Q - What types of accounts does Alpaca offer?
Alpaca currently offers free paper trading accounts and commission-free* individual (non-retirement) brokerage accounts.
To learn more about Alpaca accounts, visit Alpaca Docs > Account Plans.
Q - Can I have a cash account with Alpaca?
No, we do not offer cash accounts. All accounts are set up as margin accounts.
For those accounts with less than $2,000 in equity, we treat them as limited margin accounts, meaning you can trade on unsettled funds and are not limited to waiting for trades to settle before you can use the proceeds to purchase additional securities.
For example, if you bought security X three days ago and sold it today, just like a cash account you could purchase a new security, Y, today with the proceeds. However, if you sold security Y tomorrow, in a cash account you would have to wait until the purchase of security Y settles, before you can buy anything with the proceeds. With a limited margin account, you can immediately purchase another security with the proceeds of security Y.
To learn more about how margin works, visit Alpaca Docs > Margin & Shorting.
Q - What about business accounts?
* Commission-Free trading means that there are no commission charges for Alpaca self-directed individual cash brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities through an API. Relevant SEC and FINRA fees may apply.