Retail investing is more widespread than ever before, and for good reason. With the wealth of online tools at your disposal, there's never been a better time to take your investing future into your own hands and trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, and much more.
However, some trading apps are better than others. The trading app you choose can impact the overall success of your portfolio. Let's look at some of the best trading apps in Canada and explore what you should be looking for when choosing a brokerage.
Outside of Canada? Have a look at our review of Cash App.
What are the best trading apps in Canada today?
- Wealthsimple Trade
- TD Direct Investing
- CIBC Investors Edge
- RBC Direct Investing
- Scotia iTrade
- BMO Investorline
- Interactive Brokers
- National Bank Direct Brokerage
- HSBC InvestDirect
If you're looking for a top-tier trading platform, look no further than Qtrade. This stellar app is very popular with credit unions and active traders who want the best deal possible. They have standard trading fees but offer free trading for over 100 ETF purchases, so building up your ETF portfolio on a budget is easy.
You can use Qtrade on computers and smartphones; no account minimum is required. Trading commissions are about average, though not excessive.
If you have under $500,000 in assets, they're $8.95. If your combined accounts are over $500,000, you will pay $6.95. These commissions are much the same with options contracts, making it one of the best options brokers in Canada.
Qtrade allows you to trade various instruments ranging from stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and more. You can also set up a variety of different trading accounts.
More importantly, Qtrade is one of the top online Canadian brokers because of its excellent customer service. If you have a question or concern about the app or need help with technical issues, Qtrade's customer service team will have your back. Note that there is a $25 maintenance fee if you have a balance of less than $25,000.
Of note, new Qtrade clients can get up to $150 back when opening up new accounts, plus their transfer fees from other brokerages are covered if they have a certain balance. It certainly makes it compelling to switch.
- Low commission fees compared to many big bank brokerages
- The portfolio creator tool helps build an ETF portfolio if you don't have a lot of experience
- Free trades for some ETF purchases
- Mobile app and customer service are both highly rated
- Lots of financial tools and analysis charts
- Can trade a wide variety of financial instruments
- Free ETF trades have strings attached
- High maintenance fees if your balance is below $25,000
Questrade is another excellent trading app for Canadian traders and investors. Whether you are experienced or a beginner in the stock market, you'll find a lot to like here, as the platform has developed many new tools since its 1999 inception.
Questrade gives you access to many investment products and different account types (including corporate investment accounts, which you can use to build up your own investment business).
Furthermore, you can use Questrade on mobile devices, desktop computers, or any device with a web interface.
It has an account minimum of $1000, but minimal overall trading commission fees, even though these fees apply to practically every trade. On top of that, you can take advantage of special order types, advanced trading tools, and market data analyses. Note that Questrade is a top ETF trading platform since all ETF purchases are totally commission free. Keep in mind however, that you will typically pay to sell an ETF.
- Lots of investment options
- Get access to real-time market data for day trading
- No commissions for ETF purchases
- The mobile app is intuitive and easy to use
- Excellent analytics and chart tools
- Have to have a minimum $1000 balance
- If you want advanced data analysis like level 2 market data, you have to pay a monthly fee
- There are trading fees for all stock trades
Wealthsimple Trade is a free stock trading app perfect for beginners trading in Canada. Indeed, it offers commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs, so it's great if you want to take your investments into your own hands but don't have much capital to start.
This is because you don't have to worry about making several small trades and paying high fees each time you purchase a new stock.
Even better, if you want to invest tiny sums in penny stocks, this could be a great stock trading app because of the above-mentioned lack of fees.
Wealthsimple can be used on a laptop or any mobile device using the mobile app. It has no account minimums or trading commission fees, though its account types are somewhat limited. Importantly, Wealthsimple does host a crypto trading platform if you wish to dip your toes into crypto trading and a robo-advisor platform for those who don't want to do it themselves.
- Free when trading stocks or ETFs
- No minimum investment is required
- Very beginner friendly
- Supports fractional share investing if you have a limited trading budget
- You have to pay a $10 monthly fee to get an account that trades in US dollars or pay hefty exchange fees
- You can't trade options, bonds, or mutual funds on Wealthsimple, although this is changing over time
- Only has limited charting and market data tools
TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing is one of the oldest trading apps in Canada, and it has only grown in popularity since its launch. It offers tons of data, investment tools, and market research analysis tools that you can use to place advanced trading orders. As a traditional banking brokerage, it offers a more widespread suite of tools than the 3 above. However, you will pay for it via higher commissions.
There's no account minimum to worry about either, though as mentioned, there are high trading commission fees.
You can open many different accounts and trade securities like stocks, options, mutual funds, precious metals, and more. If you sign up for the TD Easy Trade app, you can take advantage of 50 commission-free trades per year, lessening the blow of choosing this platform over something like Wealthsimple Trade.
