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RBC Direct Investing Logo

Summary

Recommended for investors, including beginners, who focus on the Canadian and US markets

RBC Direct Investing is a division of the Royal Bank of Canada which was founded in 1864 and is a Canadian discount stockbroker. It is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

RBC Direct Investing is considered very safe because it has a long track record, is listed on the stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is regulated by a top-tier regulator.

Overall Rating
4.1
Fees
3.0
Account opening
4.0
Deposit and withdrawal
2.0
Trading platform
2.0
Markets and products
2.0
Research
3.0
Customer service
5.0
Education
4.0

RBC Direct Investing pros and cons

RBC Direct Investing is an established company with a banking background and fast account opening for RBC banking clients. The customer service is relevant and quick, the education resources are also great and cover a lot of tools, including a demo account.

RBC Direct Investing's most obvious weakness is its outdated mobile trading app. The product portfolio also only covers the US and Canadian markets. Withdrawal and deposit options are also limited.

Pros Cons
Quick, relevant customer service Only US and Canadian markets covered
Easy account opening in some cases Lack of withdrawal/deposit options
High-quality educational tools Outdated mobile trading platform
RBC Direct Investing main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulation Canada
💰 Trading fees class Average
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1-3 days
💳 Deposit with credit card Not available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 2
🎮 Demo account provided Yes
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options
Oskar Golebiowski

Oskar Golebiowski

Canadian broker expert

Author of this review

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

RBC Direct Investing review
Fees

3.0
RBC Direct Investing has no mutual fund fees and low non-trading fees. As long as you are an RBC banking client you don't have a withdrawal fee either. On the negative side, the options fees are high and an account fee is charged if you have an account balance less than CAD 15,000.
Pros Cons
Low non-trading fees Quarterly account fee
No withdrawal fee High Non-RBC Client Withdrawal Fee
No mutual fund trading fee
RBC Direct Investing fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock Average CAD 9.95 per trade. If you trade 150+ per quarter, it's CAD 6.95
EURUSD - Not available
Mutual fund Low CAD 0 per trade
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

We ranked RBC Direct Investing's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, and non-trading fees.

Below you will find the most relevant fees of RBC Direct Investing for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing commissions are the most important fees.

We also compared RBC Direct Investing's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Questrade and Qtrade. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of RBC Direct Investing alternatives.

To have a clear overview of RBC Direct Investing, let's start with the trading fees.

RBC Direct Investing trading fees

RBC Direct Investing trading fees are average.

Stock fees and ETF fees

The fee structure is mostly transparent. The stock, ETF, and options fee structures are volume-tiered, and you get a discount after 150 trades per quarter.

RBC Direct Investing has generally average stock and ETF commissions compared to all brokers but some of its direct competitors offer lower commissions.

Stock and ETF commission of a $2,000 trade
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
US stock $7.5 $5.0 $6.6

RBC Direct Investing charges a flat fee for stocks and ETFs of $9.95 per transaction if you have less than 150 transactions per quarter. If you trade 150 times or more in a quarter, you will be charged $6.95 flat per transaction.

If you prefer stock trading on margin or short sale, you should check RBC Direct Investing financing rates. RBC Direct Investing financing rates are average. The financing rates or also known as margin rates vary based on the base currency of your margin account.

What are financing rates? Financing rates or margin rates are charged when you trade short sell or on margin. Trading on margin basically means that you borrow money from your broker to trade. For this borrowed money you have to pay interest. This is the financing rate. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

RBC Direct Investing annual financing rates for stocks, futures, and options
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
USD margin rate 6.3% 9.0% 6.3%

The financing rates above are also applied for options.

Fund fees

RBC Direct Investing charges no commission fees for mutual fund transactions.

Commission for a $2,000 fund purchase
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Mutual fund $0.0 $10.0 $0.0

Bond fees

RBC Direct Investing has generally high bond fees.

Commission of a $10,000 government bond trade
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
US Treasury bond $18.8 $0.0 $18.7

RBC Direct Investing offers only Canada-based government, provincial, municipal, and corporate bonds. The commission is incorporated into the total price of the bond which is not the most transparent. The minimum commission incorporated into the price is $25 per transaction, while the maximum is $250 per transaction.

Options fees

RBC Direct Investing options fees are high.

Stock index options commission of 10 contracts
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
US stock index options $16.8 $20.0 $15.9

RBC Direct Investing charges an options trading commission of $9.95 flat + $1.25 per contract if you trade less than 150 transactions per quarter. If you trade 150 times or more in a quarter, you will be charged $6.95 flat + $1.25 per contract afterward.

