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Baffled by how to fund a Questrade account with USD? A step-by-step guide on how to transfer USD to Questrade to avoid the hefty conversion charges and get the best Questrade exchange rate.

If you are looking for the best place to buy and trade stocks and ETFs in USD (like on the New York Stock Exchange), then Questrade is your best bet. Questrade was the first to offer U.S. dollar-denominated RRSPs, which allows investors to fund an account in USD, buy U.S. stocks and ETFs in USD, and avoid unnecessary costs when it comes to converting between currencies.

But some DIY investors are stumped about how to fund a Questrade account with USD, as well as how to get the best Questrade exchange rate. For instance, I transferred some money over to my non-registered margin account on Questrade.  It took me a day to figure out why I couldn’t do a USD bill payment from my BMO bank account, and another day to realize that, in order to transfer USD to Questrade, you need to do a pre-authorized deposit.

The reason why you might transfer USD to Questrade is because you won’t have to exchange your Canadian dollars into USD when the exchange rate isn’t favourable. If you hold USD in a bank account, simply transfer the funds to Questrade in the same currency at your convenience. I don’t like losing money to currency hits and conversion charges. It’s a win-win situation. If you’re baffled by the process, here is our guide on how to transfer USD to Questrade.

Why Transfer USD to Questrade

Questrade is the right choice for DIY investors thanks to its robust and comprehensive trading platform, multiple account type options, and, of course, its extreme low-cost investing options. ETFs are free to purchase, and investors can buy and sell stocks for as little as $4.95 per trade.

Experienced self-directed investors who want to cut their investing fees to the bone can use U.S.-listed ETFs which trade in USD and come with lower fees (MER). Questrade’s dual-currency capabilities make investing in USD super easy and cost-effective. Plus, you can get $50 in free trades when you start investing with Questrade. For all the details, read our in-depth Questrade review.

Get low fees and invest in USD with Questrade FX Global

How to Transfer Your USD to Questrade From Your USD Account:

You can fund your Questrade account in USD by either using a pre-authorized deposit or a wire transfer (the two most popular methods). Here’s how to do it:

Pre-Authorized Deposit (PAD)

For a pre-authorized deposit (PAD), you will need to use the following steps:

  • Login to myQuestrade then click on Funding; Pre-authorized deposit.
  • Next, choose +Add New Bank Account. Then select ‘set-up manually*’.
  • After your account is set up, you will have to fill out the required information. Some key fields include the deposit date, frequency, and end date.
  • When PADs are set up manually, Questrade requires a PAD agreement as well as banking information on file. The PAD agreement and banking information should be uploaded before the deposit date to avoid any delays.
  • When a PAD has been submitted, you will be able to see the status on myQuestrade under Funding; Pre-authorized deposits history.

*Note if you choose to set-up manually you will have to upload a void cheque or direct deposit form for your bank account. You can upload the void cheque or direct deposit form by simply going to my.questrade.com; Account Management; Upload Documents.

Wire Transfer

If you are wire transferring USD funds from a Canadian-based institution, the following information is required:

Beneficiary information:

Questrade, Inc.

5700 Yonge Street, G1 – Ground floor

Toronto, ON M2M 4K2

Account: 4006573

Important: Include your name and Questrade account number

Banking information:

Royal Bank of Canada

Yonge & Hollywood Branch

5001 Yonge Street

Toronto, ON M2N 6P6

Swift Code: ROYCCAT2

Transit Number: 02874

For wire transfer requests, funds must be sent directly to the RBC bank account above with Questrade Inc. listed as the beneficiary. Questrade has an account with RBC for processing wire transfer requests.

You can include your name and Questrade account number in the wire transfer request.

Transferring USD to Questrade: PAD or Wire Transfer?

In short, a wire transfer will arrive sooner and there is no limit on the minimum or maximum amount you can receive on your Questrade account. However, fees may apply. A wire transfer request typically takes 1-2 business days to be completed.

A pre-authorized deposit (PAD) is free but may take longer for the funds to arrive. A PAD request of less than $10,000 CAD/USD usually takes 2-3 business days to be completed. If the PAD amount is equal to or more than $10,000 CAD/USD, it will take up to 7 business days to be completed (including a 4-day holding period).

Check with your financial institution for information on wire transfers, including fees and daily maximums. Some banks offer free wire transfers up to certain maximum thresholds, depending on your account type.

Questrade Exchange Rate

Investors need to know that exchanging funds is a service provided by Questrade and there is a small processing fee embedded in the exchange rate.

The processing fee of 199 “pips” is embedded within the exchange rate during the time of the exchange. A pip is a unit of measure in the foreign exchange market. Basically, 199 pips is equal to 0.0199%

The advantage with Questrade is that once you exchange to your desired currency, there is no need to exchange back and forth between CAD and USD. You can hold dual currencies in your account.

