Getting Started Topics

Overview
Open an account
Before you begin
Apply Online
Read your agreement
Log on to ®
Make your first trade
Check your account
What's next?

FAQs


Before you begin

To properly fill out your account application, you should have certain information available and know the answers to the following questions:
  • What kind of account do you want to open?

  • Do you have all the personal information we need about you and any other account owners?

  • How do you plan to make your initial deposit?

  • If you plan to open a margin or option account, do you know your net worth?

  • What do you want to do with your cash between investments?

  • If you plan to open an IRA, what type of IRA do you want?

  • If you plan to fill out your application online or if you plan to download the application, do you have a printer available?

  • Are you, or one of the other account owners, a foreign investor?

  • Do you have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer?




What kind of account do you want to open?

Choose from these types of accounts:



Do you have all the personal information we need about you and any other account owners?

  • Full legal name
  • Citizenship status
  • Residency status
  • Employer's name and address
  • Social Security Number (or your passport number if you are a resident alien)
  • Date of birth
Note!
If you or another account owner works for a broker/dealer, please also provide written approval from the employer's compliance officer that authorizes you to trade.





How do you plan to make your initial deposit?

We require a minimum deposit of $1,000 to open a cash account, or $2,000 to open a margin account. Make your deposit in any of the following ways:

Note!
All amounts deposited into your ® account must be in U.S. dollars.



How do you want to pay for trades?

Open a Margin account and use a line of credit to buy marginable securities or for overdraft protection. If you also plan to trade options, open a Cash/Margin/Option account.

Note!
Because these types of accounts involve buying "on credit," we'll need to determine your creditworthiness. Be prepared to provide your:




What do you want to do with your cash between trades?

After you sell a security, sometimes you may not want to purchase another security right away. During that time the cash you received from the sale will earn interest in a money market fund until you make your next trade. Choose from these options:




What kind of IRA do you want to open?

offers you a choice of Individual Retirement Accounts:




Do you have a printer?

After you complete your application online or download the application in Adobe Acrobat format, you'll need to print it out and mail it to us. Don't have a printer? You can still complete the application online. On the screen immediately following the application review you'll find instructions (at the very bottom) for an alternate method of submission.


Are you, or one of the other account owners, a foreign investor?

If you are not a U.S. legal resident or citizen, please send IRS Form W-8 (Certificate of Foreign Status) with your account application.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to claim an exemption from withholding or a reduced rate on the earnings of your investment. For more information go to: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p514/index.html.



Do you have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer?

To find out more about Acrobat Reader requirements for our forms, Click here.