Non-trading fees

RBC Direct Investing has low non-trading fees and it has average non-trading fees. It charges no inactivity fee and there is no withdrawal fee in some cases. However, there is a management fee of CAD 25 per quarter fee if you have less than CAD 15,000 account balance and withdrawal fee can be quite high.

RBC Direct Investing non-trading fees
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Account fee Yes No Yes
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

The withdrawal fees strongly vary based on whether you have an RBC bank account or not, which account type you choose, and which withdrawal method you use as seen below:

RBC Direct Investing withdrawal fees

 

Clients with RBC bank account

Clients without RBC bank account

Margin, cash, RESP, TFSA accounts

Free

Cheque: CAD 10

Wire transfer: CAD 45

RRIF account

Free up to 2 withdrawals, each withdrawal after costs CAD 25

Cheque: CAD 10

Wire transfer: CAD 45

RRSP account

CAD 50 plus tax

Cheque: CAD 10

Wire transfer: CAD 95

RRSP account under Home Buyer's Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan

CAD 25 plus tax

Cheque: CAD 10

Wire transfer: CAD 95

RBC Direct Investing review
Account opening

4.0
RBC Direct Investing has an easy, fully digital, and fast account opening. There is no minimum deposit and you can choose from a lot of individual account types.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Account opening is a bit complicated for non-RBC bank account holders
No minimum deposit
No minimum deposit

Can you open an account?

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What is the minimum deposit at RBC Direct Investing?

The required RBC Direct Investing minimum deposit is $0

Account types

RBC Direct Investing offers different account types based on ownership:

  • Individual or personal account: account is owned by an individual
  • Joint account: account is owned by two or more individuals
  • Non-personal accounts: account is owned by a legal entity

Within the individual account, RBC Direct Investing offers more account types:

RBC Direct Investing individual account types

Account type

Who the account is targeted for?

Cash account

Clients preferring a flexible and liquid account

Margin account

Clients focusing on margin trading*

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Clients preferring easy access to money and tax-free investments

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Clients focusing on retirement and not preferring easy access to money

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

Clients focusing on the further growth of their investments and preferring flexibility in payment and withdrawals

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Clients saving for education

*When you borrow money from the broker 

 

How to open your account

RBC Direct Investing has an easy, fully digital, and fast account opening. The account opening is different depending on whether you are an existing RBC bank client:

  1. If you have an RBC bank account: the account opening process is fully digital and account opening times range between 1-2 business days.
  2. If you don't have an RBC bank account and choose cash/margin/TFSA / RRSP /RRIF accounts: you may choose either a fully digital 24-hour application or a print-and-mail application. The fully digital option will be evaluated through credit scores from a third party company and if RBC needs further clarification, they will contact you for the additional documents.
  3. If you don't have an RBC bank account and choose RESP / non-personal accounts: you have to download, print, and mail an application form.

 

RBC Direct Investing review - Account opening

RBC Direct Investing review
Deposit and withdrawal

2.0
There are no withdrawal or deposit fees at RBC Direct Investing which is definitely a plus. On the other hand, you can't use credit/debit cards or electronic wallets and most withdrawal options are charged if you are not yet an RBC banking client.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Less withdrawal and deposit options if not a client of RBC bank.
User-friendly

Account base currencies

You can choose from 2 base currencies: USD, CAD

Base currencies at RBC Direct Investing vs similar brokers
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Number of base currencies 2 2 2

All three Canadian brokers offer the same amount of currencies.

Why does this matter? For two reasons. First, if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, you are not charged a currency conversion fee. Second, if you trade assets in the same currency as your account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

Compare digital banks

Deposit fees and options

RBC Direct Investing charges no deposit fees.

If you are an RBC banking client you will have the following option to use:

  • Electronic Transfer from RBC bank account
  • RBC Rewards Points
  • Certified Cheque

If you are NOT an RBC banking client you will have theese option to use:

  • Transfer from another institution
  • Certified Cheque
RBC Direct Investing deposit options
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No

A bank transfer from an RBC bank account should take about 1-3 business days, but if transferring from a non-RBC account it can take several business days. A certified cheque may take even longer at 1-2 weeks to process.

Also, you can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.

RBC Direct Investing review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

 

RBC Direct Investing withdrawal fees and options

RBC Direct Investing charges no withdrawal fees for margin, cash, RESP, and TFSA accounts if you have RBC bank account, but high withdrawal fee for RRSP withdrawals and non-RBC bank clients.

RBC Direct Investing withdrawal fees and options
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from RBC Direct Investing? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took one business day to process. If you are a non-RBC client you should expect a minimum of 3 business days or more processing time.

