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    Key points

    *Updated: Feb. 19* The start of February means it’s almost time for the Super Bowl. Like the big game, Canada’s discount brokerages are fiercely competing with one another heading into the final stretch of their busy season: RSP contribution time. Fortunately for Canadian DIY investors looking for a new online trading or investing account, this […]

    *Updated: Feb. 19* The start of February means it’s almost time for the Super Bowl. Like the big game, Canada’s discount brokerages are fiercely competing with one another heading into the final stretch of their busy season: RSP contribution time.

    Fortunately for Canadian DIY investors looking for a new online trading or investing account, this year won’t be a disappointment. All of the most popular players are on the field offering up a promotion of one sort or another ranging from cash back to commission-free trades.

    To keep things interesting, Canadian online brokerages have gotten creative with their playbook. From offering up longer stretches of time to use free trades or cranking up the volume of commission-free trades to lowering deposit thresholds and turning to the tried and tested paying to outcompete the other players, DIY investors have lots to choose from.

    Kicking things off this month, there is one big deal announcement from RBC Direct Investing, who formally launched a promo offer of 20 commission-free trades at the end of January. As we had flagged last year, there was already a 20 commission-free trade offer on the market targeted towards individuals from the healthcare industry however both offers are independent of one another with different expiry dates and as such RBC Direct Investing makes into the deals section twice.

    As exciting as it is to launch the month with a new promotional offer in the mix, heading into this month was equally exciting. January saw cash back deals from BMO InvestorLine, HSBC InvestDirect and Qtrade Investor come to market which provided DIY investors with a broad selection of the ever-popular promo category.

    With RBC Direct Investing formally launching their latest offer, we’re not expecting too many big surprises on the deals & promotions from the major players. That said, there are still a couple of brokerages waiting on the sidelines and we’ve learned to never underestimate the element of surprise when it comes to online brokerages during RSP season. So, stay tuned and let us know if you’ve spotted an offer for DIY investors that could be of use to other readers & deal hunters.

    Expired Deals

    There were no expired deals to report.

    Extended Deals

    We saw some minor extensions take place at BMO InvestorLine and BMO’s SmartFolio. Their refer-a-friend program for BMO InvestorLine was extended as was their cash back promotion for SmartFolio. The new expiry dates are early January in 2020.

    New Deals

    *Update: Feb. 19 – There were two big deal announcements late into the race towards the RRSP contribution deadline. Rivals Questrade and Virtual Brokers both announced offers that they hope will get the attention of DIY investors searching for an online trading account.

    Questrade’s latest promotion, which is a transfer fee offer, is bound to turn heads because it requires no minimum deposit to qualify for. The transfer promo is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory so DIY investors looking to make the leap to Questrade now have a very compelling promo to consider. See the table below for more information.

    Virtual Brokers also stepped into the deals and promotions arena with an RRSP related offer for new and existing clients. This cash back offer is for $50 for deposits of at least $10,000. See the table below for more details. *

    The big news to report here is the public roll-out of RBC Direct Investing’s 20 commission-free trade offer. Unlike the earlier incarnation which was directed at healthcare professionals (but still open to the public), this fully public offer is being widely advertised. In terms of details, to qualify for this deal, DIY investors require at least $5,000 and the 20 commission-free trades are good for up to one year.  Another important observation about this offer is the expiry date, which is March 29th – well after the RSP contribution deadline.  See the table below for more information.

    It is worth reiterating here the cash back offers from Qtrade Investor and HSBC InvestDirect that showed up around mid January. We covered them in detail in previous weekly roundups (here & here) however to quickly recap, Qtrade Investor’s cash back offer ranges from $50 to $1,500 and requires a minimum deposit of $50,000. By comparison, HSBC InvestDirect is offering $188 to $1,288 cash back with qualifying deposits starting at $25,000.