- Plenty of excellent analysis tools
- You can open several self-directed account types
- Mobile and desktop apps are rated highly
- It gives you total access to US and Canadian markets
- If you are an active trader, you can take advantage of lower commission fees
- High commission fees for normal investors or those with smaller accounts
- $25 quarterly maintenance fees if your balance is less than $15,000
- No robo-trading or advising if you are less active
CIBC Investor's Edge
CIBC Investor's Edge is a great big bank trading app and a division of CIBC, one of the largest institutions in Canada.
It's one of the best trading apps in Canada in part because of its low trading fees, especially compared to the platforms offered by other big banks. Students can also take advantage of special discounts (up to a dollar less per commission fee). There's also no account minimum.
You can trade stocks, ETFs, precious metals, mutual funds, and more on this app and open a wide range of trading accounts. The major downfall is the platform's $100 maintenance fee, which you will pay if your balance is under $25,000 in the case of some registered accounts (LIRA,RRSP), or $10,000 in an unregistered account like a cash or margin account.
This is still a great mobile app for budget-minded investors, particularly young investors or college students who want to start practicing in the stock market without breaking the bank, as their $6.95 commission is very attractive.
- No annual fees for RESPs and TFSAs
- No inactivity fees
- Lots of analytical tools for more experienced traders
- Pretty good commission prices
- Various discounts for young investors and students
- The mobile app is highly rated
- Maintenance fees can be high if you have a low balance
- Customer service could be a bit better
RBC Direct Investing
RBC Direct Investing gives you access to many investment tools across the Canadian and US markets. On top of that, you can trade practically every asset type on this application, including bonds, mutual funds, options, stocks, and much more.
You can create registered and non-registered accounts depending on your preferences, and no minimum deposit amount is required.
Trading and account management tools are accessible and navigable, even on the mobile interface, and there aren't any commission fees on mutual fund trades.
On top of that, RBC Direct Investing lets active traders pay fewer commission fees after they make at least 150 trades per quarter. This is a lot of trades, and investors are unlikely to hit this point. However, the company will give you some relief commission-wise if you do. If you are new to investing, you can test trading strategies using a fully accessible practice account as well.
With $9.99 commissions, however, they are one of the highest in the business.
- The mobile app is excellent
- No commission fees for mutual funds
- Wide range of account types and asset types
- Give you access to all investment options in the US and Canadian markets
- Practice accounts are great for new traders
- Lower commission fees for active traders
- There are quarterly maintenance fees if your balance is below $15,000
- Commission fees can be a bit high
- If you aren't an RBC client, you'll face high withdrawal fees
Scotia iTrade is another big bank trading app that lets you invest in different instruments like ETFs, mutual bonds, funds, stocks, etc. Many account types are available, and the mobile app overall is highly rated for Android and iOS users.
More importantly, Scotia iTrade is the first big bank brokerage that gives you access to sustainable investing tools, so you can choose to support only green companies.
If you are under 26, there is no minimum account balance. If you are over 26, there's a $25 quarterly maintenance fee if your balance is under $10,000.
Note that there is also commission-free ETF trading for certain select ETFs. You can also use Scotia iTrade's investment tools, like Reuters reports, to analyze the market and make the best investments possible. The proprietary Flight Desk platform is for active traders and offers in-depth market analysis.
- Stellar for experienced traders who want a lot of market data
- Great if you want to invest in sustainable stocks and instruments
- The mobile app is rated highly
- Commission-free trading for some ETFs
- Excellent investing tools
- No quarterly maintenance fee if you are under the age of 26
- Does have a quarterly maintenance fee otherwise
- There are high commission fees if you are not an active trader
BMO InvestorLine is a full brokerage app that offers a wide range of different services and trade types. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and fixed-income assets in both registered and non-registered accounts.
Flat commission fees can be pretty high, particularly for options, which are settled with an additional $1.25 fee per contract. However, there aren't any commission fees for mutual funds and certain Canadian ETFs.
The mobile app lets you track your investments from anywhere, and you can access customer service support using several channels.
Meanwhile, the BMO SmartFolio is a tool that allows dedicated portfolio managers to manage investments for you with small fees between 0.4% and 0.7%. With no minimum account balance and many educational products, this can be a tremendous Canadian trading app for active and less experienced investors who want help as they learn the ropes.
- Good educational and guidance tools
- Portfolio management available
- No commission fees for mutual funds and certain ETFs
- The mobile app is excellent
- Lots of investment assets and account types to choose from
- Plenty of customer support options and channels
- No minimum account balance
- There are quarterly maintenance fees if your balance is less than $50,000
- Commission fees can be high for anything aside from mutual funds and ETFs
Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive brokerage platform with very low fees and a wide range of assets to invest in. Based on monthly trading volume, commissions can be as low as one cent per share.
Whether you use the desktop app, mobile app, or web-based platform, you'll find that you can build custom trading solutions using their in house API if necessary.
You can trade stocks in 135 international markets and utilize 23 international spot currencies.
Furthermore, Interactive Brokers offers access to over 40,000 mutual funds for trading.
