Is ETRADE Available in Canada?

| September 19, 2022
✓ Verified by Matthew Jaekel

Unfortunately, Etrade is not available in Canada.

However, Canadians have many alternatives to choose from when it comes to brokerage platforms.

Best Etrade Alternatives for Canadians

Interactive Brokers

Summary

A low-fee platform that offers access to a variety of asset classes. A great option for advanced traders, as the platform offers a variety of technical tools and market research.

Pros

  • Ability to purchase fractional shares.
  • Low commissions, especially for high-frequency traders.

Cons

  • The platform is not as user-friendly as other options.
  • The pricing structure is complex, and understanding commissions may be difficult at first.
Wealthsimple Trade

Summary

Wealthsimple was the first platform to offer zero-commission trading in Canada. The platform is a great choice for new investors, offering basic features with a polished, user-friendly interface.

Pros

  • No account minimums required.
  • Easy-to-use mobile and web platforms.

Cons

  • Plus subscription required to have a USD account to avoid FX fees.
  • Lack of advanced features such as options trading.
Big 5 Banks
 

Summary

Five biggest banks in Canada: Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO),and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

Pros

  • Trustworthy
  • Easy to manage all your financial accounts in one place
  • Ability to access services in-person at branches

Cons

  • Higher commissions
  • Large client base, can’t offer personalized service

Luckily for Canadians, there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to choosing a brokerage platform.

Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and choosing between options will come down to individual needs.

Below are a few examples of the options available in Canada.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is a great alternative for Canadians.

The costs of trading are extremely low, and there are several different pricing structures to choose from depending on the type of trader you are.

The fixed pricing structure offers trading for as low as $0.005 per share of US equities, with a minimum of $1 and a maximum of 1% of the trade value.

For the tiered structure, pricing starts at $0.0035 for the first 300,000 shares and drops to $0.0005.

As you can see, high-frequency traders are likely to benefit the most from the Interactive Brokers pricing structure.

Aside from stocks, investors also have access to a wide range of other assets, including ETFs, options, futures, FOPs, warrants, structured products, SSFs, currencies, commodities, indices, fixed income, and mutual funds.

Interactive Brokers offers their Canadian clients a variety of account options.

Both registered and non-registered accounts can be created in just a few simple clicks.

TFSA, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, margin, and various trust accounts are all available through the trading platform.

Interactive Brokers also offers the ability to trade fractional shares, except in RRSP and TFSA accounts.

This feature has been highly requested, as it allows for traders operating with small sums of money in their accounts to buy stock in companies with high individual share prices such as Amazon.

The investment platform offers both a mobile application and a desktop application, both of which have an initial learning curve to them.

However, once users get a grasp of the interface, there are a variety of useful features that can be used to conduct research to make better financial decisions.

Wealthsimple Trade

When looking for alternative trading platforms in Canada, Wealthsimple Trade offers an easy-to-use platform, low-cost fee structure, and a variety of service offerings to meet different needs.

Wealthsimple Trade offers a friendly interface and easy-to-navigate platform.

Account setup is extremely straightforward and can all be done through the mobile application.

Once you have an account, it is easy to search for stocks and make your first purchase.

While Wealthsimple did not initially offer a web-based platform, the feature has recently been added.

Both web and mobile offer a similar sleek and polished experience, making trading much more accessible to newer traders.

Wealthsimple Trade offers commission-free trading for most Canadian stocks and ETFs.

With a regular account, only Canadian dollars can be held, meaning that purchasing U.S. equities requires a 1.5% transaction fee.

However, the recent addition of their Plus subscription for $10 per month provides users with USD accounts or the ability to hold funds in USD.

Wealthsimple Trade offers fewer account options than other platforms.

Currently, only three types of accounts can be opened: RRSP, TFSA, and non-registered personal savings accounts.

While the selection is limited, many traders will prefer to trade in either an RRSP or TFSA due to the tax benefits associated with these accounts.

The lack of additional account options should not dissuade traders from choosing Wealthsimple Trade.

Wealthsimple Trade also recently began offering fractional trading on a limited number of Canadian and US equities.

As previously mentioned, this feature has received lots of positive reviews, as newer traders in Canada have long looked for opportunities to purchase stocks in companies like Amazon or Tesla.

Big 5 Banks

The big 5 banks in Canada (TD, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, and RBC) have offered online brokerage platforms to customers for decades.

As more established institutions that have been around in some cases for more than 100 years, many Canadians trust the big 5 banks more than newer, online-only brokerage platforms.

As a tradeoff for security and dependability, the big 5 banks tend to charge much higher trading fees than online discount brokerage firms like Wealthsimple and Interactive Brokers.

Fees vary by bank, but can range from $6.95 to $9.99 per trade.

Trade frequency, account balances, and the type of security you purchase all factor into the equation.

In general, users will be paying higher fees in exchange for the peace of mind that comes with storing your money in a well-established institution.

However, as competition increases, big banks have slowly started to adapt and offer lower fees than they traditionally charged.

For example, the Bank of Montreal announced in June 2021 that they would be offering commission-free trading on over 80 ETFs through their BMO InvestorLine trading platform.

Will Etrade Ever Come to Canada?

Etrade used to be available to Canadians.

However, their services are no longer available and the probability of Etrade ever returning to Canada is pretty low.

After being founded in 1991 in the United States, the company expanded to Canada and operated for several years.

The company sold their Canadian operations to Scotiabank in 2008.

What is Etrade?

Etrade is an online stock trading platform that existed briefly in Canada in the early 2000s.

After being purchased by Scotiabank, the company’s Canadian operations were merged with Scotiabank’s operations and branded under the iTRADE platform.

Did You Know?

Etrade is a familiar name to many Americans, as the company famously had an ad campaign that ran during the Superbowl featuring a baby that talked about finance.

ETRADE open on laptop

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use Etrade in Canada?
  • Can I buy Canadian stocks with Etrade?
  • What happened to Etrade in Canada?

I have been investing for half a decade, using the perspectives gained from my work experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to shape my investment outlook. I have a specific interest in the potential of emerging disruptive technologies and their impact on the future.