Moving from Questrade to Interactive Brokers

Recently I noted in a post that I opened up a new Interactive Brokers account in order to trade options more economically. Here in Canada, we have always lagged our US cousins when it comes to competitive pricing. The volume simply isn’t there for most financial products to be competitive. As a result, we end up paying higher fees for most products and services.

Interactive Brokers (IB) has been on my radar for a while, but when I looked at it years ago, they did not offer tax sheltered accounts such as RRSP and TFSA. That has now changed, as IB offers both types of accounts. However, the minimum amount necessary for opening an account is still the same — a slightly steep US$10,000. If you do not have $10K lying around, but have the funds in other accounts at other brokers, you can transfer them in when opening an account — this is exactly what I did.

Based on some requests from readers, here is the process to open an IB account in Canada while moving funds from another broker (I show how to move from Questrade here, but other brokers will have the same steps).

Note: this process detailed here involves fund transfer from same account types – from a RRSP account at Questrade to RRSP account at IB. If the account types do not match, you may run into problems.

Without futher ado, here are the steps…

Step 1: Sign up to open a account with IB. This is a straightforward process where you can choose a username and password and verify your email address.

Step 2: Now, to complete the application process, you need to fund the account. Go to the ‘Funding’ tab and click ‘Position Transfers’.

Step 3: Select Transfer Method ‘ATON – Canadian Asset Transfer’.

Select Partial or full transfer (I chose Partial as I didn’t want to move all my funds from Questrade).

Select your broker from the Source list.

Step 4: Enter your Questrade (or your own broker’s) account number. Note that you also fill out a couple of other questions whether you hold margin or short position in that account.

Note: It is important to enter your account number accurately. In case of Questrade, the account number is usually 10-digits, but for most intents and purposes, they only display 8 digits as an identifier in the reports. You can go to Questrade’s eStatements or Account Management section and get the full 10-digit account number. If you only use the 8-digit number, your transfer will fail.

Step 5: Now enter the amount to transfer by clicking the Add button and selecting the cash amount. You can also transfer positions in-kind.Β Note that the amount necessary needs to be atleast US$10,000 — that’s approx $13,200 in Canadian dollars these days based on exchange rate.

That’s about it. Now you sit back and let the transfer take place.

Note that some brokers charge fees to transfer funds out. In case of Questrade, the charge is $25. Unfortunately there is no way around this fee and IB does not cover the charges.

Hope that provides a decent update on how to move funds from your broker to IB Canada. If you have trouble, you can always call IB’s customer service or chat online with their agents who can sort your problems out.

Happy investing!


35 thoughts on “Moving from Questrade to Interactive Brokers

  1. Hi R2R,

    I switched to IB in 2014, and have not looked back. IB has the lowest commissions out there, and is cheaper in total than any other brokers I have dealt with before.

    I did a partial transfer of assets, rather than close out another brokerage account and I did not have any charges.

    Good luck in your investing!


    • Good to hear, DGI. IB seems like a great tool and there are a lot of features that I am still trying to understand and get familiar with. I have found the commissions to be very good compared to the competition, so its a win for me. I will still keep my other brokerage account as there are a few features I like with it.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing

    • I was looking at switching my RRSP to IB as well but exchanging CAD to USD (for USD equities and Options etc.) and then back to CAD at withdrawal time (They don’t allow withdrawal in USD) is an added expense which many don’t factor in. Currency Risk is always unpredictable – back in 2009 – 2013 we were at par with USD and look where we are now. This thought keeps me grounded in CAD only – after all I buy my bacon in CAD πŸ™‚

      • Currency risk is not an IB-specific problem, not sure if other brokers allow USD withdrawals…but they are probably making money elsewhere — most likely giving you a bad rate for all the FX conversions. IB still gives you the best rate in the market and the transaction fees are low.


  2. I’m not with IB… yet! You might have written it in previous post, but the main advantage are lower fees? That’s for sure enough to consider but curious to see if there are other reasons to move? Is the platform better? Let me know your thoughts!



    • IB is geared more towards advanced traders. Having said that, I think its also helpful if you are into trading….but for long term investors who following dividend growth model, Im not sure how much extra oomph you can get from the tool itself. The best part is that the trades are much cheaper. Stock trading is about $1 and option trades are $1.50. Hard to argue with those kind of fees.


    • Thats too bad that opening an account is so complicated since its in a different country…but I guess that might be common across EU for most things. All the best…looking forward to reading your option moves


    • We’ve had the same problem here in Canada. The competitive prices dont make it across the border as quickly and easily. The big banks have a stranglehold on the financial lives of the citizens here. Thats why its good to be a shareholder in them πŸ™‚


  3. Larry says:

    I got the following message when I tried the ATON transfer. Did I miss anything?

