The best trading platforms in Canada let you make money trading assets including stocks, Forex, and digital coins. There are a number of companies offering online broker services in Canada; however, they’re not made equal. You need to choose a platform that’s not only safe and reliable but also easy to use. We’ll review some of the best online investment platforms in Canada to help you pick the right one.
Why use a trading platform in Canada?
Online trading isn’t new. These platforms have been in existence for quite some time. It is believed that nearly 50 percent of Canadians trade or own stocks and a large majority use online platforms for this purpose.
If you haven’t jumped the bandwagon yet, here are some reasons to consider the using a trading platform:
Online platforms make it easy to trade
The main benefit of online trading platforms is the ease that they offer. Traditionally, investors had to go to a stock exchange, visit their broker in-person, or stay on the phone line for hours to take their desired action. It was both time consuming and frustrating.
With online brokerage trading platforms, you can trade on the go, no matter where you are. Most trading platforms support mobile devices and give users the power to buy, sell, or modify orders from anywhere.
Online trading platforms can be more affordable
Online brokerages remove or reduce high fees and transaction costs. These are usually associated with traditional brokerage firms. These online brokers are also known to have special offers and discounts that can help you save even more money.
Online trading platforms give you greater control
As an online trader, you will have full control over your money or stocks. You will be able to trade without having to face any broker bias. Timing plays a very important role in trading as prices fluctuate every minute. With online trading, there’s no waiting. You can open or close positions as you like and even set up buy or sell orders.
Many online trading platforms come with reliable tools
Top trading platforms like National Bank Direct Brokerage or BMO Investorline adviceDirect come with additional tools that make it possible to monitor assets in real time and even make educated judgments. You will be able to keep an eye on the latest movements and get access to expert advice. Plus, some platforms even offer charts and numbers to help investors understand the scenario.
What to consider when choosing a trading platform in Canada
The best trading platforms in Canada are not necessarily those associated with the biggest banks. Personal trading experience and style are also differentiators. Here are a few things to consider when comparing trading platforms Canada:
Choice of financial instruments
Go for a trading platform that offers a variety of investment options and setors. These include stocks, real estate, digital coins, and precious metals. This will allow you to diversify your investment and protect your money.
Diversification reduces risks and allows investors to benefit from the changing environment. For every investment option, look at what choices you have. For example, does the trading platform only cover Canadian stocks or US stocks as well? Does it expose you to other regions? Is it only offering Bitcoin or smaller digital currencies as well?
Study the trading platform and see the types of accounts it offers and what kinds of requirements each has. Some of the most popular account types include Tax-Free Saving Account (TFSA), registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), and registered education pavings plan (RESP). They also might offer accounts for different currencies so that you save on some fees.
Low fees is one of the main reasons why people choose online trading. Look for a trading platform that is affordable to use with reasonable fees. Some of the best trading platfroms in Canada, like Wealthsimple Trade and National Bank Direct Brokerage, have introduced $0 commission trades. There may be a variety of charges including platform fees, inactivity fees, annual fees, etc. Go through this information. Also, make certain that there are no hidden charges.
Accessible customer support
Even the best trading platform in Canada will have problems sometimes.You may have to get in touch with the provider every now and then. Do you have access to help around-the-clock? Do you want a certain level of basic customer support or do you choose a trading platform that’s known to offer excellent customer service? While the best trading platforms in Canada offer 24/7 support, you should look for one that comes both telephone and live chat so that you can get answers to your questions quickly. You have to get used to asking customer support about anything that is unclear.
Deposit and withdrawal methods and limitations
The best trading platforms in Canada that offers a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods. These can include bank transfers, e-wallets, or cards so that you always have different options to choose from. Additionally, consider limitations, i.e.: how long deposits take to show up, how long withdrawals take.
Look for a trading platform that offers instant deposits and fast withdrawals. Also, make sure the platform accepts your desired currency. Otherwise, there may be conversion charges.
Ease of trading
All of the best trading platforms in Canada make trading easier. The app should be simple and fast and the desktop version should come with all the features. It is normal for investors to take a few days to learn the art of trading, but some online platforms can be extraordinarily difficult to use. Also, check if it allows users to trade when they’re abroad. If you travel internationally, you don’t want to be blocked from accessing your investments.
Online research tools
Check what kinds of research tools your selected trading platform provides so you don’t have to turn to a third-party to find the information that you need. Some online platforms have deals with leading research firms like Morningstar, and offer the information to their platform subscribers. While basic research tools may be enough for new traders, experienced traders usually require comprehensive tools to study patterns and predict asset movement.
