Changing Bank Accounts / Access to Funds

Hi, I’m concerned about how Alpaca deals with bank accounts.

For the record I’ve never had an issue depositing or withdrawing funds, aside from the 7 business day hold time on deposits (which seems over the top, my bank can clear a check within 2 days).

What happens if I need to change a bank account after a deposit? I don’t have a lot of money here, <$1000; but I would like to increase that balance, slowly increasing it over time; like a proper investment account.

I’m linked with Chime at the moment, which isn’t the most trustworthy of banks. I’m in the process of withdrawing all my funds ($50 lol) to avoid any problems before changing banks; I’ll deposit again from the new, real bank.

I’ve read all kinds of horror stories on this forum and elsewhere about people getting locked out of their funds after attempting a bank change, and the response from alpaca was “Anti-Money Laundering Rules”. I understand alpaca doesn’t want any liability, and they take international customers (I’m from the US); but what is the exact policy here? What laws are you referencing?

Interactive brokers, Robinhood, and Coinbase literally give me a debit card, and there’s none of this nonsense about being forced to withdraw to the same bank account you deposited from. Robinhood and Coinbase will happily let me deposit or withdraw from any debit card; bank account, paypal, crypto, literally anything, and there’s no such “AML” rules in place. These rules seem to come from alpaca, a business policy, not any kind of law requiring it.

If for some reason I need to change my bank account, it was closed, fraud, account #'s changed, etc, whatever reason in the future… What are the steps to do this? I don’t see what the problem is if I own both bank accounts. I’m not trying to deposit / withdraw from any other account that I am not the sole owner of; and God forbid what if I got married and now it’s a joint account with someone else. The service your using should be able to verify all of this and it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I’m terrified to have any significant amount of funds in alpaca beyond a test bag over this issue. I don’t particularly trust Coinbase, Robinhood, or banks in general either, but I’m supposed to be able to trust my stock broker, you make money off trading fees and data subscriptions; not by balance.

  1. What is the process for withdrawing funds to a bank account you didn’t originally deposit from?
  2. What is the turnaround time, how long does it take for support to fix it?

I’ve read all over this forum of people being blackholed by support; which is something Coinbase is famous for. And now the link to your slack 404’s. If you guys shut down the slack, you should remove the link from the dashboard; it’s been weeks since I even noticed. How long could that possibly take? I’m a programmer… not that long.

Your service is great but I can’t risk depositing larger amounts of funds until these questions are answered. I’ve come to realize a lot of my code, pulling candles etc, is far too specific to alpaca, and now I’m forced to rewrite large parts of it and look around at other services to diversify from this lack of trust.

Security measures these days are over the top. I’m not worried about anyone logging into my account and stealing my money; I’m worried I’m going to login one day to “SECURITY ALERT” and then get blackholed by support for a year trying to access my own money, and it’s not just an alpaca problem, it’s a problem everywhere. This is supposed to be why DEFI exists I guess.

As I said though I personally have never had any issues; but I’ve never tried to change bank accounts before. I would just like these questions answered.


Right off the bat; and this is a critical flaw in how alpaca is handling this… If I were to slowly build up an investment account, say over 10 years. Does alpaca really expect me to maintain the same bank account for 10 years?

Does alpaca expect me to sell all of my investments and withdraw the cash, triggering short term capital gains, just so I can turn around and re-deposit it from a new bank and rebuy all my stocks? This is nothing with $50. But what if it was $500,000. It seems ridiculous on it’s face.

@algotrader39 The underlying requirements which Alpaca, and all brokers, must comply with are a set of laws and regulations generally enforced by the US Treasury Dept Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). You can look at that link for a broad overview.

I’ll add some context to some of the issues you brought up.

…the 7 business day hold time on deposits…
The actual time is 6 business days. This is primarily for ACH deposits (and generalized to others). The entire ACH process can take 3-5 days before the recipient (eg Alpaca) is notified of insufficient funds in the sending account so Alpaca waits that time before allowing one to withdraw funds. This is a bit different than check clearing in banks. Additionally, it looks suspicious if one deposits funds but then immediately withdraws them.

What happens if I need to change a bank account after a deposit?
While it creates the least amount of work to always withdraw to the same account one deposited from, the real restriction is one needs to withdraw to a bank account which has the same name and address as the Alpaca account. If one changes banks simply supply a bank statement or other proof showing the new account is yours. This can take a week or so at times, so it’s best if one does change banks, to link to the new bank before any withdrawals. The concern here is one cannot use Alpaca to transfer money from one person to another.

One suggestion is to always leave an existing bank account open, indefinitely if possible, but at least until one successfully links a new bank.

Interactive brokers, Robinhood, and Coinbase literally give me a debit card…
Typically those entities partner with a separate bank to provide debit card services which are regulated a bit differently than brokerages and can therefore offer other services.

Hope that gives to context. You aren’t ‘locked’ into withdrawing to the same account it is just easier for you if it is.

Also regarding the slack link (yes we are aware it’s broken). Here is a current one.

Thanks for the response.
I’ve read elsewhere on this forum that there’s a 6 month delay after switching banks before you can withdraw funds to the new bank, without an “exception”. Is this the case?

Obviously all accounts would be owned by me and it wouldn’t be an everyday thing. More like a once every couple years thing if at all.

If turn around time from support is only a week or two to get this fixed it’s less of a deal.
What I’m doing presently is what you suggested is the easiest route though. I’m withdrawing to the old bank. Then I’ll re-link a new one and deposit from that to avoid any issues.

Thanks again for the reply; you guys really do have a great service. Just a shock to go from something like robinhood or coinbase where everything is instant to these types of delays.

The trading algo I work on trades in relatively short intervals; not day trading but it doesn’t hold a trade for months either. I like to treat these things as alternatives to savings accounts; which is not the way to go about it really. Robinhood with their spend card encourages this behavior though; deposit your paycheck in there and treat it like a bank account; same with coinbase.

Depositing and withdrawing non-stop on short interval is encouraged there; it’s not seen as something “suspicious”.