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

So I wired 4000 CHF to my account. It arrived, and I converted it to USD. I see 0 under my CHF balance, and 4260 in my USD balance.

Then I go and try to buy some VT. I chose LIMIT 61.20 and 60 shares. But no, it won’t ever accept my order because it says I don’t have enough settled cash and need 3800 USD. How do I need 3800 USD, I have 4260 USD in cash right here right now!

At this price, I should be able to get 4260/61.20 = 69 shares and still have some change left over.

What is going on, how do I make this trade?

Maybe your currency exchange takes 2 open days to settle just like any stock transaction would and because you don’t have a margin account and you really can’t use those USD until the transaction is settled ?

I have a cash account too and don’t have this problem.

I have the same problem on IB using a cash account. I converted CHF to USD this morning but when I try to buy VT for less than the amount of USD showing in my portfolio I get the message:


I guess I indeed have to wait a while for the cash to settle before I can use it to buy other securities.

Is there a way to know how much cash has already settled?

@Cortana I’m surprised you don’t have this problem.

I always do the FX exchange and buy VTI right after it.

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If you have a cash account, then I think you might need to convert your currencies with the “FXConv” module, instead of “IdealPro”. (Ideal Pro means you are creating a position on a Forex position and you want to see it in your portfolio, while FXConv tells Interactive Broker you just want to exchange currencies).

I noticed that when I use IdealPro i need to wait two business days for the currencies to settle. It never occurred with FXConv.


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).

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