FAQs

  What type of account can I open with Firstrade?

Firstrade offers a variety of online trading accounts to meet your investment needs:

Investment Accounts Retirement Accounts
Individual IRA (Traditional & Roth)
Joint (WROS & Tenants in Common) Rollover IRA
Custodian - for a Minor SEP IRA
Education Savings (Coverdell ESA) SIMPLE IRA
Investment Club Profit Sharing Plan
Corporate & LLC Money Purchase Plan
Partnership & LLP  
Sole Proprietorship  
Trust, Estate, Conservatorship  
  Does Firstrade offer any account protection?

Firstrade Securities Inc. is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC provides up to $500,000 of coverage, with a limit of $250,000 for cash balances. In addition, our clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, has purchased an additional insurance policy through a group of London Underwriters (with Lloyd's of London Syndicates as the Lead Underwriter) to supplement SIPC protection. This additional insurance policy is limited to a combined return to any customer from a Trustee, SIPC and London Underwriters of $37.5 million, including cash of up to $900,000.These protections do not protect against a decline or loss in market value of the securities in your online trading account.

  How reliable is your online trading service?

It is extremely reliable. Firstrade has high-speed backup connections and excess capacity to handle any unexpected increase in activity for any period of time. We have a fully functional redundant backup location to serve our clients in case of emergency.

  How much money do I need to open an account with Firstrade?

Unlike other online brokers, there is no minimum amount required to open a Firstrade online trading account. We do require that there are cleared funds in your account prior to placing your first order.

  What is a margin account?

A margin account allows you to increase your purchasing power by borrowing against the securities deposited in your Firstrade account. To apply for a margin account, please select and print the Margin Application & Agreement from our Forms Download Center. Margin accounts require minimum equity of $2,000 pursuant to Regulation T of the Federal Reserve Board.

  Who is Firstrade's clearing firm?

Apex Clearing Corporation is the clearing firm for Firstrade Securities Inc. When making a deposit, please make checks payable to: Firstrade Securities.

  What is a clearing firm?

A clearing firm works with major exchanges to facilitate the confirmation, delivery, and settlement of securities. A clearing firm also holds customer funds and securities.

  How long does it take for my check deposit to clear?

Check deposits of $5,000 or less will be available after 2 business days. For deposits over $5,000, the first $5,000 will be available after 2 business days and the remainder will be available after 4 business days.

  Can a foreign resident open a Firstrade account?

Yes. Although, all funds must be deposited in U.S. Dollars. All Foreign Account Applications MUST include a W8-BEN Form and Online Service Agreement, which you can download from our Forms Download Center. A copy of your valid passport (photo and signature pages) is required for all foreign residents. Fax or email the completed package to:

Fax: 1-718-961-3919
Email: newaccounts@firstrade.com

Foreign entity accounts are not accepted.

  What do I need to know about W-8 BEN form?
  Valid Form W-8 BEN

Forms W-8 BEN must be resubmitted every three years unless you have or apply for a US Taxpayer ID (ITIN or EIN) and provide the number on your Form W-8 BEN, in which case there is no need to resubmit.

Generally, tax is withheld at a rate of 30% on payments of US source stock dividends and substitute payments in lieu. The rate of withholding may be reduced if there is a tax treaty between your country of tax residence and the US.

  Updating Form W-8 BEN

Forms W-8 BEN are valid for the year in which they are signed and for the next three calendar years. For example, a Form W-8 BEN signed on March 5, 2010, remains valid through December 31, 2013, and must be resubmitted to Firstrade no later than December 31, 2013.

Note: Firstrade will send you an email when you are required to resubmit your Form W-8 BEN.

  Requirement to Complete Form W-8 BEN

Form W-8 BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status, must be on file with Firstrade. This form must be renewed every three years. If the form W-8 BEN is no longer valid, Firstrade will assume that you are a non-US person and withhold 30% US tax on all reportable income payments (credit interest, cash dividends). Non-reportable incomes and gross proceeds will withhold 28% US tax. Treaty rates, if applicable, will no longer apply.

Non-reportable income includes but not limited to:

  • Child support payments;
  • Gifts, bequests and inheritances;
  • Welfare benefits;
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy; and
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses.

