Margin trading fees

Low margin requirements. Several complex option strategies. Make your money work harder.

Trading with margin

With a margin account at Questrade, you can leverage your stock trading, short stocks, trade complex option strategies and leverage your precious metals trading.

Stock & options—margin requirements

The margin requirement is the minimum amount of maintenance excess you need to have in your account in order to enter a position. It’s commonly expressed as a percent of the current market value. Certain securities may have a margin requirement higher than listed below based on an assessment of the stock by Questrade. Margin requirements are determined according to rules and guidelines set by Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and Questrade internal risk management protocols. The margin required for long and short positions on the same security may be different from one another.

Long positions

Share price Requirement
Reduced margin eligible securities* 30% of the market value
Securities selling at $2.00 or more 50% of the market value
Securities selling at $1.75 to $1.99 60% of the market value
Securities selling at $1.50 to $1.74 80% of the market value
Securities selling less than $1.50 100% of the market value
Short positions  
Reduced margin eligible securities* 30% of the market value
Securities selling at $2.00 or more 50% of the market value
Securities selling at $1.50 to $1.99 $3.00 less the market price per share
Securities selling at $0.25 to $1.49 100% of market value
Securities selling below $0.25 $0.25 per share

Questrade has four approval levels for option trading that require different minimum balances in your account before placing your trade. You’ll find the option strategies for each option level below.

Level 1

Strategy Margin Requirement
Long calls and puts 100% of the market value
Long straddle/Long strangle 100% of the option strategy’s market value
Short covered call (protected short) The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:
  1. The sum of:

      a. 100% of the market value of the call option

      and

      b. The lesser of:

        i. The normal margin required on the underlying security.

        or

        ii. The out-of-the-money amount of the call option, plus the market value of the call option, minus any in-the-money amount of the call option

  2. 5% of the market value of the underlying security
Long married put The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:
  1. The sum of:

      a. 100% of the market value of the put option

      and

      b. The lesser of:

        i. The normal margin required on the underlying security.

        or

        ii. The out-of-the-money amount of the put option, plus market value of the put option, minus any in-the-money amount of the option

  2. 5% of the market value of the underlying security.

Level 2

Strategy Margin Requirement
Long covered call The in-the-money amount of the call option, minus the market value of the call option.

Plus

The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:

    • The lesser of:

      a. The margin required on the underlying security

      or

      b. The margin required on the aggregate exercise value.

  1. 15% of the market value of the underlying security
Short married put (Covered put) The normal margin requirement for the underlying short security
Long collar The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:
  1. 100% of the market value of the long put options, minus 100% of the market value of the short call options, plus the difference (+/-) between the aggregate exercise value of the long put options (or the short call options), whichever is higher, and the market value of the underlying security
  2. 5% of the market value of the underlying security
Short collar The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:
  1. 100% of the market value of the long call options, minus 100% of the market value of the short put options, plus the difference (+/-) between the aggregate exercise value of the long call options (or the short put options), whichever is higher, and the market value of the underlying security
  2. 5% of the market value of the underlying security

Level 3

Strategy Margin Requirement

Long/short vertical call/put

Long calendar call/put *

Long diagonal call/put *

100% of the market value of the spread.

Plus

The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:

    • The lesser of:

      The normal minimum margin requirement for the short option, plus market value of the short option.

      or

      b. The spread loss amount, if any, that would result if both options were exercised

  1. 5% of the spread loss amount, if any, that would result if both options were exercised

Long butterfly

Long condor

The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:

  1. The cost of the long options, minus the proceeds of the short options
  2. 5% of the spread interval amount between the strike price of the long options and the short options

Short butterfly

Short condor

Short iron butterfly

Short iron condor

The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:

  1. The spread interval amount between the strike price of long options and short options, plus the cost of the long options, minus the proceeds of short options
  2. 5% of the spread interval amount between the strike price of the long options and the short options.