How do you withdraw money from RBC Direct Investing? You can withdraw money from RBC Direct Investing by following these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Move your cursor over My Portfolio to open the drop-down menu
  3. Click on Transfer Cash
  4. Choose the account to withdraw from, the amount, currency and method
  5. Choose which account to transfer to
  6. Initiate withdrawal

Compare to other brokers

RBC Direct Investing review
Web trading platform

3.0
RBC Direct Investing does a great job of covering the basics, clear fee and portfolio reports are also very useful. On the other hand they do not offer a two-step login yet and the design feels outdated.
Pros Cons
Clear fee report No two-step (safer) login
Price alerts Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
RBC Direct Investing platforms to choose from
Trading platform Score Available
Web 3 / 5 stars Yes
Mobile 1 / 5 stars Yes
Desktop - No

RBC Direct Investing offers an in-house developed web trading platform. The web trading platform is available in English, French.

Look and feel

The RBC Direct Investing web trading platform is OK. It has a functional feel but since it is not very customizable, it is still somewhat lacking.

RBC Direct Investing review - Web trading platform

Login and security

RBC Direct Investing provides only a one-step login process. A two-step login would be more secure.

When you log in to a device for the first time, you have to answer a security question. After the first time, the accounts can be accessed with the common login ID and password combination.

Search functions

The search functions are not user-friendly. You must have the company's specific ticker symbol and correct country of the index for any results to populate.

RBC Direct Investing review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use market, limit, stop limit and stop orders with Day, Good 'till time and All or None time limits.

To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.

RBC Direct Investing review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set alerts and notifications through the web trading platform. You specify a price and it will then alert you through email. 

Portfolio and fee reports

RBC Direct Investing has a clear portfolio and fee reports. The reports can be found by hovering over My Portfolio and clicking on View & Manage my Documents.

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RBC Direct Investing review
Mobile trading platform

1.0
RBC Direct Investing's mobile app can be improved a lot. The overall look and feel of the app is outdated and does not offer sufficient research or price alerts while also having numerous bugs and freezing issues. On the plus side, they do offer biometric authentication for FaceID/touch.
Pros Cons
Touch/Face ID login Not user-friendly
No price alerts
Bugs

Similarly to the web trading platform, RBC Direct Investing has an in-house developed mobile trading platform. It is available both on iOS and Android. We tested it on iOS.

Most of the functionalities are the same as the web trading platform. It offers the same order types, has the same search functions, and offers only one-step login.

Look and feel

The biggest difference for the RBC Direct Investing mobile trading platform is that it is not user-friendly at all. The design is severely outdated and there are many glitches and bugs.

RBC Direct Investing review - Mobile trading platform

Login and security

RBC Direct Investing provides only a one-step login but does allow biometric authentication such as FaceID.

Search functions

The search functions are OK. You must have the company's specific ticker symbol and correct country of the index for any results to populate.

RBC Direct Investing review - Mobile trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types: Market, Limit, Stop Limit, Stop

There are also order time limits you can use: Good till time

 

RBC Direct Investing review - Mobile trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

Contrary to the web trading platform, you are not able to set alerts to be delivered in email. 

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RBC Direct Investing review
Desktop trading platform

RBC Direct Investing does not provide a desktop trading platform.

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RBC Direct Investing review
Markets and products

2.0
You can trade with multiple asset classes but some important ones like forex or CFDs are still missing. The offering is also limited to the Canadian and US markets.
  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No No No

RBC Direct Investing offers most of the basic asset classes, however, these product offerings still lags behind the competitors.

Stock and ETF

RBC Direct Investing gives access to standard North American stock exchanges. It could be perfect for clients who focus exclusively on the North American markets.

  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Stock markets (#) 5 9 5
ETFs (#) 3,100 3,100 3,100

Fund

RBC Direct Investing offers an average amount of mutual fund providers but less than some of its direct competitors.

  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Fund providers (#) 83 100 140

Bond

RBC Direct Investing offers bonds in various categories, such as municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and provincial bonds.

Compared to competitors, the number of bonds is not outstanding. However, it can be an ideal selection for investors who prefer Canadian fixed income securities only.

  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Bonds (#) 1,000 1,500 1,400

Options

RBC Direct Investing's number of available options market is below average.

  RBC Direct Investing Questrade Qtrade
Options markets (#) 2 6 2

You can trade options on the Montreal Exchange and the CBOE exchanges.

RBC Direct Investing review
Research

3.0
Many useful research tools are available related to recommendations and fundamental data, presented on a user-friendly interface. On the other hand, the charts and the news are quite basic.
Pros Cons
Trading ideas News are quite basic
Data on asset fundamentals Basic charting tools

With no desktop application and its underwhelming mobile app, the main source of research for RBC Direct Investing is through its web trading platform. It provides decent research capabilities allowing you to utilize many different technical and functional data tools 

Trading ideas

On RBC Direct Investing Trading, the web trading platform you will find a lot of analysis empowered by Morningstar.

