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 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.
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 www.myquestrade.com 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.
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.
Here’s what the screens look like:
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.
The order entry box can be found at the very bottom of the screen. You have the same options here.
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.
You will find the following tabs near the bottom of the platform, which will show an overview of your account.
You will find your account overview under the Account tab on the top of the page.
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.
We’ve got free practice accounts available at Questrade.com. And, if you want to chat with your fellow traders, you can start a thread on the forums.
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.