acat outgoing transfer fee

ACAT Fee: Account Transfer Fee in 2024


How much do brokerage firms charge in full and partial outgoing account transfer out fees (ACAT)? Compare ACAT fees for moving account assets/stock positions/IRA.


What are ACAT Fees?


The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACAT) is a system brokers use to make it easier to transfer accounts from one firm to another electronically. You can transfer your entire account, or just specific investments, from one company to another.

A fee is charged to use ACAT mainly because of the paperwork needed to confirm ownership, get the necessary documents for your investments (like the purchase date, number of shares, and tax info), and carry out the transfer.

Investments that can be transferred include cash, stocks, corporate and municipal bonds from US companies, listed options, mutual funds, unit investment trusts, and annuities. Some other assets might be allowed, depending on the two companies involved. Always double-check with your brokers to be sure.


Account Transfer Fees (ACAT)


Brokerage Full ACAT Fee Partial ACAT Fee Account Closing Fee IRA Closing Fee Account Transfer Rebates and Other Incentives
Acorns$50 per ETF$50 per ETF$0$0 Get $20 when you open an Acorns account with this referral link.
Ally Invest$50$50$0$50None
Betterment$75$75$0$0None
Charles Schwab$50$0$0$0$0 commissions + satisfaction guarantee at Charles Schwab.
Citi$95$95$0$75None
Etrade$75$25$0$0 Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.
Fidelity$0$0$0$0None
Firstrade$75$55$0$50Get up to $250 in transfer fee rebate.
IB$0$0$0$0Use this referral link to get up to $1,000 of IBKR stock for free!
JP Morgan$75$75$0$75 Get $0 stock commissions at J.P. Morgan.
Lightspeed$95$0$0$95None
M1 Finance$100$100$0$100 Get up to $500 when you make a deposit in your new M1 account.
Merrill Edge$49.95$0$0$75Get $0 stock commissions at Merrill Edge.
Muriel Siebert$75$0$0$50None
Moomoonana$0naNone
Public$75na$0na Get $20 of an asset of your choice when you deposit $1,000 at Public.
Robinhood$100$100$0$0 1% IRA match and up to $200 FREE stock at Robinhood.
Sofi$100$100$0$0None
Sogotrade$75$50$0$50None
Stash$75$75$0$0 Get $20 cash bonus with this referral link.
Tastytrade$75na$0$60 Get $250 for each trader you refer with this referral link.
TIAA$50$0$0$130None
TradeStation$125$125$0$0 Get up to $150 cash bonus with a $5,000+ qualifying deposit
TradeZero$125$125$0naNone
Tradier$50$50$0$60None
Vanguard$100$100$100$100None
Wealthfront$0$0$0$0None
WeBull$75$0$0$0 Up to 75 FREE fractional shares when you make a deposit at Webull.
Wells Fargo$49.95$49.95$0$49.95None
Zackstrade$0$0$0$0 Get margin rate as low as 8.58%.


What Is a Partial Account Transfer?


Have you ever wondered about transferring assets from one brokerage account to another? Probably, as it’s fairly common. But what about a partial account transfer? Is that even possible?

Read on to learn more about the account transfer process (ACATS), partial account transfers, and ACAT fees.


Account Transfer Overview


First off, it helps to know a bit about ACAT. That stands for Automated Customer Account Transfer and is also sometimes referred to as ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service).

The ACATS is used by brokerages and financial institutions as a tool for transferring accounts electronically from one brokerage/institution to another. In many cases, entire accounts can be transferred from one institution to another, although there are several factors at play.

For example, it depends on the two financial institutions involved in the transfer. If the receiving institution of the transfer does not hold each type of asset that you desire to transfer, then it is highly unlikely that you can complete a full transfer. A very modern example would be cryptocurrency, as there are still many financial institutions that do not allow you to hold it. As such, you would not be able to transfer crypto—such as Bitcoin or Ether—from Robinhood to Charles Schwab, for example.

There are certain aspects you need to consider with an account transfer. First, you must initiate the process with a TIF (Transfer Initiation Form) and send it to the firm that would be receiving the account. The receiving firm will then check customer data to make sure everything is in order. Transfers can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week, sometimes even more, depending on the two firms. You also can decide whether you want to initiate a full or partial transfer, the latter of which we’ll cover below.


Partial Account Transfers


A partial ACATS transfer occurs when a customer chooses to only transfer certain assets from one broker to another instead of their entire account.

A benefit with a partial account transfer is that, in some cases, it’s a faster process. With Interactive Brokers, for example, customers must specify the assets they would like to transfer, and only eligible securities can be selected. As a result, there’s no need for an asset review as is customary with a full account transfer, which helps expedite the process.

You should be aware that transferring an entire account usually costs more than transferring just part of an account (full versus partial transfer fee). In fact, many companies won’t even charge for a partial transfer so long as a minimum account balance remains in the account. As one example, E*Trade will charge $75 for full account transfers and $25 for a partial transfer—however, that $25 partial transfer fee is waived so long as the remaining account balance remains above $5,000.

It is also fairly common that cash can be transferred for free. In that case, it may make sense to sell some or all of your assets before doing the ACATS transfer so that you can minimize the fees charged by your broker. As always, though, keep in mind the potential tax ramifications of selling appreciated assets.

Here’s a select list of brokers that charge less (or nothing) for partial transfers:

- Charles Schwab
- E*Trade
- Fidelity (free for both)
- Robinhood (free)
- Sofi (free, but can’t be conducted online)
- Vanguard (free for both)


What is a Partial Account Transfer Wrapping up


Once upon a time, account transfers would take weeks or even months as documents had to be processed and mailed via the US Postal Service (or some other carrier service).

Now, thanks to ACATS, most transfers fully process within a week’s time. Although this may seem like an eternity to active (i.e. day) traders, it’s really not too bad at all! In any case, it shouldn’t keep people from transferring their accounts over if they need or want to. Especially when there are many bonuses to be had nowadays by setting up an account with a different broker, such as cash bonuses, free trades, discounted commissions, etc.

No matter your reasons, rest assured that you can perform a full or partial transfer with most any broker or financial institution out there. Just keep in mind that it will usually take at least two or three days to a week and that there may be some fees involved.


Updated on 6/3/2024.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.