How do I get started?
It’s easy to start..
Just open an account, fund it and start trading!
Open an Account
General Trade offers margin accounts for individuals. Fill out an individual account application online, which will take less than 5 minutes to complete.
It will take up to 48 hours for your account to be approved.
Fund Your Account
Once your account is activated, you can fund your account by wire transfer or by electronic (ACH) transfer.
Learn about stocks, ETF and trading through Knowledge Centers and research stock ideas. Place a stock trade on our stock trading platform GT Laser and ultimately track your investments by viewing streaming quotes on our GT Laser trading platform.
How do I get the software to start trading through your ECN system ?
After your account has been established and funded, you may activate your account using one of the following four methods. You will then be able to obtain the necessary software for trading through our ECN system:
1. Download the software from our web site.
2. Request a copy of the software from our Client Support Department.
3. E-mail a software request form.
4. Visit our branch offices for a copy of the software.
How does the stock market work?
The basic concept behind the stock market is simple. A stock is a piece of a company.
People buy and sell stocks to and from one another on a Stock Exchange, like the NYSE or NASDAQ.
What are the major U.S. stock exchanges and the difference between them?
Stocks are traded on exchanges, like the NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX. There are two main types of exchanges, physical and virtual.
The physical exchanges are the ones pictured in movies and on CNBC, where people with the blue jackets wave pieces of paper and yell out prices.
The virtual exchanges are actually linked computer networks, and the entire trading process takes place electronically.
The NYSE and AMEX are physical exchanges, while the NASDAQ is a virtual exchange.
The reason stocks are traded on exchanges is that it is the best way to facilitate transactions. It would be fairly slow to place classified ads in your local paper to buy or sell stock. The exchanges act as intermediaries between the buyers and the sellers. Typically, electronic exchanges are more efficient, which is why even the face-to-face exchanges normally have electronic transaction services.
What are the risks and advantages of investing in the stock market?
There are always risks of investing in the stock market. There is Market Value Risk, which simply means that your stock drops in value for its own reasons. Day trading and cash only Accounts are less subject to over-night changes.
There are of course advantages as well. The stock market has historically gone up over the long term, taking long term, conservative investors right along with it. There are tax advantages to investing, and your money works for you, instead of the other way around. If you choose to not invest, the value of your money slowly deteriorates due to inflation.
The old Wall Street saying is that you should never invest in anything you will lose sleep over. By following a conservative, long-term \ short- term investment strategy, you are likely to reap the benefits, should you have some patience and discipline.
How much profit can I make per day by trading?
This is a very common question among novice traders. It is really impossible to answer because it varies so drastically from individual to individual. Imagine if you were the coach of a new, professional basketball team and you were given the authority to recruit all the players under one condition. If you answered the "simple" question, "How many points is each player going to score per game?" Not only is this question impossible to answer in basketball, it is even more difficult to answer when it comes to day trading, due to the fact that novice traders do not have any prior experience. A new trader can become a huge success by applying to perfection a system he is taught, or even by developing his own successful trading system. A novice trader may also fail miserably for various reasons, not only because of a lack of discipline. There are so many physical, psychological, and emotional variables involved that it is really futile to try to determine how profitable a new trader will be. Nevertheless, human beings don't like uncertainty. They want a daily percentage, a monthly dollar figure, something they can visualize and project to infinity. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. If done correctly, day trading can become one of the most lucrative businesses in the world but no one can say for sure how profitable any trader may become.
Is my day trading capital guaranteed from loss?
Wouldn't it be nice if we could lose all our money by day trading and then have some organization giving it all back? We can enjoy all the fruit and someone else pays the price ?. No broker or expert can guarantee that you won't lose your money whilst day trading. Remember, if you want to become a day trader, you will have to call the shots. You will make the decisions to buy and sell. You are in control of your own destiny and responsible for your own losses and gains. If anyone guarantees that you will make money day trading, they are lying to you. Do you know for sure if you will make money when you start a new business? Day trading is a business like any other. There are no guarantees. Nevertheless, because businesses cannot be guaranteed does not mean that they shouldn't be started.
Should I quit my day job or business to day trade?
