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Trading FAQs: About Your Account

  • How does cash availability work in my account?

    Opening a Fidelity account automatically establishes a core position, used for processing cash transactions and for holding uninvested cash.

    How Your Core Position Works

    When you sell a security, the proceeds are deposited in your core position. When you buy a security, cash in your core position is used to pay for the trade. This happens automatically—you do not have to "sell" out of your core account to make a purchase. Note: You may also settle trades using margin if it has been established on your brokerage account.

    Your core position is also used for processing:

    • Checks
    • Electronic funds transfers (EFTs)
    • Wire transfers
    • Direct deposits
    • Fidelity ATM, and Visa Gold Card transactions
    • Payments made through Fidelity BillPay® service
  • What are the investment options for my core position?

    Brokerage accounts
    Your core position is an interest-bearing cash position called FCASH1 unless you specified otherwise when you opened your Fidelity Account. FCASH should be used for cash temporarily awaiting reinvestment; it is not intended solely for the purpose of earning interest. Investors should consider higher yielding investment alternatives for funds not needed immediately.

    FCASH Rates – As of 11/06/2012

    All balances 0.01%
    • Additional core position choices
    • Fidelity Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX), a taxable mutual fund investing in U.S. Government Agency and Treasury debt, and related repurchase/reverse repurchase agreements.2,3 Intended for investors seeking as high a level of current income as is consistent with the preservation of capital and liquidity.
    • Fidelity Treasury Money Market Fund (FLTXX), a taxable mutual fund normally investing at least 80% of assets in U.S. Treasury securities and related repurchase/reverse repurchase agreements. Intended for investors seeking as high a level of current income as is consistent with the preservation of capital and liquidity.2

    Retirement accounts

    For certain newly established Fidelity IRAs (including traditional, rollover, and SEP IRAs), Fidelity Roth IRAs, and Fidelity SIMPLE IRAs, your core position will be the FDIC-Insured Deposit Sweep Program, subject to its availability. If the FDIC-Insured Deposit Sweep Program is no longer available or if you'd prefer a different core position, you can select the Fidelity Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX)2,3 or Fidelity Treasury Money Market Fund (FLTXX)2 during the account opening process. For more information, please refer to the FDIC-Insured Deposit Sweep Program Disclosures (PDF). See the current interest rates available through the FDIC-Insured Deposit Sweep Program.

    After your account has been established, you can change your core position to any other core position Fidelity might make available for this purpose.

    Although you can have only one core position, you can still invest in other money market funds. If you would like to change your core position after your account has been established, please call a Fidelity representative at 800-544-6666; you cannot change your core position online.

    Learn more about Money Market Mutual Funds.

    1. Core position balances accrue interest/dividends daily and are credited to the account on the last business day of the month. Deposits to your core position begin earning interest/dividends on the first business day after the effective date of the transaction. Checks deposited on a Friday do not start receiving interest/dividends until Monday. Redemptions processed on a Friday continue to earn interest/dividends in the originating account through Sunday.

    2. An investment in a money market mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although a money market mutual fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in a money market mutual fund.

    3. At least 80% of the fund's assets are normally invested in U.S. Government securities and repurchase agreements for those securities. Certain issuers of U.S. Government securities are sponsored or chartered by Congress, but their securities are neither issued nor guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury. FMR also may enter into reverse repurchase agreements for the fund.

  • Where can I find my account number(s)?

    All brokerage securities held in an account are listed under a single brokerage account number. This number always has 9 characters and can be found in your portfolio summarylock_green

    A separate account number may be added to your account if you establish direct deposit.

    See how to determine your routing and account numbers for direct deposit.

  • When are deposits credited?