It's ultimately a great choice for high-volume, active traders. Still, navigating the platform can be difficult, and the mobile app isn't as good as other options. Furthermore, you have to pay for real-time data; otherwise, the free market data is delayed.
I wouldn't recommend this platform for beginners. More so for serious traders.
- Lots of assets and account types
- Great commission fees for stock and ETF trades
- You can earn interest on invested cash sitting in your account
- You can use the API to build a custom trading solution
- Have to pay extra to take full advantage of the app
- No zero commission fees for stocks are ETFs
- The mobile app isn't rated highly
- The platform can be difficult to navigate through
National Bank Direct Brokerage
National Bank Direct Brokerage is a popular trading platform in Canada in part because it offers commission-free trading for both stocks and ETFs. A large bank owns this brokerage, the National Bank of Canada, and investors can buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and any other asset they can think of through registered and non-registered accounts.
While there is a $100 annual maintenance fee if your balance is below $20,000, there's no minimum account balance.
Furthermore, National Bank Direct Brokerage will foot the bill for up to $150 in transfer fees if you transfer your account from another brokerage.
On top of that, National Bank Direct Brokerage provides access to top-tier educational tools and market analysis suites. Mutual funds are commission-free if you trade a minimum of $1000.
- Some zero-commission trading fees for stocks and ETFs
- Covers certain transfer fees
- Lots of investment account types and assets
- Educational tools and customer support are highly rated
- Fantastic analysis tools
- There isn't a mobile app, so you have to use the desktop platform
- Have to keep a high minimum balance of $20,000 to avoid any maintenance fees
HSBC InvestDirect is another full-service brokerage you can access as a retail investor. It has middle-of-the-road fees, which go down if you are an active trader, and you can invest in lots of assets ranging from mutual funds to stocks to bonds and more. "Active trading" counts as making 150 trades or more per quarter.
Furthermore, HSBC InvestDirect gives you access to over 4000 commission-free mutual funds.
Quarterly maintenance fees apply for accounts with less than $10,000 or $25,000 per non-registered and registered account, respectively.
Meanwhile, The desktop trading platform is highly rated. It comes with a dedicated learning center and many great market analysis tools.
Furthermore, suppose English isn't your first language. In that case, you'll like HSBC InvestDirect because it has customer services in English, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
- Excellent customer service
- Desktop trading platform is comprehensive and excellent
- Plenty of market analysis tools
- Trading fees can be lower if you are an active trader
- You can settle trades in up to 10 different currencies
- No mobile app is available
- Small accounts face high maintenance fees
What to look for in the best trading platforms in Canada?
- A good mobile app
- Low fees and commissions
- Wide range of products
- Many account types
- Extensive trading tools
- Great customer service
- Low account minimums
- High security
A good mobile app
Naturally, a great trading platform should have a stellar mobile app that's easy to navigate and doesn't lag. Easy-to-use online trading platforms are great for both novice investors and experts and, in today's day and age, are necessary.
Low fees and commissions
You should also ensure your possible brokerage has low or no trade fees or commissions. The higher the fees, the more you'll have to pay each time you purchase or sell a stock, ETF, or other asset. Commission-free trading is a big benefit of self-directed investing, and a few discount brokerages here offer it.
Wide range of investment products
You'll want access to many investment products if you plan to diversify your portfolio. The best stock trading apps often allow you to invest in ETFs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, options, precious metals, etc.
Don't get stuck with a brokerage that doesn't give you access to all of the potential securities you would like to trade, or else you'll just end up swapping, which is a hassle.
Many account types
Some Canadian trading apps will only support registered accounts such as TFSAs or RRSPs but do not have access to more advanced accounts like a LIRA or RRIF. Some platforms may also not have access to corporate accounts. If you prefer one account type or another or have a business, ensure your trading app supports it.
Extensive trading tools
The best mobile trading apps in Canada have very good analysis tools. These include charts, analysis suites, robo advisors, and much more. The more tools an app has, the better investment choices you can make. If you prefer lower commissions, they often come with lower functionality.
Great customer service
Of course, you should also ensure your chosen brokerage has outstanding customer service. This is our money, after all. Ensure you can reach a customer service agent by phone, chat, email, or other method before signing up.
Low account minimums
Some apps have high account minimums, which require you to deposit a big chunk of cash right at the outset. As a beginner trader, this can be difficult. Note that many apps don't have account minimums on paper. Still, they charge you maintenance fees unless your account has a certain minimum balance throughout the year.
Lastly, ensure any Canadian trading app you use has excellent security measures. An app's security will impact how safe your personal information and funds are. Specifically, you'll only want to use a trading app with two-factor authentication and, even better, bank-level encryption.
You should also make sure that the app you use is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). The latter ensures your assets will be protected against disasters like firm insolvency for up to $1 million.
Wrapping it up
All in all, the above 11 trading platforms are perfect for beginners and experienced investors alike. We recommend considering the questions above as you review the different trading apps and choosing one that suites your strategy.