Canadian Online Brokerage Review – RBC Direct Investing

Canadian Discount Broker - RBC Direct Investing

Mailing Address
200 Bay Street, North Tower
P.O. Box 75
Toronto, ON
M5J 2Z5–>
Phone: 1-800-769-2560, option 4
Customer Service Hours: Mon to Fri 7am to 8pm ET

RBC Direct Investing Review

Updated on: Feb. 8, 2019
RBC Direct Investing has been working towards improving the functionality, pricing and features of their online trading platform. Early in 2014, they caused a major pricing shift among Canadian discount brokerages by lowering their standard commission pricing to $9.95 per trade.
As a bank-owned brokerage, RBC Direct Investing offers the convenience of being able to manage multiple financial products via the RBC online platform. The integration with holders of certain RBC banking plans may enable certain client to be exempt from paying certain account fees at RBC Direct Investing.
Another feature about RBC Direct Investing that makes it stand out from its bank-owned online brokerage peers is the community feature. The community section allows comparison with other investors, provides educational support and it contains a moderated forum for asking questions to the community or RBC Direct Investing.

Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission $9.95
Best Commission Price $6.95
Minimum to Open Account Not Required
Maintenance/Inactivity Fees $25/quarter
Commission Free ETFs No
Student Pricing Offer Yes

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

Commission pricing at RBC Direct Investing has become much simpler to understand. The standard equity commission for online trading is now $9.95 per trade regardless of account size or trading activity.For very active traders, in this case clients that make 150 or more trades per quarter, the price per trade drops to $6.95. Options trading is also possible via RBC Direct Investing with the cost per trade at $9.95 + $1.25 per contract. Again, active traders (150+ trades per quarter) benefit from reduced pricing of $6.95 +$1.25 per contract.

One of the important points to note is that there is a quarterly fee (called an “Inactivity Fee”) charged to those with balances under $15,000 and there are also several ways to have this fee waived. Clients who deposit at least $100 per month in their RBC Direct Investing account as part of a pre-authorized contribution plan, those who make at least 3 commission-generating trades per quarter, those who have a group RRSP with RBC Direct Investing, those who qualify for the RBC Direct Investing Royal Circle program as well as those who are current student banking package holders (or have been in the past 5 years) and clients who have an RBC VIP banking package can all have their quarterly inactivity fee waived.

Account Types

The account types offered by RBC Direct Investing are similar to many of their peers and can be generally categorized as non-registered and registered. In terms of non-registered accounts, RBC Direct Investing offers cash and margin accounts and registered accounts include TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, and RRIFs. With the exception of RESP accounts, all other accounts are dual currency meaning that if you trade in US equities or US dollars there is no required conversion between Canadian and US currency. For registered accounts you cannot use margin or short stocks. Options trading in registered accounts is limited to buying and selling options and writing of covered calls.

Although it is not a ‘live’ account, RBC Direct Investing also offers practice accounts to RBC (as well as RBC Direct Investing) clients. The accounts are funded with $100,000 in practice money and individuals can use a cash, margin or RSP configuration to practice with.


RBC Direct Investing uses a web browser based platform to execute trades as well as conduct research and manage one’s account. Unlike an active trader platform or a desktop based platform, the web browser based offering is fairly standard. The order entry window requires filling in a number of fields however there are a number of guides and explanations across the window to help users through the process. The charting features are minimal so for those looking at doing in depth comparisons and chart analysis, the Recognia technical analysis tool may help but the overall charting functions are basic.

Reviews & Ratings

Review What Review Measures Score Date of Ranking
Dalbar Canada Review Client Service Top Rating
Top Rating
January 2015
January 2014
Globe and Mail Review Overall Impression Leter Grade “B”
Leter Grade “B”
Leter Grade “B”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B-”
7th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
February 2019
February 2018
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction 6th out of 8
5th out of 8
6th out of 10
4th out of 10
4th out of 10
3rd out of 7
8th out of 11
June 2019
September 2018
September 2017
September 2016
September 2015
September 2014
September 2013


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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – RBC Direct Investing

This topic contains 28 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  WILLIAM 1 week, 4 days ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 29 total)
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  • #22694 Reply


    terrible… have just moved my cash and all my investments to RBC..45 minute wait or more at times, if you need to call direct investing. and worse than that, they do not even allow for a trailing stop…great way to lose money…i had always used a trailing stop when i was with scotia i-trade. i will be pulling my assets and going back….i can’t even imagine not providing what other trading platforms provide… i guess this tactic must make RBC more money..never mind the customers protection.

    #19933 Reply


    My love affair with Royal dates back 2 decades. It took awhile but reason finally won out. I spent $2500 in commissions last year + $1500 in foreign exchange fees. I’m moving my accounts to Interactive Brokers and expect to reduce my commissions by 40% and fx by 95%.