    Discount Brokerage Deals

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

    Cash Back/Free Trade/Product Offer Promotions

    Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Commission/Cash Offer/Promotion Type Time Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer Details Link Deadline
    Jitney Trade A 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/a Discounted Commission Rates none For more details click here none
    Open and fund a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive $88 in commission credits (up to 17 commission-free trades). Use promo code SPARX88 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully. $1,000 $88 commission credit 60 days Access this offer by clicking here: $88 commission-credit offer . For full terms and conditions, click here. none
    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. $1,000 5 commission-free trades 60 days 5 commission-free trade offer December 31, 2019
    Open and fund a new account with at least $5,000 at National Bank Direct Brokerage and you may be eligible to receive up to 50 commission free equity trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code: FREE50 when applying. Be sure to read offer terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 50 commission-free trades 12 months National Bank Direct Brokerage 50 Free Trade Offer April 30, 2019
    Open a new qualifying account with RBC Direct Investing with at least $5,000 and you may be eligible to receive up to 20 commission-free equity trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code SPARX when signing up. See terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 20 commission-free trades 12 months RBC Direct Investing Free Trades Promotion March 29, 2019
    Open a new account or fund an existing account at Virtual Brokers with at least $10,000, and you may be eligible to receive $50 cash back. Use code RRSP2019 when registering to claim this offer. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $10,000 $50 cash back Cash back will be deposited after July 1, 2019. Virtual Brokers RRSP 2019 Cash Back Promo March 31, 2019
    Scotia iTrade Open a new account or fund an existing account with A) $10,000; B) $25,000; C) $50,000; D) $100,000 E) $250,000; F) $500,000 or G) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive either A)20; B) 50; C) 100; D) 200; or E), F), G) 300 commission free trades; or B) $100; C) $200; D) $500; E) $800; F) $1100 or G) $1500. Use promo code 19CA for the cash back or 19FT for the free trades offers. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for full details. A) $10,000 B) $25,000 C) $50,000 D) $100,000 E) $250,000 F) $500,000 G) $1M+ For cash back: A) $0 B) $100 C) $200 D) $500 E) $800 F) $1100 G) $1500 For commission-free trades: A) 20 B) 50 C) 100 D) 200 E) 300 F) 300 G) 300 For cash back: Cash will be deposited by July, 2019. For commission free trades: 120 days to use trades from date of account funding. iTRADE commission-free trade + cash back offer March 31, 2019
    Disnat Desjardins 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 DisnatTransfer or email: [email protected] See details link for more info. $10,000 1% of assets transferred in the form of commission-credits (max credits: $1,000) 6 months Disnat 1% Commission Credit Promo none
    Open a new qualifying TD Direct Investing account by March 1, 2019 with a minimum deposit of A) $15,000; B) $25,000; C) $50,000 or D) $100,000+ and you may be eligible to receive commission rebates for A) 25; B) 50; C) 100 or D) 200 trades. To qualify online, individuals must register here and open the account by March 1, 2019. See terms and conditions for full details. A) $15,000 B) $25,000 C) $50,000 D) $100,000+ A) 25 B) 50 C) 100 D) 200 Trades made prior to July 1, 2019 will be eligible for rebate. TD Direct Investing Winter Promotion March 1, 2019
    Open and fund a new account with at least A) $25,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1M+ AND place at least three commission-generating trades and you may be eligible to receive a cash back promotion amount of at least A) $188; B) $388; C) $688; D) $988 or E) $1288. Be sure to read offer terms & conditions for full details. A) $25,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $188 B) $388 C) $688 D) $988 E) $1288 Cash back will be deposited by November 29, 2019 HSBC InvestDirect 2019 Winter Offer April 30, 2019
    Open and fund a new qualifying account with CIBC Investor’s Edge with a deposit of at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000 or C) $100,00+ and you may be eligible to receive a cash back bonus of A) $100; B) $200 or C) $400. This offer is open to both new and existing clients. Use offer code SPARX18 when opening the account to obtain this offer. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for complete details. A) $25,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 A) $100 B) $200 C) $400 Cash back will be deposited on the week of March 24, 2019 for transfers received by December 31, 2018; transfers received after December 31, 2018 but before May 1, 2019 will receive cash back on the week of July 1, 2019. CIBC Investor’s Edge Cash Back Promo March 24, 2019
    Open and fund a new qualifying account with at least $25,000 and you may qualify for one month of unlimited commission-free trades and up to one month free of an advanced data package. Use promo code ADVANTAGE14 when opening a new account. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $25,000 commission-free trades for 1 month + 1 month of advanced data. 1 month Active Trader Program December 31, 2019
    BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account or fund an existing qualifying account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $250,000; C) $500,000 or D) $1M+ and you may be eligible to a cash back reward of up to A) $400; B) $900; C) $1200 or D) $1600. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $250,000 C) $500,000 D) $1M+ A) $400 B) $900 C) $1200 D) $1600 Cash back will be deposited the week of September 16, 2019. BMO InvestorLine Winter 2018 Campaign February 28, 2019
    Open a new qualifying account or fund an existing qualifying account at Qtrade Investor with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000 D) $500,000 or E) 1M+ and you may be eligible to a cash back reward of up to A) $50; B) $100; C) $250 or D) $750 or E) $1500. Use promo code CASH2019 when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $50 B) $100 C) $250 D) $750 E) $1500 Cash back will be deposited the week of September 25, 2019. Qtrade Investor Cashback Promo March 15, 2019

