Which Has Better Brokers - United States Or Canada?

which country has better investment brokers united states vs canada

What is the difference between American and Canadian online brokers? Does one country offer distinctively better solutions than the other? Which country needs to step up its game? We will try to understand all of that in this article and understand where it is best to invest our money. 

We’d like to examine the difference between two online brokers, one American and the other Canadian. As of 2021, there’s a consensus that Fidelity is the best online broker in the United States, and Questrade is the best broker in Canada. Comparing the two will give us a clear view of the main differences in service and price, and tell us where investors enjoy more, USA or Canada. 

We know that this comparison is legitimate because when you compare the best online brokers in America to each other, you’ll find more similarities than differences between them. The same goes for the best Canadian brokers, all brokers are very similar to each other in terms of services, commissions and fees in each country.

Fidelity - America’s Top Broker

Account minimum - Fidelity is America’s best online broker, and offers a no minimum requirement to open and operate an account. They aren’t special in this sense as this has become the industry standard in the States. Some assets do require a minimum balance, like mutual funds, but most basic functions don’t require even that. 

Fees and commissions - When it comes to commissions and fees, Fidelity is reasonable but can be better - as there are cheaper options on the market. Fidelity is following the current industry standard, and has commission free ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) and stock exchange. They offer a long list of free mutual funds too, and zero account management fees. However, the fees of the managed accounts are a bit overpriced, as Fidelity’s robo-advisor charges 0.35% for accounts with a balance higher than $50K. They compensate for it with the low $3 flat fee for accounts valued below $50K, and free of charge for accounts smaller than $10K. 

When it comes to options and mutual funds Fidelity does quite well too, even though not perfectly. Options are free of commission but still carry a low contract charge of $0.65. Fidelity also has a list of around 3,700 free of transaction fees mutual funds, and about 800 more discounted ones. 

Mobile App 

Fidelity’s mobile app is impeccable for both iOS and Android. Moreover, Fidelity is constantly working to improve and simplify their app to make it easy to trade, even for novice traders. It includes real time quotes, complex option trading, and all the functions that you can do on their website. Fidelity’s app’s rating is close to perfect in all marketplaces. 

Customer Service 

This is another area Fidelity excels in. A customer will chat with a bot first, and it’s only a short waiting time until he’ll be directed to a human assistant (even at peak times). The human representatives are well trained and professional. The platform analysis tool is very intuitive, but doesn’t present international stocks and funds. Many review this tool as basic, and not great for more complex portfolios. They have more than 200 branches for in-person advice and support, and they answer the phone 24/7. 


Fidelity offers a limited $100 promo when you open an account. 

Questrade - Canada’s Top Online Broker 

*All quotes regarding Questrade - Canada’s best online broker, are in Canadian Dollars Account minimum - Questrade requires a $1000 minimum balance to open a trading account. This is far behind its American counterpart. 

Fees And Commissions 

It seems that QuesTrade has $0 annual fees, similar to the American standard. However, you’ll pay $25 if you have less than $5,000 in your account, and there’s also a non activity fee of $25 if you didn’t trade at all in 3 months (easily waved, but pretty annoying). Moreover, trading fees exist: buying ETFs is free but selling them holds a fee, and you’ll pay a $4.95 fee for the first 500 stock trades (to the maximum of $9.95 if you make more than 500 trades a month). As you can imagine, fees apply when trading mutual funds and options. 

QuesTrade’s robo advisor’s fees are between 0.2% to 0.25% which makes it actually cheaper than Fidelity. However, with all of the fees concluded, QuesTrade is really more expensive. 

Mobile App 

QuesTrade’s app was relaunched this year, in a simpler and faster version. Also, they made an effort in developing a learning mode, educating users about DIY trading. The app is sleek and easy to use, and it seems that it’s aimed towards novice traders rather than experienced ones. Online reviews of the app aren’t that favorable though, and stands on less than 3 stars in every marketplace. 

Customer Service 

Here’s where QuestTrade lost a lot of points. Their customer service is far from being amazing. Similar to Fidelity, a customer will first chat with a bot, but unlike Fidelity, it’ll take about 4 hours to be redirected to a human representative. It seems like a new progression due to COVID-19 layoffs and an increased customer base combination.

Which Country Has Better Online Brokers? 

This is an easy win for America. It seems that Canada’s online brokers are lesser in any aspect compared to the American ones. The United States online brokerage market is far bigger and richer, as well as more competitive, and thus the services and rates are the best in the world. Canada has much to learn from the States, and a lot of room for improvements.

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