Long iron butterfly

Long iron condor

100% of the option strategy’s market value

Level 4

Strategy Margin Requirement
Short calendar call/put

Short diagonal call/put

Long/short calendar call/put with European options

Long/short diagonal call/put with European options

100% of the long option’s market value.

Plus

For the short option, the value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:

  1. A percentage of the market value of the underlying security, determined using the following values:

      a. For equity options, or equity participation unit options, the margin rate used for the underlying security.

      b. For broad based index options, 10%.

      c. For narrow based index options, 15%.

      d. For major currency options, 10%.

      e. For non-major currency options, 30%

  2. minus

    Any out-of-the-money amount associated with the option

    or

  3. Either a or b , depending on whether it’s a short call or short put position:

      a. In the case of a short call option position, the market value of the underlying security, multiplied by 5% (2% for index options)

      b. In the case of a short put option position, the aggregate exercise value of the option, multiplied by 5% (2% for index options)

Short straddle

Short strangle

The greatest of:

    A. the short put requirement

    B. the short call requirement

    C. the excess of the aggregated exercise value of the put option over the aggregate exercise value of the call option

Short option (naked option)

The value of either 1 or 2, whichever is greater:
  1. A percentage of the market value of the underlying security, determined using the following values:

      a. For equity options, or equity participation unit options, the margin rate used for the underlying

      b. For broad based index options, 10%.

      c. For narrow based index options, 15%.

      d. For major currency options, 10%.

      e. For non-major currency options, 30%

  2. minus

    Any out-of-the-money amount associated with the option

    or

  3. Either a or b, depending on whether it’s a short call or short put position:

      a. In the case of a short call option position, the market value of the underlying security, multiplied by 5% (may be higher for certain securities)

      b. In the case of a short put option position, the aggregate exercise value of the option, multiplied by 5% (may be higher for certain securities)

Changing your option level
  1. Log in Questrade
  2. Choose Accounts
  3. Choose Account Management
  4. Select Account Number
  5. Select Change next to Option Level
Placing a Canadian multi-leg option order

For Canadian exchanges, only two-legged option strategies are available. Option strategies with a stock leg or more than two option legs are unavailable.

Precious metals

Metal Margin requirement
Gold 20%
Silver 30%

Full transparency in our fees

We have nothing to hide—so we give you all the information you need to understand what’s happening in your account and on your invoice.

Margin call

If your equity balance drops below your account’s total margin requirement (you have negative maintenance excess), a margin call will be issued for your account. Questrade will give you the opportunity to satisfy the deficiency on a best effort basis. However, Questrade may liquidate or close your positions if you fail to comply with the terms of the margin call, including, in some cases, without notifying you first. The terms of a margin call are determined at the discretion of Questrade.

When a margin call occurs, you have four choices:

  1. Deposit more money into your account.
  2. Liquidate or close positions in your account.
  3. Cancel pending orders to open a position.
  4. If you have a TFSA account at Questrade, use Margin Power to link the assets in your TFSA to your margin account.

 

If you don’t fully understand the terms of your margin call, talk to us. We’re here to help.

Currency exchange

In margin accounts, we won’t automatically exchange currencies. Typically, you need to initiate all conversion proceedings. For example:

For example:

  1. If you buy U.S. securities and don’t have sufficient USD, you’re borrowing the money from Questrade.
  2. You’re charged interest on the amount you borrow.

 

To convert funds, log in to Questrade and make an exchange funds request.

Securities concentration

If the market value of a position in your margin account exceeds your equity, you have a concentrated position. In some cases, if you are too concentrated on a position, Questrade will increase the minimum margin requirement or request that you reduce the position.

Associated risks

There are significant risks when trading on margin. Before trading on margin please review the obligation to maintain margin under section 1.14 and margin risk disclosure under section 1.15 of Questrade's account agreements and disclosure document.

For more information on Canadian regulatory margin requirements, visit the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) website.

