3 Great Alternatives to Robinhood Canada

| September 14, 2021
✓ Verified by Harshil Dhanky

The investing platform Robinhood is becoming increasingly popular, but the platform is not currently available in Canada.

There are three alternatives to Robinhood in Canada: Wealthsimple Trade, Interactive Brokers, and Questrade.

Out of these three alternatives, Wealthsimple Trade is most similar to Robinhood.

Commission-free trading options and the user-friendly experience are two features that make Wealthsimple a great alternative to Robinhood.

Is Robinhood Available in Canada?

Marketed as the investing app for millennials, Robinhood has become one of the most popular platforms for retail investors in the United States.

Unfortunately, Robinhood is currently not available for Canadian investors.

However, there are several similar alternatives with Wealthsimple Trade being the most alike in terms of the features that are offered.

When is Robinhood Coming to Canada?

While many are hoping that Robinhood will eventually make its way into Canada, the company has not announced any plans to do so.

Currently, Robinhood is licensed to sell securities only in the United States.

Entering Canada would require a separate set of regulatory approvals that can take months or even years to obtain.

Robinhood app on phone

Robinhood 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.
Robinhood

 

Summary

One of the most popular trading platforms in the United States. The platform offers zero-commission fee trading on stocks and ETFs.

Pros

  • No account balance minimums.
  • Simple interface on both web and mobile platforms.

Cons

  • Common complaints regarding support.
  • Limited types of securities available for trading.
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

  • Only Canadian dollars can be held in accounts.
  • Users are charged conversion fees on purchases of U.S. equities.

Some of the biggest selling points of Robinhood are the low fees and zero-commission trading.

Paying fees and commissions can add up quickly, especially for high-frequency traders.

In Canada, there are three main brokerages that offer a similar low fee, zero-commission service as Robinhood.

Commonly referred to as discount brokerages, low-cost investment platforms in Canada include Interactive Brokers, Wealthsimple Trade, and Questrade.

These platforms are all great alternatives for Canadians who do not have access to Robinhood.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers has many similarities to Robinhood.

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 these are more complex than Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade, meaning that users have to undergo an initial learning curve.

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 alternatives to Robinhood, Wealthsimple Trade is perhaps the most similar in terms of features, offering an easy-to-use platform, low-cost fee structure, and a variety of service offerings to meet different needs.

Just as Robinhood was attractive to younger and newer traders due to its user-friendly interface and easy-to-navigate platform, Wealthsimple Trade offers a very similar experience.

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.

As only Canadian dollars can currently be held in Wealthsimple accounts, purchasing U.S. equities requires a 1.5% transaction fee.

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.

Questrade

Questrade has been around in the Canadian market for over 20 years.

During this time, the company has consistently been rated amongst the top investing platforms in the country by offering low-fee trading and a variety of services that cater to both amateur and experienced traders.

Just like Interactive Brokers, Questrade offers a few different account options depending on user needs.

Regular accounts have commissions ranging from $4.95 to $9.95 for most Canadian and U.S. stocks. The company also offers an Active Trader package which can bring commissions down to as low as $0.01 per share.

Aside from stocks, Questrade offers access to several other assets including ETFs, options, forex, CFDs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, and commodities.

In terms of account types, Questrade offers a large range of both registered and non-registered accounts.

This variety opens up investing to those with different financial goals, from saving for education to retirement planning.

Money can be held in either USD or CAD, which can allow traders to buy and sell both Canadian and U.S. equities with ease while saving higher-frequency traders hundreds of dollars in transaction fees each year.

One feature not offered by Questrade is fractional share trading.

In this area, both Interactive Brokers and Wealthsimple Trade come out ahead.

Both the mobile application and desktop application are fairly straightforward and easy-to-use.

A variety of customization options are available, allowing traders to focus on what is important to them.

What is Robinhood

Robinhood is an investment platform that has become increasingly popular in the United States.

Founded in 2013, the Robinhood platform has now grown to over 18 million users.

As the name suggests, the goal of the platform was to create a financial system that worked for everyone and closed the gap between everyday traders and professionals.

From a user-friendly interface to a large catalogue of educational tools, Robinhood has given younger and newer traders a way to access the stock market without needing any specialized knowledge or expertise.

As one of the pioneers behind commission-free trading in the United States, Robinhood has attracted many new investors who are looking for low-cost alternatives to traditional brokerages.

The platform allows users to buy and sell stocks on major U.S. exchanges including the NYSE and NASDAQ and is currently only available for clients in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why isn’t Robinhood in Canada?
  • Robinhood is currently only licensed in the United States. To be allowed to operate in USA, the company has registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. To expand to other countries like Canada, Robinhood would need to work with regulatory bodies in those countries to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations. Currently, the company is continuing to focus on the U.S. market and has no stated plans to expand internationally.

  • Is there a Canadian equivalent of the Robinhood stock trading app?
  • The closest thing to Robinhood in Canada is Wealthsimple Trade. The main similarities between the two are the commission-free trading options and the user-friendly experience. These features make both platforms great choices for first-time investors.


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.