How to apply for Margin and PDT in Alpaca Trading API Account?

Hi team,

I have read Margin and Short Selling (

In addition to the 2x buying power afforded to margin accounts, a Reg T Margin Account flagged as a Pattern Day Trader(PDT) with $25,000 or greater equity will further be allowed to use up to 4x intraday buying power. As an example, a PDT account holding $50,000 cash may purchase and hold up to $200,000 in securities intraday.

When creating an account under Alpaca Trading API, how do I apply for margin and PDT?



when your account balance is above 2k i think 2x margin is on

1 Like

@domng_me The margin and Pattern Day Trader (PDT) settings get set automatically. Nothing you really need to do (but you do have some options which I’ll explain).

As @kris mentioned, all accounts with over $2000 in equity are afforded 2x margin and can open short positions. This is dynamic, so if an account ever drops below $2000, buying power reverts to 1x and one cannot open new short positions.

If an account has 1) over $25,000 in equity and 2) executes 4 or more day trades in a rolling 5 day window, then it will be considered a ‘PDT account’. One doesn’t need to do anything. This is automatic (applied the day following the execution of the 4th day trade). Technically, one can ask to set the account PDT, but simply buying and selling $1 of some symbol 4 times in a row is just as easy.

A few things to note. The account PDT designation is ‘permanent’. Once a PDT account, always a PDT account. There is a one time exception to remove the PDT setting, but that’s a manual process which should really be a last resort. It can only be done once. The reason this is very important is if a PDT designated account drops below $25,000 in equity, the account is restricted from opening new positions. It effectively cannot trade until equity is back above $25,000. If there is a likelihood that $25,000 cannot be maintained in the account, carefully consider placing day trades and subsequently getting designated a PDT account.

There is an account setting to limit the maximum account margin to 1x, 2x, or 4x. This is the maximum. It won’t increase the margin. It simply limits it to the selected value. This is most helpful if one doesn’t ever want to use margin or open short positions. In that case set this to 1x.

This is the behavior for both paper and live accounts. It’s helpful to try these in a paper account first and see how it all works. Hope that answers your questions?

1 Like

Exactly what I need. Thanks for making such a seamless platform and experience :slight_smile: