ETF Index Investing Course

8. Do You Need a Lot of Money to Invest?
(before beginning ETF investing)


A big "thank you" goes to Tom for mentioning some of the fine print with Questrade to those Canadians with smaller accounts (i.e. Under $5,000).

After receiving this information, I contacted Questrade to see if there are any other rules/fees that we should know about if we hold smaller accounts. Here are all the details:

1. To start, if your account is $5,000 or above then you don't get charged any inactivity fees, no matter what type of trades you do (ex. ETFs or stock purchases), and no matter how often you buy ETFs.

2. As of June 14 2016 (the date when I contacted Questrade about this), if your account is under $5,000 and you only did non-commissionable trades (i.e. Buying ETFs is considered "non-commissionable" since Questrade is letting you buy them for free), then they will charge you a quarterly fee of $24.95.

So the bottom line is that to not get charged this inactivity fee ever, then just make sure that your account is over $5,000. If you do any commissionable trades such as buying an individual stock where they charge you a trading commission (usually around $10) then you no longer get charged this fee even if your account is under $5,000.

In summary, you only need $1,000 to open an account, but if you're only going to buy ETFs, then you need to have a balance of $5,000 or more to not get charged that quarterly fee by them.

Also, it's not like you have to invest that entire $5,000 all at once. If you're just getting started, you could have a portion of that sitting in your Questrade account as cash. This way you can do a few small trades to get your feet wet and get comfortable with the whole process.

For your reference, here is a snippet of exactly what Questrade told me (I just copied and pasted from the chat window):

Questrade: "You will not be charged any inactivity fee if you maintain a balance of $5K , there is no monthly fee there is a quarterly fee of $24.95 anytime your balance falls below $5k or if you do not place a commissionable trade."

Kornel: Oh ok. So even if let's say you put in 5k, then the market drops to $4,999, then at that point you would be charged the $24.95 in that quarter if that initial 5k invested was all ETFs (i.e. non comissionable trade).

Questrade: That is correct.


I hope that helps clear things up for everyone. If you have any questions then just let me know 🙂





  • Tommy

    Reply Reply June 13, 2016

    Hi kornel, just for your info under 5000$ there is 25$ a month for fees at quedtrade (thats why i use tangerine at fst for my yougn girls



    • By Kornel Szrejber

      Reply Reply June 15, 2016

      Thanks Tom!

      I contacted Questrade directly about this after reading your comment to see if there is any other fine print like this that we should all know about. I’ve added my findings up above (below the video).

      Thank you very much!

      • Greg

        Reply Reply December 9, 2019

        Just to clarify, how often would I need to do a commissionable trade so as to not be charged the $25 quarterly fee? If I were to open an account with Questrade and make one commissionable trade every quarter (and be charged $10, let’s say), would that work?

        I’m trying to figure out if I’m paying more in the long run for the quarterly fees vs the commission fees. Would the interest I earn off my first $1000 be enough to net me a positive amount? Sounds like investing $1000, but being charged $100 annually is pretty steep.

        • By Kornel Szrejber

          Reply Reply December 10, 2019

          Hi Greg. You will not be charged $25 quarterly as long as you keep your account active. You don’t have to do a commissionable trade every quarter to avoid the fee. I’ve included a link below directly from Questrade explaining this, but to summarize, all that you would have to do is either buy 1 ETF for free every quarter and that would consider the account “active”. Another way is to just have $5,000 or more in all your Questrade accounts combined, or just deposit $150 per quarter to invest. They basically just don’t want people opening an account and not doing anything with it.

          In my opinion, this is very reasonable since for example, you could even technically buy 1 ETF for free for let’s say around $25, once a quarter, and that would avoid the inactivity fee. If you are investing, then realistically you should be investing a portion of every paycheque so you are investing at least once a month anyway. But, even if times got tough and you couldn’t invest for a month or two, then just buy 1 ETF over a 3 month period or just deposit $150 within 3 months and you’re all set. Or if you have $5,000 in your accounts combined then you don’t even have to worry about any of this.

          Here’s the link from the source:

          Does that answer your question?

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