National Bank Direct Brokerage Review: Features & Alternatives

Hannah Collymore
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Reviewed by Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
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  • Cost Value
  • Customer Service
  • Ease of Use
  • Included Features


National Bank Direct Brokerage is the online trading platform of National Bank of Canada, and is one of the largest banks in the country. Founded in 1859, it provides personal banking services and products ranging from chequing accounts and mortgages to investment products like ETFs.

Pros

  • Zero commissions on all trades
  • Multiple account types for personal preference (taxed or untaxed)
  • Numerous extensive research and analysis tools
  • Optimum security
  • Competitive options commission fees
  • Perfect brick and mortar experience for Quebec residents

Cons

  • No mobile app
  • High administration fee upon failure to meet waiver requirements.
  • Expensive advanced tools for new investors
  • High exchange rates when trading in foreign markets

Multiple account types; RRSP, TSFA, Cash, Margin, Short-selling, RESP, Spousal RRSP, RRIF, and Spousal RRIF.

Multiple investment products; Equities, Bonds, ETFs, Options, Mutual Fund, Linked Notes, Exchange-traded debentures, and GICs.

National Bank Direct Brokerage offers investment products such as equities, fixed-income securities, and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). These are available through expert advisors who can help you choose your investments based on your risk tolerance and goals for the future. The company also provides fee-based advice services for individuals seeking guidance on how best to manage their money and estate gains over time.

National Bank Direct Brokerage Review

National Bank Direct Brokerage is a Canadian online brokerage that was founded in 2017 by National Bank Financial Inc. It is based in Montreal, Canada, and offers an array of financial services through its website, apps, and other platforms. As a broker-dealer firm with a focus on retail investors, National Bank Direct Brokerage offers an extensive range of brokerage services including equity trading, futures trading and options trading.

NBDB is a Canadian online brokerage that offers access to the Canadian and US markets. It’s part of National Bank Financial, which is Canada’s largest financial institution with more than $600 billion in assets under management across its network of over 3,000 branches and offices across Canada.

The Canadian bank brokerage was created as an alternative investment platform for Canadians who wanted free access to foreign markets beyond their local banks but didn’t want an account at an offshore broker or Robo-adviser (which typically charge higher fees). The company has grown considerably since then—it now has over 50 employees working directly on its products and services; they’re located in Toronto (where they also have offices), Vancouver, and Montreal—and offers access not just through online trading but also through phone apps so you can place trades from your smartphone while traveling abroad or even during meetings with clients back home.

National Bank Direct Brokerage Advantages

National Bank Direct Brokerage Canada offers market-beating pricing ($0 commission plus low trade fees), real-time market q, world-class investment tools, and extensive investment options, but it’s best for investors who can engage in self-directed trading without the help of a broker and don’t rely on extra research services. Here are a few advantages of investing with NBDB. 

No Fees For Almost Trading

NBDB charges zero fees for trading most of their investment products, except when trading options which still have no commission aside from its $1.25 charge per contract. There is no minimum investment requirement to begin trading or short selling, so you can trade freely.  

Wide Range Of Investment Product

NBDB offers its users several types of investment products and investment options to ensure flexibility and optimum satisfaction. Here is a list of the type of investment products NBDB offers:

  • Bonds: Bonds are a type of debt instrument. They are issued by governments and corporations, often with an interest rate that is fixed for a specific period, such as 10 years or longer.
  • Mutual funds: Mutual funds are a type of investment fund that pools money from many investors to purchase securities and then invest them per the fund’s stated investment objective. They are typically run by a group of professional managers who use sophisticated tools and techniques to identify attractive opportunities for investment, such as stocks or bonds that are likely undervalued at current prices but could yield higher returns if sold at a future date.
  • Options: An option is a derivative contract that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a fixed price during a specified period. Options can be purchased by investors and sold by speculators on exchanges 
  • Exchange-traded debentures: Like all bonds, ETDs have an interest rate tied to their underlying principal – in this case, a fixed interest rate paid over time. The difference between ETDs and other types of bonds is that they can be purchased directly from issuers rather than through public markets like banks.
  • GICs: GICs are a type of savings account that allows you to earn interest over time. They’re like a banking account, in that they can be used as a place to keep your money and make investments, but they’re different because they don’t require any monthly maintenance fees or other charges.
  • Linked notes: Linked notes are a type of structured product. They’re linked to the performance of an underlying asset, such as a stock or bond. A linked note is not guaranteed by a bank or financial institution and does not offer any interest payments for you when it matures (the maturity date). Instead, it’s designed to pay out only if there are sufficient funds in your account at maturity—which could help protect you from being left with nothing if things don’t go as planned with your investments

NBDB also offers ETFs and Equities, this way you can choose the best investment path for you.