    Any deposits to your brokerage account are made to the core account, including:

    • Your initial investment
    • Deposited checks and direct deposit of pay
    • Trade proceeds
    • Cash dividends

    Collection periods vary depending on the deposit method. The collection period for check and EFT deposits is generally 4 business days. There is no collection period for bank wire purchases, direct deposits, or Federal Reserve Treasury checks. Trade proceeds vary according to the security being traded.1

    Settlement times for trades

    1. We reserve the right to require equity of up to 100% of the proposed trade's value in any account. Fidelity may waive this requirement for customers with previous Fidelity credit history or mutual fund assets on deposit. First-time traders with Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, are required to deposit at least 25% of the value of the trade. Retirement accounts require 100% of the proposed trade's value at the time the trade is placed.

  • When do trades, checks, bill payments, and check card purchases clear my core position?
    • Trades are settled, and checks are cleared automatically, using the money in your core position or available margin. Trade settlements vary according to the security being traded. Settlement times for trades
    • ATM withdrawals and debit transactions using the Fidelity Visa® Gold Check Card are debited immediately.
    • Cash withdrawals are debited the same day.
    • Payments made with Fidelity BillPay® normally take several days to clear.
  • How is interest calculated?

    A benefit of the core position is that it allows you to earn interest on uninvested cash balances. Interest is calculated on a daily basis and is credited on the last business day of the month.

  • Where can I see my balances online?

    You can see your available balance by viewing your portfolio summary lock_green and then selecting "balances" from the dropdown list. You can also arrange to have balance alerts lock_green sent to you electronically.

  • What do the different account values mean?
    Balance Description Update frequency

    Total account value

    Total account value The total market value of all positions in the account, including core, minus any outstanding debit balances and any amount required to cover short options positions that are in-the-money Real-time
    Cash (core) Account settlement position for trade activity and money movement. Executed buy orders and cash withdrawals will reduce the core, and executed sell orders and cash deposits will increase the core. Overnight
    Cash credit/cash debit A cash credit is an amount that will be credited (positive value) to the core at trade settlement. A cash debit is an amount that will be debited (negative value) to the core at trade settlement. Intraday
    Held in cash The total market value of all long cash account positions. This figure is reduced by the value of any in-the-money covered options and does not include cash in the core position. Real-time
    Held in options The market value of all long and short options positions held in the account Real-time

    Cash available to trade

    Cash available to trade The amount available to purchase securities in a cash account without adding money to the account. Executed buy orders will reduce this value (at the time the order is placed), and executed sell orders will increase this value (at the time the order executes). Intraday
    Cash (core) Account settlement position for trade activity and money movement. Executed buy orders and cash withdrawals will reduce the core, and executed sell orders and cash deposits will increase the core. Overnight
    Cash credit/cash debit A cash credit is an amount that will be credited (positive value) to the core at trade settlement. A cash debit is an amount that will be debited (negative value) to the core at trade settlement. Intraday
    Uncollected deposit Recent deposits that have not gone through the bank collection process and are unavailable for online trading. The normal check and electronic funds transfer (EFT) collection period is 4 business days. Overnight
    Committed to open orders The dollar amount allocated to pending orders that have not yet been executed (e.g., buy orders). The amount you have committed to open orders decreases your cash available to trade. Intraday
    Settled cash The portion of your cash (core) balance that represents the amount of securities you can buy and sell in a cash account without creating a good faith violation. This amount includes proceeds from transactions settling today minus unsettled buy transactions, short equity proceeds settling today, and the intraday exercisable value of options positions. Additionally, uncollected deposits may not be reflected in this balance until the deposit has gone through the bank collection process which is usually 4 business days. Intraday

    Cash available to withdraw

    Cash available to withdraw Amount collected and available for immediate withdrawal. This balance includes both core and other Fidelity money market funds held in the account. This balance does not include deposits that have not cleared. Sell orders are reflected in this balance on settlement date and buy orders are reflected on trade date. Intraday
    Cash (core) Account settlement position for trade activity and money movement. Executed buy orders and cash withdrawals will reduce the core, and executed sell orders and cash deposits will increase the core. Overnight
    Other money markets All Fidelity money market funds, other than core, held as positions in the account Overnight