Trading platform security
Don’t make the mistake of choosing an unsecured platform as it may cause you to not only lose your money but also important personal information. The best trading platforms in Canada require users to provide identity documents. Work with a trading platform that goes the extra mile to keep this information secure and provides features such as 2FA to prohibit unauthorized access to your account. It might be a good idea to read a little about different companies and avoid platforms that have been hacked.
Seven of the best online platforms in Canada
Ready to start trading? Here are some of the best trading platforms in Canada for both new and experienced investors to try. We compared different options and made this list based on factors discussed above.
Wealthsimple Trade – best trading platform for no-frills investors
Many call Wealthsimple Trade the best online platform in Canada for trading thanks to its impressive features and ease of use. This best platform Canada hits the bull’s eye when it comes to security. It offers excellent encryption and comes with CIPF protection.
Used by more than 1.5 million people, the platform allows users to buy and sell stocks, fractional shares, cryptos, and more. Wire transfers cost $30 per deposit or withdrawal and phone trades cost $45 each. On the plus side, there are no fees associated with Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) or stocks.
You can open a personal account or plan for retirement by opening an RRSP or TFSA account. The company, however, appears to be suitable for new investors or people who aren’t looking for advanced tools. While the basic platform is free to join, you can upgrade to a premium version for $3 per month and get more features including real time prices and instant deposits up to $5,000. The free feature offers paid deposits up to $1,500.
- Gives you the option to purchase fractional shares
- Offers unlimited commission-free trades
- There are no account minimums
- New users get the cash equivalent of one stock
- There is no US account option
- You will have to pay 1.5 percent conversion charges when you trade US stocks
- If you want advanced tools, you have to sign up for a premium membership
- Guaranteed investment certificates (GIC), international equities, and bonds are not available
Consider Wealthsimple Trade if you only want to trade Canadian ETFs and stocks. You’ll be able to do it for free. It works on all devices and even offers auto-investing for users who don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer screen.
Questrade – best trading platform for easy dividend reinvestment
Questrade has two options: you can start with a pre-built portfolio that starts as low as 0.25 percent of your investment or $0.01 per share with a maximum of $9.95.With this online platform, you’ll be able to buy ETFs commission free. Moreover, there are no opening fees or annual TFSA or RRSP account charges.
Questrade has been in the business for years and has more than 200,000 users. Additionally, it has an excellent Questrade Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) that automatically reinvests your dividends. This way, you’re always making money.
With this trading platform, you will be able to not only trade stocks and ETFs but also FX, options, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, contracts for difference (CFD), international equities, and precious metals. However, there are little to no crypto options.
- Excellent research tools for professional and advanced investors
- You can open a USD account to invest in US stocks
- Start as low as $1,000
- The company offers brilliant customer support
- The fee structure can be a little complicated to understand
- Not suitable for new or small investors
- Not a lot of crypto
TD Direct Investing – best trading platform for those who want to learn
TD Direct Investing offers several investment options and multiple account types. You can choose from margin accounts, TSFAs, cash accounts, RESPs, retirement income funds (RIF), registered savings plans (RSP), locked-in retirement account (LIRA), registered disability savings plans (RDSP), and life income funds (LIF).
The company only covers Canadian and US markets. You can start with a demo account to see how things work. However, depositing with e-wallets and bank cards isn’t possible.
The fee is pretty high starting at $9.99 per trade for standard accounts. You can also trade over the phone but it costs $43 minimum. You can avoid commissions on mutual funds by holding the fund for less than a month; however, a 1% fee still applies.It might not be suitable for small investors since there is a $25 maintenance fee per quarter if your balance goes below $15,000.
TD Direct Investing shines with its Learning Centre. It is categprized into sections depending on what you want to learn. There is nothing scary or academic about the writing. There are the basics, calculation tools, life goals, registered accounts, and managing your investments.
- The platform is safe and regulated
- No minimum deposit requirements
- The Learning Centre is excellent
- You will get access to some brilliant research tools
- Very expensive especially when compared to competitors
- Comes with limited funding options
TD can be a great pick for investors who wish to work with a known company. Consider this option if you can afford heavy fees. The only benefit is its big name and the availability to choose from several account types.
Interactive Brokers – best trading platform for international traders
Interactive Brokers uses a tiered pricing system and it is one of the few brokerages that cater to international users and offers dozens of currencies. This means you will have no problem trading even when you’re abroad. ou can trade a variety of products including stocks, futures, forex, bonds, options, and funds on more than 130 markets across 30+ countries.
The trading platform offers interactive tools and the fee is on the lower side, $0.005 fixed per-share traded with a maximum of 1 percent of your trade value. The more you trade, the cheaper it will get. However, we must mention that these tools may not be suitable for everyone as they can be quite complicated to understand. The trading platform’s client portal is a one-stop-shop for account metrics, while the Trader Workstation is best for people who trade multiple products and need a lot of power and flexibility.
