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Is Charles Schwab available in Canada? Alternatives in 2024

George Sweeney, DipFA| Updated January 26th, 2024

Investors looking to buy and sell stocks will often first look towards recognisable names and brands. Charles Schwab is an investment company that’s well known and respected around the world, so it’s no surprise that Canadian investors want to know if it’s possible to trade stocks and shares using the platform!

Keep on reading if you’re keen to find out if the Charles Schwab platform is available to investors in Canada. We’re going to cover everything Canadans need to know about the Charles Schwab stock brokerage and reveal some potential alternatives.

Is Charles Schwab available in Canada?

No. Unfortunately, Charles Schwab does not accept Canadian applicants for its ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account right now. This may change in future, but at the moment, you won’t be able to sign up for Charles Schwab if you’re based in Canada. 

However, if you’re in Canada and want to invest, there are plenty of alternatives to Charles Schwab.

Charles Schwab alternatives in Canada

If you’re in Canada and want to access the best brokerages and investing options, there are some alternatives to Charles Schwab that provide more choice and flexibility. Here are some of the best brokerages available in Canada that may be more suitable than the limited Charles Schwab Account:

Interactive Brokers | Sophisticated trading tools

Online broker with a sophisticated trading platform that offers a wide range of products. The company, founded in the US and active in Canada for decades, also lets you access the useful IBKR GlobalTrader app.

Saxo Bank | Great educational resources

Full-service brokerage offering stocks, ETFs, bonds, derivatives, crypto, and other products. In Canada, you can access 36 different overseas markets.

Questrade | Excellent platform

The Canadian brokerage offers both DIY investing services and pre-built portfolios. It’s a great low-cost option that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds and more.

XTB | Cheap for stocks and ETFs

Headquartered in Poland and listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, XTB FR offers Canadian investors over 5,000 instruments to trade. Including stocks, ETFs, CFDs, indices and Forex at a competitive price.

Qtrade | Simple fee structure

Based in Canada, Qtrade has been around for over 20 years and offers Canadian investors the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. It offers a few different price plans and also commission-free trading on some ETFs. 

Broker Fees for US stocks Minimum Deposit
Interactive Brokers $0.005 per share (min $1, max 1% of trade) $0
Saxo Up to 0.08% (min. $1) $1,000
Questrade $0.01 CAD per share (min $4.95, max $9.95) $1,000
XTB FR $0 $0
Qtrade $6.95 – $8.75 CAD $0

#1 Interactive Brokers (IBKR)

interactive brokers logo
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Interactive Brokers at a glance

Products availableStocks, futures, options, Forex, commodities, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, ETFs, CFDs
Minimum depositCAD $0
Deposit methodsBank transfer, wire transfer, cheque, electronic funds transfer (EFT), online bill pay
Fees and commissionsLow fees but vary based on asset and order size

Interactive Brokers is an exceptional broker available to Canadian traders and investors. The company was founded in 1978 and landed in Canada in 2000 through the legal entity Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. (IB Canada). Since its arrival, the company has become one of the most reliable brokers in the world.

Due to its sophisticated and powerful tools, the wide range of products available for trading, and its low prices, Interactive Brokers normally attracts advanced traders. However, the mobile app IBKR GlobalTrader is user-friendly and more suitable for beginners, simplifying investments without losing the powerful tools for which the broker is famous.

Interactive Brokers offers attractive features such as low commissions on US stocks, a demo account for practising investments, a wide range of tradable assets, and trading in CAD$.

#2 Saxo Bank

Saxo-logo
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62% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Saxo Bank at a glance

Products availableStocks, Forex, ETFs, commodities, indices, options, bonds, and futures
Minimum depositUSD $2,000
Deposit methodsCredit/debit card, wire transfer, cheque
Fees and commissionsFrom 0.03% (min. $1) for on US stocks; From 0.03% (min. $5) for on CAD stocks

Saxo Bank is a subsidiary of the Danish bank with the same name founded in 1992. It operates in more than 170 countries, including Canada. The broker is a reliable option for advanced traders and beginners, providing safety, fair prices, and useful tools.

