If you’re looking to get into stock trading and investing as a Canadian then you likely want to know what the best stock trading app is. With tons of apps available for US citizens like Robinhood and other Robinhood alternatives, you are probably wondering if there are any Canadian-based equivalents.
Although we Canadians can’t use many of the stock trading and investing apps available in the US, fortunately, there are a few similar apps we can use.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the best stock trading app Canada edition and go over why you might choose one over another.
What Is the Best Stock Trading App Canada Edition In 2022?
Although apps like Robinhood aren’t available in Canada we do have a few other options at our disposal. Here is my list of the top 5 best stock trading apps for Canadians looking for Robinhood alternatives.
Wealthsimple is my top pick for the best stock trading app Canada edition. It is the only trading platform in Canada that offers zero-commission trading, they provide an easy-to-use mobile app, and they’re very transparent with pricing. Wealthsimple does offer an automated investment feature where there is a management fee however this fee decreases depending on how much money you invest.
- Simple interface
- Highly-rated mobile app
- Personalized portfolio
- Auto deposits
- Dividend reinvestments
- Some features like personalized financial reports and 50% off Medcan’s care plan are only available on the Generation plan ($500k+)
Wealthsimple’s trading commission fees are absolutely free. You can choose to purchase their plus plan for $10/month so that you can use a USD account and won’t need to exchange CAD to USD to purchase US stocks.
Wealthsimple also offers automated investing for those who don’t want to trade. They have different packages, all with different pricing:
- Basic plan ($0-$100k): 0.5% management fee
- Black plan ($100k+): 0.4% management fee
- Generation plan ($500k+): 0.4% management fee
The $0 commissions and account minimum makes Wealthsimple the best option for beginners and intermediates looking to start investing. Wealthsimple offers several features that are invaluable to investors and they’re our top pick for the best stock trading app Canada edition.
Questrade is a reliable platform that lets investors take control of their investments. They do charge a commission but they also offer special packages and commission rebates. The user interface is also simple and user-friendly. Questrade is safe and it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
- Self-directed trading.
- Account opening is free.
- Traders can buy ETFs commission-free.
- Account transferring is free.
- Users can build their portfolios or get a pre-built portfolio.
Questrade’s trade commissions start at $4.95 per trade for stocks. You can buy ETFs for free but to sell them will also cost $4.95. They also offer multiple market data packages depending on how much data you require for your trading style.
Questrade also offers a managed portfolio option where management fees start at 0.25% and decrease to 0.20% after deposits of more than $100,000.
Questrade is a great option for intermediate to advanced investors who want to trade more actively or simple want Questrade to manage their portfolio for them. Questrade’s cheap trading commissions paired with their market data is the best choice for day traders, swing traders, and options traders.
Interactive Brokers is perfect for experienced investors who are aiming to take their trading to the next level. It offers online trading solutions and direct global access to different currencies, bonds, futures, stocks, and more.
- Minimum commission of $1 per trade and a maximum of 0.5% of the total trade value.
- Zero account minimum.
- No inactivity fee.
- Fixed-rate pricing for NON-US stock.
- Optimize trading speed and efficiency.
- Lendable shares earn investors extra income.
- Investors can fund their accounts in multiple currencies.
Interactive Brokers has tiered pricing and fixed-rate pricing. The more a user invests, the more the commission goes down. If an exchange provides a rebate, a percentage of all savings goes back to the investor.
Interactive Brokers is the perfect fit for sophisticated traders with a lot of experience. The zero account minimum also presents an attractive offer for people looking to join Interactive Brokers.
QTrade’s platform prides itself on the tools they offer as well as their customer service. According to Qtrade’s website, they’ve ranked #1 eight times in the past six years for client service. They also offer a wide range of educational resources regardless of whether you’re a new, intermediate, or experienced investor.
- $8.75 commission fee per trade
- List of 100 select ETFs available to trade for free
- Top-tier customer support
- Easy-to-use account dashboard
- Library of learning resources
- 30 free trial
Stock trade commissions start at $8.75 per trade and go down to $6.95 per trade if you’re a frequent trader who does 150+ trade per quarter or has $500k+ invested. They also have free ETF trades on a select list of 100 ETFs.