Note: there is a difference if you are looking to fund USD in a registered account versus a margin (taxable) account:

  • For a margin account, the currency settlement is the trade currency. It would ensure the currencies stay in their respective sides.
  • For registered accounts, you can easily check the currency settlement by going to my.questrade.com; Account Management; Account Management; Currency Settlement. ‘

The currency settlement preference lets you control how money is deposited (settled) in your registered account when you sell securities, receive cash, and when you transfer in funds from another financial institution. If you set it to CAD, then all cash will be automatically converted to CAD. If you set it to USD, then everything will be converted to USD. Setting it to “Currency of transaction” would ensure the currencies stay in their respective sides. Read more here.

Also, an important thing to note for your registered accounts: if you are funding it in USD, Questrade will still report the contribution to CRA in CAD. Just contact Questrade via chat or phone to confirm the CAD equivalent of your USD contribution and make future deposits accordingly. That way you won’t go over your contribution amounts.

Last Word: Why Should I Bother Holding USD?

There was a time when holding USD in your discount brokerage account was a major advantage – especially if you were an index investor through ETFs. This advantage basically boils down to the fact that the US was way ahead of Canada when it came to ETFs and the competitive cutting of MER fees. Consequently, if you were looking to get quick and easy diversification to any market other than Canada’s, the best way to do it was through the NYSE.

Now, you don’t need to change money over from Canadian Dollars to USD before buying stock or an ETF on the NYSE. When you make that initial purchase and have only Canadian cash available within your account, what happens is that it automatically gets exchanged. Beware: if you do this regularly and are constantly converting cash back and forth between NYSE-listed ETFs/stocks and you’re using Canadian cash, you’re going to lose a ton of money on the exchange rate. It’s way better to keep your money in one currency if possible.

Not all discount brokerages are created equal in this regard though – some of the big bank brokerages will charge you an account fee for the privilege of holding USD there. As you no doubt have picked up by this point, I’m a huge fan of keeping my money working for me inside of my portfolio – as opposed to working for someone else through fees and commissions!

Article comments

36 comments
Chi says:

ERROR: If you hold a Margins account in CAD funds, and make trades or buy stocks on NYSE. Questrade will NOT automatically exchange your CAD funds into USD. They will charge you daily interest until you exchange or fund your USD account.

Robb Engen says:

Hi Chi, my understanding is that Questrade will not allow a negative balance in USD or CAD at the end of a trading day. Their chat support is quite useful in making sure you have the appropriate balances to cover your trades.

Chetan says:

Could you please confirm if 199 pips is equal to 0.0199%? From what I know it is 1.99%……

Robb Engen says:

Hi Chetan, it’s 0.0199%. The value of a pip can be calculated by dividing 1/10,000 or 0.0001 by the exchange rate (fourth decimal place).

Ken says:

Hello, is there any way that we can fund our Questrade account with a US institution such as Bank of America?

Robb Engen says:

Hi Ken, I found the answer here. You can make a deposit from a US bank with USD by using a wire transfer. To get started, log in to my.questrade.com –> click Funding and choose “Other funding methods” and look for Wire transfer for more information.

Mike Roy says:

Hi! Resourceful article. Can I send money directly from my US bank account (Chase bank) to my Questrade RRSP account? I recently moved from the USA to Canada but have accounts in both countries

Robb Engen says:

Hi Mike, you should contact Questrade directly through customer service or via online chat support. The process may be different when transferring directly from a US Bank.

Roxanna says:

I transferred USD dollar to Questrade through direct deposit. I’m not sure why it shows in CAD now!! Any idea?

Robb Engen says:

Hi Roxanna, you need to make sure you have a USD account set up in Questrade otherwise it will automatically convert to CAD when you transfer U.S. funds to your CAD account.

Booku says:

Thanks Robb for the instruction on how to do this.

@Roxanna – you need to make sure you set the currency of your account in Questrade to USD, otherwise it will convert it to CAD by default. To do this, go into ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT, then select CURRENCY OF TRANSACTION, hit CHANGE and choose USD and save.

Peng says:

Hey quick question, when setting up the pre auth deposit to Questrade did the deposit reaccur every single months or is it just a one time thing? I noticed you said it was possible to only do it once and I would like to know how to make it a 1 time transfer only THANKS

Robb Engen says:

Hi Peng, when you set up your account you’ll be asked to fund it either through a one-time fund transfer or by transferring existing investments. The initial one-time fund transfer should just be “one-time”. To do a recurring pre-authorized deposit you need a minimum $100 and you’ll be asked for the deposit frequency (i.e. monthly, bi-weekly).

