Alpaca Trading Review

Alpaca is a U.S. broker. It started giving API solutions for trading in the U.S. stock market in 2015. Since March 2022, traders from 49 states and international clients can trade cryptocurrencies with Alpaca. This broker also connects to TradingView. It helps traders who can’t do API trading. They can manage their portfolios using advanced trading charts. We did a thorough review to see if Alpaca is a trusted broker for you. Is Alpaca Trading right for you?

🏢 Headquarters San Mateo, California, United States
📅 Year founded 2015
🗺️ Regulation FINRA (Self-Regulatory Organization), SEC (Federal)
💻 Trading platform: Proprietary Alpaca Trading web platform, Alpaca Dashboard mobile app
💰 Account currency: USD and Cryptocurrencies
📊 Accounts: Paper account (demo), individual brokerage account, cryptocurrency account (not in all jurisdictions), business trading account (beta)
💵 Withdrawal: Bank transfer
🚀 Minimum deposit: $1
⚖️ Leverage: 1:4 for intraday trading, 1:2 for transactions postponed till the next day
☪️ Islamic account (swap free) No
🎮 Demo Account Yes (Free to all Alpaca users)
💱 Spread: No
🔧 Instruments: U.S. stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies
📋 Orders execution: Market, limit, stop, stop limit, opening and closing auction, bracket, OCO (one-cancels-the-other), OTO (one-triggers-the-other), and trailing stop
☎ Customer Support: Email Support
📚 Education Yes

What is Alpaca Trading?

Alpaca is a tech company in Silicon Valley. We make a stock trading system that doesn’t charge commissions. Alpaca Securities LLC provides brokerage services. We have a diverse team with lots of financial and tech knowledge. Top investors support us. Our system lets your trading program get real-time prices and data, make orders, and handle your investments. You can use it in two ways: pulling data when you need it, or getting data pushed to you as it happens.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
It is strictly controlled by licensed investment companies, FINRA and SIPC. It only offers U.S. stocks and ETFs; assets from other markets aren’t available.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protects investments. Client support is only provided via email.
There is no broker fees for U.S. stock and ETF transactions.
You can start trading with any amount of money.
Free ways to deposit and withdraw funds.
Simple trading bot builders are available, even for traders without API experience.
Experienced algorithmic traders get advanced instruments and professional market data.

Alpaca Trading Regulation & Security

It’s best to trade with a regulated broker to avoid fraud. We always suggest traders check if a broker is regulated and confirm it with the regulator by looking at their license on the regulator’s website. Alpaca Trading is regulated and provides a safe trading environment.

Is Alpaca Trading Legit and Safe?

Alpaca Trading started in 2015 and is a legit and safe online brokerage based in the US. It follows SEC rules and is a member of SIPC, which protects customer claims up to $500,000, including cash claims up to $250,000. Alpaca Trading is also a member of FINRA, and our review didn’t find any problems. So, we recommend Alpaca Trading as a trustworthy broker.

Deposits and Withdrawals

The safe Alpaca Trading dashboard handles all money moves for verified clients. Alpaca Trading only takes bank wires, which is not good enough by old US standards. Alpaca Trading doesn’t explain much about how to put in or take out money, but it says there’s a $25 fee for domestic withdrawals and $50 for international ones. You have to have a verified trading account to deposit or withdraw money, and the name on your payment account has to match your Alpaca Trading account name.

Alpaca Commissions & Fees

When we look at brokers, one big thing to consider is fees. At Alpaca Trading, you don’t pay a fee to trade. But when you sell stocks, you have to pay the SEC fee, which is $22.90 for every $1,000,000 you sell. You also have to pay the FINRA Trading Activity Fee (TAF), which is $0.000119 for every share you sell.

Alpaca Trading doesn’t show spreads, but it’s one of the cheapest brokers in the US, even when you factor in the rates for overnight trades with leverage.

One cost that people often overlook is the swap rates for overnight trades with leverage. Depending on how you trade, this can end up being the biggest fee you pay for each trade. So, we always advise traders to check these rates before they figure out how much trading will cost them.

Account Types

Alpaca has two types of accounts for people who trade stocks: demo (practice account) and real (regular account). The individual accounts are not for retirement. They’re only for algorithmic trading and investing.

Demo account:

It’s a practice account. You can trade with pretend money. It helps you learn how the broker works and lets you make your own trading programs.

Individual brokerage account:

It’s for trading U.S. stocks and ETFs. Alpaca doesn’t offer cash accounts, only margin accounts. If you deposit less than $2,000, your account is called a limited-margin account. People from all over the world and from 49 U.S. states (except New York) can trade cryptocurrencies with a cryptocurrency account. Alpaca is a broker for algorithmic trading. It uses customizable bots. It’s good for both experienced traders and beginners who haven’t used APIs for investing in stocks before.

Trading Platform

Alpaca Trading does not offer a trading platform but rather APIs that allow developers and its growing community to create custom trading solutions for equity and cryptocurrency trading that connect to the Alpaca Trading infrastructure. Alpaca Trading routes orders to its liquidity providers, Jane Street, Citadel, and Virtu for equity / ETF orders and ErisX or Genesis for cryptocurrency orders.

Alternatively, traders can connect their Alpaca Trading accounts to TradingView and trade directly from advanced charts. This is ideal for beginners who lack experience with API trading solutions or wish for an out-of-the-box approach to trading and investing.

Research & Education

Alpaca Trading is a broker that doesn’t give advice or do research. This is okay because most of its customers use computer programs to trade and don’t need research. The broker doesn’t focus on new traders. They don’t offer lessons, but beginners can learn on TradingView, where they can see what others are doing. Alpaca Trading has videos and guides about investing, computer trading, and how to use their system. They also have a practice account.

We suggest new traders get good free lessons instead of paying for them. Start with lessons about how people think and how to handle risks.

Customer Support

Alpaca Trading lacks a customer support system because they only offer email support. Even though traders get lots of documents and articles explaining things, it doesn’t make up for not being more helpful directly to customers. Alpaca Trading mainly uses forums, GitHub, and Slack for community support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Alpaca Trading is a trusted broker. It’s great for people who use APIs and algorithms for trading. They don’t charge commission and have good rates for borrowing money. Alpaca Trading also connects your account to TradingView, where over 50 million traders talk about trading. They mainly offer US stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. The only downside is they don’t offer much help with customer service and only let you deposit and withdraw money through bank transfers. Overall, Alpaca Trading is the best choice among US brokers for people who want to trade using APIs and algorithms.

Alpaca Trading License

  • Alpaca Securities LLC – CRD#: 288202/SEC#: 8-69928