    Dear IB Customer,

    Your recent Funds & Banking request #xxx87853 for account UXXX6212 has been rejected for the following reason:

    Transfer instructions submitted Rejected: 4004 DELIVERER ACCT IS A REG’D ACCT

    Third party broker or bank:

    Questrade Inc

    • Are you trying to transfer from a registered to non-registered account? The process I described works for same account types. For transferring into or out of registered accounts, the process will be different. I recommend contact the customer service at IB to get more details.


  4. Larry says:

    Thanks for your reply. It was all sorted out. At first I missed the last 2 numbers of the Questrade account. Then, I added the last 2 numbers but without removing the hyphen. The last one, I entered the correct account number I accidentally picked the wrong receiving account.

  5. Azhar says:

    Is the USD10,000 required only to fund the account while opening a new account with IB or do we also need to maintain minimum USD10,000 on going forward basis?

  6. Felix says:

    If my Questrade accounts (RRSP, TFSA) have USD in cash, i assume that can be transferred correct?

    Is it one fee ($25) to partial transfer positions in-kind and cash transfer at the same time or are they separate transactions?

    How long did it take

    • I dont think you can directly deposit USD in IB. Atleast you couldnt until a few months ago last time I checked. IB only took CAD$ deposits into the account.

      The process to transfer took a couple of days I think (its been over a year since I did it, so hard to recall). It was a pretty seamless process.

  7. Sergey says:

    Did you try to negotiate fees with Questrade? I have TFSA, RRSP, RESP accounts in Questrade and try to trade options in them, and it’s very expensive. In first 2 months, I paid more than 600 USD in fees. I want to try to negotiate fees and match IB fees – 1 USD per option contract πŸ™‚

        • Good to hear that you moved to IB, Mark. Its definitely a more advanced platform and geared more towards traders….but as long as it can keep the costs low, why not? I havent completely abandoned Questrade yet, but definitely directing more resources towards IB.


  8. Adam says:

    Hi Roadmap2Retire, this seems like a straightforward point, but your transfer from Questrade RRSP to IB RRSP did not count as a withdrawal from RRSP, correct? Also, they tend to call it RSP on IB but it really is an RRSP, correct? I’m opening an account on IB to trade ASX stocks but live in Canada. Thanks!

    • Does IB allow trading ASX stocks in an RRSP account? Last time I checked, they didnt allow it. I have to look into it again.

      To answer your questions: correct – the transfer from RRSP to RRSP does not count as withdrawal. And yes, RSP is the same as RRSP (some places tend to just call it RSP, but rest assured its the same account type).


  9. Richard says:

    Hey, trying to to move from Questrade to IB right now. Do you know if you can continue to use your original account through an ATON transfer? Or do you have to wait until it completely migrates to IB to be able to trade? Thanks.

  10. Bob says:


    I’m looking to transfer Questrade to IB both an RRSP and TFSA account.

    Partial transfer seems like the way to go at $25 as oppose to $150 for a full transfer.

    1) Now, is the partial transfer going to be one for each account? RRSP and TFSA?

    2) Would the RRSP Position Partial Transfer be considered a Partial Deregistration ($25?)

    Questrade has a $1000 account minimum to avoid inactivity fee. I believe this is consolidated.

    How much money should be left at Questrade (account minimum) to properly withdraw from the accounts? I read somewhere it’s $250 per account?

    How would we close out the RRSP and TFSA at Questrade, would it just be just withdrawal the remaining? Would that be considered Full Deregistration for the RRSP account?

    • Hi Bob,
      1. Yes, it would be applicable for each account type.
      2. This would only apply if you are moving from a RRSP account in Questrade to a non-RRSP account (in which case it qualifies as deregistration and you will have to pay income taxes on that). If you want to avoid any taxation, transfer from RRSP to RRSP account types.

      Questrade min accounts are per accounts I believe. So, if you have two accounts (one RRSP and one TFSA), you will need to keep $1k in each minimum. Confirm by getting in touch with Questrade customer service.

  11. Bob says:


    2. That makes sense, deregistration is moving capital from RRSP account to a non-registered account. A partial transfer of funds from an RRSP account to another RRSP account at another institution should not trigger a deregistration charge.

  12. Luke says:

    Hi R2R – Thank you for a very educational article. I have margin accounts with both IB and QT. Do you know whether options can be moved from QT to IB? I’m referring to covered calls, naked puts, credit spreads etc. Thanks! Luke

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