Note that if you complete Form W-8 BEN you will not receive a Consolidated Form 1099, but you may receive Form 1042S.

  Withholding Penalty

If you fail to provide a Form W-8 BEN, or do not resubmit a new W-8 BEN when prompted upon the three-year expiration, additional withholding will apply. Firstrade encourages its customers to consult with their tax advisors for further guidance on how to seek relief for any tax withheld.

Refer to information below for the specific type of W-8 BEN you should complete and how long your Form W-8 BEN is valid from the date signed.

  How Long Is Form W-8BEN Valid?

A W-8BEN completed without a US taxpayer identification number, is in effect beginning on the date signed until the last day of the third succeeding calendar year, in general three years. If a change in circumstances causes any information on the form to be incorrect, this will render the form invalid. Towards the end of the three-year period you will receive an email request to resubmit your W-8BEN form.

You are not required to resubmit Form W-8BEN if you have a US taxpayer ID or ITIN and provided the number on the form.

  Form W-8BEN

Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, allows you to certify that you are a not a US person and claim treaty benefits under an existing tax treaty between the US and your country of tax residence, if applicable.

You should complete Form W-8BEN if:

  • You are opening an individual or joint account and are not a US Citizen, green card holder or legal resident of the US.
  • You are the representative of an entity that is not organized in the US but is recognized as a corporation under US law.
  • You represent a foreign entity and you have made an election on IRS Form 8832 to be treated as a corporation for US tax purposes.
  • You are a foreign tax-exempt organization or foreign private foundation that is not a recognized US charity.
  • You are the trustee of a complex trust as defined under US law.
  • You are the representative of an estate.

Part I identifies the name, location and the beneficial owner, which for purposes of Forms W-8 BEN, is the owner of the account.

In Part II you must certify your country of tax residence or incorporation in order to claim tax treaty benefits, if you are the resident of a treaty country.

  May I open an account if I am a resident of Canada?

No, at this time Firstrade is unable to accept accounts for residents of Canada.

  Where do I send deposits for my Firstrade account?

You can setup ACH electronic transfer by completing this form, and attaching a voided check. This is the fastest and easiest way to transfer funds from your bank into your Firstrade account. ACH is not available for initial deposits in new accounts.

You may also send your check made payable to Firstrade Securities to:

Firstrade Securities Inc.
30-50 Whitestone Expwy.
Ste. A301
Flushing, NY 11354

Be sure to place your account number on your check. Third party checks and checks drawn on an account under a title different from the title on the Firstrade account will not be accepted. For example, John Smith cannot write a personal check to be deposited into Mary Jones' Firstrade account.

  How long does it take to set up an account for ACH transfers after I send in the ACH Electronic Funds Transfer Form?

It can take up to five (5) business days for the ACH banking profile to be established, but this is a one-time only process. Keep in mind that ACH deposits are subject to a 2-4 business day clearing period. Please note that ACH transfers go to and come from our clearing firm, Apex Clearing. Apex Clearing is the name you'll see on your bank statement after a transfer.

  Where can I submit an ACH transfer request online?

Log in to your account, and under the "My Accounts" section, click on the "Deposit/Withdraw" link.

  What documents are required to amend an existing ACH profile?

To amend an existing ACH file, please follow the instructions below:

  • STEP 1: Download our Electronic Funds Transfer (ACH) Form and input your information.
    Review, Print and Sign the form.
  • STEP 2: Attach a voided check.
  • STEP 3: Attach a copy of the most recent bank statement and a copy of a valid government-issued Photo ID for each account holder.
  • STEP 4: Fax, Email or Mail the above documents to:

    Fax: 1-718-961-3919
    Email: ACH_Service@firstrade.com
    Mailing Address:
    Firstrade Securities Inc.
    30-50 Whitestone Expwy.
    Ste. A301
    Flushing, NY 11354

  How do I transfer my account to Firstrade?

If you are transferring from another firm, you will need to complete a transfer form. If you are a new customer, use the Online Application to open a Firstrade account, and check the box stating that you're "Transferring from another financial institution". If you're an existing account holder, complete your Account Transfer Form, and send it to Firstrade along with a copy of your most recent statement from the account you are transferring:

By Mail:
Firstrade Securities Inc.
30-50 Whitestone Expwy.
Ste. A301
Flushing, NY 11354

By Fax:
1 (718)-961-3919

By Email:
Scan and attach the file to transfer@firstrade.com

The transfer normally takes 7 business days to complete from the time we receive your completed transfer form. Some mutual funds may take longer to transfer.

