Surviscor Canadian Online Brokerage Experience Reviews - Canada's BEST and WORST Mobile Brokerage Experiences

The BEST and WORST Online Brokerage Mobile Platform Experiences for Canadian Investors

Questrade's mobile platforms offer the BEST DIY Investing Experiences in Canada

Wow, what a busy year in terms of development at Canada's self-directed discount online brokerage firms. Near 50% of the firms reviewed made some actual real changes to its mobile phone-based application or platform, introducing either new platforms or making design-centric changes to spruce-up the look and feel. While some strides were made to better connect the online desktop-based investor experience with the mobile platform experiences, the reality is that there is still a large disjoint at most firms when it comes to key functionality and differentiating features. The good news is most platforms are now at least pleasing to the eye even if they don't provide a lot.

Most online brokerage firms are trying to find their mobile niche to differentiate in the ultra-competitive industry, but they appear to struggle with defining their mobile identity, something we feel should not be a reason for the platform designs. As stated, a year ago, the firms have different approaches and the newest trend - and one we simply do not fully understand - is to provide less to appear streamlined rather to provide more and support successful investor growth journeys. Maybe our 2023 mobile experience top firm Questrade has it right using multiple platforms but why can't one mobile-based platform provide the necessary features and functionality to support all level of investor experience? #TimeWillTell

The reality for DIY online investors is while firms struggle with digital identity clashes between traditional desktop and newer mobile platforms, all level of investors are forced to use both platforms if they would like to maximize their self-directed investing strategy.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Review Headlines

Surviscor's annual Online Brokerage Mobile Platform Experience review provides a detailed, unbiased analysis of phone-based investor platforms, priding itself on being the most comprehensive and objective review of its kind in North America.

The review aims to guide both DIY, and the new breed of investors, in their choice of digital online brokerage services and challenges the firms to deliver more, not less, to enhance the growth of the investor journey. Here are the main headlines:

QUESTRADE remains the best platform

There are no shortage of overall online brokerage-type accolades for Questrade. The hybrid analysis of both its newest investor focused QuestMobile platform and its legacy mobile platform once again has the big banks looking up at them.

Traditional Five Big Banks Performed well

The traditional Big bank-owned firms (sorry National Bank) are now sitting 2nd through 6th in the overall standings due to the rise of SCOTIA iTRADE.

SCOTIA iTRADE made the Biggest Jump

SCOTIA ITRADE made the biggest leap in 2023 advancing six positions into a tie for 4th.

NATIONAL BANK DIRECT BROKERAGE's New Platform Fails to Impress

NATIONAL BANK DIRECT BROKERAGE launched a new platform in 2023 which resulted in a drop of five ranking positions leaving the new platform in 9th place overall.

WEALTHSIMPLE TRADE Squeaks into Top 10

WEALTHSIMPLE TRADE's overall peer relativity score raised over 25-pts to 61% but that only makes them a top 10 firm, out of 11.

CI DIRECT TRADING is the New Worst Firm

CI DIRECT TRADING has slowly descended over the years and now finds themselves at the bottom of the mobile platform experience rankings.

Goodbye to HSBC INVESTDIRECT

The saying goes It's Been a Good Run, but in the case of HSBC INVESTDIRECT, the saying doesn't hold true. Current customers should welcome the RBC ROYAL BANK takeover as they will finally have access to respectable digital platforms, something that HSBC CANADA's executives and online brokerage brain trust couldn't figure out.


2023 Online Brokerage Mobile Platform Experience Rankings

Going beyond mere rankings, the analysis delves into the key aspects of a customer journey, evaluating investor user experiences of stock market and account information, the overall transactional experiences, and the resources available to help an investor along its important DIY customer journey. Here is the list of the Best and Worst firms:

Mobile Platform Experience RankMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreFull Company Review
1Questrade89 %View Company Review
2BMO InvestorLine86 %View Company Review
3TD Direct Investing80 %View Company Review
T-4Scotia iTRADE73 %View Company Review
T-4CIBC Investor's Edge73 %View Company Review
6RBC Direct Investing69 %View Company Review
T-7Desjardins Online Brokerage67 %View Company Review
T-7Qtrade Direct Investing67 %View Company Review
9National Bank Direct Brokerage66 %View Company Review
10Wealthsimple Trade61 %View Company Review
11CI Direct Trading60 %View Company Review

Today's phones have come along way. They are bigger, faster and have tons of features which allows using them as a primary electronic vehicle to perform everyday investing tasks. So why are there so many firms lagging when it comes to offering complete DIY investing services on handheld devices?

