Wire Transfer vs ACATS Tranfer

I was wondering whether anyone has any thoughts on whether it’s better to do a wire transfer or a partial account ACATS transfer (sorry if I’m using these terms/phrases incorrectly, but hopefully you can figure out what I mean).

The account sending the funds currently has equities in it, but other than the actual transfer process, I am agnostic as to whether a wire or ACATS would be better. I do not want to close the sending account.

If it makes a difference, this is an entity account (LLC) and going from Fidelity to IB. There is not a tremendous rush in terms of timing, but obviously would like it to happen sooner rather than later.

The positions in the account have 2 day settlements. I’m going to liquidate the positions either way, not trying to time the market on the liquidation, they are very liquid, and the transaction costs at both brokerages are negligible.

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If it’s just cash, and the accounts are both registered in your name, the straight wire is going to be less complicated and faster. There’s something like a 5-7 day transfer and acceptance process built into ACAT. For the wire, you’ll get same day credit if you initiate it early in the day.

I’m assuming fees aren’t a concern.

Be sure to tell IB in account management that the wire is incoming. They get held in suspense unnecessarily if you don’t. Xerty is the expert on this and I’ll sure he’ll be along shortly to elaborate.


IB’s also nice for wires out. Wire works too as the “free” one withdrawal a month, as long as that’s the first withdrawal. (and no fee for receiving any)

Aggravatingly, all my checking accounts have fees even for receiving wires, though…

Second the suggestion for going with the wire if the cost is the same or doesn’t matter compared to time.

I’ve only used ACATS for myself for making charitable contributions. But my account is probably smaller than yours.

Edit: Side note, If you really want one of their physical electronic two-factor security cards, they now have an official requirement for $500k account value. But you can probably make a special request if you want one (rather than using the phone app), if you tell them that’s one of the reasons you picked them.
I was able to get one to replace my old one (that the LCD broke because I took it in my wallet above 14k ft on a mountain and the liquid expanded too much) after they already had the $500k requirement (without a $500k account value) by asking nicely.


Wire over position transfer for sure if you don’t care which. Faster, easier, and fewer chances to screw up your tax records if the sending broker forgets to pass along the cost basis to the new broker.


Thanks, sounds like pretty strong consensus on the wire.

I’ve still got one floating around, but use the iPhone one mainly. They said to just keep it (credit card sized one) until the battery died on it and throw it away. I guess they were phasing it out.

They phased out the silver cards (had $25k? $50k? 100k? Account size requirements, I don’t remember), but kept the gold ones. Basically the same except there’s a pin plus a challenge/ response string. It’s much cheaper not to send out as many physical devices, those cost them $$.

The app is fine too. I use the IB app to trade though, prefer not having the second factor on the same device (both the password and the two- factor keygen app are then potentially exposed/ compromised at the same time. And that’s the exact possibility you’re supposed to be trying to eliminate with two factor authentication…).

The gold card is actually three factor. One would need to intercept the login/password, obtain the physical security card, and intercept/observe me typing my PIN into the security card.

It’d be much easier to instead call in for a password reset and social engineer it (not too difficult, they can read what the actual required responses are AND will give out hints on the fly and accept similar answers… they’ve done so as I needed those “answers” to verify the charitable acats over the phone)

As if there wasn’t a consensus already, I’ll add … If the only asset your transferring is cash, the wire is the only real choice. It is SIGNIFICANTLY faster. ACATS is slower than cold blackstrap molasses.

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OTOH, Acats can faster than the manual transfers from brokers not supporting Acats, with the medallion guarantee stamp required on the paperwork and then potentially weeks to finally do the transfer.

FOP ACATS out of IB seemed fast enough for me (3 yearly transfers so far to United Way acct). I think it is instant at the end of the day on the they do the transfer. But they require a paper form scanned in, a scan of DL, and phone confirmation. Then several days for their security department to review. And in their review one year they said the DL was expired because the issue date was in the past, that was fun.

Edit:oops, after reading xerty’s post I think I was wrong on method I used.

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You can move stock positions via DTC or FOP transfer (IB calls it Free of Payment), which I think is for a small number of long stock positions. Those seem to arrive in 1-2 days, and of course like wires, IB wants you to tell them to expect your transfer before it arrives. You need to initiate these on the sending side.