No! Wisdom is a necessity in the business world. Before a drastic financial move is made, a lot of planning is required; that is, if we care about the final outcome. Day trading is not for everybody, just like brain surgery is not something everyone could stomach. Before you sell the house and take an eternal day trading sabbatical, make sure you first start small and slow. You don't have to quit your job or close your business and dedicate yourself fully to the world of day trading. In fact, since the general public now has access to the 24-hour currency market, new traders can day trade during convenient hours, based on their schedule (without having to quit their jobs). Don't get greedy or anxious about it. Test the waters before you jump in. Then you will know if a career in day trading is for you.
Can I day trade if I live outside of the United States?
Yes. In fact, the Unites States has many laws that offer incentives to foreign investors. All you need to start day trading is a computer and an internet connection. Through the internet, you can trade from anywhere in the world. That is one of the greatest advantages of having a day trading business. No matter where you are or where you go, as long as you have access to the web, you can run your business. What we do recommend is that you try to trade through a broadband (DSL or Cable Modem) connection rather than through a dial-up connection (56Kbps), no matter which country you are trading from.
How do I fund my General Trade, account to buy stock?
Funding Electronically is easy
The account funding process is very easy. For electronic funding, the only thing you need to know is your bank account information, your account number and routing number. This information will be sent to you via email once you have registered and opened your account. Please note: Only one bank account may be linked to your account at any time. Electronic funding is simple and convenient.
Funding via Wire Transfer
A wire transfer is almost immediate, with the money appearing in your account on the next business day. However, the cost is typically $25- $35, and since the funding overseas is not as immediate, it may take up to two business days.
Do I have to pay taxes in day trading?
It depends. If you are a citizen or resident of the United States, you do have to pay income taxes on your day trading profits. There is really no way around this. The amount of tax you may pay might vary if you trade under your own name or under the name of a business (consult a tax professional if you are considering setting up a business for trading purposes). On the other hand, if you are a non-U.S. resident you may trade without paying any taxes to the United States government. That is one of the greatest incentives that the United States offers foreign stock, futures, and currency investors.
Can I open a trading account from any country?
Residents or citizens from most non-US countries can open day trading accounts. Due to the US Patriot Act, customers from some countries won't be able to open accounts in the United States. Traders in the following list of countries are unable to open accounts in the US: Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Unita (Angola) and Western Balkans. Unless you live in one of the prohibited countries as per the Patriot Act, you will not have a problem opening an account in the US to day trade.
What is the minimum amount recommended to start day trading?
Before we even answer this question, please note that day trading should not be carried out with scared money. Scared money is money that a trader cannot lose because it is needed for something else; for example, money needed to pay the rent, money needed to feed the family, money needed to pay the bills, cash advances from credit cards or money obtained from loans, etc. Day trading should be done with riskable capital; money that can be lost without permanently altering the financial condition of an individual and/or his loved ones.
There are two types of people that ask the "minimum amount" question. The first type does so because they have very little capital at their disposal; the second, because they don't understand the business of day trading sufficiantly, and want to start with the smallest possible amount through fear of loss. Both of these types of people are mislead. The first type should not be trading in the first place. As we mentioned before: trading is for money that you can AFFORD to risk. If you have very little money to your name, you should not be risking the little you have in day trading. Despite the fact that currencies can be traded using a mini account with only a few hundred dollars, we don't recommend for anyone to do this if they can't afford to lose the money. Understand the reason why we say this; it is not because day trading is a guaranteed way to lose, but, because a person cannot perform at an optimum level with the fear of losing in the back of their minds.
The second type of person might actually be taking more risk by day trading with the minimum amount required by the broker rather than the proper amount he NEEDS to trade with. "Wait a minute", you might say; "Did I hear you correctly? If you day trade with less, you are taking more risk?" Listen for a minute. When day trading, you cannot risk too much on any single trade. In order to do this you need to be able to use only a portion of the trading capital in your account. If you hardly have any money in your account, how can you divide the money properly to adequately size your position? You can't! It is better to deposit $15,000 in an account and risk $300 than risking the same amount using a $2,000 account. If you learn good trading strategies and become disciplined in applying them, it shouldn't matter how much money you open an account with.
