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Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds?

Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds

When you buy stocks, you need to have the funds available in your account to complete the purchase. However, there are times when you may not have all the money available in your account. In this case, can you still buy stocks with unsettled funds? Read on to find out!

Can I Buy Stock with Unsettled Funds?

Yes, you can buy stock with unsettled funds, but you must hold the stock until the unsettled funds’ settlement term is over.

Your “cash buying power” or “cash available for trade” is determined by the sum of your settled funds and unsettled funds.

Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds

The proceeds from a sale can be used to make another purchase right away in a cash account while your funds are still unsettled until the end of the settlement period, as long as the funds don’t result from a day trade.

Day trade profits can only be applied to the following trading day.

Can You Use Unsettled Funds to Buy Stock on Fidelity?

No, you cannot use unsettled funds to buy stock on Fidelity.

This is because Fidelity abides by the “Settlement Rule” set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which states that securities must be fully paid for before they can be traded.

This also avoids cash account trading violations such as good faith violations, freeriding, and cash liquidation violations.

Unsettled funds, also known as “free credit balances,” are not considered fully paid for until the settlement period has passed.

For example, if you bought $1,000 worth of stock on Monday and sold it on Tuesday, you would not be able to use those funds to purchase more stock until the transaction settles on Wednesday.

This waiting period is in place to prevent investors from engaging in excessive buying and selling, also known as “churning.”

Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds

However, some brokers offer options for purchasing stocks using unsettled funds through a margin account or special settlement programs. 

These options come with added risk and may result in penalties or fees if not properly managed.

Related: The 6 Best Penny Stocks on Fidelity

Can I Buy Stocks Before Cash Is Settled?

Yes, you can buy stocks before the cash is settled in your cash account.

However, if you buy a stock with unsettled cash or insufficient funds, the stock must be held until it is fully paid for with a new deposit or until the trade settlement date that provided the funds for the purchase.

On the other hand, if you purchase securities with settled cash from your account, you are free to sell that asset whenever you want.

Can Day Traders Use Unsettled Funds?

No, day traders cannot use unsettled funds for their trades.

You can only use your sale profits to make another purchase while your funds remain unsettled until the settlement period is up. 

This is as long as the profits do not result from a day trade (profits from day trading can only be used on the next trading day.)

Using unsettled funds for day trading can lead to freeriding, withholding rules, and potentially create negative account balances.

Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds

Freeriding occurs when an investor buys stock using unsettled funds from a previous sale and then quickly sells that stock for a profit before the initial funds have settled.

Failure to adhere to this rule can result in penalties and potential disciplinary action. Day traders must keep track of their settlement dates and plan their trades accordingly. 

They may need to adjust their strategy or delay certain trades to comply with the regulation.

Why Do Stocks Take 2 Days to Settle?

The two-day settlement period helps provide a more efficient and secure process for buying and selling stocks.

One of the reasons for the two-day settlement period is that it allows time for all parties involved in a trade to exchange necessary information and confirm the details of the transaction.

This includes ensuring that the buyer has enough funds available and that the seller owns the stock being sold.

Another factor is that financial institutions need time to process and record these trades, which can involve transferring ownership through a central registry or transferring funds between accounts.

Additionally, stocks may go through a “clearing process,” where a clearinghouse steps in as an intermediary to help ensure payments are made and help manage any risks associated with the trade.

What Is the T+2 Rule?

The T+2 rule is a regulation that requires the settlement of securities transactions to occur within two business days.

The SEC implemented this rule to reduce risk and improve efficiency in the financial markets. Previously, the settlement period had been T+5, T+3, and now T+2.

Can I Buy Stock With Unsettled Funds

The shorter settlement timeframe also allows for quicker access to funds after selling securities and faster reinvestment of those funds into new investments.

For this rule, there are two important dates to remember whenever you buy or sell a stock or other securities: the transaction date and the settlement date. “T” stands for the transaction date.When you say T+2, it refers to the settlement date of a transaction that occurs on a transaction date plus two days.

Can I Withdraw Unsettled Funds?

No, you cannot withdraw unsettled funds. 

You must wait two business days until the trade settlement date before withdrawing your money; by then, the cash has already been settled.

Typically, when you sell a stock, the proceeds from the sale will be deposited into your brokerage account. However, these funds may not be immediately available for withdrawal.

Depending on your brokerage’s policies and the type of trade, it can take one to three days for the sale to settle and for the funds to become withdrawable. 

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Buy a Stock After Selling It?

You can buy and sell stocks within a single trading day. This practice is called “day trading.”

This type of trading can be risky, as prices can change quickly and dramatically. However, day traders often use technical analysis and leverage to try to maximize profits in a short time frame.

Please note that there are some rules and limitations that you should be aware of if you plan to do day trading.

One is the Pattern Day Trader Rule, also known as the PDT Rule, which states that if a trader makes four or more day trades (defined as buying and selling a security within the same trading day) in a five-day period, they must maintain an account balance of at least $25,000.

This rule was put in place to protect inexperienced traders from excessive risk-taking.

As long as you follow (Financial Industry Regulation Authority) FINRA’s guidelines for pattern day trading and your broker permits it, you are free to purchase and sell the same stock as much as you wish.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you want to buy a stock using unsettled funds, you can as long as you hold the stock until the settlement term is completed. 

This means that if you plan on buying and selling the same stock within a few days, you may want to reconsider using unsettled funds to finance your purchase.

However, if you’re comfortable holding the stock for longer, then go ahead and use those unsettled funds to buy shares.

Doing so could help you save money on brokerage fees and avoid potential account violations from doing a transaction before your funds have been settled.


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Jessica is a published author and copywriter specializing in personal and investment finance. Her expertise is in financial product reviews and stock market education.