GTC Order Definition And Meaning In Trading

GTC Order Definition And Meaning In Trading

Market orders are some of the most basic and important tools at traders’ disposal. There are a few different market order types traders can use to have more autonomy in how they structure their strategies, when they buy and sell. 

Some orders are active until the end of the trading session, while others are open until the trader manually cancels the order. Such trade trader orders are called Good Til’ Canceled, or GTC orders. 

GTC orders can be market or limit orders, as the distinction is based on the activity period of the order, rather than the price of the instrument. 

GTC orders are especially useful for traders that prefer more autonomy in their trading strategies and have the time to manually monitor the market and cancel orders if they do not get filled. 

Good Til’ Canceled orders have no duration limits, which make them simple to manage until desired price target has been met and the order has been filled. 

If you are a beginner trader and would like to know more about GTC orders and how they work, this Investfox guide is for you. 

How GTC Orders Work In Trading

As already mentioned, GTC orders are orders designed to remain active until they are executed, canceled by the trader, or until a predefined expiration date, typically set by the brokerage, is reached.

Such orders are present on various asset markets, such as stocks, forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, etc. 

Here’s how GTC orders typically function:

  • GTC orders remain active indefinitely until they are fulfilled or explicitly canceled by the trader. This means they can span multiple trading sessions, days, or even weeks or months, depending on the brokerage's policies
  • GTC orders are useful for traders who want to automate their trading strategies, capture specific price levels, or take advantage of trading opportunities without the need for continuous manual intervention. They are commonly used for limit and stop orders

Types Of GTC Orders

Since GTC orders are concerned with the duration of trade orders, there is a distinction between GTC limit and market orders with regards to the price of the instrument.

Here’s how each GTC order type works:

  • GTC Limit Orders - A GTC limit order specifies a desired price at which a trader is willing to buy or sell an asset. For instance, a trader may place a GTC limit order to buy a stock at a lower price or sell a currency pair at a higher price. If the market reaches the specified price, the order will be executed
  • GTC Marker Orders - A GTC stop order sets a trigger price at which an order becomes active. Once the trigger price is reached, the order is transformed into a market order and executed at the prevailing market price. GTC stop orders are commonly used for risk management, such as setting stop-loss orders

Pros And Cons Of GTC Orders

GTC orders can be beneficial during specific market conditions, and inconvenient in other scenarios. It is important for traders to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of GTC orders before using them in regular trading. 


  • Convenience: GTC orders allow traders to set specific price levels and trading strategies in advance, eliminating the need for constant monitoring of the markets
  • Risk Management: GTC stop orders help traders manage risk by automating the process of selling an asset if its price reaches a predetermined level, reducing potential losses
  • Autonomy: Traders that frequently use GTC orders have more control over the management of the orders and can quickly cancel them manually as market conditions change


  • Expiry Date: GTC orders may have a predefined expiration date, typically determined by the brokerage. Traders should verify the duration of the GTC order and re-enter it if necessary after it expires
  • Market Conditions: In rapidly changing markets, GTC orders may not be executed as expected. Prices can move quickly, and the market may not revisit the desired price level
  • Convolution And Omittance: Traders who place many GTC orders regularly may forget to check on their older orders, which can be filled at unfavorable prices in the future

Brokerage Policies

GTC orders cannot be left open indefinitely and brokerages have varying limits on the duration of GTC orders. Some brokerages allow GTC orders to stay open for an extended period, while others may have more restrictive timeframes. Common GTC order expiration periods are 30, 60, or 90 days, but they can vary widely.

If a GTC order reaches its expiration date without being filled, brokerages may offer options for renewal or re-entry. Traders might need to manually re-enter the order if they wish to keep it active, potentially with adjusted parameters.

Key Takeaways From GTC Order Definition And Meaning

  • A Good Til’ Canceled, or GTC order, is a market order that remains active until it is filled or canceled by the trader
  • GTC orders give more flexibility and autonomy to traders who manage their own portfolios
  • There are two types of GTC orders - Market and Limit, based on the price specifications of the traded instrument 
  • Brokerages have rules in place regarding the longevity of a GTC order. In most cases GTC orders can be active for 30 days or more, depending on the broker 

FAQ On GTC Orders

How does a GTC order work in trading?

A GTC order is a type of stock or securities order that remains active until it's executed, canceled by the trader, or a specified expiration date is reached. It allows traders to set a target price or condition for a trade, and the order remains in the market until it's met.

Are GTC orders always open?

GTC orders remain open until they are executed, canceled by the trader, or reach a specified expiration date, typically spanning days, weeks, or even months. They allow traders to set long-term price targets or conditions, offering flexibility in trading.

What happens when a GTC order is not filled?

When a GTC order is not filled, it remains active until canceled by the trader or until it reaches the specified expiration date. Traders can choose to modify or cancel the order if it no longer aligns with their trading strategy.