How to Initiate ACH transfers

Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposits/withdrawals may be made to your IB account from and to your bank using one of two transfer methods. Under the first, referred to as ‘ACH Initiated By Us’, your transfer request will be automatically processed through a message sent to your bank by IB.  Prior to using this method you will need to create a standing instruction through Funds Management which authorizes IB and your bank to electronically transfer funds between the two accounts and then verify a series of test transactions issued to your bank account several days later which serve to establish the link.  Once established, this transfer method can be used for future deposit and withdrawal requests. 

Under the second, referred to as ‘ACH Initiated By Bank’, you provide IB with a notification of the amount you wish to transfer via ACH and then you contact your bank and provide them with a print out of the notification form in order to initiate the transfer.  Please note that your notification to IB under this method only serves to match your deposit to your account upon arrival and does not result in the transfer of funds.  The transfer of funds will only be initiated once you provide your bank with the IB destination account details included on the notification form.  

To use the 'ACH Initiated At IB' transfer method, you will need to first set up instructions through your IB account as follows: 

1. Log into The IB Account Management application;

2. Select the Funding and then Funds Transfers menu options;

3. From the Transaction drop-down list select Deposit or Withdraw;

4. From the Method drop-down list select ACH Initiated By Us;

5. You will be then be provided with a drop-down list titled Source from which you will see a list of any existing  instructions you've created along with an option to Add New Instruction.  Note that this screen will also provide information regarding credit holds and withdrawal restrictions relevant to this type of transfer request.

6. Once you have selected Add New Instruction you will be directed to the instruction input screen where you will be asked to provide the information about your bank account (i.e., bank account number and ABA routing number) which is necessary to establish a link.  All of this information may be obtained from viewing your check;

7. You will be asked to confirm your request via electronic signature and security token authentication which authorizes both IB and your bank to act upon any transfer requests you provide through IB;

8. Within 1-3 business days, two random credits (deposits) each less than one dollar and a  corresponding debit (withdrawal) will be issued to your bank account. 

9. You will need to monitor your bank account for these transactions as they will  be needed to confirm this funding instruction.  Note that these transactions may take place on different days.

10. Once you have these amounts, log back in Account Management and from the Pending Requests menu option select the Confirm Amount link adjacent to your instruction enter the credit amounts.

11. Once you have entered the correct amounts, you may use the ACH instruction for deposit and withdrawal transfers.

Note that IB does not charge any fee for ACH deposits and accounts are afforded one free withdrawal request per month.  Also note that ACH deposits are subject to a 4 business day credit hold after arrival prior to being credited to your account.  In addition,  if funds are withdrawn to a bank other than the originating bank, a 44-business-day withdrawal hold period will be applied.


Can I open a paper trading account for practice purposes before opening a live account?


IB does offer a paper trading account which allows one to use the full range of IB trading facilities in a simulated environment using real market conditions.  This account, however, is made available only after the regular trading account has been approved and funded. Until that time, we recommend that you try the online demos made available to prospective customers through our website to get an overview of system functionality.   A demo of both the TraderWorkstation or WebTrader trading platforms may be found by visiting our website at and selecting the Individuals page.  There you will be presented with a series of links including one titled 'Demos'.

I'm trying to transfer assets from my account at Fidelity via ACATS but can't find that broker on your dropdown list.


Fidelity Investments uses its National Financial Services affiliate for certain clearing, custody and brokerage services including ACATS transfers.  To initiate a full or partial ACATS transfer from a Fidelity account, select  National Financial Services (DTCC No 0226) from the drop down broker list.

Are the funds I deposited today considered for buying power calculations?


The answer is yes.  To calculate buying power IB compares Current Equity with Loan Value to Previous Day Equity with Loan Value.  Whichever figure is lesser is used.  From the lesser of these two figures, the Initial Margin Requirement on the positions you currently hold in the account is subtracted.  The difference is then multiplied by the current leverage amount (at present 4:1), which results in your intraday buying power.  Funds deposited today are now considered as part of Previous Day ELV. 

Please understand that funds deposited today will not be considered until they have cleared all appropriate funds and banking channels and are officially in the account. 

Also note that this calculation of buying power applies to Regulation T margin type accounts and not to Portfolio Margin type accounts. 

The Previous Day ELV check is done once an account is labeled as a "Pattern Day Trader" account.  This occurs when the account has completed 4 day trades in a 5 day period.  If the account is not labeled as a PDT, then the Previous Day ELV check doesn't apply. 


