Placing a stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF) trade on

6 simple steps, plus answers to frequently asked questions.

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Here's how to place a trade with our easy-to-use trade ticket on Want more detail? Read the definitions along the way, and be sure to check out our FAQs below on order types, settlement, and more.

Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Select an Account' dropdown menu is open, highlighting a cash management account. 1. Select the Account you want to trade in.
Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Symbol' field is highlighted and XYZ is entered. 2. Enter the trading Symbol.
Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Action' dropdown menu is highlighted and open. 3. Choose an Action.
Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Quantity' field is highlighted, with the number 1 is entered. 4. Enter the Quantity (number of shares) that you want to buy or sell.
Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Order Type' dropdown menu is highlighted and open. 5. Select an Order Type. The most common order types are market order and limit order. Use the definitions to help make a choice. Read more about using order types.
Example screen of the trading tool. The 'Time in Force' dropdown menu is highlighted and open. 6. Select a Time in Force which sets how long an order stays open. For example, a day order cancels at the market close if not executed. Use the definitions to help make a choice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are trading orders?

    An order provides direction on how you want your trade executed.

  • How do I know which order type to use?

    Different order types can affect the time and price at which you might buy or sell. Which order type to choose will generally be determined by your investing strategy and goals for the trade. When entering your trade, you will be prompted to specify the type of order you would like to make.

  • What is a market order?

    A market order is the quickest way to place a trade by executing at the next available price when the market is opened. Market orders put priority on execution, but do not guarantee price.

  • What is a limit order?

    A limit order sets the maximum price at which you’re willing to buy or the minimum price at which you’re willing to sell. Limit orders target price, but do not guarantee execution.

  • What is time in force?

    Time in force (also known as order duration) is how long you'd like an order to stay open before it is executed or it expires. These are several types of time-in-force orders: day orders, fill or kill (FOK), immediate or cancel (IOC), and good 'til canceled (GTC).

  • What is a day order?

    A day order is an order that cancels the trade if it is not executed by the close of the trading day.

  • What is a good 'til canceled (GtC) order?

    A good 'til cancled order is a time-in-force limitation that can be placed on a stock or ETF order and defaults to an order expiration date of 180 calendar days from the order entry date at 4:00 p.m. ET. You may select your own order expiration date and/or time, up to 180 calendar days from the order entry date. If all or part of your order is not executed by the date and/or time you've selected for expiration, any open portions of your order will be canceled.

  • After a trade is placed, when do I actually own the stock or get the money?

    After a trade is placed you will generally own the stock, exchange-traded fund, or option in 1 or 2 business days, depending on the security traded. If selling a security, you will also receive your money within 1 or 2 business days.

  • What is the settlement date?

    The settlement date is when your trade is completed and the money for the trade is actually debited or credited to your account.

  • What happens on the settlement date?

    On the settlement date securities that you bought, or any cash that you got if you sold securities, is all yours and will appear in your account for you to hold onto or initiate a new trade.

  • How long does it take for a stock, ETF, or options trade to settle?

    Settlement dates vary depending on the investment. Stock and ETF trades settle 2 business days after the trade date, also described as T+2. Options settle 1 business day after the trade date, T+1. For example, if you place an order to buy a call option that is executed on Tuesday, you will see your account debited to pay for the transaction or credited from the proceeds of a sell on Wednesday.

  • Why is the trade settlement date important?

    The trade settlement date is important because it is the date when you actually own the stock or exchange-traded fund you've bought, or if you've sold a security, it's the date when you can expect to access the cash from the sale.

  • What do I need to know to help avoid trading violations?

    To help avoid trading violations, it's important to understand and pay attention to settlement dates so you aren't attempting to use unavailable funds to cover a purchase. Of specific concern are day trading violations where you attempt to buy and sell in the same day, before a trade is settled.

    Learn more about avoiding cash account trading violations and margin requirements for day traders.

  • Can I place orders before the market opens and after it closes?

    Yes, orders in the premarket session can be entered and executed between 7:00 a.m. and 9:28 a.m. ET, and orders in the after-hours session can be entered and executed between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET. However, your order may be executed in whole or in part, or you may not receive as favorable a price as when the market is open because of the lack of liquidity in extended hours-trading.

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