Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Virtual Brokers

Virtual Brokers

Office Address
199 Bay St., suite 2600
Toronto, ON
M5L 1E2

Mailing Address
BBS Securities Inc.
199 Bay St. Suite 2600
PO BOX 108 STN Commerce Court
Toronto, ON
M5L 1E2

Email Address:
Phone: 1-877-310-1088
Customer Service Hours: Mon to Fri 8:00 am to 6 pm ET

Virtual Brokers Review

Updated on: Feb. 8, 2019
Virtual Brokers, a division of BBS Securities Inc, is one of the youngest of the Canadian online discount brokers. Although (and maybe because) they haven’t been around as long as other brokerages, Virtual Brokers is able to offer pricing and platforms that help them stand out from their competitors.

Given that they offer a number of account and pricing options for investors and traders alike, those considering Virtual Brokers should understand what kind of trading style and needs they have so as to select the products/services that best suit their needs. For active traders and those looking for real-time data, however, be sure to consider the costs for data subscription for streaming quotes as part of the total cost of ownership with this provider.

Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission Min: $1.99
Max: $7.99
Best Commission Price $1.99/ticket ($0.01/share)
$3.99/ticket (active trader)
Minimum to Open Account $1,000
Maintenance Fees $24.95/quarter
Commission Free ETF Yes
Young Investor Offer Yes
(Age: less than 26)

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

As of late December 2018, Virtual Brokers has updated their commission pricing by lowering their commissions and moving to a slightly different method of charging for trades. While their previous trading commission plans are available to customers already on the plan, they also do offer access to those commission plans to new customers upon request.

The new commission plans offer DIY investors pricing of $0.01/share with a range between $1.99 to $7.99 per ticket for equity trades as their standard rate, and for active traders, defined as those who trade over 150+ trades per quarter, the standard per ticket pricing is $3.99 flat.

For those unfamiliar with per ticket pricing, this refers to the direction of a trade (buy or sell) and it means that you get charged by the direction of a trade in a particular security. This is usually clearer with an example, so if an investor buys 100 shares of BCE, at 10am, then buys another 200 shares of BCE at 1pm on the same day, the total commission charged would be 300 shares x $0.01 = $3.00 (as opposed to 2 commission charges being charged for two trades.) Click here for a more detailed example.

Combined with the commission-free buying of ETFs and the 150 commission-free ETFs (buying and selling), Virtual Brokers offers investors competitive value. For active traders, there is particularly compelling value with a “per ticket” system and lower commission charges.

Another important fee to note is the quarterly inactivity fee of $24.95. This fee can be waived if: the individual makes at least one commission-generating trade worth at least $6.49 within a quarter; or is under the age of 26; or has at least $5,000 across all accounts; or is a registered charity.

As mentioned above, Virtual Brokers offers commission-free ETF trading (buying and selling) on 150 ETFs and commission-free buying on all ETFs.  Check out our detailed look at commission-free ETFs to learn more about how these work.

Account Types

Like their peers, Virtual Brokers offers a number of account types. Virtual Brokers offers clients the ability to trade in both registered accounts and non-registered accounts.  In addition, Virtual Brokers offers trading in stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options.

Registered accounts include tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered education savings plans (RESPs).  While Virtual Brokers offers US dollar accounts for all registered accounts, they do so for a fee. 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.

The non-registered account offered by Virtual Brokers is called the “All in One” account which is a combination of equity, option, margin and short accounts all rolled into one.  This enables individuals the opportunity to access margin (should they want to) to finance a trade that they may not have the ability to do otherwise.


Virtual Brokers offers a number of trading platform options – many more than most other brokerages. There are professional level trading platforms available however most individual investors would be interested in the standard platforms.  The web-based trading platforms offered have been consolidated to just one: VB WebTrader. There are now several application-based trading platforms for users to choose from PowerTrader Pro (by Sterling) and the relatively new VB Wave.  In terms of mobile trading platforms, they also offer PowerTrader Mobile which is supported on Android and iPhone.

