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Hi all. So I'm looking at getting more into self-directed investing. I'm 28 years old and only have $36k in a group RRSP (with RBC) and $5k in my TFSA (with RBCDI). I've already opened up some accounts at RBC Direct Investing but I haven't transferred over anything except my TFSA. Now, after I've set up all this with direct investing I've started wondering about their fees. At $29.95 a trade that's a little steep for me right now so I've started looking into Questrade. I've been reading a lot of negative reviews about them but I've also read reviews from people who haven't had any issues with them. I'm not looking at getting into anything crazy, just basic stuff for now and once my portfolio gets bigger then looking at transferring it to RBC Direct Investing (or whoever else I might be with at the time).

Is this a good idea? I'm a little concerned with Questrade with all the bad reviews I've read but their commission fees are pretty low and I know there are a lot of people out there who have never had a problem with them. What is the group consensus here regarding Questrade?
 

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rbc direct is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one among the big bank onliners to offer a fee-free tfsa. So that's good.

one way i might look at this situation would be a contrarian approach. I'd ask myself what sort of educational and research resources can my online broker offer me. For example, do they offer regular forums & teaching seminars. Does the website routinely supply real-time quotes, good stock screeners, current news from a recognized source such as dow, reuters or bloomberg, advanced charting features, daily research reports from the broker's full-service or institutional side. Are there also daily market reports that present not only superficial market price changes but also the background reasons for the big movers & shakers. And what about blogs, columns & opinion pieces.

a good online broker will offer enough quality versions of the foregoing so that a newcomer can construct a learn-as-you-go study course that will last at least one, possibly two or three years. Roughly speaking, i'd put the value of this at several hundred dollars, especially when coupled with the big banks' online representatives who are generally willing and usually able to explain sticky points that seem mysterious.

it's true that a $29 commish sounds onerous when compared to a $9.95 commish. But the difference is only $20. How many trades per annum would a 36K account normally make? Perhaps 5-10 trades? Perhaps even less? Looked at in this light, the difference in commish might be $100-$200 per annum, or it might be even less. However, the client would be constantly harvesting information, knowledge and service that would, imo, greatly exceed the value of $200 per annum.

put another way, i think it's a good idea for a new investor to shelter, if only temporarily, in an online broker that does offer some benefits. In a year or two, when he knows more, he will be able to find real-time quotes and research galore on his own, all over the internet. That would be a better time to switch to a bare-bones, no-frills, ultra-low-cost onliner, imo.
 

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the point of my message is that a new investor will harvest far more in research and services from a well-established online discount brokerage than he will ever "save" by taking his 3-5 trades per annum to a deep-discount house with limited or no services. This point remains valid even if the deep-discounter were to offer trades at zero commish, as Zecco used to do in the US.

furthermore, it's my understanding that only small Questrade trades carry a 4.95 commish. It's my understanding that the calculation is based on one penny per share, with a minimum of 4.95 and a maximum of 9.95. A 1000 share order is fairly standard, so right there is the 9.95 that i was referring to.
 

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Personally, Questrade has been great for me. I've been with SMDI before and I am also with Scotia iTrade, and the level of service is comparable.

The only thing negative I have to say is when my witholding tax was being held at %30 and when I complained the rep said there was nothing they could do. Luckily, it worked out eventually after he sent the problem to someone else. But aside from this their customer service has been great.

Hope this helps!

Edit: Also, make sure you take into account the transfer out fee, which is $125, although sometimes the broker you are transferring to will reimburse you
 

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Personally, Questrade has been great for me. I've been with SMDI before and I am also with Scotia iTrade, and the level of service is comparable.

The only thing negative I have to say is when my witholding tax was being held at %30 and when I complained the rep said there was nothing they could do. Luckily, it worked out eventually after he sent the problem to someone else. But aside from this their customer service has been great.

