Getting Started Topics

Overview
Open an account
Log on to ®
Make your first trade
Check your account
What's next?

FAQs


Frequently-asked questions
about getting started


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Q. How do I fund my account?
A. There are several ways to get funds to your new account. You can send a check or securities certificate with your account application, or you can make arrangements to transfer securities from another brokerage account. For more information see "Making your initial deposit."

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Q. How will I know when I can begin trading?
A. If you have received your Welcome letter from us and your initial deposit has been credited to your account, you can begin trading.

To check that your account is funded, click the Balances link under Accounts.

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Q. If I put money in, where do I see it?
A. You can check your account balance to see what funds are available. Click on the Balances link under Accounts. The Estimated Funds figure is the amount of funds you have available to invest. will also send you a monthly statement that contains this information.

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Q. I sent you a check—when will it show in my account?
A. Checks are posted to your account about 24 hours after we receive them. You'll see the cash available on the Balances page under the Accounts tab. You will also see the check posted under the History page.

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Q. How do I open an account?
A. The easiest way to do so is to use the online application. Simply fill it out, print it, sign it, and send it in.

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Q. How soon after I mail my application can I begin trading?
A. It usually takes about five business days from the date we receive your application. It may take another 24 hours for your deposit to post to your account. Once both of these things happen, you can trade.

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Q. How do I determine how much a stock costs?
A. To find out how much a stock costs, get a quote for the stock.

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Q. How do I make sure that the stock was bought at the price I want?
A. After your stock order is filled, you'll receive a trade confirmation message on the Order Status link under Trading and by mail. You can check your online confirmation the day after the trade executes by viewing the Document link under Accounts. Click on Trade Confirmations to view all confirmations. Your trade confirmation shows how much the stock cost. See "Checking the status of your order" for more information.

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Q. How will I know that the order was placed?
A. After your stock order is entered, go to Order Status under the Trading tab.

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Q. I just made a trade and it shows as a margin debit, but I have enough in my money market funds to cover the trade. Why are you charging me margin interest?
A. We're not. What happens is that the trade you placed hasn't yet settled. Settling usually occurs three business days after your trade was executed. You won't incur a margin interest charge unless there is an amount outstanding at the time.

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