Safety & Security

Founded in 1859 and catering to the needs of millions, there is no better place to put faith in your investments than Canada’s no 1 bank

The institution has been around since the beginning of time and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, the biggest investment industry regulatory organization in Canada – protecting any money you deposit up to $1 million in the event of bankruptcy. The combination of data encryption and 2FA is used to secure users accounts. 

Owned By A Reputable Bank

The institution is listed as one of the top 20 strongest banks in the world by Bloomberg Markets. Unlike most brokers that are owned by private individuals, NBDB is owned by the National Bank of Canada which belongs to the federal government. There is no more reputable bank than NBC in Canada. 

National Bank Direct Brokerage: Products & Features

National Bank Direct Brokerage Review

The absence of trading fees is a huge plus, but there are certain fees you’ll be required to pay.

National Bank Direct Brokerage Accounts

The absence of trading fees is a huge plus, but there are certain fees you’ll be required to pay.

AccountFee
TFSAAnnual Charge: $100
Transfer Out: $150
RRSPAnnual Charge: $100.00
Transfer Out: $150
Withdrawals: $50
RESPAnnual Charge: $100
Transfer Out: $150
CashAnnual Charge: $100
Transfer Out: $150
Margin accountsAnnual Charge: $100
Transfer Out: $150

Annual Administration Fee Conditions

The annual administration fee for owning an investment account with NBDB is $100, but there are a few exemptions. If you have multiple active accounts, your fee will be split between them equally. Inactive accounts aren’t charged administration fees unless they have added security.

The administration fee will be waived if you hold assets worth $20,000 before May 31

  • If you have an InvestCube account with NBDB
  • For young investors aged 30 and below before May 31 
  • When you sign up for the NBDB offer for professionals which covers professionals and students in engineering, legal, accounting, business, healthcare, health science specialists, nursing, nursing assistants, and teaching. 

Trading Commissions & Fees

NBDB has a $0 commission on all products offered. There is a $1.25 charge per contract for Options and other transaction fees that will be deducted from your debit balance. There is no minimum fee required to have an investment account with the institution. Members above 30 are required to pay the administration fee of $100 each year unless they meet the exemption criteria listed above before May 31 every year. Young investors will have their administration fee waived. There are inactivity fees that will be incurred if a user abandons their account.

Withdrawal fees for TFSA, RESP, and RDSP accounts are all free. All electronic funds transfers are free. Excess RRSP contribution reimbursement will cost users $100 and all wire transfers done to non-NBC accounts will cost $75.

Total or part transfers made to another brokerage will cost $150 per account (including commissions). Internal transfers made between a Canadian and a US dollar account will cost $9.95/security.

All lump-sum withdrawals from RRSP, RRIF, and LIF accounts will cost $50/operation. 

A transfer from a LIF account to a locked-in account costs $100/operation.

NSF checking will cost you $45 to process.

When you open an account, your portfolio statements, trade confirmations, and tax slips are automatically set to be received by mail. Users will be charged $6 on the last business day of every quarter. The quarter months are December, March, June, and September respectively. However, you can change your delivery method to ‘online’ to avoid mailing fees, this must be done 48 hours before the deadline.

If you select ‘by mail’ as your delivery option for trade confirmations, you will be charged $2 on the last business day of the month. The amount will be deducted from the accounts used to make those trades. Users can always switch delivery methods online to avoid mailing fees.     

Equity

Unlike other online brokerages, there are no fees associated with equities aside from fund transfer fees and withdrawals.

