Day 1 - Bad Experience

Hi Forum,

It’s my first day using Alpaca and I am just paper trading. With that said, I’ve already encountered multiple errors:

  1. Failed to close position due to pattern day trading protection
  2. Wasn’t able to short a particular stock

Is this going to be an ongoing thing if I switch to a live account? I’m not seeing the most glaring reviews on here. Should I continue down this path or go to a more reliable broker?

Please advise!

@dlevy001 - I know there were some issues today with the paper accounts, so you picked a bad time for a first day. Having said that, I’ve been paper trading for a few months now with no downtime and only a few minor issues (usually having to do with orders not filling correctly on paper account). I’ve been told that the paper account is a simulation of the live that Alpaca has put together, so it will not be the same as Live and that the Live is more reliable.

For both your issues (Day Trade protection and Shorting), check your account settings. Should be under “Configuration” under “Paper Account” left hand menu bar. Re Day Trade, it may also be that your account closed for the day under 25K. I haven’t experienced that error myself. But you may want to do a quick search on here:

Re whether you should continue: I found the Alpaca API to be super easy to learn, and it’s free. So really depends on your level of expertise, your budget, and the type of code you’ll be running. I’ve also heard many good things, and in all fairness, people only come on here when they have a problem (not to praise). I use these minor glitches to implement more safeguards in my code and to expect anything.

Also, you may want to join the Slack Channel, and chat with people directly there.

Hope that helps.

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To add to @Joseph’s answer above. Also be aware that Alpaca only allows you to short ETB stocks. Anything HTB is not shortable. Depending on how you’re accessing the API there is a way to get asset information which will have a boolean for whether or not a particular stock is shortable. Part of my daily routine before trading is to check my watchlist and make sure everything that I COULD be attempting to short is shortable on Alpaca. It may change day to day so don’t assume just because you were able to short xyz today that you’ll be able to short it again tomorrow.

Also although there have been small issues and downtimes here and there in the time that I’ve been using Alpaca, I have found that they usually respond quickly to address issues, have a reliable status page to monitor if you’re hands off trading, and just overall provide a lot more solutions than problems. They seem to continuously be becoming more reliable and add new useful features every so often. I would stick it out and give it a second chance