For a full list of pricing including interest rates, account fees, and more, check out their pricing page.
QTrade is great for investors who need a lot of research tools at their disposal. QTrade aims to focus on providing lots of learning resources and excelling at customer support. Take advantage of QTrade’s 30-day free trial to test their tools and calculators.
TD Direct Investing was the first of the big banks to unveil their trading platform in 1996. Although many other platforms have come up since then, TD brings with it a lot of brand recognition and ease of use for existing customers. All you need to do is sign up for a WebBroker account with TD and you can start trading. The downside to TD Direct Investing is that they charge some of the highest trading fees starting at $9.99 per trade.
- Easy to use trading platform
- Offers lots of data and research for many stocks
- Offer all types of registered and non-registered accounts
- Trading commissions start at $9.99
- Easy to use TD app
- Free level 1 market data
TD Direct Investing is among the most expensive stock brokerage in Canada. With commissions starting at $9.99 for Canadian and US stocks. There is an active trader pricing of $7 per trade if you do more than 150 trades per quarter. Check out their pricing page for a full list of pricing
If you already bank with TD and simply don’t want to open an account with another stock trading app then I would recommend using TD Direct Investing. However, if you want better trading commissions and features, consider using one of the other stock trading apps listed above.
Other Stock Trading Apps For Canadians
Apart from our 5 main best stock trading apps Canada edition list above, there are a few other brokerages available to Canadians. These include many of the “big banks” in Canada. Although the big banks have a lot of trust built up in their name, there isn’t a whole lot that’s special in terms of what they offer stock traders.
Their fees are relatively high, their platforms aren’t optimized for advanced-level trading, and there isn’t a whole lot that really stands out from either of them.
That being said, we’re still going to mention them here for convenience purposes. You may want to choose one of these options given you have an existing bank account and just want to get started with trading without the hassle of opening a separate account somewhere else.
If you bank with BMO you can use BMO’s InvestorLine to purchase stocks as a Canadian. InvestorLine charges $9.95 per trade and you’ll be charged a fee of $25/quarter unless you hold more than $15,000 in your account.
InvestorLine allows you to trade stocks, options, ETFs, GICs, bonds, and mutual funds. However, their platform and mobile app aren’t as intuitive as some of the other trading platforms I mention in this article.
CIBC Investor’s Edge
CIBC Investor’s Edge offers some of the cheapest commission fees among the big banks. Trading commissions are $6.95/trade and only $5.95/ trade for students.
They allow you to trade all of the main securities including stocks, ETFs, options, and more. They also offer all registered and non-registered account options as well as corporate and trust accounts.
Scotia iTrade’s commissions come in at $9.99/trade or $4.99/trade if you’re an active trader who makes more than 150 trades per quarter. Unless you have over $25,000 invested in iTrade, you’ll be charged an annual fee of $100.
You can trade all main securities and you can open up personal registered and non-registered accounts.
RBC Direct Investing
RBC Direct Investing’s trading commissions start at $9.95 per trade. Like all the other big banks, they offer tools for research and provide you with real-time quotes for most securities.
RBC Direct Investing also offers the feature of using a practice account so that you can try out buying and sell different securities without using real money. You’ll need to have a minimum balance of at least $15,000 in your account in order for the $25 fee every quarter to be waived.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Stock Trading App For Canadians
When you’re considering which stock trading app to choose as a Canadian there are a few key factors you should take into consideration. A lot of the factors to consider below will also be very dependent on what kind of investor you are (more on that in the next section).
- Fees – Fees are a big one. In Canada, there is really only one fee-free broker which is Wealthsimple. All other brokers charge a fee ranging from approximately $4.95 – $9.95 PER TRADE. This can get quite expensive when doing a lot of trades. That being said, there is a trade-off for having no fees. Wealthsimple doesn’t offer real-time data on a lot of securities and their charting tools are pretty simple. Therefore, if you’re a beginner investor, investing in an index fund then using a fee-free broker is your best bet. If you’re an active trader, a Canadian fee-free broker likely won’t cut it.