Is day trading with a laptop better than with a desktop?
Not really. Even though most laptops nowadays come with a video card that allows you to connect an extra monitor on the back, it is kind of awkward to be looking at the laptop screen and at a bigger screen beside it. If you already have a fairly modern laptop and you don't want to spend extra money on a day trading desktop computer, then you can make do. At least get a separate monitor and connect it to the appropriate port on the back of the laptop. If you want to get a laptop regardless, make sure that the video card that it comes with allows you to connect an extra monitor to one of the video ports. Try to get a laptop with as much RAM as possible (greater than 512 MB if possible).
Do I need more than one monitor?
No, but multiple monitors will make your day trading job a lot easier. If you are day trading stocks using a direct access broker and level II software, you will need at least two monitors - possibly even three. When you are trading currencies, on the other hand, you might get away with just one; possibly a 19" LCD (flat screen) or greater. The reason for this is that currencies are a lot simpler to trade, since you only have a few major currencies to deal with. The software for currency day trading is also a lot simpler than that for stocks. This makes it a lot easier on the budgets of day traders that don't have too much starting capital to begin with.
Do I need DSL or Cable Modem service?
Stock trading software requires a lot of data and statistics to be constantly delivered to your trading computer via the internet. Consequently, you are better off getting broadband Internet service (DSL or Cable Modem) if you are planning to trade stocks. When the market is very active, stock day traders with a 56K connection typically experience data delays, where the data being displayed on their computer screens lags the actual market data. Not a very pleasant thing to experience. Even though currency trading software will also work better over a high-speed connection, since not much data is being transmitted, you can probably get away with a regular 56K connection
Can day trading be treated as a career?
Of course. If you obtain the appropriate daytrading education and practice enough on a day trading simulator such as RapidSP, you can treat day trading as a career. We are not suggesting that you leave your regular job or career to start day trading right away. Start slow. There is no need to rush into anything. Rather than risking everything by assuming that you are definitely going to be a successful day trader, you could open a day trading account while you remain at your current job or profession and see how it goes. You don't really need much money nowadays to start day trading if you are willing to trade the largest financial market in the world: forex or foreign exchange. You can daytrade currencies by opening a forex account with as little as $250. This is a great way to test the waters before jumping in. On the other hand, if you want to day trade stocks instead, then you realistically need to start out with at least $30,000. This is a high starting capital requirement, but stocks are usually out of the reach for small traders. Besides, day trading currencies (as you will read on this site) offer many more advantages than stocks. So before you leave your old job and start your new day trading job, be like the turtle - slowly but surely winning the race.
Is there a "best time of the day to day trade?"
Even though there is not "a best time" of the day to trade, there are certain hours that provide greater opportunities for a day trader. In the stock market in the United States, these hours are somewhat limited. The stock market officially opens at 9:30 AM EST and closes at 4:00 PM EST. The prime time day trading hours for stocks are between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM and between 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. When the stock market opens at 9:30 AM, there is a lot of volatility during the first half hour of trading and it become difficult to determine the general direction the stocks are moving. At around 10 AM, when the dust begins to settle, there is usually a better indication of the morning trend of stocks in general. Between 12 PM and 2 PM EST, many traders and other market participants are out to lunch and trading slows down quite a bit. Consequently, it is usually a good idea not to initiate new stock trades during this time. Around 2 PM EST, trading activity starts picking up again and builds up until the close. During the last half hour of "official" trading, the market might get chaotic again, so (in general) it is not a good idea to open new positions during this time. Even though some people will argue that it is possible to day trade in the pre-market and after-hours trading sessions, never the less, the lower liquidity makes it ill advised to attempt to day trade.
