Photo: www.montrealintechnology.com

Montreal: National Bank says its direct brokerage division will no longer charge commissions for online trades as the competition for retail traders intensifies.

The Montreal-based bank says the elimination of commissions for all online trades on Canadian and U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds is a first for a direct brokerage linked to a Canadian bank.

Commission-free trading has gained momentum as retail-trader focused Apps like Robinhood in the United States have made it more affordable for casual investors to trade frequently.

In Canada, Wealthsimple Inc. also offers commission-free trading with no minimum account balance.

Claude-Frederic Robert, president of National Bank Direct Brokerage, said in a statement that it was important for the brokerage to respond to the constantly evolving self-directed investing sector.

The brokerage previously charged $6.95 per stock trade, or $0.95 for active investors who made more than 100 transactions per quarter, while the commission was already gone for ETF transactions.