Is RBC Direct Investing free?

RBC 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 RBC 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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RBC Direct Investing fees
Overview of RBC Direct Investing fees and charges

When it comes to brokerage fees, RBC 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 RBC Direct Investing fees are beneficial for you. Continue reading about RBC Direct Investing fees and charges to see if this is the right broker for you, or if a similar broker like Qtrade or Questrade might suit you better.

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

RBC Direct Investing Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Average CAD 9.95 per trade; CAD 6.95 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter
EURUSD fee - Not available
US mutual fund fees Low No fee
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

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

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RBC Direct Investing fees
RBC Direct Investing trading fees

RBC Direct Investing's trading fees are low, which makes it suitable for you even if you trade often (i.e. several times a week).

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

Trading fees

RBC Direct Investing's trading fees are average.

Stock fees and ETF fees

RBC Direct Investing has average stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
RBC Direct Investing Qtrade Questrade
US stock $7.5 $6.6 $5.0
UK stock - - -
German stock - - -

Fund fees

RBC Direct Investing fund fees are low.

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

Bond fees

RBC Direct Investing has low bond fees.

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

Options fees

RBC Direct Investing's options fees are average.

Options fees for 10 contracts
RBC Direct Investing Qtrade Questrade
US stock options $16.8 $15.9 $20.0
US stock index options $16.8 $15.9 $20.0
UK stock index options - - -
German stock index options - - -

Margin rates

RBC Direct Investing margin rates are average.

RBC Direct Investing margin rates
RBC Direct Investing Qtrade Questrade
USD margin rate 4.5% 4.5% 7.0%
EUR margin rate - - -

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RBC Direct Investing fees
RBC Direct Investing non-trading fees

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

Non-trading fees include various brokerage fees and charges at RBC 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 RBC Direct Investing stacks up in terms of non-trading fees
RBC Direct Investing Qtrade Questrade
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Account fee Yes Yes No

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RBC Direct Investing fees
RBC Direct Investing deposit fee

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

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

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RBC Direct Investing fees
RBC Direct Investing withdrawal fee

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

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

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RBC Direct Investing fees
RBC Direct Investing inactivity fee

RBC Direct Investing does not apply an inactivity fee, which is great because your account won't be charged even if you do not trade for an extended period (like several months or years).

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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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