Canadian Online Discount Broker – Virtual Brokers

Canadian Discount Broker - Virtual Brokers

Contact Information

Phone: 1-877-310-1088



4100 Yonge Street, Suite 506
Toronto, ON M2P 2B5

Customer Service Hours of Operation:
Mon to Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET

Virtual Brokers Pricing Review

[updated Jan. 2014]

Virtual Brokers, a division of BBS Securities Inc, is one of the newest and fastest growing Canadian online discount brokers. Like its competitors, 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 (see table below). 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 gives individuals the opportunity to access margin (should they want to) to finance a trade that they may not have the ability to do otherwise.

Of all the Canadian discount brokerages, Virtual Brokers offers three competitive pricing plans: “The Penny” plan, a “per trade” plan and a “per share” plan. The penny plan rates vary from a minimum of $0.01 per trade to a maximum of 9.99 per trade (with no ECN fees).  The pricing for the penny plan is based on the volume of shares you buy, and the price of the share you’re buying. If you buy small amounts of stocks under $1, this pricing structure could be very appealing.  On the other hand, if you typically trade large volume orders then this plan is more or less in line with other discount brokerages. A better option for large volume orders might be the “per trade” plan which charges $6.49 per trade regardless of the order size or transaction volume.  Fees such as ECN fees or exchange fees are charged in addition to the per trade price. Check out the following link for an in-depth look at the pricing of “The Penny” plan.

A neat feature of the plans with Virtual Brokers is that users can select the plan they would like to use for the trading day when logging into the VB trading system, so users can select the plan (and therefore pricing) that fits their intended trading pattern for the day.


What’s the catch? Well, there is an important one – data fees.  While snap quotes are free for their Meridian & Web Trader, streaming quotes are not. In order to get streaming quotes, you’ll need to subscribe to a data package. Pricing for data packages starts at $18.25/mo for the basic package and can go as high as  $104.50/month for comprehensive access to streaming market data.  Individual exchange data is available for purchase too if you’re only interested in specific exchanges.  Thus, deciding whether or not streaming (real-time) quotes are necessary is important because you could end up spending a minimum of $54.75/quarter plus whatever you pay for commissions.

The Bottom Line

Overall Virtual Brokers’ pricing and flexibility are going to be tough to match and beat for many Canadian discount brokerages, especially for certain types of order sizes and trading/investing styles. With a low minimum opening balance of $1000, flexible and sometimes rock-bottom pricing, and no minimum trading requirements it certainly seems like they’re hitting the right notes with costs. 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.

Discount Brokerage Pricing Review Table

Account Types OfferedFunding Requirements and FeesRegistered Account Types and Fees
TFSAMinimum Opening Balance$1,000
TFSAAnnual Charge$0
RRSPMinimum Account BalanceNot Required1Transfer Out$150
RESPMinimum Balance for Best or Discounted CommissionNot RequiredWithdrawals$25 (partial withdrawal)
$50 (full withdrawal)
CashMinimum Commission per Equity Trade2$1.99 ($0.01/share)
$3.99 (active trader)
US Dollar Account $15/quarter
Margin ShortMaximum Commission per Equity Trade$7.99
$3.99 (active trader)
RRSPAnnual ChargeFree
Margin OptionsMinimum Trades per Quarter for Best Commission Rate150
Transfer Out$150
CIPF MemberInactivity or Maintenance Fees$24.95/quarterUS Dollar Account$15/quarter
Conditions for Inactivity/Maintenance FeesInactivity fee waived if:
a) At least 1 commission-generating trade made within quarter OR
B) Consolidated holdings are >$5,000 OR
C) Client is under 26 years old OR
D) Client is a registered charity
RESPAnnual Charge$25
Transfer Out$150
US Dollar Account$15/quarter
Last Updated: Jan. 2019

Virtual Brokers Website Links:

Here are some useful links to important information on Virtual Broker’s website.

Discount Broker Customer Survey Ratings by J.D. Power:
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Link to 2013 online broker ratings by the Globe and Mail:

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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 1 month ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 88 total)
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  • #28816 Reply


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    #28691 Reply

    Thomas Duyck

    what about Options pricing?
    Don’t they do options?
    Do they have a good options platform?

    #28609 Reply


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    #27911 Reply

    9 Best Trading Platforms in India for Superior Trading – 2019

    hi thanks for the information and posts

    #25470 Reply


    The commission structure works well for me and is the only reason I am still with them. As soon as I find someone offering the same or lower commissions, I will leave. Reason: abysmal customer service. Like some of the other posters, I could write pages (not just paragraphs) about the countless incidents. Let’s not forget spelling and grammatical errors on their website, BTW.

    So, if you want customer service – steer clear.

    #22771 Reply


    Virtual Brokers fee structures are borderline fraudulent! Beware of them changing fee structures without EMAILING but relying on you checking their millions of messages on the online portal (to read the fine print). WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.

    Any issues brought up with them are dealt with very poorly. Some of the worst customer service I have ever encountered.

    #22552 Reply


    Worse customer service ever. I could write several paragraphs here detailing all the incidents I had. Even with the new ticketing system still can’t seem to deliver.
    I have several portfolios with nearly a million dollars invested. I manage in there all my family’s registered accounts too.
    I would take all our positions out if it wasn’t that I took me so much effort to open the accounts and do the transfers. I can’t afford to go through that again in the short term, but if they keep under-performing, like are right now, I’ll strongly consider going elsewhere.

    I would not recommend this platform for any serious investor. Go put your money elsewhere .

    #22075 Reply


    I am Just wondering to open account in VB. Is stock trading free of commission even with Web trader ? Does anyone knows about it.

    #20900 Reply


    Still trying to get my money back from these guys somehow they billed me 100$ in random fees (made up fees noone else charges) the process for withdrawing funds and closing the account is ridiculously slow and the staff don’t seem to know what there talking about. Seriously put your money anywhere else at this point i wish i had of just set mine on fire.

    #20731 Reply


    VB is a rip off on currency conversions. They take 1.9% over the spot rate. They don’t support norbit’s gamble and charge $15+1.95 per quarter to hold USD in your account. If all you want to buy is canadian ETF than it may be a good choice for you but if you what to traded in the US and internationally for get them.

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