ACAT Fees: Brokerage Outgoing Account Transfer Fees in 2022

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

What are ACAT Fees?

The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) is used by brokerages to facilitate the electronic transfer of accounts from one brokerage or bank to another. Entire accounts, or one or more specific securities, may be transferred from one institution to another. A fee is charged for using ACATS primarily due to the paperwork involved to verify ownership; provide necessary documentation for securities such as purchase date, number of shares, tax information; and execute the transfer.

Eligible securities include cash, equities, corporate and municipal bonds of domestic companies, listed options, mutual funds, unit investment trusts, and annuities. Depending on the two companies involved in the transfer, other assets may or may not be allowed to be transferred. Investors should always check with their brokers to make sure the assets they want to transfer are able to be transferred to the receiving account.

Full/Partial Brokerage 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 $10 when you open an Acorns account with this referral link.
Ally Invest$50$50$0$50 Up to $3,000 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.
TD Ameritrade$75$0$0$0$0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.
Charles Schwab$50$25$0$0Get commission-free online stock trades.
Etrade$75$25$0$0 Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.
Fidelity$0$0$0$0Get $0 stock commissions.
Firstrade$75$55$0$50Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!
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 up to $625 when you fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account.
M1 Finance$100$100$0$100 Up to $500 cash bonus for funding account at M1 Finance.
Merrill Edge$49.95$0$0$75Get up to $600 when you open a new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.
Muriel Siebert$75$0$0$50None
Moomoonana$0na Get up to 5 free stocks plus a free NIO stock!
Public$75na$0na Get a FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.
Robinhood$75$75$0naGet one FREE stock when you open an account.
Sofi$75$75$0$0 0% SoFi management fees. Plus, unlimited access to financial planners.
Stash$75$75$0$0 Get $20 bonus stock with this referral link.
Tastyworks$75na$0$60 $0 commissions + $75 for each friend referred with this referral code.
TradeStation$125$125$0$0 $150 cash bonus when you transfer funds into TradeStation.
TradeZero$125$125$0na Trade stocks, options & ETFs for free.
Tradier$50$50$0$60 Get unlimited commission-free* stock and options trading today.
WeBull$75$0$0$0 6 FREE stocks valued $34-$12,600 give-away at Webull.
Wells Fargo$95$95$0$95None
Zackstrade$0$0$0$0 Get as low as 3.56% margin rate + $150 ACAT fee refund.

* $2,500 minimum equity balance must remain in the account; otherwise the $75 full transfer fee will apply

How Much do Brokerages Charge in Transfer Fees (ACAT Fees)?

Some companies — such as Vanguard, Schwab, and Ally Invest — don't charge fees for incoming transfers, while others may charge fees for inbound and outbound accounts. Fees vary, but $25—$100 is typical for discount brokers. Banks and full-service brokers may charge more.

Transferring an entire account usually costs more (full ACAT transfer fee) than only transferring part of an account (partial transfer fee). Many companies won't charge for a partial transfer if a minimum account balance remains in the account. For example, E*Trade charges $75 for an outgoing full account transfer and $25 for an outgoing partial ACAT transfer. However, the $25 fee is waived if the remaining account balance is greater than $5,000.

Some clients may find their broker doesn't charge to ACAT transfer cash. In that case, selling some or all assets and then doing an ACATS transfer may reduce the full transfer fee to a partial fee.

If a broker doesn't charge an account closing fee, then selling all assets, converting to cash, closing the account, and then sending the cash to the new broker may save the full ACATS transfer fee. Individuals who choose to sell any assets before transferring funds to a new broker must consider the tax ramifications of selling appreciated assets, since they may incur more in tax liabilities than they save in fees.

Top Brokerage Firms »

Acat Fee

Why ACATS at All?

In today's electronic trading age, investors want the freedom to trade fast and move money quickly as needed. ACATS speeds up the account transfer process to as short as six business days, which may still seem like an eternity to active traders. Simply eliminating the time it takes to mail physical documents back and forth via the US Postal Service may save weeks of inactivity.

Depending on the securities involved and the participating firms, investors who trade securities in accounts that are being processed via ACATS may slow down the processing time considerably. Most companies recommend not trading any account that is being transferred to avoid delays.

Main Reasons to Transfer an Account to a Different Broker

Cash bonuses, free trades, or discounted commissions. Some active investors may choose to move an account from one discount broker to another in order to earn a sign-on bonus, or a certain number of free trades or discounted commissions, based on a broker's promotion. A bonus of several hundred dollars, may well be worth a nominal outgoing ACAT transfer fee to some clients.

Better service. Clients may be dissatisfied with a broker's customer service, commission structure, record keeping, or trade execution.

Account consolidation. Many investors have numerous accounts for various reasons—diversification, access to better trading tools and advice, blending accounts via marriage, or simply inattention to how many accounts have been opened over the years. They may want to simplify their record keeping by consolidating accounts with similar registrations, such as 401(k)s that may have been started with different employers and then were converted into Rollover IRAs.

Avoid taxable events. Rather than sell all securities in the old account before transferring to a new brokerage, ACATS avoids creating a taxable event because securities aren't sold. The registration is changed to reflect the new brokerage, but the securities aren't sold and then repurchased when the funds arrive at the new broker. This could save hundreds or thousands of dollars for clients who have large accounts and would incur capital gains if certain assets were sold.

Converting a 401(k) to a Rollover IRA. This is popular with individuals at or near retirement who want more or different investment options. This also avoids the risk of what is known as "constructive receipt of funds" from a retirement account. Failure to re-invest retirement payouts into another retirement plan after 2 months causes the withdrawn funds to be taxed as ordinary income. Doing a custodian-to-custodian transfer using ACATS prevents the possibility of any tax liability. It should be noted that securities such as proprietary mutual funds or ETFs that aren't offered or traded by the new broker may need to be sold and converted to cash before transferring assets to that broker. This is common in 401(k) plans where certain funds are only available in that custodian's investment options.

Brokerages with acats

Brokerage ACAT Fees Comparison Conclusion

Although the brokerage ACATS fee disclosure is usually buried deep in most brokers' websites, investors should always know what their current broker's fee is and find out what a prospective new broker's fee will be. Also, check to see if margin requirements for securities held in the old account will be different with the new broker. Some brokers don't make markets on certain exchanges or with certain stocks or other assets, which means the new broker might require the investor to sell those assets before doing a full account transfer. Moving an account from one institution to another can often be complicated, so do your homework and ask questions of both brokers, new and old, before starting the process.



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, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.