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Top 3 Investing Platforms in Canada [2024]

Investing Platforms in Canada
Nemanja Curcic

Summary: Investing platforms have different strengths and weaknesses that can match your preferences and financial objectives. However, some factors benefit every investor, and brokerages should meet specific standards regardless of your choice. This guide will explain what to look for in investing platforms in Canada and list some excellent examples, including our top pick, Interactive Brokers.

Best Platform for Worldwide Stock Trading & Investing

  • Highly trusted multi-asset broker with clients in over 200 countries

  • Trade on 150 markets globally from a single platform (stocks, ETFs, futures, currencies, crypto & more)

  • Low commissions starting at $0 with no platform fees or account minimums

  • Easily fund your account and trade assets in 26 currencies

  • IBKR pays up to 4.58% interest on cash balances of $10k or more

Up to 4.58% interest on balance*

Why you should invest

The best way to spend money is to make it earn more, which is precisely why you should invest.

This profit comes from capital appreciation, dividends, or interest. However, it is worth noting that monetary gain is not guaranteed, as every investment comes with a risk. With careful planning, sound advice, and proper choice of investing platform, though, the risk is minimal, and the profit potential is substantial. 

Choosing the right investing platforms in Canada: the first step of investing

The first step to every investment in Canada is selecting a proper investing platform. A broker is the investor’s entry point to the market, without which you cannot buy or sell assets like stocks, ETFs, commodities, or any other financial instrument. 

Your choice of an investing platform determines many aspects of the investing process, such as the selection of available assets, your trading and maintenance fees, and regulation and security policies. Also, the available quality-of-life features can simplify investing and limit the effort you must put into the process. 

Therefore, having the best investing service ensures you start investing on the right foot.

The best investing platforms in Canada

Best investing platform in Canada #1: Interactive Brokers

Best Platform for Worldwide Stock Trading & Investing

  • Highly trusted multi-asset broker with clients in over 200 countries

  • Trade on 150 markets globally from a single platform (stocks, ETFs, futures, currencies, crypto & more)

  • Low commissions starting at $0 with no platform fees or account minimums

  • Easily fund your account and trade assets in 26 currencies

  • IBKR pays up to 4.58% interest on cash balances of $10k or more

Up to 4.58% interest on balance*

Introduction

Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ: IBKR) is a leading presence and a globally recognized online brokerage industry name. While founded in 1993, IBKR’s roots can be traced back to 1977 when its founder, Thomas Peterffy, purchased a seat on the American Stock Exchange as an independent market maker.

Available in dozens of countries and territories, this brokerage offers financial assets from 150 different markets, including stocks, options, fonds, futures, forex, and fixed income, unified in a single interface. Let us explore why you should use it to invest in Canada:

Pros and cons of Interactive brokers

Pros

Pros

  • Competitive margin rates;
  • A robust platform that hosts many practical tools and features;
  • Extensive range of investment offerings, including stocks, cryptos, ETFs, options, Futures, Warrants, CFDs, Bonds, commodities, and forex.
  • Low fees and commission-free trading;
  • High transactions speeds;
  • A rich library of educational and research material.
Cons

Cons

  • The number of tools and services may be overwhelming for a novice investor simply looking at investing in some Blue-Chip stocks;
  • Complex tiered pricing plans;
  • Specific research tools may incur additional costs.

Main features

Low commissions

The platform is ideal for traders looking to minimize trading costs. IBKR has two different account types available for investors, IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro. While IBKR Lite offers zero-commission stock and ETF trades, it is sadly unavailable outside the U.S. However, IBKR Pro offers competitive fees as well, as high-volume investors enjoy a standard commission rate of $0.005 per share ($1.00 minimum per trade) or a tiered commission plan that goes as low as $0.0035 per share ($0.35 minimum per order).

Low margin rates 

IBKR offers more competitive margin rates than most competing platforms, up to 49% lower than the industry standard. While an average brokerage may give an interest rate of about 10% for the first dollar of margin, IBKR offers its clients 5.58% to 6.58%, depending on the transaction size. The difference adds up, especially in the long run.

International trading

Virtually all investing services offer assets listed on U.S. exchanges, but only the precious few allow direct trading on other markets. With Interactive Brokers, traders can actively trade for assets across 150 markets and use more than 27 currencies. 

Advanced trading platforms

Interactive Brokers hosts a dozen trading platforms to improve your investing experience, including, but not limited to:

  • Client Portal: Besides monitoring quotes and placing trade orders, this portal provides access to viewing account balances, profit and loss statements, key performance metrics, financing, and reporting;
  • Trader Workstation: High level of functionality, speed, and power for advanced trading features, including automation;
  • IBKR Mobile: Access to the IBKR interface on the go;
  • IBKR APIs;

Pricing

There are different pricing schemes for IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro, the two pricing plans for the Interactive Brokers platform, but we will stick with IBKR Pro as we discuss its aspect as an investing platform in Canada.

  • Stocks and ETFs: Commissions begin at $0.0035 per share with a $0.35 minimum per order for monthly trade volumes of 300,000 or less. For a monthly volume of shares over 100,000,000 – it goes as low as $0.0005 per trade.
  • Mutual funds: Out of 48,000+ mutual funds on the platform, Interactive Brokers offer a 0% transaction fee for more than 19,000. For others, the commission is $14.95 or 3% of the value, whichever is less. The platform waives fees on assets held for more than 30 days for ETFs.
  • Options: The pricing structure varies based on monthly contract volume. For options priced at  $0.10 or more, the commission is $0.65 per contract. Options prices ranging between $0.05 and $0.09 incur fees of $0.50 per contract. Finally, for options prices $0.05 or less, the commission is $0.25 per contract. The commission per trade is always $0. 

Conclusion

Interactive Brokers is preferable for professional and skilled, active traders investing in Canada who want to utilize various tools and features and have global access to many assets. 

It does not mean beginners should avoid it, as IBKR is working on its educational resources and accessibility – however, if you are into investing casually or as a hobby, there are more straightforward options. 

For those who have outgrown their current platforms or those looking to dedicate themselves to investing seriously, Interactive Brokers is our top recommendation.

Best Platform for Worldwide Stock Trading & Investing

  • Highly trusted multi-asset broker with clients in over 200 countries

  • Trade on 150 markets globally from a single platform (stocks, ETFs, futures, currencies, crypto & more)

  • Low commissions starting at $0 with no platform fees or account minimums

  • Easily fund your account and trade assets in 26 currencies

  • IBKR pays up to 4.58% interest on cash balances of $10k or more

Up to 4.58% interest on balance*

Best investing platform in Canada #2: Wealthsimple

Introduction

Wealthsimple is an online investment service based in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2014 by Michael Katchen, Brett Huneycutt, and Rudy Adler, it has gathered a community of more than 3 million Canadian users, with 15 billion CAD in assets under management.

The platform is known for its low-cost autopilot investing and portfolio management, as well as stock, ETFs, and options trading. 

Pros and cons of Wealthsimple

Pros

Pros

  • Straightforward and detailed investment platforms;
  • Low investment management fees (0.5% annually);
  • Insured investments (up to 100k CAD).
  • $0 trading commission fees;
  • 9000+ investment assets;
Cons

Cons

  • Occasional delays for deposits transfers and account balances;
  • Does not support credit and debit card payments for investing;
  • Some features like Cash App are unavailable to the Canadian public.

Main features

Wealthsimple Invest

The most popular component of Wealthsimple, the Invest platform, aims to make investing easy. It takes over the heavy lifting from investors and analyzes the market and assets in their stead. However, the investors still retain control over the level of risk they are willing to take. 

The primary driver of Wealthsimple Invest’s growth is diversification, allowing higher returns with less risk in the long run. The market has undergone many ups and downs, but the average trend of holding onto assets has always been growth. 

The platform’s automated investing portfolio has average annual returns of approximately 5% since its inception in 2014. 

Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade provides you with commission-free stock and ETF trading. It is simple to use as it embraces fool-proof policies. You can trade fractional shares, meaning that you can buy less than one unit of stock of an asset. The app also supports market, limit, and stop orders.

Stocks and ETFs trading is supported on the following exchanges:

  • Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX);
  • TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV);
  • New York Stock Exchange (NYSE);
  • NASDAQ;
  • NEO;
  • Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE);
  • BATS Exchange.

Pricing

  • Wealthsimple Invest: The fee structure is straightforward: 0.5% per annum for portfolio investments under $100,000, while 0.4% per annum for portfolio values above that threshold. The platform calculates the fees daily and applies them monthly: for a $10,000 portfolio, the rate would be 0.5% (annual fee quote) / 365 (days in a year) = 0.00136986301% per day, or ~$4.24 per month.
  • Wealthsimple Trade: No brokerage fee for placing orders. A +1.5% fee to a current market exchange rate for USD payments.

Conclusion

Wealthsimple’s investment automation services are ideal for investors who either lack experience or time to devote themselves to the process, instead leaving the hard work for one of the best-known investing platforms in Canada. 

Although historical performance is not a reliable indicator of future outcomes, it does represent a green indicator for many investors. In any case, we recommend it as an investing platform of choice in Canada. 

