fee Yes No No
Inactivity fee $25 per quarter, charged as account fee if you fail to make a minimum number of trades or deposits during a quarter No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

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Author of this article

Oskar Golebiowski

Author of this article

Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

Oskar Golebiowski

Canadian broker expert

Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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