Hope this helps!
Good to know someone has good experience with Questrade. Since I opened accounts with them about a year ago, I have not used them much as I did not understand why it took so long (~5 business days) to ETF in/out the fund. As you know, it takes only a day or so to deposit to/withdraw from iTrade. I can use a bill payment to a quick deposit but don't know if it still takes so many days to withdraw money. Do you have any idea / recent experience?
 

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Good to know someone has good experience with Questrade. Since I opened accounts with them about a year ago, I have not used them much as I did not understand why it took so long (~5 business days) to ETF in/out the fund. As you know, it takes only a day or so to deposit to/withdraw from iTrade. I can use a bill payment to a quick deposit but don't know if it still takes so many days to withdraw money. Do you have any idea / recent experience?
I can't remember off the top of my head but looking at the records it looks like it took 2 business days for my last EFT withdrawal in Nov 2009)
 

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Questrade is great and the big banks are a rip off

The big banks don't offer anything that Questrade doesn't and stocks under $2.00 cost 1.5% of the trade amount (this can be several hundred dollars both ways on one freaking RBC Direct trade!)
 

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I have both Questrade and BMO investorline. I like Investorline for its detailed stock analysis and clean trade platform, but I love questrade for their $4.95-$9.95 trades.
I find that I make trades faster and more often because of this, I don't feel like I have to "hold and wait" to earn more than my commissions.

here's a review if you're interested


I really didn't like the webtrader platform (the free one) because I found the data to be really 'off' and I ended up make a trade for a loss when i thought it was a gain (from the webtrader data).
I have since been using QuestradeWEB (their other free platform- its Java) and find it much better, easier to look at, and less problems.
 

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Thanks Y&T2010 for sharing your experience with Questrade.

Just yesterday, I was just thinking of depositing some USD to Questrade but gave it a second thought when I saw "20 business days". It doesn't seem that bad according to you blog so I will try today. And I'll stick to QuestradeWEB.
 

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i'd recommend Scotia i-Trade with its in between commission of $19.99.. great platform and customer service.. I have tried Questrade before and wasn't a fan of their no frills platform
 

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Thanks Y&T2010 for sharing your experience with Questrade.

Just yesterday, I was just thinking of depositing some USD to Questrade but gave it a second thought when I saw "20 business days". It doesn't seem that bad according to you blog so I will try today. And I'll stick to QuestradeWEB.
Yah, you just have to make sure you send the "signature" right away. Otherwise it will definitely take longer. If you are approved for the E-signature, then it'll be much faster (though I haven't personally heard or known of anyone who has been approved).
 

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I was approved for esignature. It was quick and surprisingly easy. I had to answer some questions about my credit and address.

You still have to send in your signature to take money out.

It took a couple days to get my money in.
 

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i'd recommend Scotia i-Trade with its in between commission of $19.99.. great platform and customer service.. I have tried Questrade before and wasn't a fan of their no frills platform
What are the frills?

I tried Investorline and I found it had a lot of useless frills. Asset allocators etc

I kind of prefer the raw look of Questrade without the gimmicks I can find on google
 

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I've used Questrade for a number of years and I like them. I've also used RBC Direct and I had a lot more problems with them.

As for the bad reviews - it's hard to know what to make of them. They just aren't representative.

http://www.four-pillars.ca/2008/09/16/my-online-opinion-on-online-opinions/

I think that if you already deal with a big bank and can qualify for the $10 trades (ie if you have > $100k) then that's fine. For anyone who doesn't have $100k and pays $30/trade - you are being ripped off. Go to Questrade and switch later to your bank later on (if you want) once you can get cheaper trades.

http://www.four-pillars.ca/2008/11/28/questrade-discount-brokerage-review/
 

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I've been using Questrade for sometime now mostly sticking to QuestraderWEB (questrade review). I've never had a problem with the platform, executing trades except for the fact that the market orders aren't always within the bid/ask spread that stated. I'm a big believer in limit orders though, and Questrade has never let me down executing those at or better than my limit.

Be sure to sign up for electronic trade receipts if you're an active trader. They will send them via mail by default.
 
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