Since foreign exchange is a much bigger market than stocks and trades 24 hours-a-day, there are many more opportunities throughout the day to trade. Depending on what time zone a day trader lives in, he may choose one or several ranges of hours during the day to execute his trades.During the hours when the European financial markets are open (around 2AM EST to 11 AM EST) there is a lot of currency trading activity, and therefore this can be a ideal time to day trade. Day traders in the United States who are in Pacific Time can take advantage of these trading hours (as well as Europeans and traders from other countries in a similar time zone). The U.S. financial markets start around 8AM EST and the stock market officially closes at 4 PM EST. Consequently, during these times, the forex market is very liquid. In general, from about 8 AM EST to about 2 PM day trading can also be successfully carried out. Finally, at around 7PM EST the Asian markets open and activity on the USD/JPY currency pair begin to pick up. This can be a great opportunity for someone who has a day job to give day trading a try. In general, the only times that new day trading positions shouldn't be initiated in the currency market are between 2 PM to 6 PM EST. The reason for this is that the US market is about to close (so forex trading activity slows down) and no major financial market in the world is open .
How much capital do I need to day trade?
This depends on what you want to day trade. Due to restrictive regulations, stock day trading requires an account size of at least $25,000. In reality, you need at least $30,000 to day trade stocks (preferably more). To day trade currencies, you can start with as little as a few hundred bucks. This has only been possible since the late nineties, when the foreign exchange market was opened to the individual (retail) investor. For new day traders that only have a few hundred dollars to risk in day trading.
What is the minimum capital can I start with?
GeneralTrade, provides you with the ability to open a day trading account of a $5,000 minimum for the first investment, and to gain a 1:2 margin on your account. We believe day trading accounts should be funded with no less then $10,000 and should receive a margin of 1:4 for each account you hold.
What is a margin?
When you buy with a margin, you're simply borrowing money from your broker to buy stock. Your collateral is the marginable securities in your account. Actually, you put up 50% of the purchase price of the stock you wish to buy and borrow the other half from your broker. It's important to remember, though, that not all stocks are marginable (that is, able to be purchased with a margin).
The important thing to understand about margins, is that it has consequences. A margin is leverage, which means that both your gains and losses are amplified. A margin is great when your investments are going up in value, but the double-edged sword of leverage really hurts when your portfolio heads south. Because margins exposes you to extra risks, it's not advisable for beginners to use. Margins can be a useful tool for experienced investors, but until then, play it safe.
Borrowing Money To Pay for Stocks - How much will I get?
A "Margin" is borrowing money from your broker to buy stock and using your investment as collateral. Investors generally use margins to increase their purchasing power so that they can own more stock without fully paying for it. But margins expose investors to the potential for higher losses. Here's what you need to know about margins.
Margin accounts can be very risky and they are not suitable for everyone. Before opening a margin account, you should fully understand that:
You can lose more money than you have invested;
You may have to deposit additional cash or securities in your account with short notice to cover market losses;
You may be forced to sell some or all of your securities when falling stock prices reduce the value of your securities; and
Your brokerage firm may sell some or all of your securities without consulting you to pay off the loan it made to you.
You can protect yourself by knowing how a margin account works and what happens if the price of the stock purchased on margin declines. Know that your firm charges you interest for borrowing money and how that will affect the total return on your investments. Be sure to ask your broker whether it makes sense for you to trade on margin in light of your financial resources, investment objectives, and tolerance for risk.
Before You Trade – Minimum Margin
Before trading on margin, FINRA, for example, requires you to deposit with your brokerage firm a minimum of $2,000 or 100 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. This is known as the "minimum margin." Some firms may require you to deposit more than $2,000.
Amount You Can Borrow – Initial Margin
According to Regulation T of the Federal Reserve Board, you may borrow up to 50 percent of the purchase price of securities that can be purchased on margin. This is known as the "initial margin." Some firms require you to deposit more than 50 percent of the purchase price. Also be aware that not all securities can be purchased on margin.
General Trade, requires you to deposit a minimum of $5,000 to be able to use margin, and to receive a 1:6 ratio buying power.
Example: Deposit $5,000 and receive $25,000 more for day trading during market hours only! $30,000 total buying power.
General Trade, requires you to deposit a minimum of $10,000 to be able to use margin, and to receive a 1:6 ratio buying power.
Example: Deposit $10,000 get $50,000 more for day trading during market hours only! 60,000$ total buying power
How Can I Withdraw My Money?
Please use this Form and Fax it to --->> 1-347-4383291
Money will be transferred within 5 to 10 business days.