Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – January 2017

*Update: Jan. 17* It’s a new year, a new month and for DIY investors, a chance to get some good news while shopping around for an online trading account. While 2016 saw some interesting developments in the deals & promotions space, one of the more notable occurrences was the pullback in offers from Questrade. In their absence, however, a number of other offers did come to market and as the year drew to a close, we observed a spike in deals being offered by Canadian discount brokerages.

Heading into this new year, there are now 25 offers from Canadian discount brokerages, with major players like TD Direct Investing and National Bank Direct Brokerage launching promotional offers in mid-December. In addition, this month has more promotions coming to market. Even though these offers have yet to be advertised to the public, the deal count appears healthy at the outset of the year.  The only deals set to expire in January are the BMO InvestorLine offer due to expire at midnight (E.T.) of January 3rd, and fee transfer offers from Qtrade Investor and Virtual Brokers.

As always, if there are promotions or deals from Canadian discount brokerages that we might have missed, drop us a note and we can add them to the list.

Expired Deals

*Update: Jan 17 – Qtrade Investor’s transfer fee offer that required a lower deposit amount ($10,000) to qualify has now expired. Qtrade Investor still offers to cover transfer fees but the minimum deposit amount required is now $25,000.*

*Update: Jan 5 – BMO InvestorLine’s cash back plus commission-free trade offer has officially expired and has been replaced with a new cash back offer. See below for more details*

HSBC InvestDirect’s transfer in bonus offer officially expired at the end of December. Fortunately, HSBC InvestDirect is also launching a new deal to replace this outgoing one – see below for more info.

Extended Deals

A couple of deals managed to get extended out into 2017. Desjardins Online Brokerage has extended the deadline for their 1% commission-rebate offer out to the end of February. In addition, Qtrade Investor has extended their transfer fee offer a few more weeks until January 16th.

New Deals

*Update: Jan. 17 – Qtrade Investor has now officially jumped into the cash back promotion race, with a new tiered offer ranging from $25 to $1,000 cash back. See the table below for more details on deposit tiers.

Credential Direct, also surprised us this week by launching a new cash back promotion of their own. Like several offers out there, they have elected to have a tiered cash back reward for different deposit levels. This promotion is open to both new accounts as well as to existing clients who deposit additional funds. In addition, however, Credential Direct will  donate the equivalent of 10% of the bonus payments paid out during this promotion to the United Way, meaning that DIY investors can also do a little good while getting a reward.*

*Update: Jan. 12 –  CIBC Investor’s Edge has now stepped into the deals arena, launching a new cash back and free trade offer . The minimum deposit to qualify for the cash-back promotion is $50,000 in assets however for individuals who set up a “Regular Investment Plan”, there is also a bonus of 50 commission-free equity trades available. See table below for more information. Thanks to a reader Jake for letting us know about this one.

Scotia iTRADE also got back into deal mode with the launch of a commission-free trading deal. Their latest free trade promotion offers up between 75 and 250 commission-free trades depending on the amount deposited. In addition to their latest commission-free trade offer, Scotia iTRADE has also launched a commission-free trade offer + travel points reward offer for Scotia travel credit card holders.*

*Update: Jan. 5 – Two new deals have crossed the wires this week. First, as anticipated, details of HSBC InvestDirect’s 50 free trade offer have been published on the HSBC InvestDirect website so we are able to share the details listed in the table below. Of note, there is no minimum deposit required to qualify for this offer and it appears that those interested in the deal are being encouraged to call in to client services to sign up.

BMO InvestorLine also launched a new deal this week to replace their outgoing cash back + commission-free trade offer. The latest promotional offer from BMO InvestorLine is a traditional cash back deal that offers three tiers of cash back based on different deposit amount. The cash back tiers include $200 cash back for a $100,000 deposit, $400 cash back for a $200,000 deposit or $750 for a $300,000+ deposit. Interestingly, this is one of the first cash back offers to not decrease (in proportionate terms) as deposits increase. See table below for more details*

Although no new deals were technically published online from any of the Canadian online brokerages at the outset of the month, we did get confirmation from HSBC InvestDirect that a promotion has started as of January 3rd which is a commission-free trade offer. Until we see the promotion posted live on the website, we don’t know the full terms and conditions, however we have been told that it is a 50 commission-free trade offer that requires no deposit minimum to qualify. This promotion is scheduled to run from January 3rd through to March 3rd. Additional details will be provided in the table below when they’re available online.

This month we also added the Virtual Brokers transfer promotion back into the list of transfer offers as we noticed it reappeared in their terms and conditions section on their website.

