Fidelity Investments day trading rules, active trader platform, margin account requirements, buying power limits, calls, fees and $25,000 minimum equity balance SEC/FINRA restrictions.

Day Trading on Fidelity

If you’ve been using Fidelity Investments for long-term buy-and-hold investing, you should be aware that you can day and swing trade with the broker as well. Keep reading; we’re going to show you how.

Commissions and Fees

A trading account at Fidelity comes with no fees. The broker’s customers pay $4.95 for each stock or ETF trade they make. The broker-dealer does have a list of over 500 exchange-traded funds that can be bought and sold with zero trading fees (there are no short-term redemption fees, either, which means they can be day and swing traded). The commission-free ETF’s are not marginable for 30 days, and selling them incurs regulatory and exchanges fees (just a few cents).

Options are an extra 65 cents on top of the $4.95 base charge. If you’re so bold as to attempt day or swing trading of fixed-income assets, U.S. Treasury bonds at Fidelity are commission-free. There could be a markup or markdown in the price, however.

Software

Fidelity’s website offers charting with a trade ticket. However, in order to get 1-minute intervals, a chart has to be detached into its own separate window. This separates the chart from the trading ticket, which is incorporated into the default website.


Fidelity Day Trading


For day and swing trading, we recommend using Active Trader Pro, the broker’s desktop platform. It carries no account minimums or trading requirements. Furthermore, there are no fees to use it. Even better, the software has a demo mode, so it’s possible to practice and learn it before trading with real money.

Once you’re ready to start actual trading, log into Active Trader Pro using your regular Fidelity credentials. Once inside, you can modify the platform’s default layout to suit your day or swing trading preferences.

Charting on ATP includes 64 technical studies. We counted 22 drawing tools (including several Fibonacci tools). Another group of tools is patterns & events. Here, we found tools such as diamond bottom and exhaustion bar.


Fidelity Day Trading


A chart can be set to a single market day with 1-minute intervals. Styles include OHLC bars, candlesticks, and point and figure.

It’s possible to keep a chart in a small window next to other windows such as market news, time and sales data, trade ticket, option chains, or a watch list. Alternatively, you can expand a chart into full-screen mode and bring a trade ticket on top of it.

A layout in ATP can be saved for quick access in later sessions. Hot keys are enabled, which makes trading faster. Ctrl + T launches the trade ticket. Up and down arrows on the keyboard increase or decrease share quantities and limit prices.

Another technique on Fidelity’s platform to make trading faster is to click on a bid or ask number on a watchlist. Doing so automatically populates the order form.

Active Trader Pro also has a really nice feature that will duplicate an order. To do this, click on the ‘Orders’ icon in the top-left corner of the software. Next, right-click on a recent order. Then, select ‘Duplicate order’ from the drop-down menu.

Other highlights on the platform that could be of benefit to day and swing traders include Bloomberg News in HD, direct-access routing, and Level II quotes.

Mobile App

Although it wouldn’t be ideal, Fidelity does have a mobile app that could be used to buy and sell securities within a single market day. There are trailing orders, but other features such as Level II quotes and direct-access routing will be lost.


Fidelity Limit Order

Comparison

Lightspeed Trading is a brokerage firm that specializes in day trading. The company charges between $2.50 and $4.50 for each trade, depending on the total trades placed in a month. There’s also a per-share plan that ranges between 0.10 cents and 0.45 cents, depending on the number of shares traded. There is a $1 minimum per trade with this second schedule.

Another difference between Fidelity and Lightspeed is that the latter broker has multiple software packages. In addition to its commissions, Lightspeed does charge for some of these platforms. There are two basic programs that are available at no cost. The most powerful platforms cost between $130 and $325 per month, although two of them are eligible for rebates based on total commissions paid during the month.

Another advantage that Lightspeed offers is futures trading. Although market data is free to non-professionals on one platform, the most advanced platform does charge for it.

Firstrade is a $0 commission broker that offers not only options, but very good option tools.

Fidelity Day Trading Judgment

Fidelity does a decent job of offering sufficient tools and services that day and swing traders need. Active Trader Pro, with direct-access routing, many technical studies, and Level II quotes, can deliver an experience on the same level as many day-trading brokers. However, at $4.95 per trade, high-volume traders will pay a lot. Firstrade, with its $0 commission, is better broker for them. Occasional day traders, though, have a good value at Fidelity.


Firstrade


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