The answer is because they choose not to invest in what is best for the DIY investor through the swayed and distorted eyes of so-called user or digital experience expertise. Rather, they try and convince the investors, and themselves, that the extras are not in the investor's best interests rather than finding a way to provide a robust mobile platform design.

2023 was one of the busiest mobile platform enhancement years in quite some time, with some firms making wholesale changes while others made cosmetic-type changes. The revelation was a lot of rank-shifting amongst the online brokerage firms, a sign that not every so-called improvement resulted in an improved investor experience.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


KEY FINDINGS

The 2023 Online Brokerage Mobile Platform Experience review produced some interesting findings. Here is a quick look at the key points of discussion:

  • Improved look and feel at most firms
  • 5 Firms improved ranking positions from 2022
  • QUESTRADE repeats as the best firm
  • SCOTIA iTRADE improved 6 positions from 2022

  • Not all platform changes resulted in improved investor experiences
  • NATIONAL BANK DIRECT BROKERAGE's new platform resulted in a 5-position fall from 2022
  • QTRADE DIRECT TRADING fell 3 positions in the rankings
  • CI DIRECT TRADING provides the WORST mobile platform experience

See the Best and Worst Firms by Category

See What Makes Surviscor Different

Go to Lessons Learned

Go to The Bottom Line


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The BEST and WORST Firms - By Category

Surviscor prides itself on its tough marking and its depth of information analysis, meaning firms must earn every grade and ranking it receives, good and bad. The Surviscor Online Brokerage Mobile Platform Experience Review audits 11 of the mainstream Canadian digital online brokerage firms including bank-owned and independent firms.

The review explores a typical phone-based mobile experience across six main categories, 28 sub-categories and 427 criteria points comprised of 3,870 objective experience questions, including both the pre-login and secure login areas to establish a typical self-directed investor mobile experience at each online brokerage firm. The following tables provide a quick look at the Best and Worst firms in each Surviscor experience category:


PRE-LOGIN EXPERIENCE

The category audits the services available through the pre-login mobile platform, available to both existing and prospective mobile investors.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1TD DIRECT INVESTING11BMO INVESTORLINE
2QUESTRADE10SCOTIA iTRADE

USER EXPERIENCE

The category audits the usability factors for the mobile investor once logged in, including measures that impact choice, convenience, and level of control.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC DIRECT INVESTING24WEALTHSIMPLE TRADE
2QTRADE DIRECT INVESTING10DESJARDINS ONLINE BROKERAGE

ACCOUNT INFORMATION EXPERIENCE

The category audits the non-transaction related mobile account information aimed at monitoring an investment account or assisting in the decision-making process.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1QUESTRADE11QTRADE DIRECT INVESTING
2CIBC INVESTOR'S EDGE10CI DIRECT TRADING

MARKET ANALYSIS EXPERIENCE

The category audits the informational aspect of all market intelligence available to mobile investors.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1TD DIRECT INVESTING11CI DIRECT TRADING
2BMO INVESTORLINE10CIBC INVESTOR's EDGE

TRANSACTIONAL EXPERIENCE

The category audits the various mobile transactional screens along with the supporting process and features around the complete mobile transactional experience.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1BMO INVESTORLINE11WEALTHSIMPLE TRADE
2QUESTRADE10CI DIRECT TRADING

MOBILE RESOURCES EXPERIENCE

The category audits the level of investment and planning tools available to the mobile investor along with the level of supporting education content and features.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1BMO INVESTORLINE11RBC DIRECT INVESTING
2TD DIRECT INVESTING10QTRADE DIRECT INVESTING

Why Surviscor Reviews Are Different

The Surviscor Experience Reviews are the largest and most unbiased evaluations in North America, known for uncompromised facts and truth, about true customer experiences and digital journeys. The differentiation between Surviscor reviews, other ranking firm reviews, and individuals who claim to cover the Canadian online brokerage and consumer banking industries are:


It's never a bad time to question your current status-quo and explore alternative relationships. Be very aware of the marketing messages that typically are based on cost and/or minor, and usually insignificant, platform differentiators. Typically, you'll get what you pay for.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Surviscor Personalized Validation and Selection Tool scorChoice for Consumer Bankers and Online Investors to find their own #1 firm


