Wealthsimple vs Questrade

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Comparing the fees and features of Wealthsimple vs Questrade

WealthsimpleWealthsimple PlusQuestrade
Currency conversion fee(FX)1.5%$0$4.95 + $0.1/trade
Stock Trading Fee$0$0$0.01/share (min. $4.95 to max. $9.95)
ETF Trading Fee$0$0$0 To buy, but $0.01/share (min. $4.95 to max. $9.95) to sell
Crypto Trading Fee1.95%1.95%N/A
Monthly Fee$0$10$0
Account MinimumsNoNo$1,000

Interest rate on savings account TFSA|1.0% APR Minimum Balance|$0 Transfer Fee|$50 Human telephone support at no extra cost|Yes

Comparing Exchange Fees

Fees Summary

Let’s start with everybody’s first question — how much is this going to cost? Well, that’s the biggest difference between Questrade and Wealthsimple — fees. At Wealthsimple, we don’t charge commission for stock and ETF trades (when trading U.S. stocks and ETFs there is a 1.5% currency conversion fee). Questrade, meanwhile, charges at least $4.95 a trade, up to $9.95 a trade. So even if you buy $1worth of a stock, your total bill will be $5.95. It’s not all bad, as Questrade does provide access to certain  advanced asset classes like options and precious metal trading, that aren’t currently offered by Wealthsimple. Options will be coming to Wealthsimple shortly. On the other hand, Wealthsimple does charge a fee for crypto exchanges, a service that Questrade does not currently offer. 

At Wealthsimple, we do however, offer a premium version, “Plus”, which eliminates conversion fees, plus other perks, for $10 a month (plus applicable taxes). As a result it might be less expensive for those trading in larger volumes across the Canada-U.S. border to subscribe to the premium service. 

Overall, the difference in fees for individual users will depend on what it is they are buying and selling, in what currency and at what volumes. 

Questrade Fees Explained In-Depth

Conversion Fees

Questrade’s currency conversion fee is 175 basis points, which works out to 1.75%, based on average exchange rates over the past 12 months. That means that for every dollar exchanged there is a fee of $0.0175.

For example, if the current exchange rate is $1.30 CAD for every $1.00 USD, Questrade would provide $1.27725 CAD for every $1.00 USD. On the flip side, those buying American currency or assets would need to spend $1.3175 Canadian for each American dollar. Conversion fees apply to all trades that require currency conversion, and are charged on top of other applicable fees, such as those listed below. 

Stock Trading Fees

Questrade charges a minimum of $4.95 per stock trade. There’s a fee of $0.01 per share for stock trading, with a minimum fee of $4.95 and a maximum fee of $9.95. That means that buying 495 shares or less will result in a commission fee of $4.95, and buying 995 or more at once will result in a commission fee of $9.95. Any amount that falls between will be charged at a rate of $0.01 per share. For example, the fee for buying or selling 800 shares would be $8.00. 

ETF Trading Fees

Questrade charges $0.01 per share when selling ETFs, with a minimum of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95 per trade, but buying ETFs is free. 

Options Trading Fees 

Questrade charges a fee of $9.95 for options trading, plus an additional fee of $1 per contract. Although Wealthsimple doesn’t currently offer options trading, it will in the very near future. 

Mutual Fund Trading Fees

There is a flat fee of $9.95 per mutual fund trade. Additional Deferred Sales Charge fees may also apply if withdrawn early, depending on the specific fund. For more information about Deferred Sales Charges check the mutual fund’s prospectus or fund fact document. 

Bonds and GICs

There are no fees for bond purchases, though there is a minimum investment requirement of $5,000. The same is true of GICs, though additional fees could also apply if withdrawn early. 

International Equities

Questrade charges a fee of 1% of the trade value for international equities, with a minimum fee of $195.00, plus applicable exchange or stamp fees. Those charges are applied in the currency of the account in which the trade is made.   

IPOs and New Issues

IPOs and new issues are free to buy, but require a minimum purchase of $5,000. 

Product Precious Metals

There is a flat fee of $19.95 USD per precious metal trade, plus applicable exchange fees.

Wealthsimple Fees Explained In-Depth

Conversion Fees

Wealthsimple Trade charges a flat fee of 1.5% for currency exchanges to Basic users, but clients who subscribe to Wealthsimple Plus have their own USD accounts and pay no fees on USD trades (the fee still applies when moving cash between CAD and USD accounts). Wealthsimple Plus costs $10 per month, plus applicable taxes. 

For Basic account holders the fee applies to exchanges from CAD to USD and vice versa, and for both purchases and sales. That means that, using an exchange rate of $1.30 USD for every $1.00 CAD, for example, users would instead be charged $1.3195 Canadian for each dollar they purchase of an American-based asset (or $1.30 plus an additional 1.5%). On the flip side those selling $1.00 worth of a US-based asset, with an exchange rate of 1.3, would instead receive $1.2805 per dollar from the sale (or $1.3 minus an additional 1.5%). 

Commission Fees

Wealthsimple does not charge commission fees for any asset class other than cryptocurrencies. That means users can buy or sell any other asset class in Canada or the United States without any additional fees. There are also no fees for opening or closing an account, making deposits or withdrawals, electronic statements, or inactive account fees. 

