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Negative balance protection for CFDs at Questrade

Your expert
Adam N.
Fact checked by
Jan 2024
Personally tested Personally tested
Data-driven Data-driven
Independent Independent

Is negative balance protection available at Questrade?

Leveraged trading is risky because in extreme cases, your loss on a single trade may well exceed the funds in your account. So how to make sure you don't end up owing money to your broker?

Negative balance protection does just that, but sadly it's not available at Questrade. Instead, we strongly suggest you use tools such as stop-loss to limit losses; or simply find another broker.

Negative balance protection at Questrade
Adam Nasli
Financial Wizard | Trading • Safety • Market Analysis

As a trader and financial analyst, I've spent years learning the use of risk management tools, and I also thoroughly tested what's available at Questrade. If you're concerned that a bad CFD trade may wipe out your entire account, here's what you need to know:

  • Questrade doesn't offer negative balance protection.
  • A lot of CFD brokers do, so use our tools to shop around for alternatives.
  • In either case, it's a good idea to set up stop-loss orders to limit losses on your trades.
  • In times of extreme volatility, reduce trade size or leverage (if allowed).

The absence of negative balance protection can leave you exposed to bigger losses than you may be prepared for. There may be other ways to control risk, but If you insist on having this safety net, we suggest you browse our list of the best CFD brokers in your area. Almost all of them are likely to offer negative balance protection, in addition to low fees and excellent trading platforms. We have personally tested them all using real money.

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What is negative balance protection?

Negative balance protection is a mechanism that prevents you from losing more money than what you have in your account. Negative balance protection is applicable to leveraged trading, the dominant form of trading for CFDs (contracts for difference) and forex.

But how can you lose more money than what you have? In leveraged trading, it's easier than you think:

  1. Let's say you have $200 in your account, and you use $100 of that to open a CFD position with 50:1 leverage; this would mean an exposure of $5,000.
  2. If the price of the underlying product suddenly drops by 5%, you stand to lose $250. This is not only more than your initial margin, but also exceeds your entire funds in your brokerage account, potentially leaving you with a $50 negative balance.
  3. In such cases, brokers that offer negative balance protection would simply reset your account balance to zero and not demand any extra payment.

Many brokers have additional procedures in place to limit losses. When your potential loss on a trade reaches a certain point, brokers may issue a margin call, demanding that you deposit additional funds to prop up your position. If you fail to do that or if losses spiral out of hand, the broker may forcibly close your position, well before your account balance even approaches zero.

Negative balance protection is therefore often considered a last-resort safety net, for cases when extreme market volatility (or extreme leverage) renders other protection mechanisms useless.

Who is eligible for negative balance protection?

As a general rule, negative balance protection is available only for retail clients, but not for professional traders.

In order to protect retail investors and preserve the stability of the financial system, some of the world's top financial regulators have made negative balance protection mandatory for brokers that serve clients under their jurisdiction. These regulators include

Please note that many brokers operate via multiple legal entities, overseen by different regulators. In such cases, a client living in the EU and served by the broker's EU-based legal entity may be eligible for negative balance protection; while a client living in, let's say, South America, onboarded by an international entity of the broker, may not be eligible.

Sometimes brokers offer negative balance protection even if they're not legally required to do so. In such cases, the service may come with conditions or restrictions - e.g. it may not be applicable to too-high leverage levels, or it may be offered for a limited period of time only as a sign-up promotion.

For more information about the legal background of CFDs, check out our overview of CFD regulations, including whether CFDs are legal at all in your region.

Ways to reduce risk besides negative balance protection

Questrade may not offer you negative balance protection, but that doesn't mean you can't take risk management into your own hands when trading CFDs. Here's how:

  • Set up a stop-loss order; this involves setting a price at a specific distance below the current market price at which your broker will automatically close your position.
  • In a volatile market environment, or if your leverage is too high, stick to a smaller position size; so that even a big loss on this single trade will not threaten your entire capital.
  • Reduce the leverage on your trades in the case of extreme market volatility. A leverage of 5:1 or 3:1 can still land you decent profits if prices jump in your direction; but it can protect you from excessive loss if prices suddenly and steeply move against you.

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Author of this article

Adam Nasli

Financial Wizard | Trading • Safety • Market Analysis

I bring extensive financial expertise as one of BrokerChooser's earliest team members. Personally, I tested nearly all 100+ brokers on our site, opening real-money accounts, executing trades, assessing customer services, and providing firsthand assessment. My professional background includes roles in the banking sector and a degree from Central European University, where I teach finance. My passions lies in in-depth research of the financial industry, building trading algorithms, and managing long-term investments.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

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