Go back to the 2023 Mobile Experience Rankings


Lessons Learned

There are always general industry lessons to be learned, especially when individual online brokerage mobile platforms are scrutinized to the extent that these platforms have been in 2023. These are some of the high-level lessons of note, some of which mirror the lessons found in the recent 2023 Mobile Banking Experience Review:

Desktops are Still Required for Best Mobile Experience

The newest approach, and hopefully not the industry's future stance, is to provide self-directed investors with transactional-based mobile platforms with basic account and market information. The result is traditional account management, educational material, and the deeper investment information to form investment strategies must be performed on the desktop platform. The result is that for a self-directed investor to receive the best digital experiences, the investor is forced to use both handheld devices and desktops.

The Platforms Can't Manage to House Everything

The same so-called CX experts are the same individuals who are responsible for making us shake our heads during testing. We perform platform testing for a living and review dozens of digital platforms over and over so when we must ask ourselves questions about where we are? and why did it appear that the application closed and our we now on a browser?. And if we are unsure, then ask why does this look different? and finally do I need to login again?. Confused? Don't be lol. These mazes were designed by experts and signed off by senior executives.

A NEW Launch Does NOT Mean Better

Each year, its great to hear that online brokerage firms are going to introduce new digital platforms; however, when the long-awaited release does not significantly move the experience meter, the result is disappointing. NATIONAL BANK DIRECT BROKERAGE is the most recent example. How is it that one of the big six bank-owned brokerage firms releases a platform that ends up losing significant ground amongst its industry peers? Sure, it looks nicer, but investors now have less functionality and supporting features than they did in 2022.

Easy Does NOT Mean Better

Today's universities are producing a record number of marketing graduates of which many claim to specialize in Customer Experience, otherwise known as CX. The issue is that these so-called influencers are convincing senior executives that reducing the amount of functionality provided through mobile platforms, along with key supporting features that enhance digital experiences, is the way to go forward. The end, and funny, result is the focus is then on convincing investors that giving them less will make the overall experience better. We highly disagree. Don't fall for the message on the TD EasyTrade TV commercials. Self-directed investing is far from easy. Grow with the regular platform and pay the small price to learn and become a seasoned investor. #PayThePiper

App Store Changes Do NOT Mean Better

Have you ever looked at the version history on a platform's App Store page? One would think that all these firms are hard at work with weekly and monthly changes all portrayed as changes to make your mobile brokerage experience the best it can be. Is it then unreasonable to think that the multitude of changes should lead to better individual results in a comprehensive mobile brokerage experience review? We think so but even in 2023, eight firms shifted ranking positions but only five managed to improve in the global rankings.

Do NOT Rely on App Store Ratings

You would be shocked by the number of banking brain trusts that gauge development success by the platform ratings on both the App Store and Google Play platforms. While app stores serve as the vehicle to download the desired mobile banking application, it's essential to exercise caution when relying solely on user reviews when determining which banking firm to trust. It's not that these reviews are necessarily fabricated, but can be manipulated; instead, they often emphasize superficial usability factors rather than the comprehensive features and functionality of the app.


The question that begs some answers is why are there so many firms lagging when it comes to offering complete online investing services on handheld devices? The honest answer is that the firms choose not to invest in what you the investor needs, which includes robust navigational designs that delivery ease of use along with critical self-directed investing features and functionality.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Go back to the 2023 Mobile Brokerage Experience Rankings


The Bottom Line

The sad reality is that as most firms think of innovative ways to attract the new money, all level of investors are forced to use both handheld devices and desktops to maximize their self-directed investing strategy as the new development has said goodbye to key account management, service interaction and educational material.

Surviscor gives credit where credit is due and believes each review should highlight many firms, not less firms. The hope is that all Canadian consumers hold their digital investing partner(s) accountable in each area of mobile-based online investing experiences. #DemandTheBest


The Surviscor DISCLAIMER

Surviscor takes the ultimate pride in recognizing, and calling out, any firm for both good, and poor, experiences. Canadians work hard for their money and having a compatible digital investing financial partner is necessary and Canadian consumers should be holding all firms, big and small, to the highest standards of customer experience and cost of services. You hold the cards. #FindTheRightFirm


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