ETF

All ETF orders placed through NBDB electronic solutions cost $0. However, orders placed with a representative will cost a maximum commission of $44.95. ETF shares of $2 or less placed by a representative will incur a 2% commission on the transaction. ETF shares by a representative of $2.01 will cost $44.95 + $0.04/share. an ETF value of $2000 or less will incur a fee of $44.95.

Options

Excluding the $1.25/contract ($6.25 minimum charge, there are no additional fees for trading Options regardless of the transaction value. 

National Bank Direct Brokerage Quick Overview

national bank direct brokerage

4.0 stars

Best Overall Value

  • Zero commissions on all trades
  • Multiple account types for personal preference (taxed or untaxed)
  • Numerous extensive research and analysis tools
  • Optimum security
  • Competitive Options commission fees
  • Perfect brick-and-mortar experience for Quebec residents
  • Real-time market

National Bank Direct Brokerage Customer Reviews

Here are what a few customers have to say about National Bank Direct Brokerage;

Wife has an account with them, if you maintain a certain balance there is no fee and free interac e-transfers. If and when you need to go into a branch, they aren’t busy and pleasant to interact with. Their online banking and phone apps are adequate. Pretty standard banking experience overall, the cons is that there is a single branch in my area (Lower Vancouver Island BC)

Hal

I helped my brother open a trading account with national bank direct brokerage. The UI is simple and trades are free, account opening was very manual but worth it in the long run to avoid fees.

Bostok

Consider National Bank Direct Brokerage, they offer free trades. NBDB is a good all round option (though to keep account free, you need to have $25k invested or you got the account through their professional banking package discount).

Delta

I took my RDSP to National Bank Direct Brokerage from RBC due to the fact that you can only buy 2% per mutual funds. You can get the same portfolio mix with etfs and only pay .2% mer. That means a lot in 10 yrs (or longer).

Emily

National Bank Direct Brokerage Service Review

National Bank Direct Brokerage Review

Review of Lorem Ipsum

Overall Pricing and Value
80%
80%
Cost Value
85%
85%
Customer Support
70%
70%
Ease of Use
75%
75%
Included Features
90%
90%

Is National Bank Direct Brokerage Right For You?

Based on our National Bank Direct Brokerage review, it is a perfect fit for both new and experienced traders looking to explore zero-fee online brokers. Whether you need a registered retirement savings plan, a life income fund, or a registered education savings plan, you’ll find what you need on the trading platform. Investors can own up to four stocks or more with zero minimum investment, free trades, and free access to numerous investment options. Compared to other trading platforms, you can open investment accounts without having a company profile. 

Cost Value 

With its new zero fees trading policy and other competitive trading fees on ETF trades and other investments, NBDB has seen itself rise to a higher rank compared to other online brokers. Seeking investor satisfaction, NBDB has made its options fees considerably competitive for any active investor who would like to take advantage. Users can choose to operate a tax-free savings account helping them save more. Stock and ETF trades are free and most mutual fund transactions are reasonably priced. NBDB offers invaluable investment ideas based on real-time market data to help its users make the best investment decisions.

Customer Service

The bank offers 24/7 excellent customer service support and live chat. A dedicated customer service line is available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM EST for customer service requests, and you can also submit a request through email or messaging them on Twitter eradicating long customer service waiting time.

Customer service representatives have been trained in the field of banking and provide fast response times to all requests for investment products owned by customers via telephone as well as over email. They are experienced with both personal banking needs like setting up an account or transferring funds from one account to another, as well as business accounts such as payroll processing services offered by The Bank’s payroll division. 

Ease of Use

National Bank Direct Brokerage offers its users a desktop platform that is easy to use by both newbies and experts alike. After you sign up, you can customize your homepage to display your assets how you want them.  

Included Features

NBDB gives users a full grasp of the Canadian market with invaluable added features like asset protection, commission-free trading, fundamental analysis tools, and young investor bonuses. Millennials are not left out as they can get a registered retirement income fund to help delay tax payments so they can maximize their investment over time.  

