Questrade Tutorial: How To Use The Trading Platform

Questrade is best known for offering rock-bottom commissions for trading stocks.  You can buy and sell individual stocks for as low as $4.95 per trade.

Earlier this year Questrade introduced commission-free purchases for any ETF in North America.

You can open a Questrade account with as little as $1,000, and unlike the big discount brokerages there’s no annual administration fee for smaller accounts.

All of these reasons are why I recommend Questrade over any other day trading software as the top discount brokerage for beginner investors and for more frequent traders.

We recently received this email from James:

I’ve moved all my investments ‘in kind’ from a financial planner to Questrade.  The idea was to cut down on costs and have more control.  My strategy is to invest in index funds and have a long term passive strategy (couch potato style).

However I have found the Questrade interface to be very confusing.  I’ve never traded before or used a trading site of any kind.

Could you put together a ‘baby steps’ tutorial, right from the basics on how to use Questrade?

It can be tricky to figure out how to use a new trading platform.  That’s why I’ve reached out to Laural Adams from Questrade to put together the following tutorial.

Related: How To Use A Stock Screener To Find The Best Stocks

Questrade Basic IQ tutorial

Welcome to online trading.  Making the switch from working with a financial planner to doing your own thing can be exciting, but yes, also a little daunting.

Trust me, you’re not the only person looking at the screens and wondering what you should do first.  Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started.

Step 1: Opening the platform

The first thing you need to do is figure out what platform you’ll be using.  In other words – where will you be trading from the most?  Questrade has four platforms:

  • IQ Web –  use this on any computer with an internet connection;
  • IQ Edge – this is the desktop platform and our most powerful platform;
  • IQ Essential – use this with your tablet or netbook (but you can use it on a desktop) and;
  • IQ Mobile – this is for your smartphone.

Log into and select either IQ Essential or IQ Web on the upper left corner of the window.

Note: IQ Web requires the installation of Microsoft Silverlight.  If you do not have administrative privileges on your computer, IQ Essential is recommended.

Questrade: Opening the platform

If this is your first time accessing the IQ platforms, you’ll be required to fill out a few pages of market data agreements to classify you as either a professional or non-professional trader.

Step 2: Placing a trade

Once you’ve filled out all of this information, you are ready to trade.  There are some basic questions you’ll need to be prepared to answer:

Order duration: You must choose the length of time you want your order valid for.  For more information on the different order durations available, visit our blog post on order duration.

Order type: Here you can choose between setting a market, limit, or stop order for your trade.  More advanced order types such as trailing stops and stop limits are also available for experienced traders.

For more information on the different order types available, visit our Order Entry 101 informational page.

Price: Unless you place a market order which will execute your trade at the best current bid or ask price, you will need to set a price at which you would like your trade executed.

Account: If you have multiple accounts (i.e. margin and TFSA), you can toggle between your accounts within the order entry box.  Always make sure you are placing your trade in the correct account.

Related: TFSA vs. Non-Registered Accounts – Which Is Best?

Here’s what the screens look like:

IQ Essential:

To bring up the order entry box and place a trade, click on the buy/sell button on the top right corner of the screen.

Questrade: IQ Essential

IQ Web:

The order entry box can be found at the very bottom of the screen.  You have the same options here.

Questrade: IQ Web

Step 3: Reviewing your account

Beyond buying and selling, you will want to keep track of the activity in your account.  Again, where you find this information is different based on the platform you use, but you’re looking for the same information.

IQ Essential:

You will find the following tabs near the bottom of the platform, which will show an overview of your account.

Questrade: IQ Essential Step 3

IQ Web:

You will find your account overview under the Account tab on the top of the page.

Questrade: IQ Web Step 3

Orders: Displays any open or filled orders. You can use this tab to cancel or edit any open orders that haven’t been executed yet.

Positions: Shows all long and short positions within your account, including profit/losses.

Executions: A list of all trades that have been executed on the market.

Balances: Displays all your account balances in CAD and USD.

Activity: Here you can view all intraday activities for all your accounts that under the same login ID.  Activities include orders placed and login times/locations.

And then you’re done!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though.  As you become a more advanced trader, you’ll have plenty more questions.

My suggestion: do your research, whether that means reading a blog, testing strategies with a free trial platform, chatting with other traders, or watching a video on Youtube.

This (conveniently) brings me to a little plug for Questrade.

If you want to watch some video tutorials, check out our YouTube Channel.  If you want to read more about products, services and trading ideas, check out our blog.