The trading platform is safe to use with some brilliant security features. The Secure Login System lets you choose between a physical security device or the IKBR Mobile Authentication device specifically for smartphones. The Secure Login System is a voluntary opt-in feature that comes with a lot of benefits. You can use a single login device for multiple accounts, and higher daily and weekly withdrawal limits than people without the system. That means daily limits of one million USD or even unlimited in certain cases. It may not be a suitable online platform for beginners or people who do not want to invest a lot of money.
- You can choose from a wide range of assets
- International exposure
- Gives you access to some excellent trading tools
- Offers low margin interest rates
- Good security featues
- Can be a little complicated for new users
- Customer support could have been better
Consider this option if you have $100,000 or more to invest and years of experience in the business.
CIBC Investor’s Edge – best trading platform for complex accounts
This trading platform from one of Canada’s big banks is affordable with a flat fee of only $6.95 per online equity trade with no minimum limits. A division of CIBC Investor Services Inc., CIBC Investor’s Edge offers almost all popular account types including TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LRSP, LIRA, locked-in retirement savings plan (LRIF), and Prescribed Retirement Income Funds (PRIF); PRIFs are for Manitoba only. In addition, you can even open non-personal accounts such as non-registered investment accounts, partnerships, corporates, and estate accounts.
It gives users access to GICs, bonds, precious metals, options, mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks. Users with a non-registered account will have to pay a maintenance fee of $100 per year if their combined assets fall below $10,000. For RRSPs, the minimum balance requirement is $25,000 to avoid fees.You will also have to pay other fees including $10 duplicate statement charges, withdrawal fees between $50 and $100, and $25 account closure fees. There are no account fees for TFSA and RESP accounts.
- Special discounts for students
- The mobile app is brilliant with some user-friendly features
- The platform is secure and safe to use
- Excellent customer support
- Can be very expensive due to a variety of fees
Consider this option if you are an active trader as CIBC offers special pricing to active users. You will need at least 150 traders per quarter to qualify. If you sign up today, you may earn up to $2,000 cashback.
RBC Direct Investing – best trading platform for busy traders
The brokerage division of the Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Direct Investing is regulated and safe with an impressive track record. It is perfect for new and experienced investors due to no minimum requirements. Most withdrawals are free and there are no inactivity charges.
With this platform, you will be able to trade stocks, ETFs, funds, bonds, and options. However, expect to pay up to $9.95 per trade for standard users and down to $6.95 per trade for active traders. You will have to pay a $25 maintenance fee if your balance falls below $15,000, but there are ways to get this waived.
You will get access to some powerful research tools including watchlists, RBC affiliate research, and alerts so you can easily keep an eye on your preferred assets. In addition to this, the company gives users the option to set up pre-authorized contributions to investment accounts and automate income withdrawals. If you are short on time, pre-arranging withdrawals is a big help. This can be a great way to manage your funds.
- Excellent customer support
- Mutual funds are free to trade
- It is very easy to open an account
- You will get access to extensive research
- Pre-arranged withdrawal save time
- Only covers Canadian and US markets
- Limited withdrawal and deposit options
RBC Direct Investing has a lot going in its favor. It’s easy to use and quite safe, however, it can turn out to be expensive. Give it a try if you are too busy to keep an eye on your investments and want to automate certain processes.
BMO InvestorLine – best trading platform for quick updates
BMO InvestorLine is the online platform for Canada’s Bank of Montreal. With BMO, you will be able to open a variety of accounts including TFSA, RRSP, RESP, registered retirement income funds (RRIF) and Locked-In Retirement Income Funds (LRIF). Furthermore, there are also non-registered accounts including estate accounts, trust accounts, margin accounts, cash accounts, and non-profit accounts.
It allows investors to hold a variety of assets including ETFs, stocks, mutual funds, GICs, bonds, and options. Many call it the best platform in Canada due to its mobile app that lets you open and close trades in seconds and keep an eye on your assets. The trading platform lets you see all of your accouonts in one window. A really great advantage is the dividend calendar to keep track of disbursements. The Portfolio Status Check let’s you quickly and easily check your portfolio based on four criteria.
The app is feature rich and removes the need to log in to your account from a computer as it comes with full functionality. The company charges a $9.95 flat fee on each online trade. However, trades booked over the phone can be costlier.
- The platform is easy and safe to use
- More than 9,000 mutual funds can be bought and sold for no commission
- The app is great
- There are no minimum deposit requirements
- Can be a little expensive for some users