Full transparency in our fees

Nobody likes surprises— especially on their monthly statement. In the interest of being fully transparent and forthcoming with our pricing, we’re listing all the fees that you could possibly incur as a Questrade customer. The following fees are based on specific actions you take, so you may never see them—but if you do, rest assured we’re keeping them low.

Margin call

If your equity balance drops below your account’s total margin requirement (you have negative maintenance excess), a margin call will be issued for your account. Questrade will give you the opportunity to satisfy the deficiency on a best effort basis. However, Questrade may liquidate or close your positions if you fail to comply with the terms of the margin call, including, in some cases, without notifying you first. The terms of a margin call are determined at the discretion of Questrade.

When a margin call occurs, you have four choices:

  1. Deposit more money into your account.
  2. Liquidate or close positions in your account.
  3. Cancel pending orders to open a position.
  4. If you have a TFSA account at Questrade, use Margin Power to link the assets in your TFSA to your margin account.

Currency exchange

In margin accounts, we won’t automatically exchange currencies. Typically, you need to initiate all conversion proceedings.

For example:

  1. If you buy U.S. securities and don’t have sufficient USD, you’re borrowing the money from Questrade.
  2. You’re charged interest on the amount you borrow.

To convert funds, log in to Questrade and make an exchange funds request.

Securities concentration

If the market value of a position in your margin account exceeds your equity, you have a concentrated position. In some cases, if you are too concentrated on a position, Questrade will increase the minimum margin requirement or request that you reduce the position.

Associated risks

There are significant risks when trading on margin. Before trading on margin please review the obligation to maintain margin under section 1.14 and margin risk disclosure under section 1.15 of Questrade's account agreements and disclosure document.

For more information on Canadian regulatory margin requirements, visit the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) website.

Interest rates

When you buy securities on margin, you’ll pay back the money you borrow plus interest, which varies depending on the amount of the loan. Typically, margin interest rates are lower than credit card rates and unsecured personal loans.


CAD Prime (as of November 9, 2018)  3.95%
USD Prime (as of August 16, 2019) 5.25%

Debit (Payable by customer for margin)

$100,000 debit balance $100,000 debit balance and above
All CAD non-registered accounts CAD prime+3.50% CAD prime+2.50%
RRSP, TFSA and other registered accounts CAD prime+8.10% CAD prime+8.10%
All USD non-registered accounts USD prime+3.75% USD prime+2.75%
RRSP, TFSA and other registered accounts USD prime+8.35% USD prime+8.35%

Credit (Payable to client on cash balance)

$250,000 credit balance $250,000 credit balance and above
All CAD non-registered accounts CAD prime-4.50% CAD prime-4.00%
RRSP, TFSA and other registered accounts CAD prime-4.50% CAD prime-4.50%
All USD non-registered accounts USD prime-5.00% USD prime-4.50%
RRSP, TFSA and other registered accounts USD prime-5.75% USD prime-5.75%

How and when interest is charged

Interest is based on an annual rate, calculated daily and charged or credited to your account midway through the following month. Interest accrues on overnight debit or credit balance and is charged or credited to your account midway through the following month. Except for registered accounts, Questrade will not automatically convert currencies for you when buying securities.

Overnight balance rates

These rates apply to overnight balances and are subject to change.


CAD Prime (as of November 9, 2018) 3.95%
USD Prime (as of August 16, 2019) 5.25%

Things to keep in mind

  • You’ll be charged interest if your amount owing is over $1.00 for the month
  • Margin accounts will earn interest if your amount owing is over $10.00 for the month
  • Registered accounts will earn interest if your amount owing is over $0.01 for the month
  • Balances are calculated using the average daily debit/credit balance for the interest period
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Get answers to our frequently asked questions

What is a spread ?

A spread is the difference between the bid (price someone is willing to buy at) and the ask (price someone is willing to sell at).

What is a margin call?

A margin call is when your investments drop below the minimum margin requirement. If this happens, we will notify you with steps to resolve the situation.

Is margin trading for beginners?

Trading on margin involves greater risk than just trading with the cash in your account and is generally not recommended for beginners.

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