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Trading Stocks with Mobile Apps

Aug. 23, 2012
5 mins
A woman uses her phone while looking out the window of a train

Are you an avid trader feeling chained to your desktop? There's no need to stay cooped up inside to execute your trades -- an online trading mobile app will get you outdoors and monitoring the market on the go. 

These apps have been gaining steam over the past year or so, with many online bank brokerages and independent apps available for download. Whether you’re an iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry user (I know there are a few of you holdouts out there), there’s an app to suit your unique investing and market research needs, so you can tap into your watch list, buy and sell stocks and access real time market data anytime, anywhere. Here are a few features to keep in mind while finding your perfect fit.

Access to your balances

Mobile apps open the door to “swipe-tap-trade” activity -- meaning you will literally be connected to the market at all times. If you’re an obsessive balance-watcher (like yours truly), this feature is a blessing and a curse (note: checking your balance is not acceptable dinner etiquette). Your app should always be able to inform you of your total equity, market value and buying power.

Real-time market intelligence

Keep tabs on the market and future potential stock picks with every trader’s best friend: the Watch List. Your app should have an easy search function, allowing you to look up stocks and chart their data over time. If the app can sync with your desktop platform list, as offered by many online brokerage picks, even better. Some apps go as far as providing price alerts and feed in the latest finance and investing news, which is convenient for keeping an eye on a company making headlines.

Easy trading capabilities

The ideal app should make it possible to monitor and place your orders, provide real time snap quotes, and allow you to review your executed order details. Just as you’d want with a desktop application, the app should also walk you through the orders you’re placing to confirm the impact to your balance and size of your lot. It’s also important that each of your trades are password protected; an important security layer should you misplace your phone.

Access to your funds

Should you need to draw on your resources to complete your trades, having immediate access to your bank account is the utmost in convenience. This option is usually available if you’re using the same bank for your web brokerage service and your chequing account.

Picking your mobile platform

If you’re already with an online trading brokerage, chances are you can simply download their mobile offering (almost all have a version) and start trading on the fly. If your brokerage has yet to develop an app, or if you’re still deciding which desktop version to go with, check out the various features provided by some of the most popular downloads on the market.


Earlier this week, Questrade announced the launch of their Questrade Web IQ app, a long-awaited companion to their Web IQ platform, and just the latest in a sea of app offerings. Available for iPhone and Android (BlackBerry to follow), this is a great option that literally extends your desktop experience. Watch List and balances are automatically synched, and it also features real time snap quotes -- everything you need to make smart trades on the go. The app also packs Questrade’s Market Intelligence and Bulls Eye info services, as well as learning resources, in case you have questions along the way.

TD Mobile

This app consolidates all of your financial info. As you need to be a TD client in order to access their trading services, your trading interface will include your bank account balance in addition to all of your holdings. Your Watch List will be synched to your desktop account and populated by WebBroker, TD's market intelligence service.

Scotia i-Trade

This accompaniment to Scotiabank’s popular online trading brokerage is touted for its ease-of-use and access to learning resources. Available for all phone types, you’ll easily be able to review every aspect of your orders, and access real time market data through a variety of chart styles, and conduct ETF, equity and option trades.

thinkorswim Canada

This offering from TD Waterhouse is one of the most popular apps out there, and known for features that appeal to beginners and seasoned traders alike. For those dabbling in analysis, this app allows you to follow the market even without a funded account. Newbies can also try their hand at paperMoney, thinkorswim’s practice account.


While not a trading vehicle in itself, Bloomberg’s app provides unparalleled market info, with business and finance headlines directly fed in. There are plenty of tools to help you track things over time, including equity indices, futures, bonds, commodities and currencies. You can also access Bloomberg Television Live, a news network comprised of 146 news bureaus from 72 countries.

Penelope Graham

A first-time homeowner and newbie investor, Penelope Graham is the quintessential millennial, navigating the world of personal finance and wealth management. A self-professed monetary policy nerd, she follows the often-controversial housing market closely and specializes in mortgage, credit card and personal finance news.

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