Well I used my Questrade account yesterday for the first time so…now that I’ve had a little field experience actually using it I think I’m ready to give it a proper review. However, I would just like to point out that there are four different trading platforms available but the only one I’ve used and thus the only one I’ll review is the WebTrader platform.
The WebTrader platform is similar to the online platforms of the big banks however it is not as slick or user friendly.
-has decent charting tools for those of you interesting in technical analysis
-CHEAP TRADES. I can’t really over emphasize this. This is the real positive of Questrade. When you sign up you can chose from 2 different accounts:
1. $0.01 a share (minimum fee of $4.95)
2. a flat fee of $9.95 a trade (unlimited shares)
I chose option 1. However, if you were a real day trader into penny stocks option #2 would save you a huge amount of money compared to the fees charged by the big banks.
-No online help
-No research reports
-No online information on the fundamentals. Ie- P/E, P/B, revenue growth, earnings estimates etc...
-Screen layout is not as user friendly as the big banks
-Functionality is lacking compared to the big banks. ie- If you click on “positions” it shows you the securities that you own but you can’t click on them to get a quote, or click on them to sell them. The WebTrader does of course let you get real time quotes and sell securities but you can’t simply click on your positions. Instead you have to select “stocks” and then enter the information for the stock that you want to sell.
-Unlike the big banks you can’t just select “CDN” or “U.S” when buying securities you have to put in a period and the short form of the exchange that the security is listed on ie- Toronto = .TO Venture = .VN. I don’t really have a problem with this except that there is no online help outlining what the short forms are for the exchanges. However, if you do a symbol lookup it will display the security in the proper form ie-ZED.VN
-WebTrader does not catch errors on the fly. For example, when I put in my buy order for ZED I put in just "ZED" however, I should have put ZED.VN. I didn’t know my order wasn’t valid until I looked in my account history and beside my order status it said “rejected”
-Cannot built portfolios of stocks to create a watch list.
Despite all of the negatives I’ve mentioned above overall I’d say my Questrade WebTrader account is O.K but not great. What I would suggest to anyone thinking of switching over is don’t close your account at the big bank as Questrade literally offers no research or reports. I plan on using this account to buy securities that I don’t plan to hold forever (ie- any cyclicals) and will continue to use my big bank trading account to purchase securities that I plan on holding forever. In my mind $30 is a reasonable amount to pay for the features and security I get from trading with one of the big 5.