Discount Brokerage Deals

  1. Cash Back/Free Trade/Product Offer Promotions
  2. Referral Promotions
  3. Transfer Fee Promotions
  4. Contests & Other Offers

Cash Back/Free Trade/Product Offer Promotions

CompanyBrief DescriptionMinimum Deposit AmountCommission/Cash Offer/Promotion TypeTime Limit to Use Commission/Cash OfferDetails LinkDeadline
Jitney TradeA Sparx Trading exclusive offer! Use the promo code "Sparx Trading" when signing up for a new account with Jitneytrade and receive access to their preferred pricing package.n/aDiscounted Commission RatesnoneFor more details click here none
Open a new account with HSBC InvestDirect and you may be eligible to receive up to 50 commission-free North American equity trades. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full offer details.n/a50 commission-free North American equity trades60 daysHSBC InvestDirect Cash Bonus Promo March 3, 2017
Open and fund a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive 5 commission-free trades. Use promo code 5FREETRADES when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully.$1,0005 commission-free trades60 days 5 commission-free trade offer December 31, 2017
Open and fund a new account at Virtual Brokers with at least $5,000 and you may be eligible to receive 3 months of commission-free equity trading and a $150 USD/mo credit towards Edge Trader Pro for 3 months. Use promo code sent at sign up to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for details.$5,0003 months commission-free equity trading + $150 USD/mo platform fee rebate.3 months 3 months free trading / Sign up form for promo code available herenone
DisnatDesjardins Online Brokerage is offering new clients 1% of assets transferred into the new account in the form of commission credits (to a maximum value of $1,000). Minimum qualifying deposit is $10,000. To qualify, individuals will have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code DisnatFlex or email: infodisnat@disnat.com. See details link for more info.$10,0001% of assets transferred in the form of commission-credits (max credits: $1,000)6 monthsDisnat 1% Commission Credit PromoFebruary 28, 2017
Open and fund a new account or fund an existing account at Credential Direct with at least A) $15,000; B) $50,000; C) $150,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1,000,000+ in new assets and you may be eligible to receive A) $75; B) $125; C) $200; D) $500 or E) $1,000. Use promo code CASH2017RSP when signing up. As an added bonus, Credential Direct will donate an amount equivalent to 10% of the bonus paid out to United Way. A) $15,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $149,999
C) $150,000 - $499,999
D) $500,000 - $999,999
E) 1,000,000+
A) $75
B) $125
C) $200
D) $500
E) $1,000
Cash back will be deposited week of October 9, 2017. Credential Direct Cash Back Promotion March 16, 2017
Open and fund a new account by March 31st with at least A) $20,000 or B) $100,00+ and you may qualify to receive up to either A) $500 or B) $1000 in commission reimbursements. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full offer details.A) $20,000 - $99,999
B) $100,000+
A) up to $500 commission reimbursements
B) up to $1000 commission reimbursements
90 days National Bank Direct Brokerage Cash Back Promotion March 31, 2017
Open and fund a new account with Qtrade Investor with a deposit of at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000; D) $250,000; E) $500,000 or F) $1,000,000 or more and you may be eligible to receive a cash back bonus of A) $25; B) $50; C) $100; D) $250; E) $500 or F) $1,000. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $25,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $99,999
C) $100,000 - $249,999
D) $250,000 - $499,999
E) $500,000 - $999,999
F) $1,000,000+
A) $25
B) $50
C) $100
D) $250
E) $500
F) $1,000
Cash back will be deposited by July 31, 2017.Qtrade Investor Cash Back BonusFebruary 28, 2017
Open and fund a new account at TD Direct Investing with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000 or C) $100,000+ and you may be eligible to receive A) 50; B) 100 or C) 200 commission-free trades. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full offer detailsA) $25,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $99,999
C) $100,000+
A) 50 commission-free trades (max value: $500)
B) 100 commission-free trades
(max value: $1000)
C) 200 commission-free trades
(max value: $2000)
April 28th, 2017
Commission charges will be credited the month following when the charge was incurred.
TD Direct Investing 200 Commission-free Trade Offer March 31, 2017
Open and fund a new account with Scotia iTRADE with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000 or D) $250,000+ and you may be eligible to receive A) 75; B) 150; C) 200 or D) $250,000+ in commission-free trades. In addition, new clients will also receive FlightDesk active trading platform free for 90 days. Use promo code W17FT when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $25,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $99,999
C) $100,000 - $249,999
D) $250,000+
A) 75 (max value: $749.25)
B) 150 (max value: $1498.50)
C) 200 (max value: $1,998)
D) 250 (max value: $2,497.50)
90 daysWinter 2017 Free Trade OfferMarch 31, 2017
CIBC Investors EdgeOpen and fund a new account at CIBC Investor's Edge with at least A) $50,000 or B) $100,000 and you may be eligible to receive A) $200 or B) $400 in cash back. Also, individuals who setup a regular investment plan may also be eligible to receive 50 commission-free equity trades. Be sure to read terms and conditions for more information. A) $50,000 - $99,999
B) $100,000+
A) $200
B) $400