Ali Husain says:

Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your article. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to transfer USD directly to my account without the heavy currency conversion fees, and this really helps. All the best!

Robb Engen says:

Thanks Ali, it’s great that Questrade has the USD RRSP option to help us save on currency conversion.

Sam says:

Hi can you withdraw the USD from your QT account back to your USD bank account and have the money remain in USD?

Robb Engen says:

Hi Sam, yes you can do this (assuming you can link to your USD bank account) but keep in mind the tax implications if you withdraw money from your RRSP. Yes, even if the money is just sitting in cash it’s still inside your RRSP and subject to tax implications upon withdrawal.

Connie Scott says:

Does uploading a void cheque do the same as a pre authorized deposit?

Robb Engen says:

Hi Connie, yes that is the same thing. Upload a void cheque or direct deposit form, which most banks will provide for you.

halinkaii says:

I understand Questrade does not pay any interest on balances in account. Canadian or US.
Does Questrade have any other place you can deposit your cash/balances to be held short term between your trades? sometimes I don’t make the trade for weeks or months and the money just sits there without any interest.

Jessica says:

Hi there

I am Canadian and I will get paid in US Dollar from one of my client.

Since then I’m thinking of investing in US stocks in Questrade, however I’m not sure what is the best bank in Canada that has the US Dollar account.

How’s your experience with BMO?

Thanks

Kyle says:

I personally have never used Jessica. Questrade has had USD accounts for as long as anyone in Canada though I’m pretty sure.

Greg says:

I tried following the instructions in this post and Questrade is adamant that they require a void cheque or a stamped direct deposit form, even after doing their e-signature dance and faxing in a signed “direct deposit form” downloaded off the Tangerine website.

I have tried explaining that since Tangerine doesn’t have any branches it’s impossible to get the direct deposit form stamped. I also have no void cheque to send them as I’m trying to fund via a USD savings account.

Love the self-serve aspect of Questrade, but god help you if you have to deal with any of their customer support folks.

Kyle says:

Has the online support been any better Greg? That’s usually where I go first.

Aman says:

Hi Greg,

I was attempting to do something similar but I wanted to transfer USD I had in Questrade to a Tangerine USD savings account. What I did was call Tangerine and ask them what needs to be done to get a STAMPED Direct Deposit Form. They were very helpful. They are going to send a Stamped & Signed direct deposit form. I wasn’t sure if it needed to be signed but would could it hurt.

They can either fax it or mail it to you. I’m having mine mailed. I’m hoping with this I’ll be able to upload to the Questrade site and do what I need to do.

Dima says:

I’ve just set up the pre-authorized transfer of USD from my TD bank account. They didn’t require any void USD cheques, but maybe it’s because my account in CAD was at the same financial intitution and had the same transit no.

Dima says:

The next day I’ve got an email from Questrade:

Dear Mr. …,

Please be advised we have received your esigned pad agreement, however we have yet to receive a corresponding Void Cheque or Stamped Direct Deposit form.

Kyle says:

So did you send them a void cheque Dima?

Brad says:

@Steven: Questrade asks for a void cheque *or* a pre-authorized deposit form stamped and signed by the bank.

josh says:

sorry correction- i havent*. also if you have a regular/cad invesment account and transferred the funds to questrade and then try to buy usd stock will questrade automatically convert your cad to usd? thx

Teacher Man says:

Hey Josh, I have yet to do this myself. I would ask the online help. I remember reading on redflag forum awhile back that it would automatically do this within an RRSP, but no on a margin account. I would simply ask them though.

josh says:

hey

i was wondering if you had a bmo investerline usd account, or just a regualr usd saving/chequeing account that you used for the transfer. i haved opened a bmo investment account yet and would like to know if there is a cad or usd investmnet account. Thanks

steven says:

Hi,

I did exactly the same thing as what you did, however Questrade asks for a void cheque. Do I have to order us cheque? since I rarely use it. thanks.

young says:

@steven= Thanks for visiting. Hmm maybe they don’t have a bank associated with your account yet? It could be that they can’t do the online-verification with your USD account… Do you have a USD account? Maybe that’s it?

Graham says:

Hi,
Great site! I just wanted to ask you whether you would be required to have a USD denominated bank account from which to transfer the funds to Questrade (i.e. can I set up a USD Questrade account by funding from a CAD bank account)?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Cheers,
Graham

young says:

@Graham- Thanks Graham! Yes, you would, otherwise you would be transferring CAD money to a USD account which would pretty much be using their currency exchange. A USD account is really easy to set up (you get a better exchange rate too). I often just exchange money when the CAD dollar is really good from my CAD to USD account at my bank. If you want even better rates, you could go to a currency exchange place and exchange your CAD dollars and deposit the USD into the USD bank account. Hope that helps and thx for reading!