Choosing an adequate trading platform can be quite overwhelming, as options are abundant. Whether you’re just starting or looking for an upgrade, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll review the five best trading platforms in Canada and explain what to look for in a trading platform to help you select the one that is in line with your needs and preferences.
Let’s look at some of the most popular online trading options available to Canadian traders and review their pros and cons. In the table below, you can see an overview of our top five choices for a quick comparison.
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- Opening the account is free
- No commission
- Elegant and easy-to-use mobile app
- Numerous promotional offers
- Six user-friendly platforms
- Low commissions
- Comprehensive lessons for traders
- Attractive referral bonus
- 100+ commission-free ETFs
- Lower commission for young traders
- User-friendly platform
- No minimum account balance
- Market-leading portfolio analytics tools
- New accounts with over $10,000 receive 50 free trades
- A variety of user-friendly platforms
- Free ETF trading
- Commission-free month
- A wide range of trading options
- Comprehensive educational material
A Closer Look: The Best Canadian Trading Platforms
Now that we’ve presented the basic information regarding the selected trading platforms in Canada, we’ll take a closer look at each of them. We’ll discuss trading options these platforms offer, the user experience, whether there are any promotional offers, how secure they are, and more.
- Account minimum: No
- Trading assets: Stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies
- Education: Articles
- Security: 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption; two-step verification
- Customer service: 24/7 chatbot; agents available during business hours
- Promotional offers: Frequent time-limited offers such as a cash bonus of $50 upon opening and funding a new Wealthsimple Managed Investing account with at least $1
Wealthsimple was founded in 2014, and its headquarters are in Toronto. Wealthsimple Trade features a web platform and a Canadian stock market app. Both are extremely convenient to use, with simple interfaces that don’t take long to get accustomed to.
The platform allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. There are two plans available for trading, Basic and Plus. The Basic plan allows you to instantly deposit up to $1,500, while with Plus, the amount rises to $5,000. The latter costs $10 per month.
Wealthsimple Trade is known for being Canada’s only trading platform not to charge a commission. However, it’s not 100% free, as there are conversion fees. This fee is charged to cover the cost of converting your money from Canadian dollars to US dollars and vice versa, applicable when trading US-listed securities. The conversion rate is 1.5%. Another notable downside of Wealthsimple Trade is a 15-minute delay on charts showing stock prices.
The company has some attractive promotional offers. Keep in mind that many of these offers are time-limited, so it’s best to frequently check what’s available. For instance, at the time of writing, there is a referral bonus for those who sign up for Wealthsimple Trade. Users will receive a bonus, which can be anything between $5 and $3,000.
The Wealthsimple Trade Canadian trading app is available both on iOS and Android. It has an impressive rating of staggering 4.7 on the App Store, while Android users gave it a 4.3 on Google Play Store. Clients praised its elegant and simple interface. Some mentioned the waitlist caused by the system overload as the drawback, but overall, users are extremely satisfied with the app.
For more details about Wealthsimple’s products and services, you can read our comprehensive Wealthsimple review.
- + Opening the account is free
- + No commission
- + Beginner-friendly
- + Elegant and easy-to-use mobile app
- + Numerous promotional offers
- − 1.5% conversion fee to USD
- − A 15-minute delay in stock prices
- Account minimum: $100
- Trading assets: Stocks, options, futures, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and mutual funds
- Education: Lessons featuring video material, notes, and quizzes
- Security: TLS 128-bit or higher encryption; two-factor verification
- Customer service: Available via phone or email during office hour
- Promotional offers: $200 referral bonus
Interactive Brokers is another company suitable for those who would like to trade online in Canada. This US-based company is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, but it allows traders to invest in 33 countries and 150 global markets.
The company has six trading platforms: Client Portal, Trader Workstation, IBKR Mobile, IBKR GlobalTrader, IMPACT, and IBKR APIs. The Client Portal is accessed directly from the web browser. Apart from trading, users can easily keep track of their balances, key performance metrics, and other valuable information.
Client Portal features sophisticated charting tools. These tools allow traders to track and analyze market data in real-time, enabling them to make better trading decisions. This tool provides its users access to a wide range of features, including notifications, key account metrics, portfolio performance, news headlines, and an economic calendar.
For more advanced users, Trade Workstation is a viable option. It also allows you to create interactive charts and access a market scanner. All of these resources can help traders make decisions about their trades.
As with most trading apps in Canada and other countries, IBKR Mobile is available for iOS and Android. It has a significantly lower rating than its competitors.
Some users reported that the app was laggy on Google Play Store and App Store, and the portfolio wouldn’t load. Others praised its numerous features and noted that the app is well-optimized.