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 09:30 PT

    Referral Promotions

    Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Incentive Structure Time Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer Deposit Details Link Deadline
    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 B) $10,000 C) $25,000 D) $50,000 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: 476104302388759 none
    If you (an existing Qtrade Investor client) refer a new client to Qtrade Investor and they open an account with at least $1,000 the referrer and the referee may both be eligible to receive $25 cash. See terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 $25 cash back (for both referrer and referee) Cash deposited at the end of the month in which referee’s account funded Refer A Friend to Qtrade Investor none
    Scotia iTrade If 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 days Refer A Friend to Scotia iTrade tbd
    BMO InvestorLine If you (an existing BMO InvestorLine client) refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with at least $5,000 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. $5,000 You(referrer): $50; Your Friend(referee): $50 Payout occurs 45 days after minimum 90 day holding period (subject to conditions). BMO InvestorLine Refer-a-Friend January 2, 2020

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2019 23:30 PT

    Transfer Fee Promotions

    Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
    Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 no minimum required Transfer Fee Promo March 31, 2019
    Transfer $15,000 or more into a new HSBC InvestDirect account and you may be eligible to have up to $152.55 in transfer fees covered. $152.55 $15,000 Confirmed via email contact with HSBC InvestDirect Rep. Contact client service for more information. none
    Transfer $15,000 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 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
    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 $20,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees. $135 $20,000 Transfer Fee Rebate 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 $25,000 Contact client service for more information (1-800-465-5463). none
    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 $25,000 Confirmed with reps. Contact client service for more information (1-800-567-3343). none
    Disnat Desjardins Online Brokerage 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 Desjardins Online Brokerage account. You’ll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code DisnatTransfer. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat 1% Commission Credit Promo none
    BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine or fund a qualifying existing account, by transferring in at least $200,000+ in net new assets and you may be eligible to have transfer fees covered up to $200. Use promo code SPARXCASH when signing up. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. $200 $200,000 BMO InvestorLine Summer 2018 Campaign September 3, 2018

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 09:30 PT

    Other Promotions

    Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Required Details Link Deadline
    Disnat Desjardins 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/a MoneyTalks Inside Edge Discount none
    Disnat Desjardins 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. $1,000 [email protected] 18-30 Promotion none
    Scotia iTrade Scotiabank 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 and fund a new qualifying account with at least $5,000 at RBC Direct Investing and you may be eligible to receive up to 20 commission-free trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code MDFT8 to qualify. This promotion is being marketed towards healthcare workers, so be sure to review terms and conditions or speak to an RBC Direct Investing representative for full details. $5,000 RBC Direct Investing 20 Free Trade Offer Feb. 28, 2019

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2019 23:30PT

    Digital Advice + Roboadvisor Promotions

    Robo-advisor / Digital advisor Offer Type Offer Description Min. Deposit Reward / Promotion Promo Code Expiry Date Link
    Discounted Management Open and fund a new Questrade Portfolio IQ account with a deposit of at least $1,000 and the first month of management will be free. For more information on Portfolio IQ, click the product link. $1,000 1st month no management fees KDKFNBBC None Questrade Portfolio IQ Promo Offer
    Cash Back Open and fund a new or existing SmartFolio account with at least $1,000 and you could receive 0.5% cash back up to $1000. Use promo code PROMO1000 when opening a new account. See terms and conditions for full details. This offer can be combined with the refer-a-friend promotion. $1,000 0.5% cash back to a maximum of $1000. PROMO1000 January 2, 2020 SmartFolio Cash Back Promo
    Discounted Management Open a new account with BMO SmartFolio and receive one year of management of up to $15,000 free. See offer terms and conditions for more details. $1,000 1 year no management fees STSF April 30, 2019 SmartFolio New Account Promotion
    Cash Back – Referral BMO SmartFolio clients will receive $50 cash back for every friend or family member who opens and funds a new SmartFolio account. Friends and family referred to SmartFolio will receive $50 cash back for opening and funding an account, plus automatic enrollment into SmartFolio’s mass offer in market at the time. See offer terms and conditions for more details. $1,000 $50 cash back (referrer) $50 cash back (referee) Unique link generated from SmartFolio required. None SmartFolio Website
    Discounted Management Open a new account with RBC InvestEase and the standard management fee will be waived until October 31, 2019. See offer terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 No management fees until October 31, 2019 None March 31, 2019 RBC InvestEase Pricing Details
    Transfer Fee Coverage Transfer at least $25,000 into Virtual Wealth when opening a new account and you may be eligible to have up to $150 in transfer fees covered by Virtual Wealth. $25,000 up to $150 in transfer fees covered None None Contact customer service directly for more information.
    Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2019 23:30 PT