  How do I deposit stock certificates?

To deposit stock certificates into your Firstrade account, simply endorse the back of the stock certificate by appointing 'Apex Clearing' as "Attorney to Transfer". Please mail the signed and dated stock certificate(s) by registered or certified mail to:

Firstrade Securities Inc.
30-50 Whitestone Expwy.
Ste. A301
Flushing, NY 11354

The name on the stock certificate(s) must match with the name/title of your Firstrade account.

The fee to deposit stock certificate(s) is a minimum of $300 per certificate.

Any stock certificate(s) clearing through Legal Transfer, will incur additional Legal Transfer fees of $300 to $600 per certificate. Legal Transfer may occur when the stock certificate(s) obtain inaccurate or outdated information. These discrepancies may include adjustments to share amount due to a stock split/reverse stock split, or changes in CUSIP number or name.

Please note: We cannot accept deposits or transfers of stock certificates for shares priced under $0.10 and we cannot accept deposits of certificates for OTCBB or Pink Sheet companies. We also do not accept restricted shares (i.e. 144 or 144a). We cannot accept deposits of stock certificates for non-U.S. accounts (international account).

  How do I withdraw funds from my account?

You may withdraw funds from your account by either requesting an ACH electronic transfer, wire transfer, or have a check mailed to you. ACH electronic transfers are fast and easy, simply click here to download the form and complete the one-time setup. Wire Transfer Requests will only be accepted via fax (718-961-3919), email (scan and attach to cashier@firstrade.com) or regular mail. All pertinent information must be included on the request in order for it to be processed. Please note that there is a $30 fee for all outbound domestic wires and a $50 fee for all outbound international wires. Check requests can be made by clicking the Deposit/Withdraw button on the My Accounts page, then clicking on the link titled Request a Check. The check will be mailed to your address on file (for U.S. domestic account only). There is no fee for this service.

  What are ADR Pass-Thru Charges?

ADR Pass-Thru Charges are fees charged by ADR custody agents and passed through to ADR holders. These fees are collected from Apex Clearing by the DTC and are in turn passed through to the ADR holder. For additional information please click here.

  How do I change my mailing address?

Please log into the Firstrade website and click on the "My Accounts" tab, then select "Profile", "My Info" to change your address and phone number. Complete the change address form and submit the information to us. The new address usually takes effect within 1 business day.

  What interest rate do you pay on cash balances?

Please refer to our Margin Rates page for our latest credit interest. We pay interest each day your account has a free credit balance as long as interest accrued is at least $1 per month.

  What are the benefits of E-Documents?

By choosing E-Documents, you can enjoy the convenience of retrieving documents on demand while reducing paper clutter. Also, by activating E-Documents you can save the $5 monthly paper statement fee, the $2 paper trade confirmation fee.

  I forgot my Password. How can I login to my account?

Click on the password reset link on login screen (found under the User ID/Password entry box) to access the Password Reset feature. Once you enter your User ID with the secret question/answer that was entered when the account was opened, we will send a new password to your E-mail address on file. You can also call our Customer Support Team at 1-800-869-8800 or send us an email, and we'll reset your password after verifying your identity.

  What happens if I transfer an account with fractional shares?

If you request to transfer assets out of your Firstrade account and a position has fractional shares, the fraction will be sold since fractional shares cannot be transferred to another firm.

  Are there any restrictions for the amount of funds I can transfer via ACH?

You can deposit up to $100,000 over seven calendar days via ACH transfer and you can withdraw up to $50,000 over seven calendar days via ACH transfer.

  Why do I need to verify my mailing address?

It is important to periodically verify your mailing address in order to ensure we can deliver any communication to you in a timely and effectively manner. For every piece of returned mail, there will be a $2 charge. Alternatively, it is recommended to enroll in E-Documents under My Accounts -> Edocuments, where you can enjoy the convenience retrieving documents on demand while reducing paper clutter.


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