When considering a trading platform, keep in mind the kinds of trading and analysis tools that you will need, especially because most application-based platforms require a monthly subscription fee ranging from $75/mo CAD to $580/mo USD (ITS TraderLite).  Although VB WebTrader offers free snap quotes, some very active traders tend to prefer streaming quotes for which Virtual Brokers offers streaming Level 1 data for Canadian markets at around $20/mo (the TSX/TSV combo is $25/mo) CAD and US streaming Level 1 data can be added on for $4 or $5/mo USD. Additional market data feeds (e.g. Level 2), can be added on with pricing varying by market.

Reviews & Ratings

 Review What Review Measures Score Date of Ranking
Dalbar Canada Review Client Service Not Rated
Not Rated
January 2015
January 2014
Globe and Mail Review Overall Impression Letter Grade “A”
Letter Grade “B”
Letter Grade “A”
1st out of 12
Letter Grade “A”
1st out of 12
Letter Grade “A-”
2nd out of 12
Letter Grade “A”
February 2019
February 2018
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction Not Rated
Not Rated
September 2014
September 2013
MoneySense Runner Up – Fees & Commissions
Top Pick – ETFs
July 2017
July 2017


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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Virtual Brokers

This topic contains 87 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  David 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 81 through 88 (of 88 total)
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  • #10199 Reply


    Got a couple of questions.

    -I noticed that VB’s commission structure per equity trade is $6.49 or $0.99 on the “99” plan. Is anyone eligible to be on the “99” plan, regardless of account size or trading frequency?

    -How much does VB charge each time you transfer money out of an “All-in-one” account?

    -Is Questrade really all that bad? I have a friend who has been with them for two years with no problems. He enjoys the 3.33x leverage they offer (vs. 2x at VB), as well as $4.99 flat commission.


    #10198 Reply


    I’ve joined the long and patient queue of would-be Virtual Brokers customers. It seems that since they came No. 1 in the Globe & Mail’s 2012 broker’s survey and took on the Options Xpress customers in Canada that they’re completely overwhelmed. Comments here and elsewhere on the net over the last 2 to 3 months have been universally negative.

    Their communications are abysmal. They don’t make excuses for delays, they just don’t answer e-mail. According to other posters, getting them on the phone is hopeless.

    I’ll stick with my saga and see how long it takes for them to get my account activated, but I’m already unhappy and I’m not even a customer yet!

    If you’re thinking of transferring, maybe give them 6 months or a year. I’m betting they get knocked off the Globe & Mail’s throne in 2013.

    #10197 Reply


    I am also thinking about transferring to Virtual Brokers after horrific experience with Questrade’s new platform. I believe Virtual Brokers are quite overwhelmed right now with all the customer transfers from OptionsXpress, but they seem helpful enough in my correspondence with them, although a bit slow. They pointed out their #1 rating with the Globe & Mail article in Nov/12 (I think that was the magazine issue) so that’s positive. Some of the posts here are causing me to have second thoughts. I just hate to transfer over if they’re no better than what I’m dealing with at Questrade. It’s such a hassle to move accounts. Does anyone else have experience with Virtual Brokers?

    #10196 Reply


    ive tried to open an account with VB and they haven’t bothered responding to my emails for a month straight. Should I bother exerting this much effort to be their customer? They don’t even bother replying me , I’ve followed up 3 times. I can’t afford to pay the $30 one way comission on TD 🙁

    #10195 Reply


    I have had absolutely no problems with Virtual Brokers. I have been receiving my dividend payments with no problems. Cash transfer into the account took around 4 days.

    I have contacted them a couple times concerning: opening the account, trading platform questions, and about their new mobile app soon to be available. Each time I was able to get customer service quickly and they answered all my questions perfectly.

    #10194 Reply


    Stay away from Virtual Brokers. After 1 month and several emails and phone calls, dividends received are still not in the account. Cash transfer made into the account almost a month ago still not in the account. All they can say is that they are behind in their work, but I’m still out a couple of thousand dollars. Been waiting almost a month for a cash transfer out of the account. It seems like once they have your money, they won’t give it back to you. The few bucks you save on commissions is lost other ways.

    #10193 Reply


    Virtual Brokers is a scam. If you want to withdraw fund from the account, it will take several weeks to process. It doesn’t post the dividend i am supposed to receive the end of last year in my account. I have sent them email, and they don’t even bother to reply. It’s a scam.

    #10192 Reply


    Data fee is not mandatory. I didn’t buy any data plan and if I don’t trade or trade among free trade ETF list, I don’t pay no commission. Not even a cent.

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