The equation used is:


((Lesser of: Equity With Loan Value or Previous Day Equity With Loan Value) - Initial Margin)*4 for accounts labeled as PDT accounts.

(Equity With Loan Value - Initial Margin)*4 for accounts not labeled as PDT accounts.

IRA: Understanding Rollovers

Interactive Brokers offers three IRA account types for U.S. persons:  Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and Simplified Employee Pension plan IRA (a.k.a. SEP-IRA).  Rollover transaction options may be available into or out of each account type.

The term IRA Rollover refers to several different movements of funds between U.S. retirement accounts.  Select from the list below for a brief description of each rollover type available, as well as the their guidelines.


IRA to IRA Rollover

Direct Rollover

IRA to Employer Sponsored Retirement Plan Rollover

12-Month Rule

60-Day Period


Rollover Types

1. IRA to IRA Rollover

Funds withdrawn from an IRA and re-deposited into an IRA within 60 days may be eligible for treatment as a 60-day rollover contribution.  If eligible, this movement of funds may qualify as an IRA withdrawal of funds without any penalty or taxes.   

Tax Reporting - IB will report the withdrawal of funds as an IRA distribution and the re-deposit of funds as an IRA rollover contribution to the IRS.   The IRS receives Form 5498 (IRA Contributions) and Form 1099-R (IRA Distributions).  US investors do not include the Form 5498 with their tax filing, but do include the 1099-R.  Click 2012 Tax Reporting for details.

2. Direct Rollover

Funds received or withdrawn from an employer-sponsored retirement plan and deposited directly into an IRA.  The 20% tax withholding of funds by the plan sponsor is waived when funds are rolled directly into an IRA. 

Tax Reporting - IB will report the deposit of funds from an employer-sponsored retirement plan as an IRA rollover contribution to the IRS.  The IRS receives Form 5498 (IRA Contributions).   US investors do not include the Form 5498 with their tax filing.  Click 2012 Tax Reporting for details.

3. IRA to Employer Sponsored Retirement Plan Rollover

Funds moved directly from an IRA into an employer's retirement plan are deemed rollover contributions.  Not all retirement plans accept rollovers from IRAs.  Investors should consult the plan sponsor to determine eligibility.

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Limitations & Guidelines 

12-Month Rule

Distributed funds from an IRA may be rolled into another IRA only once every 12-month period.  The rule applies to funds withdrawn from each separate IRA.  The 12-month period begins the date funds are received, not on the date funds are deposited into another IRA. (See IRS Publication 590 for limited exceptions to the rule.)

60-Day Period

Distributions from an IRA or Employer Sponsored Retirement plan may remain eligible for the tax-free rollover treatment only when contributed to another qualified plan within 60 days of receipt.  Generally, funds re-deposited outside of 60 days are not tax-free.  The withdrawal of funds is taxable. The deposit into another IRA is treated as a regular contribution.  (See IRS Publication 590 for limited exceptions to the rule.)

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Click here to return to the Retirement Account Resource page.

Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a q

Will IB delay liquidation while I deposit funds in my account?


IB's margin compliance policy does not allow for transfers or other deposits if there is a margin violation/deficit in the account.  In the case of a margin violation/deficit, the account in deficit is immediately subject to liquidation.  Automated liquidations are accomplished with market orders, and any/all positions in the account can be liquidated.   There are cases where, due to specific market conditions, a deficit is better addressed via a manual liquidation.

Funds deposited or wired into the account are not taken into consideration from a risk standpoint until those funds have cleared all the appropriate funds and banking channels and are officially in the account.  The liquidation system is automated and programmed to act immediately if there is a margin violation/deficit. 

Note for Prime Clients: Executing away is not a means to resolve real time deficits as away trades will not be taken into consideration for beneficial margin purposes until 9 pm ET on Trade Date or when the trades have been reported and matched with external confirms, whichever is later. Trading away for expiring options, on expiration day, is also discouraged due to the potential for late or inaccurate reporting which can lead to erroneous margin calculations or incorrect exercise and assignment activity. Clients who wish to trade expiring options on expiration day and away from IB, must load their FTP file no later than 2:50 pm ET, and do so at their own risk.

Why does the system not recognize my SWIFT code?


S.W.I.F.T  stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.  It is a non-profit organization comprised of member financial institutions.

Only SWIFT codes which are part of the SWIFT network are recognized as SWIFT codes.

