How does Questrade make money?

  • Questrade is a Canadian wealth management and online brokerage platform that was founded in 1999 by Edward Kholodenko and three unidentified business partners.
  • Questrade has a revenue generation strategy typical of a fintech company. Most revenue is derived from trading fees since, under Canadian law, the company is banned from collecting payment for order flow.
  • Questrade also collects portfolio management fees, subscription fees for advanced trading features, and a host of ancillary administration fees.


Questrade is a Canadian wealth management and online brokerage platform that was founded in 1999 by Edward Kholodenko and three unidentified business partners.

Kholodenko, a Ukrainian who emigrated to Canada at the age of 5, launched Questrade at a time when online trading was in its infancy.

At the peak of the dot-com boom, Kholodenko was brokering trades for customers in a small Toronto office as most Canadian households could not afford a fast internet connection.

After the dot-com crash and the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Questrade team suffered a lost in investor interest and was subsequently forced to raise capital to stay afloat.

Questrade then successfully endured the 2008 GFC and an instance in 2012 where the company that handled its clearing declared bankruptcy.

In 2014, Questrade entered the robo-advisor market with several low-fee investment portfolio products for newbie investors or those who are less inclined to set up their own.

There are also now products more suited to those who desire more control over their investments.

Today, Questrade has over $30 billion in assets under administration and adds around 250,000 new customers annually.

Questrade revenue generation

Questrade has a revenue generation strategy typical of a fintech company, earning money from trading fees, subscription fees, management fees, and administration fees.

Trading fees

Most company revenue comes from trading fees which are charged to customers whenever they buy or sell securities. 

Fees vary according to the type of security:

  • Stocks – as low as 1 cent per share with a minimum fee of $4.95 and a maximum fee of $9.95.
  • ETFs – consumers can purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for free, but selling will also attract a 1 cent per share fee up to a maximum of $9.95.
  • Options – these can be traded for $9.95 with an additional fee of $1 per contract.

Fees are also applicable for CFDs, FX, mutual funds, international equities, precious metals, and in some cases GICs. Note that Questrade tends to charge more fees than its U.S. counterparts because collecting payment for order flow is banned in Canada.

Management fees

For managed investment accounts there are also fees applicable:

  • For balances of $1,000 to $99,999, the fee is 0.25%.
  • For balances above $100,000, the fee is 0.20%.


Subscription fees are charged to customers who desire extra features to enhance their trading experience. Market level data from various stock exchanges is one example that can be accessed with a monthly fee.

Prices range from $19.95/month to $89.95/month depending on the package chosen.

Administrative fees

Lastly, Questrade charges a number of administration fees under numerous circumstances.

A few examples of these fees are provided below:

  • Accounts – fees are charged for the deregistration of education and retirement-focused accounts, for example. These range from $25 to $100.
  • Transfers and withdrawals – wire transfers in Canadian dollars attract a $20 fee whilst those made in U.S. dollars attract a $40 fee.
  • Certificates and documents – various fees are also charged for verification procedures, certificate registrations, and copies of trade confirmations and account statements.

Read More: How Does TD Ameritrade Make MoneyHow Does Dave Make MoneyHow Does Webull Make MoneyHow Does Betterment Make MoneyHow Does Wealthfront Make MoneyHow Does M1 Finance Make MoneyHow Does Mint Make MoneyHow Does NerdWallet Make MoneyHow Does Acorns Make MoneyHow Does SoFi Make MoneyHow Does Stash Make MoneyHow Does Robinhood Make MoneyHow Does E-Trade Make MoneyHow Does Coinbase Make MoneyHow Does Affirm Make MoneyFintech Companies And Their Business Models.

Related FinTech Business Models

Acorns Business Model

Acorns is a fintech platform providing services related to Robo-investing and micro-investing. The company makes money primarily through three subscription tiers: Lite – ($1/month), which gives users access to Acorns Invest, Personal ($3/month) that includes Invest plus the Later (retirement) and Spend (personal checking account) suite of products, Family ($5/month) with features from both the Lite and Personal plans with the addition of Early.

Affirm Business Model

Starting as a pay-later solution integrated into merchants’ checkouts, Affirm makes money from merchants’ fees as consumers pick up the pay-later solution. Affirm also makes money through interest earned from the consumer loans when those are repurchased from the originating bank. In 2020 Affirm made 50% of its revenues from merchants’ fees, about 37% from interests, and the remaining from virtual cards and servicing fees.