RBC Direct Investing review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

RBC Direct Investing offers fundamental data. Through the research tools, you will find company and sector analysis, annual and quarterly financial statements, and inside trading overview.

At the IPO Centre, RBC Direct Investing's clients can subscribe to the firm's IPO Bulletin for information on the latest IPOs and secondary offerings.

RBC Direct Investing review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

RBC Direct Investing has OK charting tools. They are easy to use, but not very customizable. There are 55 technical indicators which might be enough but this amount is lower than what you'll find at other competitors.

RBC Direct Investing review - Research - Charting

Newsfeed

The news feed is updated in real time but it is basic and not customizable. It is split into Breaking News, Top Stories, and More Headlines with a function to search for more specific topics.

Compare research pros and cons

RBC Direct Investing review
Customer service

5.0
Great e-mail and live chat support with fast and relevant answers. The phone support is a bit slow and 24/7 availability is missing.
Pros Cons
Phone support No 24/7 support
Live chat
Relevant answers

You can contact RBC Direct Investing via:

  • live chat
  • phone
  • email

RBC Direct Investing provides a fast live chat. An agent was connected within a minute and we got relevant answers. For example, the withdrawal fees are not easy to understand through their fee table, but the customer service team could help 

The telephone support is okay. We got accurate answers, but we had to wait ~5-10 minutes until someone was connected. 

RBC Direct Investing's email support works well. Through email, we got quick and relevant answers with their customer support sending us pre-written paragraphs to answer our questions within 1 day. 

We also missed the 24/7 availability. You must wait for business hours in North America to contact support.

RBC Direct Investing review - Customer Service

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RBC Direct Investing review
Education

4.0
You can use a lot of educational resources, including tutorials, in-person seminars, and educational videos. They also offer a demo account that allows you to try the platform, but webinars are missing a bit.
Pros Cons
Demo account No webinars
Trading platform tutorial
Educational videos

At RBC Direct Investing you can learn in the following ways:

  • Demo account
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Quality educational articles

By far the most useful educational tool RBC Direct Investing offers is the practice accounts. Using these you can simulate investing and trading, even before depositing funds.

One of the best sources of educational materials is the RBC Direct Investing website where you can read blog posts on investing and search for information in the Getting Started section. Finding answers to generic questions using the search function is fairly simple. Information is available on various topics, such as order types, strategy types, and funding.

The YouTube channel is another useful source of educational content even if it’s not updated regularly. It mostly provides videos on the basics such as products and services.

RBC also offers free investment seminars in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver for those living in those areas.

RBC Direct Investing review - Education

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RBC Direct Investing review
Safety

With a long history of banking in Canada, RBC Direct Investing is a very safe and secure institution which is also regulated by a top tier financial authority in Canada.
Pros Cons
Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority No negative balance protection
High level of investor protection
Banking background

Is RBC Direct Investing regulated?

Yes, it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

How you are protected

Protection matters for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator differ from entity to entity. With RBC Direct Investing, this is not an issue because all customers are covered by RBC Direct Investing Inc.

RBC Direct Investing Inc. is a member of CIPF. Therefore, the clients of RBC are eligible for the CAD 1 million coverage offered by CIPF

RBC Direct Investing legal entities
Country of clients Protection amount Regulator Legal entity
Canada, USA $1 Million CIPF RBC Direct Investing Inc.

It is also worth noting that RBC Direct Investing does not provide negative balance protection.

Background

RBC Direct Investing's parent company, Royal Bank of Canada was established in 1864. The longer the track record of a broker, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

As Royal Bank of Canada holds a banking license, it is subject to tougher regulations than brokers.

Royal Bank of Canada is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. It is a big plus for safety as financial statements are released regularly and transparently.

Having a banking license, being listed on a stock exchange, providing financial statements, and regulated by a top-tier regulator are all great signs for RBC Direct Investing's safety.

Find your safe broker

RBC Direct Investing review
Bottom line

RBC Direct Investing is regulated by the top-tier IIROC. Its parent company, the Royal Bank of Canada has a banking license and listed on NYSE and TSX stock exchanges. It offers an easy, fully digital, and fast account opening for clients who already bank with RBC. The education resources are outstanding, they provide a lot of relevant and useful tools. Customer service gives fast and relevant answers.

It does have its downfalls, too. The product portfolio covers only the US and Canadian markets, you can't use credit/debit cards or electronic wallets for money transfer and the mobile app is in desperate need of an update.

Overall, since RBC Direct Investing has great account opening, advanced research and education tools, feel free to give them a try today.

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