Why does IB place a hold on the funds deposited via check when my bank has already debited the funds from my account?



IB, like any bank customer, is subject to the hold periods that banks by regulation are allowed to place upon check deposits. While these regulations generally provide for full availability to be provided within 2 to 5 business days, banks in certain instances may not make the funds available until the 11th business day, and a key factor in determining the availability timeframe is whether the check is drawn upon an institution whose Federal Reserve check processing office is local relevant to IB’s bank (which is determined based upon the routing transit number or ABA bank code listed on the check).  As it is not operationally feasible to distinguish and track the clearance of individual checks given a large and geographically diverse client base, IB has opted to use a uniform hold period of 7 business days for check deposits (with funds made available on the 8th business day).  This timeframe had been selected based upon a review of historical data which suggests that the risk of non-payment of funds to be sufficiently minimal after that period.


To minimize any delays associated with the receipt and crediting of deposits, IB strongly recommends that clients deposit funds via wire transfer as this process introduces few of the credit risks or operational overhead typically associated with checks.  In addition, funds deposited in this manner are immediately credited to your account upon arrival and are not subject to any processing fee by IB.

Why do certain cash deposit and withdrawal requests require that an instruction be created while others do not?



Whether or not an instruction is required is a function of both the transaction type (i.e., deposit or withdrawal) and its underlying method (i.,e. check, ACH initiated at IB, ACH initiated at sending bank or wire).  In general, if the deposit method dictates that IB pull funds directly from the client’s account or if the withdrawal method dictates that IB push funds directly to the client’s account, an instruction will be required in order to obtain the necessary account specific information and authorization to act.  Outlined in the chart below are the possible scenarios.







ACH – at Bank

ACH – at IB












Yes if instruction is  created as  Debit/Credit, no  if  Credit only




How do I transfer my US securities positions from my current broker to IB?


Broker to broker transfers for US securities are conducted via a process known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS.  This process generally takes between 4 to 8 business days to complete in order to accommodate the verification of the transferring account and positions. The request is always initiated via the receiving broker (IB in this case) and can be prompted by following the steps below.

1.      Log into Account Management and select the Funds Transfer and then Position Transfers menu options.

2.      From the Transfer Method drop-down list select ‘ACATS'.

3.      From the Type drop-down list select either ‘Full’ or ‘Partial'.

a.       Note that the ‘Full’ election does not require that you specify any assets as an attempt will be made to transfer your account in its entirety.  Account holders should note, however, that certain positions may not be on the list of securities eligible to trade at IB and others, while transferable, may be subject to a house margin requirement higher than that of the delivering broker.  In the event IB receives an asset list from the delivering broker which includes ineligible positions or the aggregate of the positions transferred are such that a margin deficit would exist were the transfer to occur, IB will attempt to contact you to remedy the situation within the allocated time frame after which an automatic reject of the full transfer would take effect.  Account holders may wish to minimize potential delays or problems associated with a ‘Full’ transfer request by verifying security eligibility and margin requirements via the Contract Search link located at the upper right hand corner of the IB homepage prior to initiating the transfer.

b.      Note that the ‘Partial’ election will require that you specify the positions you wish to transfer on step 5.

4.      From the Source drop-down list select the delivering broker.  Note that certain brokers maintain multiple Participant account numbers with DTCC and account holders are encouraged to confirm with their delivering broker the account number to be associated with the transfer request.

5.      On the Deposit & Transfers/ACATS Request form enter the account number as reflected on your delivering broker account statement and respond to questions regarding the existence of a margin loan, short positions and option positions. Note that certain short stock positions may not be transferable if IB is unable to locate and borrow.  In the event of a ‘Partial’ election, you will need to provide additional detail (product identification, number of shares/contracts, long/short designation) as to the stock, option, mutual fund, bond or cash position you wish to transfer.

6.      Provide electronic signature authorizing the transfer.


Please note that brokers generally freeze the account during the transfer period to ensure an accurate snapshot of assets to transfer and may restrict the transfer of option positions during the week prior to expiration. You may wish to check with the delivering broker to verify their policy in this regard. In addition, please note if your IB account is currently maintaining positions on margin, any cash withdrawals or adverse market moves could increase the likelihood that your account falls out of margin compliance during the transfer period which may delay or prevent completion of the transfer. 



Applicants may meet the initial account funding requirement through the transfer of securities positions and/or cash via the ACATS system.

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