This brokerage offers a wide range of investment products from more than 50 different exchanges, high-quality educational resources, and well-designed and comprehensive trading platforms. In particular, the mobile app SaxoInvestor and the web-based SaxoTraderGO are user-friendly and functional applications, ideal for beginners. In the applications, it is possible to practise investments in demo accounts.

In a nutshell, the broker offers low prices, great educational resources, an impressive range of tradable assets, and user-friendly trading applications, making it an excellent alternative to investors in Canada who wanted to use Charles Schwab.

#3 Questrade

Is Charles Schwab available in Canada? Alternatives in 2024 4
Visit QuestradeIs Charles Schwab available in Canada? Alternatives in 2024 2

Questrade at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, options, forex, bonds, CFDs
Minimum depositCAD $1000
Deposit methodsElectronic transfer, VISA debit card, wire transfer
Fees and commissions$4.95 - $9.95 for stocks and ETFs (some ETFs are free), and $9.95 for mutual funds and options contracts

Questrade is a Canadian broker that’s been helping investors since 1999 as an alternative to the big banks. Only Canadian residents are able to open an account with Questrade. 

You can invest using the app or web desktop and can choose from a few different plans, including the competitively priced ‘Questwealth Portfolios’ for pre-built ETF portfolios. You’re only able to hold cash in USD or CAD, but this brokerage is a solid option for beginners and more advanced investors with plenty of resources like up-to-date research, stock data, and charting tools.

The minimum deposit is higher than other accounts but still a lot lower than Charles Schwab if you want somewhere that has low fees for trading stocks, ETFs, and other investments.

#4 XTB FR

Is Charles Schwab available in Canada? Alternatives in 2024 6
Visit XTB FRIs Charles Schwab available in Canada? Alternatives in 2024 2

76-85% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

XTB FR at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, CFDs on indices, commodities, forex, cryptocurrency
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsBank transfer, credit/debit card, Paysafe
Fees and commissions$0 for most stocks (minimum €10 order)

XTB is a Polish company founded in 2002 that offers Canadian investors the ability to trade through its French branch of the XTB Group, XTB FR

Along with real stocks and ETFs, you can trade various CFDs (forex, equity, indices, crypto commodity) with XTB. However, these are riskier and more complex trading instruments that should only be used by experienced traders. 

With lots of investment options and a well-built interface, XTB is a reliable alternative to Charles Schwab for beginners and advanced traders in Canada. It’s a very cheap platform with low fees and no minimum deposit. If you want to learn more about the broker, check our XTB review!

#5 Qtrade

Qtrade Direct Investing
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Qtrade at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, fixed income and exchange-traded debentures
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsElectronic funds transfer (EFT) or Bill Payment
Fees and commissionsCAD $8.75 on ‘Investor’ plan; CAD $6.95 on ‘Investor Plus’ plan

Qtrade is a Canadian brokerage that started back in 2000. You’re able to sign up for a 30-day trial account and select between two plans, but the ‘Investor’ plan is the most accessible to retail investors (unless you make lots of trades/have a large portfolio).

Canadian investors have the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, and debentures (a type of bond). It’s a flat commission for most trades, apart from some ETFs which are free. 

Qtrade is an excellent alternative to Charles Schwab for Canadian investors because there’s no minimum deposit, a free trial account, and it’s a solid brokerage with a simple fee structure.

The bottom line on Charles Schwab in Canada

Although you can’t open a Schwab One International account with Charles Schwab if you’re based in Canada, there are better options available. With Charles Schwab, you need an extremely high minimum deposit to get started, and you’ll be limited with your investment options. 

Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to Charles Schwab for Canadian investors. You’re able to open accounts with numerous brokerages. Ones who also have a great reputation but don’t have such strict requirements and also give you more flexibility for your investment portfolio. 

So, don’t be put off investing if you were planning on using Charles Schwab in Canada. 

George Sweeney, DipFA
Contributor

George is a freelance writer and qualified financial advisor who focuses on educating others in personal finance and investing. His work has been featured on The Motley Fool, Finder, Freetrade, Yahoo Finance, MoneyMagpie, and Online Mortgage Advisor.‍

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