Wealthsimple Plus Fees

Those who want access to a range of premium features have the option to upgrade from a “Basic” to a “Plus” account. The upgraded accounts are available for $10 per month, plus applicable taxes. 

Plus accounts are cost efficient for those who are making frequent and/or large trades across the Canada-U.S. border. That is because Plus users can access USD-trade accounts, which allows them to make cross border transactions without foreign exchange fees (the fee still applies when moving cash between CAD and USD accounts). The upgraded service also includes real-time quotes, and an instant deposit limit of $5,000. By comparison, Basic users will experience a 15 minute delay when receiving price quotes, and have an instant deposit limit of $1,500. 

If you want to trade crypto

Crypto Exchange Fees

Wealthsimple charges a flat fee of 1.95% for all Crypto exchanges. 

If you’re looking for a robo-advisor

Questwealth vs Wealthsimple’s Managed Investing

Net Deposits to Portfolio <$99,999Net Deposits to Portfolio <$100,000Account Minimums
WealthsimpleFee on AUM: 0.50%Fee on AUM: 0.40%$0
QuestwealthFee on AUM: 0.25%Fee on AUM: 0.20%$1,000

If the idea of picking your own stocks and ETFs makes you not want to finish this sentence, both Questwealth and Wealthsimple offer a managed investing solution.

Both Wealthsimple and Questrade offer a managed investing option, which Wealthsimple refers to as “Managed investing” and Questrade labels it as “Questwealth.” Both of these options provide lower account fees for higher net deposit amounts. While Questwealth charges lower rates it requires users to maintain a minimum account balance of $1,000. Wealthsimple does not require a minimum balance. As with trading accounts, the cost to individual users will depend on the specific makeup of their portfolio. 

Wealthsimple vs Questwealth Managed Investing Fees Table

[PLACEHOLDER FOR TABLE]

Wealthsimple’s Managed Investing Portfolio Overview

Wealthsimple offers three managed investment portfolio types: Conservative, Balanced and Growth. Over the last five years the Conservative portfolio has appreciated at an average rate of 1.59% per year; Balanced has grown at an average annual rate of 2.58%, while Growth has seen annualized growth of 5.09%. Returns, however, vary significantly across different time horizons. Furthermore, it’s important to note that portfolios offering higher returns are also associated with higher risk profiles, and past performance isn’t necessarily an indicator of future potential. 

Questwealth Managed Investing Portfolio Overview

Questrade offers five managed investment portfolio types: Aggressive, Growth, Balanced, Income and Conservative. Over the last five years the Conservative portfolio has appreciated at an average rate of 1.27% per year; Income has grown at an average annual rate of 2.40%; Balanced has seen annualized returns of 3.29%; Growth has seen compounded returns of 4.17%, while Aggressive has annualized growth of 4.96%. Again, returns vary significantly across different time horizons, portfolios offering higher returns are also associated with higher risk profiles, and past performance isn’t necessarily an indicator of future potential. 

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: App Features

Both Wealthsimple and Questrade offer free to download applications that provide insights and data about your investment portfolio, as well as the ability to make trades instantly. While both applications offer similar tools and benefits, there are some key differences. 

Wealthsimple, for example, has a 15 minute delay on quotes for Basic account holders, which is typically sufficient for those who are seeking to hold an asset for a longer period of time. More advanced traders who plan to buy and sell the same asset over the course of a single day or week and need to time the market just right, however, can upgrade to a Plus account, which includes real-time quotes, for $10 a month plus tax. Questrade, by comparison, offers real time quotes for free to all users. Furthermore, while Wealthsimple offers up to $1,500 instant deposits for Basic users and up to $5,000 for Plus users, Questrade provides all users an instant deposit limit for $3,500. 

The biggest differences between the two platforms, however, are in their fee structures, the types of investments users can make on the platform, and the addition of a premium “Plus” account option for Wealthsimple users. 

For example, Questrade supports more stock exchanges and more advanced investment vehicles like options trading, mutual funds, international equities, bonds and GICs. At the same time, however, Wealthsimple offers cryptocurrency exchanges, and fractional shares, neither of which are offered by Questrade. Fractional shares allow users to buy a part of a stock, or a specific dollar amount’s worth of one, rather than exact multiples of the stock price. That means that traders can buy the exact dollar amount they want to purchase, rather than adjusting each trade to correspond with an exact number of shares. 

Furthermore, Wealthsimple does not have any account minimum requirements, and most trades can be made with no additional fees. Questrade, meanwhile, requires a minimum account balance of $1,000, and charges fees for most transaction types. 

Those fees, however, are typically capped at a certain amount, while Wealthsimple’s exchange fees are not limited. Wealthsimple users however, have the option to instead sign up for a no-conversion-fee Plus account for $10 a month (plus applicable taxes), which would be the more cost efficient option for those who are paying $10 or more per month in currency exchange fees. 

FAQ

Should I use both Questrade and Wealthsimple?

There is no reason why you can’t use multiple platforms simultaneously, especially if you want to access markets that aren’t available on certain platforms, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, stock exchanges or less common asset classes. While consolidating all of your investing into a single account or app might be more convenient, there is no practical reason why you can’t use more than one at the same time. 

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Last Updated November 4, 2022

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