    Options balances

    Options in-the-money Options that have intrinsic value. A call option is considered "in-the-money" if the price of the underlying security is higher than the strike price of the call. A put option is considered "in-the-money" if the price of the security is lower than the strike price. Real-time
    Cash covered put reserve The value required to cover short put options contracts held in a cash account. Cash covered put reserve is equal to the options strike price multiplied by the number of contracts purchased, multiplied by the number of shares per contract (usually 100). Cash available to buy securities, cash available to withdraw, and available to withdraw values will be reduced by this value. Intraday
    Cash spread reserve The requirement for spread positions held in a retirement account. For debit spreads, the requirement is full payment of the debit. For credit spreads, it's the difference between the strike prices or maximum loss. A $2,000 minimum equity deposit is required in addition to the debit requirement. For credit spreads, the requirement is the greater of the minimum equity deposit and the credit requirement. The $2,000 minimum equity deposit is required when the first spread is established. Maintaining multiple spreads in the same account does not require multiple minimum equity deposits. Overnight

    Options balances appear if options agreement exists.

    Update frequency explained 
    Real-time: Balances display values that change with market price fluctuations on the underlying securities in your account. Essentially, it is a complete recalculation based on price fluctuations of positions, trade executions, and money movement into or out of the account.
    Intraday: Balances reflect trade executions and money movement into and out of the account during the day.
    Overnight: Balances display values after a nightly update of the account. In some cases, certain balance fields can only be updated overnight due to regulatory restrictions.

  • What is an interactive statement, and where can I see my interactive statement online?

    An interactive statement gives you:

    • Quick links to important information about your holdings—including quotes, research, and performance.
    • Easy-to-read portfolio and transaction information.
    • Links to valuable portfolio planning and analysis tools.
    • The ability to customize your statement by adding or hiding accounts.

    You can view up to nine years' worth of interactive statements online under statementslock_green Your tax documents will still arrive by mail.

    • Sign up for eDelivery
      Save time, money, and space in your closet—sign up to receive an email notice lock_green whenever your next statement is posted on Fidelity.com.
    • You can also sign up to receive your Fidelity statements, trade confirmations, prospectuses, financial reports, and other documents electronically.
  • How do I add or change the features offered on my account?

    Many account features can be added or changed online, including:

    • Applying for ATM and credit cards.
    • Establishing automatic investments and withdrawals.
    • Signing up for electronic document delivery.
    • Updating bank information.
    • Signing up for Checkwriting.
    • Signing up for bill payment.
    • Reordering checks and deposit slips.
    • Signing up for margin and options trading.

    View a full list of account features that you can update.

    Some changes must be made with a signed paper form per industry regulations.

  • How do I give someone else the right to view or transact in my account?

    You can add a trading authorization to allow another person to trade in your account:

    • Limited trading authorization allows buying or selling securities in your account.
    • Full trading authorization allows buying and selling securities as well as withdrawing money from your account. Full trading authorization has limitations for some types of accounts.

    To get started, fill out a form available in account access rightslock_green

  • How is my account protected?

    Protecting your account assets
    Fidelity's brokerage businesses (Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC and National Financial Services LLC [NFS]) are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and brokerage accounts maintained with Fidelity are covered by SIPC, which protects brokerage accounts of each customer when a brokerage firm is closed due to bankruptcy or other financial difficulties and customer assets are missing from accounts.

    SIPC protects brokerage accounts of each customer up to $500,000 in securities, including a limit of $250,000 on claims for cash awaiting reinvestment. Money market funds held in a brokerage account are considered securities.

    In addition to SIPC protection, Fidelity, through NFS, provides its brokerage customers with additional excess of SIPC coverage from Lloyd's of London together with Axis Specialty Europe Ltd. and Munich Reinsurance Co. The excess of SIPC coverage would only be used when SIPC coverage is exhausted. As with SIPC, excess of SIPC protection does not cover investment losses in customer accounts due to market fluctuation. It also does not cover other claims for losses incurred while broker-dealers remain in business. Total aggregate excess of SIPC coverage available through Fidelity's excess of SIPC policy is $1 billion.