IBKR GlobalTrader is a simple mobile app, and it offers a free trial. Namely, you get $10,000 to use in paper trading. It also enables traders to make deposits in as many as 23 different currencies.
IMPACT stands out from the other apps as it allows users to trade in a way that aligns with their values. The platform allows the user to select the practices they disagree with, such as testing on animals.
Interactive Brokers offers two plans, IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro. The difference between the two is whether the pricing is tiered or fixed. For instance, in terms of stocks, for IBKR Lite, the commission is fixed, and it’s $0 per share for US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs. For IBKR Pro, the commission can be fixed or tiered. Tiered commission ranges from $0.0005 to $0.0035, based on the monthly volume of the shares.
There is an attractive bonus for getting someone to become an Interactive Brokers client. Besides $200 per referral, there’s also a bonus, which equals $1 in shares for each $100 added to the trading account.
Interactive Brokers also give their clients access to various market research and news providers. There is tons of free content, but you may also subscribe to access premium materials.
- + Six user-friendly platforms
- + Low commissions
- + Comprehensive lessons for traders
- + Attractive referral bonus
- − The mobile app could use some improvement
- Account minimum: $0
- Trading assets: Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, GICs, and other securities
- Education Articles and video tutorials
- Security: 256-bit encryption; two-step verification
- Customer service: Phone, email, and secure site messaging during office hours; live chat
- Promotional offers: Over a hundred commission-free ETFs, $7.75 commission for traders aged 18 to 30, receive 50 Free Trades (worth almost $500)
Qtrade is an online broker in Canada, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was founded in 2000.
Qtrade’s trading platform is easy to learn for beginners and meets the needs of active and experienced investors looking for an intuitive, user-friendly way to trade stocks, options, and other securities.
The platform offers planning tools, calculators, screening tools, and technical and fundamental research tools. Qtrade also provides educational resources in articles and video tutorials to help traders make informed trading decisions.
While the desktop platform received rave reviews, the mobile version is not as popular with users. For example, there are only ten reviews on the App Store, and the rating is 1.8. Users reported the app is glitchy and lacks certain features, such as the information on the rate of return. On the other hand, they stated that the app is easy to use.
The administration fee is $25 per quarter and can be waived if conditions are met. The commission for most securities for online trading in Canada, including equities, options, and mutual funds, is $8.75. In addition, the company offers over a hundred commission-free (buy and sell) ETFs with no minimums. There is also a promotional offer for traders aged 18 to 30, which includes commissions for stock and ETF trades that amount to $7.75.
- + 100+ commission-free ETFs
- + Lower commission for young traders
- + User-friendly platform
- + No minimum account balance
- + Market-leading portfolio analytics tools
- + New accounts with over $10,000 receive 50 free trades
- − Laggy mobile app
- − Only one trading platform
- Account minimum: $1,000
- Trading assets: Stocks, ETFs, FX, CFDs, options, IPOs, mutual funds, GICs, bonds, international equities, and precious metals
- Education: Articles and webinars
- Security: 256-bit SSL encryption; two-step verification
- Customer service: Available via chat, phone, and email
- Promotional offers: Five commission-free trades for newcomers; a month of free trades for active users
All-in-one platforms are suitable both for beginners and more advanced users. Questrade offers a web version named Questrade Trading and a mobile version, QuestMobile. Questrade Trading, with its clean interface, allows users to effortlessly purchase and sell stocks and ETFs, check balances, conduct research, and much more.
Some users have reported that the web version is more convenient to use. The mobile version, QuestMobile, has a 3.2 rating on Google Play Store and 3.5 on the App Store. The most common complaint was that the previous version of the app performed better and that the app lacks certain features, such as options trading.
On the other hand, others praised the user interface and noted that all the needed features were there. Many also liked the fact that there is a dark mode option, which is a newly added feature. Questrade’s response to users states that the original app is still available for download for those who prefer it.
There are three options for advanced trading software: Questrade Edge, Questrade Global, and Questrade app. These trading platforms for investors are highly customizable and suitable for expert traders who want more options, such as trading forex and CFDs. Questrade Edge also provides access to various research materials, including market reports and daily analyst ratings.
Commissions vary according to the type of security you wish to trade. Trading stocks start as low as 1¢ per share, with a minimum of $4.95 and a $9.95 maximum, while trading options amount to $9.95, plus $1 per contract. Buying ETFs is free, while the selling cost is equal to that of stocks. Additionally, there is a 1.45% conversion fee.
Currently, Questrade is offering its new customers five commission-free trades. There is also an offer for active traders to get a month’s worth of free trades. To make use of these promotions, all you need to do is open a Canadian brokerage account using the promotional code that can be found on the website.
We have a full review of Questrade, where you can find more information about the company and its products.