We’ve got free practice accounts available at  And, if you want to chat with your fellow traders, you can start a thread on the forums.

Related: Should You Trust Advice From Your Bank?

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

15 Responses to Questrade Tutorial: How To Use The Trading Platform

  1. One other nice thing about Questrade is that you can have a $US RRSP account and trade US stocks within that account.

    There is the initial cost of converting from $CDN to $US, and eventually back again at some point in the future, but it is a really convenient way to diversify with minimal foreign exchange fees.

    • @Dave – Yes, Questrade was the first to offer a U.S. RRSP option where you can hold U.S. cash and collect U.S. dividends without being forced to convert them to Canadian dollars.

  2. I could have used this article last week before I made my first trade on Questrade. Luckily their tutorials, FAQs, blogs & forums provided all the info I needed to get started. One minor detail I’d like to point out to all you other newbies out there – ETF commissions are rebated after the trade is settled (usually about 3 days) BUT you’ll still be charged any additional ECN & ATS fees. Thanks to the friendly folk at Questrade for explaining all this to me!

    • @Carol – glad to hear you’ve got everything figured out. Thanks for mentioning the ETF commissions. You’re right, you’ll get charged the fee and then it gets rebated to your account afterwards.

  3. Some investors may not know about Questrade’s small account inactivity fee. If an investor holds less than $5000 in their combined accounts, and if they are 26 years of age or older, and if they have not subscribed to a level 1 or higher data package, and if they do not execute one commissionable trade each quarter (3 months) they will have to pay a fee of $19.95 for that quarter. Commissionable trades include free trades, trades using commmission rebates, and ETF sale trades. They do not include ETF buy trades as there is no commission charged for those. The $19.95 may be returned as commission refunds the next quarter if the client trades again. Check the details at

    So while there is no annual administration fee for investors with combined accounts totaling over $5000, there may be for investors with less than that if they don’t pay attention to the details.

    This is still different than most big bank brokerages, which usually require $10,000 and up to have no annual fee. RBC Direct Investing, however, currently has no fees for small accounts if you are enrolled in a monthly contribution program. Big bank brokerages usually have much higher trading fees than Questrade until your balance is at least $25,000.

  4. just a quick question but did “James” actually have a financial planner (CFP) or simply an “advisor”?

    • @FPG – You’re right, I do use TDW for my own investments. As I mentioned in the post, I recommend Questrade for beginner investors and for more frequent traders.

      When I first started investing, I didn’t know about Questrade. It cost me $29 per trade to buy my first eight stocks and because I had less than $25k I was charged an account fee in the first year.

      Now that I have more than $50k in my portfolio I can trade for $9.99. I don’t trade very often so I’m staying with TDW.

      You can be sure that if the big brokerages start to implement fees for inactivity, or if they increase their minimum asset threshold for waiving fees, I’ll jump to Questrade.

  5. I found the constant changing of their interfaces didn’t just make it hard to use, it was hard to even access with the constantly shifting login/password system (at least for people like us who are smart enough to NOT write down passwords!). Their tax slips and customer service times are also Kafka-esque. But, as I always point out, they’re by far the lowest cost when taken as a whole for the average investor’s needs. Lower costs = higher returns = lower risk required to meet the same objectives.

  6. Questrade: cheap prices but horrible customer service. Their mobile app rarely works and I usually get at least one error on the website daily. Is this an article or an advertisment for Questrade?

  7. I find Questrade absolutely unfathomable (and while I am not a savvy investor, I am not a financial dolt either)

    I have had a Questrade account for about 3 years and because I have never been able to figure out how to actually DO anything with the account, my (admittedly modest) stash has been sitting in cash.

    I have recently renewed my efforts to navigate Questrade and make it work for me. But still, after a full day today spent trying to figure out even just how to research ETFs and Mutual Funds, I am completely stumped.

    Are ALL discount brokerage accounts as novice-investor-unfriendly?

  8. Hi Peter,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having some difficulty figuring out our platform. I’ll try to direct you to some of our help articles to clarify the steps.

    Here’s a video on how you can look up a stock or ETF on the platform:

    Here’s a help article that shows you how to place an order. Poke around the rest of our help article section to learn how to use the other features in the platform:

    If you’d like to place an order for mutual funds, they have to be done through rather than the IQ platforms:

    I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

    John – Team Questrade,
    Questrade, Inc.

Leave a reply