IBKR always says I don't have enough cash settled to make a trade. WHY?

My memory might be a little fuzzy, because I only trade like twice a year, but I always use the WebTrader and there you can only trade the currency using IDEALPRO. I am still able to do the FX trade & stock trade in one go.

I have a cash account, sell chf:usd with idealpro and can buy VT right after. All using the app.

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No that shouldn’t matter.
Mobile app uses IdealPro (afaik) and it flows in one go chf-usd-buy for me too (like others).
Not sure what the cause for the OP and some others might be. :confused:
Could it be that after a number of trades this time limitation disappears? :grin:

That might be it. I only started investing on IB this month.

https://ibkr.info/article/3101 and https://ibkr.info/article/814

I wonder if somehow some FX movement triggered a free riding violation, e.g. if USD now is worth less then the original CHF (no idea how those rules work with FX).

Thanks, TIL about “free riding”.

However I figured out why I wasn’t able to buy yesterday. Apparently my deposit from 3 days ago was not yet “cleared”. Fortunately I got a message today that it has been cleared:

“XXX CHF has been processed and is now available for trading!”

Now, I am able to buy VT with the USD I bought yesterday.

I’ll search the FAQ to see what “clearing” really means.

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This was my initial thought. There are three steps:

  1. transfer funds
  2. exchange currency
  3. trade stock

We were focusing on step 3, but actually step 1 was not yet fully finished. But you said you were able to do step 2, which is weird, or? If the transfer is not yet settled, then how come you’re allowed to exchange the currency?

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I don’t know. I’m confused and surprised by this myself as well.

I have experienced the same issue while trying to buy xxx amount of shares. By selecting the numbers of shares I wanted to buy instead of the total amount the alert message goes away.

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Isn’t that everything settles in 3-4 days anyway?

I had a similar issue once when I was trying to trade EUR.USD. Bizarrely, it turns out they charge the fees in CHF (or whatever you account currency is), and at that point I didn’t have enough CHF for the fee. I haven’t seen this when buying shares, though, in that case it seems the fees are paid in USD without any issues.

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I have transferred on Monday evening some funds to IB, on Tuesday morning I got the liquidity in my trading account and today I exchanged some CHF to USD without problems.
I see the full amount under settled cash but when I try to buy xxx USD of an ETF I still get the error message.

Should I wait one more day?

This happened to me whenever I used the WebTrader. It would take 1-2 days for currency conversions to really happen.
If I do it via the User Portal or the Mobile App, it works almost instantly.

Or are you using the feature where you can buy x shares for a total price? That also doesn’t seem to work for me, because it always tries to reserve more money than I actually have to do that…

Maybe it has something to do with the base currency of your account and the type of FX trade that you make? (buy USD.CHF or sell CHF.USD).

The base currency of my account is CHF and I sold the pair CHF.USD to get USD in my account. Should I have done it differently?

(probably doesn’t matter but the canonical pair is USD.CHF, tho I doubt that would make a difference)

if you have 10’000 CHF and you want to have 0 CHF, you cannot achieve this with USD.CHF. You have to sell CHF.USD…

Just a theory, but does not IB charge (some) fees in account currency? So if you had 0 CHF, then maybe it was not possible to charge the fees?

Indeed if you want to have exactly 0 chf and chf is your base currency sounds like the only way (but might be a bad idea to have no base currency).

If it’s not a base currency, if the balance is smaller than 5 USD or equivalent, it’s automatically converted.

Didn’t know that. My base currency is USD and I always looked to it, that I have 0 CHF left after the trade.

Currently I have 5 CHF left so any commission would be taken out of that amount (?).
The weird thing is that when I am trying to enter an order limit for, let’s say 3500 USD, it tells me that I would need 4420 USD to get it through. I don’t understand where that amount is coming from because I am selecting the USD amount I want to invest.

Do you usually choose the USD amount or select number of shares?

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