    Within Fidelity's excess of SIPC coverage, there is no per-account dollar limit on coverage of securities, but there is a per-account limit of $1.9 million on coverage of cash awaiting investment. This is the maximum excess of SIPC protection currently available in the brokerage industry.

    Both SIPC and excess of SIPC coverage is limited to securities held in brokerage positions, including mutual funds if held in your brokerage account, and securities held in book-entry form. Neither SIPC nor the additional coverage protects against loss of market value of the securities.

    Note: Certain assets are not eligible for SIPC protection. Among the assets typically not eligible for SIPC protection are commodity futures contracts and precious metals, as well as investment contracts (such as limited partnerships) and fixed annuity contracts that are not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Act of 1933.

    In accordance with the SEC rule 15c3-3, often known as the "Customer Protection Rule," Fidelity protects client securities that are fully paid for by segregating them and ensuring that they are not used for any other purpose, such as for loans to investors or institutions, corporate investment purposes, and spending. This practice helps ensure that customers have access to these securities at all times. Customer assets may still be subject to market risk and volatility.

    Protecting your personal information
    When you use the Fidelity web site, we want to make sure you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your information is safe and secure. That's why we only allow access to your account using confirmed information, such as your Social Security number or a username and password that you've created. We generally recommend using a username and password instead of your Social Security number as that combination can offer increased protection. However, no matter which mode of access you choose, we protect your information using the strongest encryption available to us. We also offer the same encryption when you access your accounts using your mobile device. To learn more about our mobile security measures, please see How Fidelity Mobile® Keeps You Safe.

    Furthermore, we also offer protection for your assets in the case of unauthorized activity in your account. For more information, please see our Customer Protection Guarantee.


More Information

  • Fidelity Learning Center

    Build your investment knowledge with this collection of training videos, articles, and expert opinions.


Settlement Times by Security Type

Investment type Purchase settlement period1, 2 Sales settlement period1, 2 Exceptions
Listed equities3 3 business days 3 business days  
OTC (over the counter)3 3 business days 3 business days  
Options 1 business day 1 business day  
Fidelity money market funds Same day Same day  
Fidelity bond funds 1 business day 1 business day  
Fidelity equity funds 1 business day 1 business day  
Non-Fidelity funds4 Varies Varies Depends on fund family, usually 1–3 days. Next-day settlement for exchanges within same families. Funds cannot be sold until after settlement.
Municipal bonds 3 business days 3 business days New issues may take 1–3 weeks
Corporate bonds and zeros 3 business days 3 business days  
Unit investment trusts 3 business days 3 business days  
Mortgage securities4 Varies Varies Depends on the time of the month the trade is placed
U.S. Treasuries and zeros 1 business day 1 business day Except for auction orders, which may take longer
Agency bonds 1 business day 1 business day
Certificates of deposit Wednesday of the following trade week 3 business days
Precious metals 2 business days 2 business days
Note: Some security types listed in the table may not be traded online.
1. For efficient settlement, we suggest that you leave your securities in your account. Brokerage regulations may require us to close out trades that are not settled promptly, and any losses that may occur are your responsibility. There is a $15 Late Payment Fee. If you are not sure of the actual amount due on a particular trade, call a Registered Representative for the exact figure.
2. Saturdays, Sundays, and stock exchange holidays are not business days and therefore cannot be settlement days. Exchanges are sometimes open during bank holidays, and settlements typically are not made on those days.
3. When you place a trade for all shares in a stock, we liquidate the fractional shares at the same execution price on the settlement date. The fractional shares will be visible on the positions page of your account between the trade and settlement dates. We do not charge a commission for selling fractional shares.
4. Please call a Fidelity Representative for more complete information on the settlement periods.