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Investing Series: How to buy and sell ETFs on Questrade

This is a part of the Investing Series.



Because ETFs are cheaper than mutual funds, even indexed mutual funds from TD e-Series.

Not only that, Questrade lets you buy them FOR FREE with no commission fees.

They don’t charge you if you buy ETFs, but they do charge you if you sell them (system fees not included).

I am not going to flog a dead horse, so just read all my posts on investing here.


If you use my referral link, with the code:

o0soehds get $50 to use towards free trades and I get $$ too.

You need to fund the account with a minimum of $1000 and the rest of it is pretty straightforward — you have to send in a void cheque to be able to debit a bank account from.


You can simply add Questrade as a bill payee and your account number, then you just pay your Questrade like any other bill.

I’ve funded Questrade from President’s Choice (PC) Financial, Tangerine, and TD Bank both in CAD and USD.

If you are opening an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) or TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) with Questrade, I strongly suggest you make sure you don’t over contribute (if that’s a problem), by tracking where all your money currently is, or signing up for a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) account online here, and seeing what your contribution room is for the year.



They changed the layout of the website so now you have to click on the little half circle at the top that says LOG IN

Then this blue window pulls down and you can select where you want to go.

I always choose IQ Essential because IQ Web (the more robust version) requires Microsoft Silverlight to run and I have never been able to install that crap.

IQ Essential is barebones, but it works.

myQuestrade is where you deal with your address changes, statements and so on.


An ETF “watch list” is basically a list of index-tracking ETF or stocks you want to watch.

It looks like this:

Account #: Make sure you’re in the right account if you have multiple accounts (RRSP, TFSA, Margin)

STK / ADD: This is where you type in the ETF ticker symbol (e.g. VCE.TO for Vanguard FTSE Canada ETF) and hit Add

Symbol: These are the ticker symbols for each ETF / stock

This is how you (briefly) read the columns (you can add more columns they have a lot of options available):

Last: The last price the stock traded at

Bid: What someone out there is bidding for this particular stock

Ask: What someone out there is asking for this particular stock to sell it

52 high: The 52 week (or year’s) highest price for the stock

52 low: The 52 week (or year’s) lowest price for the stock


You click on the Buy/Sell button in the top right-hand corner:

Then you type in the stock ticker symbol (e.g. VCE.TO) and it should pop up.

It shows you also, what stock exchange it trades on (e.g. TSX – Toronto Stock Exchange)

Make sure the following is correct:

Action: Buy / Sell (the one highlighted in green is the action taken)

Qty: How much of the stock you want to buy

Order Type: Limit defaults in, leave it alone.

Account: Make sure your account # is correct (DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!)

Limit price: What you are willing to pay for, the max or the LIMIT price

Duration: Day / GTC / GTD

  • Day means the request / order you have is good for until the close of business today
  • GTC means the order is good indefinitely until it is cancelled (by you)
  • GTD means the order is good until a certain date (you can enter in this date)


Then you hit SEND ORDER and this window pops up to confirm what you want to do:

Check to make sure you are spending what you think you’re spending, IN THE RIGHT ACCOUNT, and make sure it all looks good.

Account: Your account #

Trade value: How much you are spending

Commission: How much it will cost (ETFs are free to buy on Questrade, they are commission free, so this fee is possibly another fee like perhaps an Electronic Communication Networth (ECN) fee)


When you are done, hit SEND ORDER and two things will appear:

One is that the Watch List will show that the order is open and pending with a status O:


Under ORDERS you will also see something like this, that shows it is Queued and all the details of what you entered.

Note: The little pencil is to EDIT or make changes to your order, and the X is to cancel it completely.


If you manage to buy the stock, then it looks like this under EXECUTIONS


..and finally, you can see the balance of your account under BALANCES in CAD, USD and combined.

Note that CASH is how much cash you have to buy stocks. If you don’t have enough cash, Questrade does not deal or limit you to how much cash you have, they will let you borrow on margin from their accounts to buy what you want, but then you will have to pay it back (obviously).

TOTAL EQUITY is of course, how much you have in that account in total.



  • NZ Muse

    Innerestin’. ETFs are starting to get talked about a bit here. We have very few options though and they’re not as cheap. I don’t think I’m ready to branch out just yet – maybe in the next couple years! Have you written about how much you have in ETFs vs index funds (do you have anything in IFs?) and is this all for long-term holdings?

  • Bridget

    Do you know what the costs are to sell an ETF on Questrade? I know they’re cheap to buy but I’ve never actually sold one of my holdings so I’m not sure what the fee is.

    ….. I guess I could just set up a sell until I get the confirmation popup and then cancel. nvm. haha

  • Kassandra

    I’ve been using Questrade for my self-directed RRSP for over two years and I have no complaints. I hold Vanguard ETF’s. They were also great when I recently contacted them concerning my non-resident status in Canada. We had to set up a new account with my US address/info and they transferred all of my holding (no selling required). I can no longer add money but I can still trade. I was assigned a SPOC who I could speak directly with and it was done withing 2-3 business days. Fairly painless!

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