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

» 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 25 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Brock 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 26 total)
  • Author
  • #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

    #12697 Reply


    Platform? What platform? I decided to sign up with RBC after doing some looking around and immediately I regretted my decision. They don’t really have any trading platform to speak of, and their beta version leaves so much to be desired? Forget about charting. It’s archaic and completely useless for someone looking better than basic charting analysis. Too bad all discount brokers don’t offer a trial period before signing up. I wouldn’t have wasted my time.

    #10059 Reply


    Hi Dale,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. The last thing you want when rocking up to a trading platform pre-market is to not have it ready to go to work. This is especially true for the west-coasters who have to do it at 6:30am! Hopefully life is greener on the other side of whatever fence you’re on now.

    #10058 Reply

    Dale Plourde

    For your best interest stay clear of RBC’s platform, it is not dependable. It just randomly will stop working properly, especially first thing in the morning at the start of trading 6:30am pacific time. You can’t put your online buy and sells in as the trading tab during these outage times will not even open, or the order status tab to cancel your trades, stay clear of their investing site. I lost out on many great opportunities as I couldn’t get do my trade, as their system was down. When I would try to call in, my price point had past as it can take up to 10-15 minutes to get a rep. on the phone. I have since switched to another provider. I have no idea how they can even operate with their system.

    As well RBC does not offer premarket or aftermarket online trading which is really important to have.

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 26 total)
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