+Bonus 50 commission-free trades for setting up Regular Investment Plan.
Cash back will be deposited within 30 business days after account funding.

Commission-free equity trades good for 60 days after setup of Regular Investment Plan.
Cash Back & Free Trade Offer March 31, 2017
BMO InvestorLineOpen a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least A) $100,000; B) $200,000 or C) $300,000+ in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive A) $200; B) $400 or C) $750 cash back. Use promo code PROMO750 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer.A) $100,000 - $199,999
B) $200,000 - $299,999
C) $300,000+
Cash back bonus
A) $200
B) $400
C) $750
Cash back will be deposited the week of November 6, 2017.2017 Winter CampaignApril 2, 2017

Expired Offers

BMO InvestorLineOpen a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least $100,000 and you may be eligible to receive $200 cash back as well as 20 commission-free equity trades. Use promo code PROMO200 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer.$100,000$200 cash back + 20 commission-free equity trades

Cash back will be deposited the week of August 7, 2017. Fall 2016 Promotion Phase 2 (link no longer active)January 3, 2017
Last Updated: Jan. 17, 2016 10:15 PT

Referral Promotions

CompanyBrief DescriptionMinimum Deposit AmountIncentive StructureTime Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer DepositDetails LinkDeadline
Refer a friend to Questrade and when they open an account you receive $25 cash back and they receive either A) $25; B) $50; C) $75; D) $100; or E) $250 depending on the amount deposited amount. Enter code: 476104302388759 during account sign up to qualify. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for eligibility and additional bonus payment structure and minimum balance requirements.A) $1,000 - $9,999
B) $10,000 - $24,999
C) $25,000 - $49,999
D) $50,000 -$99,999
E) $100,000+
$25 cash back (for referrer per referral; $50 bonus cash back for every 3rd referral)
For referred individuals:
A) $25 cash back
B) $50 cash back
C) $75 cash back
D) $100 cash back
E) $250 cash back
Cash deposited into Questrade billing account within 7 days after funding period ends (90 days)
Refer a friend terms and conditions Code Number: 476104302388759none
Scotia iTradeIf you refer a friend/family member who is not already a Scotia iTrade account holder to them, both you and your friend get a bonus of either cash or free trades. You have to use the referral form to pass along your info as well as your friend/family members' contact info in order to qualify. There are lots of details/conditions to this deal so be sure to read the details link. A) $10,000
B) $50,000+
A) You(referrer): $50 or 10 free trades; Your "Friend": $50 or 10 free trades (max total value:$99.90)
B) You(referrer): $100 cash or 50 free trades; Your "Friend": $100 cash or 50 free trades (max total value: $499.50)
60 daysRefer A Friend to Scotia iTrade tbd
If you (an existing Virtual Brokers client) refer a friend or family member to open a new account with at least $1,000 you may be eligible to receive $25 cash per referral. For 3 or more referrals Virtual Brokers will add a $50 bonus. Referred individuals depositing either A) $1,000 - $24,999; B) $25,000 - $49,999 or C) $50,000+ may be eligible to receive A) $25; B) $50 or C) $75 cash back. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions carefully for full details. A) $1,000 - $24,999
B) $25,000 - $49,999
C) $50,000+
Referrer: $25 per referral; $50 bonus for each 3 or more referrals.