Overall

If you’re looking for a way to save on fees while taking charge of your personal finance, National Bank Direct Brokerage is a good bet. The platform is easy to use, which makes it great for beginners. It also offers several investment options that allow you to invest in stocks or bonds without having to worry about the high costs associated with brokerage accounts. You can even borrow against your investments through the company’s loan program if you need extra cash for something like home improvements or an emergency purchase.

2 Top National Bank Direct Brokerage Alternatives

CIBC Investor’s EdgeQuestradeNational Bank Direct Brokerage
AwardJ.D power for client satisfaction in CanadaBenziga’s Global Fintech awards 2022Investor satisfaction among self-directed brokerage firms by J.D Power
Ranking4.24.14.0
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CIBC Investor’s Edge

CIBC is an online brokerage service that allows you to trade stocks, options, ETFs, GICs and bonds. It can be suitable for investors with a minimum of $5,000 to invest. Self-directed portfolio management services are provided by CIBC Investor Services Inc., which offers personalized advice about investing your money based on their experience working with thousands of clients over the past 25 years. They offer commission-free trading and the minimum balance to open an account is $1,000 although a balance of $5,000 is recommended. There are no annual fees associated with this account. 

Questrade

Questrade is an online discount broker that has been in business since 1999. It offers a wide variety of services, including stock trades at $4.95 per trade and ETF purchases for free as well as managed account options. Questrade also offers self-directed investing options, but only through its online platform.

Questrade was founded by David Chilton and Jeffrey Ehman, who were active traders at the time. They saw an opportunity to break away from traditional methods of investing and created Questrade as a place where people could access financial services without having to go through costly third parties like banks. Since then, Questrade has continued to grow as an online broker offering low fees for its customers while also providing educational resources for beginners interested in learning about investing strategies or getting started with their own investments.

Read more: Best Options Trading Platform In Canada 2023

Conclusion

The National Bank Direct Brokerage Canada is a great option for anyone who wants to trade with low commissions and excellent support. The platform is easy to use and has many tools that can help you make more informed decisions about your investments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need to have a company bank account to open a National Bank Direct Brokerage account?

No, people that are not National Bank Canada users can also open an NBDB account.

How can I open an account with National Bank Direct Brokerage? 

To open a brokerage account, gather your national photo ID, and SIN, and go to their website to register.

How do I start trading on NBDB?

Go to their website, sign up, choose your preferred trading account, and start buying and selling investments of your choice.

How do I deposit funds into my NBDB account? 

You can deposit into your registered accounts via bank-to-bank transfer. You can also enable recurring deposits to take away the stress of manually depositing funds. If these options don’t work for you, you can transfer your non-registered accounts to National Bank Direct Brokerage.

Where can I download the National Bank Direct Brokerage app?

The National Bank Direct Brokerage doesn’t have a mobile app. Unfortunately, you can only trade online via the NBDB desktop platform.

How can I avoid paying taxes on my interests?

To avoid paying taxes on interest, you’ll need to create an RRSP or TFSA account for trading. If you sign up for a cash account, you’ll need to pay taxes on all interest gains.

How can I contact National Bank Direct Brokerage customer service?

You can contact NBDB via their email [email protected], their website nbdb.ca, or by phone call 1-800-363-3511.

What is National Bank InvestCube?

National Bank InvestCube is similar to an in-house Robo advisor. It offers users a way to automate their ETF rebalancing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Collymore
Hannah Collymore, MBA
Business Advisor
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Hannah is a seasoned writer based out of Pennsylvania. With years of experience in various writing niches, she provides SEO and on-demand content for Businesses in all industries

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
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Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.

+ 6 sources

Bizreport Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Bizreport, you can read more about the editorial process here.

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  2. Questrade | Keep More of Your Money. www.questrade.com. Accessed December 30, 2022. https://www.questrade.com/
  3. Online and Mobile Trading | CIBC Investor’s Edge. www.investorsedge.cibc.com. Accessed December 30, 2022. https://www.investorsedge.cibc.com/en/home.html
  4. Home | National Bank Financial – Wealth Management. nbfwm.ca. Accessed December 30, 2022. https://nbfwm.ca/
  5. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The basics of investing – Canada.ca. Canada.ca. Published 2019. Accessed December 30, 2022. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/savings-investments/investing-basics.html
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