    RBC cons:
    slow order execution
    limited order types
    limited option strategies
    no algo trading
    pre 2k web based platform that is not cusomtizable
    no streaming charts
    high commissions (yes, I consider 9.95 + 1.25/contract high) especially when buying in USD
    no free etf’s
    charge 1.4% (2.8% round trip) to convert between CAD and USD

    a few, but none worth mentioning

    #18906 Reply

    Raymond Anderson

    I have been using RBC Direct Investing for many years, and just came across this thread. I am surprised at how negative most of the comments are.

    I am a Canadian living in South Africa since 1981, and also have on-line trading accounts with TD Direct Investing in Luxemburg and Standard Bank Online Trading in South Africa. As it stands currently, the RBC trades are $9.95 per trade in the relevant currency, the TD trades $14.95 for US$ trades, and SBSA trades about US$8.50. In all cases, the prices have dropped over the years due to: 1) competitive pressures; and 2) the realisation that with cheaper fees people trade more and there is the potential for even greater fee income (given that many of the platform’s costs are fixed).

    As for quality of service, I have not found RBC that bad compared to the other two, remembering that I am half a planet away. I must, however, admit that I am not an active trader. Rather, I try to do weekly rebalancing. My primary service for assessing shares is Validea, which provides reviews of shares on the Canadian, American, and South African markets (,, Interestingly, I am probably the only person subscribed to all three.

    In terms of website design, the South African site is surprisingly the best. For you it might seem like deepest darkest Africa, but people realised long ago that there would be problems getting qualified back office staff at a reasonable price and there has been a huge investment in technology. Next best is RBC, but my primary concern is access to information, i.e. the charting, research, etc., and much less speed of execution. I can see where people would be frustrated.

    The worst of the lot is TD in Luxemburg, and there is some arrogance because it is a multi-exchange platform that gives access to 12 markets (I think) and probably as many currencies. It has very little charting and research, and I instead have to rely on Yahoo finance.

    Note, that one of the issues that I have is the opening of accounts helter skelter due to various regulations. The RBC account was joint with my mother until she past away, otherwise I would not have been able to open it. The TD and SBSA accounts are my own. I find the hassles of opening new accounts on other platforms so tedious that I am willing to put up with the higher charges and poor platforms (beggars cannot be choosers).

    Will look forward to hearing other people’s feedback.

    Raymond Anderson

    #18689 Reply


    Horrible platform. I switched platforms from another bank and now really regret doing it. There appears to be a big reactionary time delay of around 20 minutes. If you sell at the bidding price you would think your sells would sell almost immediately like they would on my other platform. With this platform you do not feel like you are totally in control. Going back to my other banks platform.

    #18585 Reply

    ella fritz

    Savvy commentary . Coincidentally , if someone needs a DA 5754 , my kids discovered a fillable version here

    #18506 Reply


    In short, this platform is slow and outdated. Numerous service disruptions have interfered with numerous trades. Poor customer service. I will be going back to TD Waterhouse which I had no problems with.

    #18085 Reply


    The Worst
    Customer service is absolutely terrible, I had a guy hang up on me after I expressed my thoughts on how they could make their “level 2 trading platform” better. There isn’t even an option for a stop loss sell.

    Iphone app is atrocious, i’ve lost more money from “technical difficulties” crashes

    I’d stay away, I am in the process of finding another discount broker right now. It is nice having all your banking and investing together under the same roof but their platforms are garbage and they don’t put money into making them better.

    #17298 Reply


    I am generally satisfied with trading with RBC Direct Investing, but they have blocked by trading privileges.

    My problem is that I have refused to submit the W8-BEN form issued by the US Internal Revenue Service. As a Canadian citizen and resident, I am philosophically opposed to the extraterritoriality of US tax laws.

    I realize that not signing the form means that any withholding tax will be treated as non-treaty and therefore at the higher rate. Nonetheless, that does not bother me because my account only has one non-Canadian stock. What bothers me is that RBC Direct is blocking my trade in Canadian stocks until I comply. I offered to sell my only non-Canadian holding (an India ETF) but they said that does not change the fact that they require the form. That does not seem correct to me.

    I am contemplating taking my account elsewhere. Outside of filling out the form, does anyone have another suggestion?

    #15432 Reply


    Fees after fees and more ridiculous fees when you wake up next morning! If it wasn’t my DS advisor’s suggestion I would have done all my trading elsewhere. The lack of trading information and slow response on the horrible website design is what I don’t think my fees are worth that much $9.95/trade or $25/quarter for maitenance (maintain what?!). To waive this fee I will need to part out more for non-sense VIP banking services which other banks can do for free. Customer service is average from a noisy background and perhaps from intern students with minimum knowledges. Think Rogers for RBC then you know what to expect.

    #14886 Reply


    RBC has the worst trading platform and the fees are ridiculous for the service. Navigating through direct investing is cumbersome and slow. Right now, they are charging $12 as service charge for US and CAD funded account quarterly. That is $96 annually per account !! Previously they were charging $25 every 6 months. Also, the service charge on the account keeps changing just to keep the illusion of lower fees. The cost per trade is $9.95 which is very high. This account is ideal for the $50,000 account but otherwise I would not recommend it. There are trading services with $ 0.01 per share commission with $15 as service charge on US accounts only. I would much rather go with that than the RBC direct investing account

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