Referee:
A) $25
B) $50
C) $75
Cash to be deposited to VB account by March 31, 2017. Cash Referral ProgramJanuary 31, 2017
BMO InvestorLineIf you (an existing BMO InvestorLine client) refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with at least $50,000 the referrer and the referee may both be eligible to receive $50 cash. To qualify the referee must use the email of the referrer that is linked to their BMO InvestorLine account. See terms and conditions for full details. $50,000You(referrer): $50; Your Friend(referee): $50
Payout occurs 45 days after minimum 90 day holding period(subject to conditions). BMO InvestorLine Refer-a-Friend June 30, 2017
Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2016 9:00 PT

Transfer Fee Promotions

CompanyBrief DescriptionMaximum Transfer Fee Coverage AmountMinimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee EligibilityDetails LinkDeadline
Transfer $15,000 or more to RBC Direct Investing and they will pay up to $135 in transfer fees$135 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate Details none
Transfer $25,000 or more from another brokerage and Credential Direct will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. Use promo code SWITCHME when signing up to qualify for the transfer promotion. $150$25,000 Credential Direct Transfer Fee Rebate none
Transfer $25,000 or more to Qtrade Investor from another brokerage and Qtrade Investor may cover up to $150 in transfer fees. See terms and conditions for more details.$150$25,000 Transfer Fee Rebatenone
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they'll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150.$150$25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Transfer at least $25,000 or more in new assets to TD Direct Investing when opening a new account and you may qualify to have transfer fees reimbursed up to $150. Be sure to contact TD Direct Investing for further details. $150$25,000Contact client service for more information (1-800-465-5463).none
Transfer $25,000 or more to Virtual Brokers and they may cover up to $150 in transfer fees. $150$25,000 Transfer Fee promo January 31, 2017
Transfer $25,000 or more into a CIBC Investor's Edge account and they will reimburse up to $135 in brokerage transfer fees. Clients must call customer service to request rebate after transfer made.$135$25,000Confirmed with reps. Contact client service for more information (1-800-567-3343).none
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees$135$25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
DisnatDisnat is offering up to $150 to cover the cost of transfer fees from another institution. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You'll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code DisnatFlex. See details link for more info.$150$50,000Disnat 1% Commission Credit PromoFebruary 28, 2017
Last Updated: Jan. 17, 2017 8:55 PT

Other Promotions

CompanyBrief DescriptionMinimum Deposit Amount RequiredDetails LinkDeadline
Credential Direct has partnered with Trend Micro to offer 50% off Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security. Use code "TrendCF" at checkout. n/a Trend Micro Special Offer Code none
DisnatDesjardins Online Brokerage, in conjunction with MoneyTalks, is offering 3 months of the "Inside Edge" investor information service to Desjardins Online Brokerage clients. Use promo code DESJ2016 during checkout to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for more information.n/aMoneyTalks Inside Edge Discount none
DisnatDesjardins Online Brokerage is offering $50 in commission credits for new Disnat Classic clients depositing at least $1,000. See terms and conditions for full details. $1,000Broker@ge 18-30 Promotionnone
Scotia iTradeScotiabank StartRight customers can receive 10 commission-free trades when investing $1,000 or more in a new Scotia iTrade account. Trades are good for use for up to 1 year from the date the account is funded. Use promo code SRPE15 when applying (in English) or SRPF15 when applying in French. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for full details.$1,000 StartRight Free Trade offer none
Open a new account with Virtual Brokers with a deposit of at least $1,000 (for the Classic Commission Account) or $5,000 (for the Commission Free Trading Account) and you may be eligible to receive a one-year subscription to access 5i Research. Use promo code 5iVB2016 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.$1,000 (Classic Commission Account); $5,000 (Commission Free Trading Account) 5i Research Offer March 31, 2017
Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2017 9:30 PT

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6 comments

  1. Why are there so few “cashback” deals? Seems the brokerages (other than BMO) are only offering “limited time” commission rebates …..encouraging some rapid fire trading? That doesn’t sound like the brokerages are looking out for clients best interests

    • Great question. There aren’t really any compelling reasons why more brokerages aren’t offering more (and better quality) cash back deals. Unfortunately they appear to favour paying Google for advertising on search results or for Facebook ads instead of passing along the savings to clients who sign up. Also, to your point about the limited time offers, there might be two points of view on this one. On the one hand, a cynical point of view would say that many brokerages know very few clients will actually take full advantage of the free trades – it’s there for marketing purposes. On the other hand, as a business, brokerages also have to make money – the longer a client takes to generate commission revenue, the longer it takes for that client to be profitable. Ultimately, investors don’t want to have to move their money around and brokerages want long term clients so there’s probably some room for better quality deals and offers that reward clients at the outset and along the way.

  2. I wonder when RBC Direct Investing will offer some sort of cashback promo for transferring in assets. It seems like it’s been a long time since they did so.

    • I agree with you there. After the data we released on the kinds of promotions DIY investors are interested in, it appears industry momentum is shifting. That said, if other brokerages are out in the market giving people what they want, it stands to reason that they are grabbing market share away from those who aren’t offering incentives.

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