If you are coming to Alpaca for the first time to build something using Broker API, please sign up for the dashboard. In this dashboard, you can acquire your API key for the sandbox environment and gain access to the test data immediately.
The sandbox behaves the same way as the live environment for the most parts with a few mocked. With this environment, you should be able to build a complete demo app that you can show to your friends, investors and other community members. Going live from here would be a matter of testing and updating the API calls for the mocked endpoints.
To go live, we will onboard you for the business integration. For more details of this step, please refer to Going Live
Once you go live, you can keep using the same dashboard to view customer activity and resolve issues for them. You will also get support for the broker operations and technology support based on the agreement.
Broker API users have access to a dashboard where you can view accounts and activities of your end users. You can sign up for an account with your email for free and get started with the sandbox API key.
You can invite team members to your account and view the same data as you make changes using API. You can switch the sandbox and live environment through this same dashboard. With all activity data, you can use this as your operation dashboard when going live as well.
You can assign different roles to each team member you invite.
You have full access to the sandbox while developing your integration for free of charge. The sandbox is built with the same code as live with a few different behaviors.
Account Approval #
The account approval process slightly differs depending on your use case and you may need to test different scenarios in the sandbox first. The sandbox is fully automated with the account approval simulation with test fixtures, while the live environment may involve manual review and approval steps in some cases.
All trades that happen in the sandbox environment are simulated. The simulator engine is the same as our paper trading engine. All assumptions and mock logic follow the paper trading behavior. Please refer to the Trading API documentation.
The funding integration can vary depending on your country as well as the use case. In the sandbox environment, it is simplified with Transfer API. In order to simulate the deposit (credit) or withdrawal (debit) on the user account, simply call the POST method of Transfer API and it will become effective immediately. In the live environment, you may need to use Banks API as well as ACH endpoints if you are using ACH transfer within the USA. More details are described here.
Journal Approval #
When you make a Journal API request, if the amount exceeds the pre-configured limit amount, it goes into a pending status. In the live environment, Alpaca’s operation team is notified and manually reviews your request. In the sandbox environment, this process is simulated.
Firm Accounts #
A firm account is an account owned by your business for the purpose of operations. We could support a variety of accounts based on your needs. Here are some basic ones.
- Deposit Account: This is a deposit clearing account required for all clients going live. The exact amount required is based on the number of accounts and the number of trades. This account balance moves rarely.
- Sweep Account: This is the main firm account you will be using to journal funds between your firm and your users. It can be used to simulate instant funding, to provide intraday credit and many other flexible funding strategies.
- Rewards Account: This account can be used to trigger rewards you want to set up on your app to fuel growth such as sign up rewards, referrals rewards and achievement based rewards. This account supports both cash and stock rewards.
You can view your Firm Account balance from the Broker Dashboard along with all activities associated with the account.
Going Live #
Once you complete the sandbox integration, the next step is to go live. Please have another read about the differences between sandbox and live in the above section, and prepare for the go-live items. Generally speaking, we would need the following from you to open the live system for you.
- Your business entity documents, such as certificates of incorporation and tax ID
- Screenshots/video of your application interfaces
- KYC process document if you are fully-disclosed
- Expectation for the funding process if you already have something in mind
And with all this information provided, we will have a business agreement between you and Alpaca. We recommend allowing for enough time for the administrative tasks listed above, as we wouldn’t want to delay your production launch unnecessarily.
When launching into production, we recommend to start from alpha/beta launch with a limited access, to ensure the operation works well, both on your side and Alpaca’s side. Once the process is understood, you can go ahead with a full public launch. We are happy to consider participating in your PR / marketing launch!