Alipay Business Model

Alipay is a Chinese mobile and online payment platform created in 2004 by entrepreneur Jack Ma as the payment arm of Taobao, a major Chinese eCommerce site. Alipay, therefore, is the B2C component of Alibaba Group. Alipay makes money via escrow transaction fees, various value-added ancillary services, and its Credit Pay Instalment fees.

Betterment Business Model

Betterment is an American financial advisory company founded in 2008 by MBA graduate Jon Stein and lawyer Eli Broverman. Betterment makes money via investment plans, financial advice packages, betterment for advisors, betterment for business, cash reserve, and checking accounts.

Chime Business Model

Chime is an American neobank (internet-only bank) company, providing fee-free financial services through its mobile banking app, thus providing personal finance services free of charge while making the majority of its money via interchange fees (paid by merchants when consumers use their debit cards) and ATM fees.

Coinbase Business Model

Coinbase is among the most popular platforms for trading and storing crypto-assets, whose mission is “to create an open financial system for the world” by enabling customers to trade cryptocurrencies. Its platform serves both as a search and discovery engine for crypto assets. The company makes money primarily through fees earned for the transactions processed through the platform, custodial services offered, interest, and subscriptions.

Compass Business Model

Compass is a licensed American real-estate broker incorporating online real estate technology as a marketing medium. The company makes money via sales commissions (collected whenever a sale is facilitated or tenants are found for a rental property) and bridge loans (a service allowing the seller to purchase a home before the revenue from the sale of their previous home is available).

Dosh Business Model

Dosh is a Fintech platform that enables automatic cash backs for consumers. Its business model connects major card providers with online and offline local businesses to develop automatic cash back programs. The company makes money by earning an affiliate commission on each eligible sale from consumers.

E-Trade Business Model

E-Trade is a trading platform allowing investors to trade common and preferred stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, bonds, mutual funds, and futures contracts; acquired by Morgan Stanley in 2020 for $13 billion. E-Trade makes money through interest income, order flow, margin interests, options, future and bonds trading, and other fees and service charges.

Klarna Business Model

Klarna is a financial technology company allowing consumers to shop with a temporary Visa card. Thus it then performs a soft credit check and pays the merchant. Klarna makes money by charging merchants. Klarna also earns a percentage of interchange fees as a commission and for interests earned on customers’ accounts.

Lemonade Business Model

Lemonade is an insurance tech company using behavioral economics and artificial intelligence to process claims efficiently. The company leverages technology to streamline onboarding customers while also applying a financial model to reduce conflicts of interest with customers (perhaps by donating the variable premiums to charity). The company makes money by selling its core insurance products, and via its tech platform, it tries to enhance its sales.

NerdWallet Business Model

NerdWallet is an online platform providing tools and tips on all matters related to personal finance. The company gained traction as a simple web application comparing credit cards. NerdWallet makes money via affiliate commissions determined according to the affiliate agreements.

Robinhood Business Model

Robinhood is an app that helps to invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies, all commission-free. Robinhood earns money by offering: Robinhood Gold, a margin trading service, which starts at $6 a month, earns interests from customer cash and stocks, and rebates from market makers and trading venues.

SoFi Business Model

SoFi is an online lending platform that provides affordable education loans to students, and it expanded into financial services, including loans, credit cards, investment services, and insurance. It makes money primarily via payment processing fees and loan securitization.

Stash Business Model

Stash is a FinTech platform offering a suite of financial tools for young investors, personalized investment advice, and life insurance. The company primarily makes money via subscriptions, cashback, payment for order flows, and interest for cash sitting on members’ accounts.

Wealthfront Business Model

Wealthfront is an automated Fintech investment platform providing investment, retirement, and cash management products to retail investors, mostly making money on the annual 0.25% advisory fee the company charges for assets under management. It also makes money via a line of credits and interests on the cash accounts.

Zelle Business Model

Zelle is a peer-to-peer payment network that indirectly benefits the banks’ consortium that backs it. Zelle also enables users to pay businesses for goods and services free for users. Merchants pay a 1% fee to Visa or Mastercard, who share it with the bank that issued the card.

Read Next: Fintech Business Models, IaaS, PaaS, SaaSEnterprise AI Business ModelCloud Business Models.

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top