General Question

# Minimal Deposit

Does Alpaca require a minimum deposit? No, Alpaca does not require a minimal deposit to fund your account.

Q - Does Alpaca require a minimum deposit?

For U.S. residents (individual taxable accounts) : No, Alpaca does not require a minimal deposit to fund your account.

For non-U.S. residents (invite only beta) : Yes, there is $30,000 initial funding requirement in today’s beta program. Also, the program allows only international-wire transfer to deposit funds (it does not support TransferWise or Revolut).

For business entities globally (invite only beta for business trading accounts) : Yes, there is $30,000 initial funding requirement in today’s beta program.

Please read Account Plans for more information.

Scheduled Downtime

Alpaca will usually roll out updates without the necessity for any system downtime, but occasionally downtime is unavoidable for specific upgrades to the API. The scheduled downtime window starts every Friday at 1:00 AM EST, and concludes at 4:00 AM EST.

Alpaca will usually roll out updates without the necessity for any system downtime, but occasionally downtime is unavoidable for specific upgrades to the API.

The scheduled downtime window starts every Friday at 1:00 AM EST, and concludes at 4:00 AM EST .

Note that often times the system will still be operational during this window if no downtime is needed.

Alpaca Glossary

Explaining words related to API, trading, algorithmic trading, regulation, and more.

Algo Trading

Also Algorithmic Trading or Black Box Trading, the term is also used to mean an automated trading system. These terms encompass trading strategies that may be heavily reliant on complex mathematical formulas and the use of market data.

Conditional Orders

Conditional orders, also known as Bracket Orders, are those which will be sent to the market only if specific conditions and criteria are met.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

FINRA is an independent, self-regulatory organization that works to ensure the integrity of America’s financial system by governing the activities of all registered brokers and broker-dealer firms in the U.S.

REST API

REST is a simple way to organize interactions between independent systems. It’s been growing in popularity since 2005, and inspires the design of services, such as the Twitter API. This is due to the fact that REST allows you to interact with minimal overhead with clients as diverse as mobile phones and other websites.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC is responsible for the oversight and enforcement of laws in the securities industry.

Web API

Web APIs are a secure, standardized exchange between different software applications. Data is requested and delivered via the Internet using standardized protocols. Web API customers then have complete control over what and how information is displayed.

WebSocket Stream

The WebSocket protocol enables interaction between a web client (such as a browser) and a web server with lower overheads, facilitating real-time data transfer from and to the server.

Paper Trading

In Alpaca’s paper trading, orders aren’t routed to the real exchanges. Instead, the system simulates the order filling based on the real-time quotes.

Q - What is Paper Trading?

When you run your algorithm with the real-time market, there are many things that can happen that you may not see in backtesting. Orders may not be filled, prices may spike, or your network may get disconnected and retry may be needed. During the software development process, it is important to test your algorithm to catch these things in advance. AlpacaDB’s Paper Trading Platform provides a real-time simulation environment where you can test your algorithm so you can catch these issues in advance.

In paper trading, orders aren’t routed to the real exchanges. Instead, the system simulates the order filling based on the real-time quotes. It calculates the account balance and performance numbers with virtual money.

Please note that while Alpaca’s Paper Trading Platform makes best effort to simulate real market behavior, active markets can cause results to vary.

To learn more about paper trading and creating an account, please refer to the Alpaca’s Paper Trading Document.

Q - Who is Plaid?

Plaid is our third-party bank data service we utilize to perform external bank account authentication and identity verification when you link your bank account to your Alpaca account.

For more information, visit www.plaid.com.

Q - Who is Apex?

Apex Clearing Corporation (Apex) provided clearing services, prior to Alpaca’s transition to our new clearing partner, Electronic Transaction Clearing (ETC).

For more information on Apex, visit www.apexclearing.com.

For more information on ETC, please read here.

Q - Who is ETC?

Electronic Transaction Clearing (ETC) is Alpaca’s clearing firm and custodian. The cash and securities in your Alpaca account are held by ETC.

For more information, visit www.etc-clearing.com and here.

Business Model

Alpaca makes money in many of the same ways as traditional online brokerages.

Alpaca will start offering Premium Plan subscriptions, where premium users will have access to various perks, such as higher quality live data feed and more computing resources. The pricing and exact features have not yet been determined. Please stay tuned for updates.

Additionally, Alpaca makes money in many of the same ways as traditional online brokerages. These include:

  • Alpaca will receive accruing interest from customers’ uninvested cash balances.
  • Alpaca will also receive remuneration for providing trade volume in certain markets. This is called PFOF (payment for order flow) and will be fully disclosed under SEC Rule 606. This helps us offset the expense that occurs when clearing and executing our customers’ trades. If you want to learn more about PFOF, please visit the investopedia site. For SEC Rule 606, please visit the SEC site.

*It is important to note that our customers are not charged.

Q - Is my account insured? What is SIPC?

Yes, Alpaca is a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation). SIPC protects against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. SIPC does not protect you for any decline in the value of your securities.

For additional details, please visit www.sipc.org.

Q - Is Alpaca a registered broker/dealer?

Yes, Alpaca is a registered broker/dealer with FINRA. You can check the background of Alpaca on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Q - What is Alpaca?

Alpaca is a modern platform for algorithmic trading and building applications. Alpaca’s API is the interface for your algorithms and applications to communicate with Alpaca’s brokerage service.

The API allows your trading algo to access real-time price, fundamentals, place orders and manage your portfolio, in either REST (pull) or streaming (push) style.

To learn more, please visit About Alpaca section of the Docs.