Pattern Day Trading question

So PDT designation is specifically for margin accounts, do we automatically get approved as a margin account on alpaca?

I want to day trade, I don’t want to use margin at all but if it’s assuming I’m using margin then will I necessarily be given the PDT designation (assuming I don’t dump 25k into the account)?

@redcoatwright All Alpaca accounts are ‘margin’ accounts (whether you use margin or not). The primary reason for this is to allow for immediate use of funds. One can immediately use proceeds from a sale to purchase something else. If the account were not a ‘margin’ account and rather a ‘cash’ account, one would need to wait 2 trading days before proceeds ‘settle’ and be credited to the account. One couldn’t immediately use those proceeds.

It’s an SEC regulation that, if one has a margin account, to be able to day trade one must maintain $25,000 in the account.

1 Like

Hi Dan,

Thanks for getting back to me, does my paper account basically hold to the same rules such that if my equity goes below 25k I would be flagged as a PDT?

Thanks again!

@redcoatwright Paper accounts use the same PDT protections as live accounts. If an account is marked Pattern Day Trader (PDT) (ie it has made more than 3 day trades in a 5 day window) AND the account equity drops below $25,000, then the account is set to ‘liquidate only’ and effectively cannot open any new positions. However, in live trading accounts this is manually removed when the account equity is then above $25,000. For technical reasons, paper accounts won’t get set back and will remain ‘liquidate only’. One would need to reset their paper account and try again.

A little clarification. An account getting flagged as PDT (ie it has made more than 3 day trades in a 5 day window) isn’t necessarily good or bad. It’s just a setting. It can be good because if an account is set as PDT then it will get 4x intraday margin. It can be bad because, if set, the account must forever maintain equity above $25,000. If one is planning on always maintaining more than $25,000 in an account there really isn’t a downside to have the account set as PDT. Go ahead and make 4 day trades (buy and sell 1 share of AAPL 4 times in a few minutes will do it). If there is ever a chance the account may drop below $25,000 then you may not want it set PDT. In that case don’t day trade.

1 Like

Thanks for the clarification! My research is concerning intraday trading so I just want to make sure I understand but this has helped.

Truthfully I’m using local paper accounts (that’s how I built my application when using TDA) so I can have multiple paper accounts since I’m running a few experiments in unison.

One quick thing, it seems like you work at Alpaca, is it possible to mark these threads as “Answered”?

@redcoatwright I never noticed that a note can be added to posts. Thank you. in this case I added “Answered”. Posts can also be locked so no more replies can be added. That hasn’t generally been done but we’ll definitely discuss that. As you alluded to, it may make it easier to read.

1 Like

Got it, also I think you need a raise! You’re everywhere!

1 Like