- Types of Accounts Offered – As a Canadian investor there are a few types of accounts you can open including a non-registered account, a TFSA, an RRSP, and an RESP. Depending on what your investing goals are, make sure that the trading app you choose offers the appropriate type of accounts.
- Account Minimums – In certain cases there are account minimums required to open an account with a brokerage. Moreover, every broker in Canada charges a quarterly or annual fee to keep an account open unless you maintain a specific minimum balance. For example, Questrade’s minimum balance is just $1,000 to avoid the annual fee while the big banks like Scotia iTRADE, BMO, and CIBC all require at least $25,000 for RRSP accounts and $10,000 for non-registered accounts to avoid paying annual fees.
- Securities Offered – Not all online trading apps offer the same ability to trade certain securities. Some trading apps won’t allow you to trade small-cap stocks such as the ones listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE). If you want to trade small caps or even international stocks, you’ll have to check with the brokerage to see if they offer that ability.
- Mobile App – Many investors are now simply using their smartphones to complete trades on the go. In fact, brokerages like Wealthsimple only allow you to trade through their mobile app. If you like the idea of using a mobile app to make trades easily, then consider this in your selection process. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to download a program to your Mac or PC or use your big bank’s online portal to complete trades.
- Customer Service – It’s difficult to judge a trading app’s customer service quality before actually using their platform. However, what you can do is look up a brokerage on review sites like Trustpilot or Sitejabber. You can then comb through reviews and see what other people are saying about the brokerage and their customer service. Additionally, go to one of the brokerage’s websites and see if they provide a contact phone number, email address, and chatbox. This will give you a better idea of how well equipped their customer service team is.
- Security Features – Security is another major factor when determining which is the best stock trading app Canada edition. You want to keep your hard-earned money safe and a couple of ways to do this is to check whether a brokerage is CIPF insured in case they go out of business. Another thing to check for is whether they offer login security features such as two-factor authentication, touch/face ID, and notifications of suspicious logins.
- Order Types – There are a few different order types available across brokerages. The standard ones are market orders, limit orders, and stop orders. If you want to get more granular with your order you’ll need a brokerage that supports things like trailing limit orders and after-hours trading.
- Research Tools and Charting Options – Each brokerage offers its own set of tools within its platform or app. However, some brokerage offers much more than others. If you’re looking to do a lot of short-term trading you’ll need tools that can help you read the technical aspects of a stock chart. Trading apps like Questrade are great for this while other apps like Wealthsimple don’t offer many of the same features.
- Data Availability – Similar to charting options and research tools, for short-term traders having up-to-date real-time data is essential. Some brokerages show quotes that are delayed by 15 minutes or provide you with a snap quote feature. Although this is fine for buy and hold (long-term investors) day traders need more advantage data options.
- Promotions – Lastly, when you’re selecting a trading app another “cherry on top” feature to look at is what promotions each app offers. The brokerage space is competitive and each business is fighting for your business. So, many of them offer promotions where you can claim some free stock, get a certain number of free trades, or just get some cash for signing up and depositing funds. Although promotions certainly shouldn’t be your first priority, it’s a nice thing to consider if you’re deciding between two apps.
What Kind of Investor Are You?
Choosing the best Canadian stock trading app will also depend on what kind of investor you are. There are 4 main types of investors and we’ll dive into the differences of each.
1. Long-Term Buy-and-Hold Investor
Being a long-term buy-and-hold investor is typically the safest and most stress-free type of investor you can be. This type of investor typically purchases stocks of companies they have high conviction in and plan to hold onto their shares for 10, 15, 20 years, or more.
Some buy and hold investors like to take an even more hands-off approach and simply purchase index funds which are a collection of many stocks bundled into one. Doing this reduces risk as your eggs aren’t all in one basket.
Typically purchasing and holding an S&P 500 index fund will outperform many hedge fund managers who are constantly trading and moving around your money.
Although buying and holding is typically the best option for long-term gains, it can take years to see a significant increase in your portfolio.
That’s why some investors like to take on more risk for the chance of a greater reward like the ones below.
2. Day/Swing Trader
Day traders and swing traders are typically short to medium-term holders of stock. Day traders tend to make multiple buys and sells within the same day while swing traders buy and sell a stock within the spend of a couple of days or even months.
Regardless of whether you’re a day or swing trader, you’ll likely need access to real-time quotes and more advanced charting options so that you can track the technicals of a stock.
In this case, a commission-free app like Wealthsimple won’t cut it. You’ll need to use one of the other stock trading apps for Canadians in our list.
3. Options Trader
Options are essentially contracts of 100 shares you can choose to buy or sell depending on which direction you think the market will go. Options are more advanced than just buying and selling regular shares and are also much more volatile.
Not all brokerages allow you to trade options as they are not beginner-friendly and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can lose a lot of money.
However, if you do plan to trade options, you’ll need to choose a broker that offers this capability and also meet the minimum account balance that some brokerages require.
4. Hybrid Investor
As a hybrid investor, you may fall into multiple of the investor types above. You may have a portfolio of long-term companies you believe in and plan to hold and continue buying for years as well as a short-term portfolio where you make trades to generate quick cash.
This is the type of investor I am and in this case, I recommend using a couple of different brokerages at least. Use one for your long-term hold, ideally one with low or zero commissions like Wealthsimple.
Additionally, use a more advantaged trading app for your short-term trades so that you can take advantage of real-time data, charts, research tools, and multiple order types.
Best Stock Trading App: Canada Edition FAQ
Which Trading App Is Best for Canada?
As per my list of the top 5 best stock trading apps in Canada, our number one choice is Wealthsimple. This answer can change depending on the type of investor you are and the features that you’re looking for.
However, for most beginner and intermediate investors, I recommend using Wealthsimple due to its ease of use, free commissions, and secure mobile app.
Which Is the Best Trading App for Beginners?
For beginners, I recommend using Wealthsimple. Although it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that some of the other brokerages offer, it’s easy to use and commission-free.
Can Canadians Use Robinhood?
No. You need to be a U.S citizen over the age of 18 in order to be eligible to use Robinhood. However, Canadians do have other choices such as the ones listed in this best stock trading apps Canada edition article.
Is Wealthsimple Invest Good?
Wealthsimple is a great app for beginner and intermediate investors whose plan is to buy and hold.
They also offer a Robo advisor feature that allows you to set automatic contributions from your bank, reinvest your dividends, and automatically rebalance your portfolio as the market changes. This feature does charge a management fee depending on how much you deposit.
Is Day Trading Legal in Canada?
Yes, day trading is legal in Canada. However, it is very risky. Be sure to do proper research into day trading before trying it with real money. Instead, use a stock market simulator such as TradingView to get your feet wet.
How Do Beginners Buy Stocks?
Beginners can buy stocks by signing up for any one of the best stock trading apps Canada edition listed in this article. Once you’re signed up and approved all you have to do is transfer money from your bank account to the stock brokerage, find a stock you like, and purchase that stock.
How Can I Buy US Stocks in Canada?
Yes. You can buy US stocks in Canada however there can be some implications with this. Depending on your stock broker, you may have to transfer Canadian funds to the brokerage and then convert those dollars to US dollars before buying a US company. Therefore, you’ll lose money on the foreign currency exchange.
There are also potential tax implications around buying US stocks in Canadian registered accounts such as a TFSA.
Does Wealthsimple Have Fees?
The basic Wealthsimple plan does not have any commission fees. Where they do charge fees is if you purchase their plus plan which is $10/month and includes USD accounts, price alerts, larger deposits, and snap quotes.
You can also choose to automate your investments where you will get charged a management fee depending on how much you deposit.
Can I Day Trade In My TFSA
Day trading in your TFSA is not recommended. TFSA’s were made as a vehicle to hold your long-term investments, not as a way to conduct business activity.
If you do trade within a TFSA the CRA may notice and then tax your profits as business income.
The Best Stock Trading App Canada Edition – In Conclusion
Choosing the best stock trading app Canada edition really depends on what kind of trader you are as well as the features you’re looking for. However, that being said, my top recommendation for most beginner/intermediate investors is Wealthsimple. It’s easy to use, they offer free commissions, and their customer support is responsive.
Let me know which of these stock trading apps you’re planning on using for your investing.