Trading stocks online has become very convenient thanks to the widespread availability of online trading platforms.
There are plenty of platforms that allow you to easily buy and sell stocks, check real time quotes and monitor your portfolio.
There are many factors to consider when deciding which brokerage service to use and there are many options out there, so finding the best one can be tricky.
We’ve compiled the top trading platforms in Canada to help you make a decision that suits your needs, in no particular order.
1. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a global online brokerage that serves clients worldwide including in Canada.
They offer a wide range of services for both retail and institutional investors.
Interactive Brokers offers tiered and fixed pricing structures, with fees as low as $0.0005 per share.
The platform is also well known for having excellent tools for technical analysis.
One of the biggest draws is the variety of securities that are available for trading.
Alongside common investments like stocks and ETFs, investors can diversify their portfolios by adding options, futures, FOPs, warrants, structured products, SSFs, currencies, commodities, indices, fixed income, and mutual funds.
In addition to the great rates, IB offers several free educational resources to help new investors get up to speed.
These include videos covering everything from basic investment concepts to advanced strategies such as technical analysis.
2. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple offers a wide variety of financial products and services, including their trading platform called Wealthsimple Trade.
Their goal is to provide a simple, straightforward approach to investing.
This means that instead of requiring you to navigate through dozens of different screens and pages to complete a single transaction, Wealthsimple Trade wants to make things as easy as possible.
One thing that sets them apart from other firms is their offering of zero commission trading.
The platform provides access to Canadian and American stocks and ETFs with no commissions.
There are currency conversion charges for investing south of the border, but they can be minimized by enrolling in the $10/month Plus subscription which provides users with a variety of benefits, such as being able to store USD and bringing down currency conversion fees
Additionally, Wealthsimple also focuses on educating its clients. On their website, they feature articles written by experts in finance and personal finance. In addition, they regularly publish blogs and podcasts that cover topics like retirement planning and investing.
Questrade is a Canadian based company that specializes in online stock trading. It was founded in 1995 and has been growing ever since.
Today, it boasts over 300,000 active traders worldwide.
It’s no secret that Questrade is one of the most popular options among Canadians looking for a reliable brokerage firm.
That’s because they offer a number of unique advantages, including low fees and a user friendly platform.
The company offers various pricing structures to meet the needs of both beginner and professional traders.
Most Canadian and US equities have commissions ranging from $4.95 to $9.95 in regular accounts.
An Active Trader package is also available, which can reduce commissions to as little as $0.01 per share.
Questrade offers a wide range of investment options in addition to equities.
The platform allows you to buy and sell ETFs, Options, Forex, CFDs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, GICs, and Precious Metals.
Questrade offers a wide range of registered and non-registered account types.
This diversity makes investing accessible to people with unique financial goals, from education savings to retirement planning.
Money can be stored in either USD or CAD, allowing traders to easily purchase and sell Canadian and US securities while saving high-frequency traders hundreds of thousands per year in transaction fees.
Qtrade is a Canadian brokerage firm that offers a low-fee platform with great customer support.
The company is owned by Aviso Wealth, a large wealth management company with over $95 billion in assets under management for over 500,000 Canadians.
The platform offers commission-free trading for over 100 different ETFs and charges $6.95 to $8.75 on all other trades.
Outside of stocks and ETFs, investors can access mutual funds, Canadian and U.S. bonds, options, and GICs.
For high-frequency traders, the Investor Plus option offers lower commissions, as long as you have at least $500,000 in your account or make 150+ trades per quarter.
Aside from lower commissions, Investor Plus users also gain access to USD accounts and independent research services.
Combined with access to analytical tools that allow traders to discover, evaluate and monitor investments, Qtrade is a great choice for both amateur and experienced investors.
5. TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing is a platform preferred by customers looking to stick with a bank-owned brokerage platform.
TD Direct Investing offers access to advanced research tools that may be of interest to advanced traders.
The platform’s commissions are slightly higher than some of their discount brokerage competitors at $7.00 per trade for active traders, and $9.99 on standard trades.
While costs are higher, TD Direct Investing offers many great features to make up for this difference.
In particular, TD Direct Investing provides access to a full suite of analytical tools that are comparable with some of the top platforms in Canada.
In terms of the user experience, both the web platform and mobile application are easy to use.
Customers are generally happy with their user experience and also commend TD Direct Investing for their customer service.
6. National Bank Direct Brokerage
National Bank is a large financial institution and is a first mover amongst the Canadian banks to offer commission-free trades and ETFs, making it an attractive platform for investors that are hesitant to invest with a stand-alone online discount broker and are more comfortable investing with a bank’s trading platform.
While trading is free for individual equities or ETFs, the platform has inactivity fees and annual charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances which might discourage new or beginner investors.
Their robo-investing service, InvestCube, also helps investors make automated, systematic investments into diversified long-term holdings.
7. CIBC Investor’s Edge
CIBC’s trading platform Investor’s Edge is a good option for traders who prefer to stay with one of the big five banks.
The platform includes the ability to trade options.
While most of the big five banks have this feature, CIBC stands out through its transparent and easy-to-understand pricing structure.
Standard, student and active pricing tiers are available for options trading.
Compared to other platforms, CIBC’s pricing is very favourable ($6.95 + $1.25 per contract, $5.95 + $1.25 per contract, and $4.95 + $1.25 per contract for standard, student, and active traders, respectively).
While CIBC’s Investor Edge may be missing the sleek interface and superior user experience found in other platforms, the no-frills, low-cost offering is still a reasonable alternative for Canadians looking to trade options.