Do I Have to Pay a Commission if My Order to Sell Stock or Buy Stock Doesn’t Get Filled?

When I was new to online investing in my self-directed brokerage account at BMO InvestorLine, one of my first “newbie” questions was: “If I put in an order to buy a stock at a certain price and no one sells it to me, do I still have to pay the $9.95 fee?” I could see myself spending my entire investment account on fees for unfilled orders.

So I asked BMO by email how the fee works.


They reassured me that no, if the sale does not go through, I don’t have to pay the fee.

Phew.

Also, if I put in an order to sell a stock at a certain price, and no one wanted to buy it, I also would not have to pay a fee.


Partial Fills of Trades Can Result in Fees

There is one exception, though. If you put in a request to buy or sell a stock and they buy or sell part, but not all, of it then you will get charged a fee.

For example, say you want to buy 500 shares of BCE at $40. Someone may offer to sell 200 shares of BCE to you at that price. That will result in a “partial fill” of your order.

If no one else sells you the other 300 shares before the close of trade that day, you will get charged the full commission, which is $9.95 for my BMO InvestorLine account.

You get charged the $9.95 even though you still want 300 more shares. And if you put in another order the next day for the other 300 shares, if it fills you will be charged another $9.95!

I guess that’s why they call this “playing” in the market. You might have to pay a fee or two you don’t expect. Whether you have to or not is a game of chance.

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Have you ever got zinged with a fee you didn’t expect because of a partial fill? Or did they get you some other way? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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