RBC Direct Investing Fees Explained

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Danielle Kubes is a trained journalist and investor who has written about personal finance for the past six years. Her writing has been published in The Globe and Mail, National Post, MoneySense, Vice and RateHub.ca. Danielle writes about investing and personal finance for Wealthsimple. She has a Bachelor of Humanities from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from Ryerson University.

Do-it-yourself online trading has never been more popular. With the advent of high-speed at-home internet connections the days of calling a broker to place a trade and paying a hefty commission are essentially over. In the last 15 years or so, Canadians have been able to get market data in real time for under $10 dollars. While the big banks in Canada were slow to catch on, the competition eventually forced them to retool their offerings and offer similar, low cost, DIY trading. RBC Direct Investing account is one of them.

But how much does it really cost to trade stocks yourself on RBC’s platform? Is commission the only cost you’ll pay? Here’s the lowdown on all the fees involved with RBC Direct.

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RBC Direct Investing fees explained

The Royal Bank of Canada was founded in the mid-19th century as the Merchants Bank of Halifax, designed to help traders crossing the Atlantic over to the West Indies to trade sugar and rum. It grew over a century and a half to become the biggest chartered bank and financial institution in the country.

All RBC clients are eligible to buy or sell stocks for $9.95 per transaction. For active traders with more than 150 transactions per quarter the commission is reduced to $6.95 per trade for stocks.

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The commission is charged in the currency of the stock traded (e.g., $USD for stocks on NYSE and $CAD for stocks on TSE). That’s a flat fee no matter how many shares you purchase or sell. Obviously, the more shares you buy the lower the commission will be as a percentage of your purchase price. If you’re only buying 10 shares at $10, for a total of $100, for example, then the commission represents a full 10% of your purchase pierce. But if you’re buying 100 shares at $100 each, for $10,000, then your cost to purchase goes down to just 1%.

While $9.95 may seem “cheap” for buying or selling stocks it can still really add up and eat into your returns, especially in a smaller portfolio. This fee is in line with other “Big 5” banks. CIBC Investor’s Edge is the cheapest among its big bank peers, with a flat-fee commission at $6.95, or $4.95 for active traders. Discount brokerages often offer cheaper fees or even commission-free stock trading. For active traders this can create substantial savings. You can view a fee comparison of the big five banks here.

RBC option trading fees

Trading options is an additional $1.25 per transaction added onto the standard commission for a total of $11.20 for most clients, or $8.2 for active traders with more than 150 transactions per quarter.

RBC mutual fund and ETF trading fees

ETFs are charged the same flat fee as stocks—$9.95 or $6.95 for active traders. Mutual funds, on the other hand, are free to trade. But mutual funds have fees baked into them, such as management expense fees, deferred sales charges on back-end load funds, early redemption fees, setup fees, and fees for insufficient funds on pre-authorized purchases.

RBC fixed income fees

Fixed income securities, such as treasury bills, bonds, strip bonds, debentures, and other money market instruments have variable commissions. The commission ranges from $25 to a maximum of $250.

RBC commission on gold and silver certificates

The commission to buy gold and silver certificates is in $USD. The minimum commission for both is $43 a trade, and it goes up from there. Gold is $28.95 plus $1 every ounce and silver is $28.95 base plus $0.10 an ounce.

RBC maintenance fees

RBC charges their customers $25 a quarter ($100 annually) to maintain a Direct Investing account. The fee is waived if you have more than $15,000 of assets, spread across all of their accounts. For example, the fee would be waived even if you had, $5,000 in a TFSA Direct Investing account, $5,000 in a RRSP Direct Investing account and $5,000 in non registered Direct Investing account). The fee will also be waived if the client meets any of the following criteria:

  • Signs up for pre-authorized contributions into their Direct Trading account at least $100/month or $300 a quarter

  • A new client of under six months (to give them time to transfer assets in)

  • Makes at least three trades per quarter across all Direct Investing accounts

  • Has a group RRSP account with Direct Investing

  • Qualifies for RBC Direct Investing Royal Circle® program (requires paying more than $5,000 annually in commissions or having month-end balances for the past four months over $250,000)

  • Currently has an RBC student banking package or has had one in the last five years and still has an open chequing or savings account

  • Currently has an RBC VIP banking package

Other RBC Direct fees

You can download the full fee schedule, but this is a list of the most notable extra fees RBC Direct charges right here.

  • Withdrawing from RRSP $50, except if you withdraw for First Time Home Buyers Plan in which case it’s $25

  • NSF or returned cheque $45

  • Transfer out account except when donating shares $135

  • Estate account processing if assets are transferred out of RBC $350; within RBC it’s $175

  • Statement replacement: $5

Last Updated January 21, 2021

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