Best Automated Customer Account Transfer Service Brokers 2024

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Jemma Grist
Jemma is a writer, editor and fact-checker focused on retail trading and investing. Jemma brings a unique perspective to the forex, stock, and cryptocurrency markets and works across several investment websites as a researcher and broker analyst.
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James Barra
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William Berg
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The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) is a system designed to standardize and automate the transfer of assets from one brokerage account to another on behalf of a trader who wishes to make the switch.

This article will cover how ACATS works, which securities are eligible for it, and the pros and cons of using it. We have also listed the highest-rated brokers that offer ACATS in 2024.

Best ACATS Brokers

Our rigorous tests have revealed the following 2 firms as the best brokers with ACATS:

Automated Customer Account Transfer Service Brokers Comparison

Automated Customer Account Transfer Service Brokers Comparison
Broker Minimum Deposit Instruments Platforms Leverage Visit
Interactive Brokers logo
$0 Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies Trader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral 1:50 Visit
Firstrade logo
$0 Stocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Cryptos, Fixed Own - Visit

#1 - Interactive Brokers

Why We Chose Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts, notably through the new IBKR Desktop application. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
  • Regulator: FCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA
  • Platforms: Trader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: $100
  • Leverage: 1:50

#2 - Firstrade

Why We Chose Firstrade

Firstrade is a US-headquartered discount broker-dealer with authorization from the SEC. The company is also a member of FINRA/SIPC. With welcome bonuses, powerful tools and apps, plus commission-free trading, Firstrade Securities is a popular online brokerage. It is also quick and easy to open a new account.

"We recommend Firstrade for beginner investors looking to trade US stocks with no commissions. There is a wealth of free education plus premium-quality research and trading ideas from Morningstar, Briefing.com, Zacks and Benzinga."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Stocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Cryptos, Fixed
  • Regulator: SEC, FINRA
  • Platforms: Own
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: $1

How Did We Choose The Best ACATS Brokers?

To identify the top ACATS brokers, we:

  • Examined our library of 500 online platforms, removing any that don’t offer ACATS
  • Confirmed that they support ACATS for online trading
  • Ranked them by their total rating, using 100+ data entries and our first-hand observations

What Is The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service?

The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service allows for the movement of securities between two trading accounts registered with a different broker or bank. The National Securities Clearing Corporation developed it in place of the former manual system for ease and convenience as well as better accuracy.

For the ACATS system to work, the investor must sign paperwork that confirms that the account is going to be moved. When the receiving broker has said documents, they make a formal request for the account and this is received by the firm that currently has it. At this point, the account can be transferred over and the exact holdings are moved to the receiving broker, which typically takes between three and six working days.

The ACATS is particularly convenient given that the transfer also retains the same value as it had in the previous account. This means that if you move shares of stock, the purchase price stays consistent even after it has been transferred to the new brokerage. Therefore as a trader, you do not need to purchase the same assets twice to maintain a holding with a new firm.

Brokers that accept ACATS deposits facilitate the movement of stocks, bonds, cash, unit trusts, mutual funds, options, and more.

How To Transfer Using ACATS

The ACATS switch works using the following process:

Which Securities Can Be Used in ACATS?

However, some securities are ineligible for the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service:

Fees

Some ACATS brokers charge customers a fee to move their holdings over to another brokerage which is typically between $50 and $100 per asset transfer. JP Morgan Chase for example charges $75, but it can be more.

These fees are charged to deter traders from moving their assets elsewhere by making it costly, so traders should check whether these fees apply with their current broker before initiating the transfer. Many ACATS brokers do not ask for an out fee at all, such as Citibank.

Aside from the potential out fee, there are no other charges for the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service. There are also some cases in which the broker you transfer to will offer a reimbursement of the out fee as an incentive to transfer your assets to their firm. For example, if you transfer assets from JP Morgan Chase to TD Ameritrade, TD Ameritrade will reimburse up to $150 of the ACAT fee.

Transaction Speeds

The average speed for ACATS transfers is 3-6 working days, with some firms citing 4-7 days, or 4-8 days, although this time can increase depending on modifications taking place between two parties.

As a rule, Automated Customer Account Transfer Service deposits should not take longer than 10 days from beginning to end.

Although the process is several days long, it is far faster than a manual transfer process which can take up to 1 month.

ACATS Vs Non-ACATS

The outcome of a manual transfer compared to an ACATS is the same; the only difference is the method by which the transfer happens and the time that it takes for it to be completed.

When the process is completed manually, it can take over 1 month for the assets to be transferred over to the new broker, whereas with the automatic process it takes only 3-6 working days to be completed.

There is also far less space for human error which can prolong the process even further at some brokers that accept ACATS deposits.

Pros Of ACATS Brokers

Cons Of ACATS Brokers

Is The ACATS Good For Day Trading?

The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service provides an important tool for quickly and easily moving assets from one account to another, by automating and standardizing the procedure. Therefore it is not a payment solution in and of itself but a means of using a new broker or firm without liquidating your current assets and also without having to interact with your current brokerage.

Head to our list of the top brokers that accept ACATS deposits to get started.

FAQ

How Do Deposits To ACATS Brokers Work?

ACATS is the process of transferring assets from one broker or firm to another, which is done on behalf of the trader but at their request. The new brokerage contacts the current one and requests the transfer of assets to occur, detailing the exact holdings that are to be moved.

How Long Do ACATS Switches Between Brokers Take?

Typically, transfers take between 3 and 6 working days. Brokers that accept Automated Customer Account Transfer Service deposits usually publish payment timelines on their official website.

Which Securities Are Eligible For ACATS Payments?

Publicly traded stocks, exchange-traded funds, certificates of deposit from NSCC banks, taxable accounts, individual retirement accounts, trusts, brokerage 401ks, and other account types are all eligible at ACATS brokers.

Which Securities Aren’t Eligible For ACATS To Trading Brokers?

Several securities are not eligible for ACATS, such as annuities, proprietary investments, alternative investments, OTC funds, and unlisted shares.

Who Initiates An ACATS Switch Between Brokers?

An ACATS deposit is first requested by the trader who wishes to shift their assets to a new broker. They contact the new brokerage, who then requests the transfer from the current broker that is holding them.