- + A variety of user-friendly platforms
- + Free ETF trading
- + Commission-free month
- + A wide range of trading options
- + Comprehensive educational material
- − The mobile app lacks some features
- − 1.45% conversion fee
- − There is an account minimum
- Account minimum: Maintenance account fee of $25 per quarter for accounts whose non-registered account balance totals less than $15,000 or less than $25,000 for registered accounts
- Trading assets: Stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs
- Education: Articles, videos, and podcasts
- Security: 128-bit encryption; two-step verification
- Customer service: Available via phone and video call
- Promotional offers: 50 free trades for new accounts
BMO InvestorLine was launched in 1988. Back then, the service was provided in person. It wasn’t until 1997 that the company started offering its services online.
For trading stocks and ETFs, you pay a flat fee of $9.95. This trading platform charges the same for options, but you will pay an additional $1.25 per contract. There is no minimum balance, and the company doesn’t charge an account fee for those with at least a $15,000 balance.
BMO InveestorLine has only one web platform, which is called InvestorLine Self-Directed. It features a simple user interface and is quite straightforward.
The platform has options for conducting market research, including watch lists, analyst ratings, and screeners. Watch lists allow users to access a personalized list of current quotes. Analyst ratings show target prices for stocks. Lastly, screeners allow you to filter different securities for an easier trading experience.
There is also a BMO InvestorLine mobile app. Curiously, there is a huge discrepancy between the ratings on Google Play Store and App Store. Android users gave the app a 3.8 rating, while those who downloaded the iOS version rated it a surprising 1.6.
According to negative reviews, this app for trading securities freezes, and there are sometimes delays in transfers. On the other hand, others pointed out that the app has everything they need to trade while on the road and praised it for its simplicity.
- + User-friendly platform
- + Informative, educational material
- + Customer support available via video call
- + No account fee
- − Higher commission
- − The mobile app needs improvement
How To Choose the Best Trading Platform for Your Needs
In this section, we’ll walk you through the process of choosing the best trading platform for your needs. When choosing a trading platform, you should consider ease of use, features, fees, customer support, and security.
Ease of Use
Working with a trading platform that is difficult to navigate can make for a frustrating user experience. That’s why choosing a platform with a simple and intuitive interface is essential. After all, you want a platform that you can work with without a lot of hassle. Some platforms even offer tutorials and support to help you get started.
When it comes to the features of a trading platform, you must pay attention to what you can trade. For instance, if you’re looking for online stock trading in Canada, you should select those that allow for stock trading, although most do.
However, some platforms allow you to trade options, while others don’t. Therefore, if that’s something you need, you should select a platform that offers it.
In addition, some platforms offer the ability to trade in cryptocurrencies. You may check out some of the top cryptocurrency exchanges and research what cryptocurrencies they offer to make sure you may trade in the currency you require.
Trading platforms typically charge fees for their services. The trading platform cost varies across different companies and can include monthly or annual subscription fees and transaction fees for each trade you make. Be sure to compare the fees charged by different platforms before selecting one so that you don’t end up paying more than you have to.
It’s important to have access to customer service in case you run into any problems while using your trading platform. Therefore, when scouting for the best Canadian trading platform, be sure to select a platform that offers customer support via phone, email, or live chat so that you can get the help you need when you need it.
You can look through some customer reviews to see how responsive the customer support is when making your decision. Some companies may claim that their customer support agents are available 24/7, but that’s not the case.
When dealing with financial assets, security is always a top concern. Make sure the trading platform you select has robust security measures in place to protect your account and personal information. Things to look out for are what type of encryption they use and whether they employ multi-factor authentication.
On a Final Note
All in all, there is a handful of fantastic Canadian trading platforms you can choose from. It’s up to you to weigh out the pros and cons and take into consideration the features that you need. Commissions and fees vary, so ensuring you’re taking into account all of the costs is paramount. With all of these factors in mind, you should be able to find the best Canadian trading platform for your needs.
Which stock trading site is best for beginners in Canada?
Novice traders should look for a platform that is easy to navigate and understand. Based on these factors, two popular stock trading platforms for beginners in Canada are Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade. Questrade offers low commissions and a wide range of services, while Wealthsimple Trade provides simple, commission-free trading.
Is there a free trading platform in Canada?
There is a Canadian trading platform that offers commission-free services. The platform is Welathsimple Trade. However, keep in mind that there is a 1.5% conversion fee.
What is the best platform for trading in Canada?
What the best trading platform in Canada is for you depends on your specific needs and requirements. Some of the best picks include Wealthsimple Trade, Questrade, and Interactive Brokers.
Is day trading legal in Canada?
Yes, day trading is completely legal in Canada. Unlike in the US, where you need to have a set minimum amount in your account before starting trading, Canada doesn’t impose any limitations.