Best investing platform in Canada #3: Robinhood

Introduction

Robinhood is a commission-free investing platform that enables investors to trade stocks, options, and ETFs (among other assets). Its driving goal is democratizing the market, or allowing everyone to invest regardless of their initial capital.

Launched in 2015, Robinhood is an app mainly designed for tech-savvy investors. It aims for simplicity, letting go of what can be considered unnecessary in favor of pure functionality. The company has created a legacy of allowing many to invest with zero commission fees, which was innovative at the time. To maintain the democratization trend, it enables anyone to invest.

Pros and cons of Robinhood

Pros

Pros

  • Robinhood Instant makes deposits of less than $1,000 usable instantly, with no waiting times, allowing you to invest minutes after creating an account;
  • $0 trading commission fees, with a legacy of being the pioneer of such service;
  • No minimum investment;
  • Fractional shares trading is available;
  • High-quality mobile investment app;
Cons

Cons

  • Lags and delays in stock quotes and similar relevant information;
  • Limited research tools as the platform favors simplicity;
  • Mutual funds and fixed-income assets are not available.

Main features

Low commissions

As mentioned before, Robinhood offers zero commission rates, and it was the first service to provide this feature to investors. It has a more favorable fee structure than most competitors, and it does not have any per-contract charges. 

Fractional shares

In traditional investing, no matter how great the price of a share is, you need to buy a whole share. That may be okay for penny stocks, but it can cause severe problems for high-cost individual shares.

Robinhood allows you to buy a fraction of a share, alleviating the situation. With this feature, you can invest the sum you want and put the desired amount into shares, not the other way around. It also makes diversifying portfolios much easier and cheaper.

Cash management

The platform also provides cash management accounts that allow traders to earn returns on their uninvested cash. The amount depends on the prevailing interest rates, and the cash management accounts have no fees, not even ATM fees in their extensive 75,000+ ATM network. 

Robinhood Gold

Despite its “fee-free” reputation, the platform has a premium product named Robinhood Gold. This version costs $5 per month and provides 4.65% APY (1.5% for non-Gold members), instant access to deposits up to $50,000, 7.75% for margin investing (11.75% for non-Gold users), and access to Morningstar stock research reports.

Pricing

Besides Robinhood Gold, the platform has a total no-commission policy.

In other words, $0 commission for stocks and ETFs, $0 (no per-contract charge) for stock options, and $0 for cryptocurrencies. 

Conclusion

Robinhood has found itself among the best investing platforms in Canada due to its famous no-commission policy and simplicity in trading and investing. With fractal shares and no-minimum accounts, virtually anyone in Canada can start investing within minutes of making that decision. 

What to look for in investing platforms in Canada

Even if you decide not to go with any of our given candidates, consider the following factors when you make your choice:

  • Range of offerings: The brokerage of choice should, of course, have the asset that you want to invest in available, but also other investment instruments that can be of interest to you, like other stocks, commodities, forex, and cryptocurrencies. If you seek more specialized derivative financial assets like CFDs, options, and futures, ensure the platform allows investing in them, too;
  • Cost: You should look for as low as possible investing-associated fees and expenses. However, most online brokerages provide commission-free trading and no-minimum accounts when trading stocks and ETFs;
  • Regulation and security: Look for a brokerage that goes along with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)’s regulations. When it comes to security, look for two-factor authentication (2FA) and similar advanced measures;
  • Fractional stock trading: Platforms that enable fractional stock trading allow you to buy stocks by the dollar amount, which suits those with limited capital or traders seeking to pursue the dollar-cost averaging approach.

FAQs about investing platforms in Canada

What are some of the best investing platforms in Canada?

Some of the best brokerages available to Canadian investors include Interactive Brokers, Wealthsimple, and Robinhood.

What assets can I acquire with investing platforms in Canada?

Using an investing platform in Canada, you can obtain almost any asset offered worldwide, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, REITs, bonds, fixed-income assets, etc.

What should I look for in an investing platform?

Regardless of your personal preferences, your brokerage of choice should have a broad portfolio of assets, competitive fees, and a high level of security. Furthermore, it should follow the regulations of respective financial authorities such as the SEC, FINRA, and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

Best Platform for Worldwide Stock Trading & Investing

  • Highly trusted multi-asset broker with clients in over 200 countries

  • Trade on 150 markets globally from a single platform (stocks, ETFs, futures, currencies, crypto & more)

  • Low commissions starting at $0 with no platform fees or account minimums

  • Easily fund your account and trade assets in 26 currencies

  • IBKR pays up to 4.58% interest on cash balances of $10k or more

Up to 4.58% interest on balance*

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