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I am thinking of opening a brokerage account for the first time and wondering how I can do disbursements from it for large purchases, like a car, for example. I do not plan on getting checking for the brokerage account, nor do I want paper checks.

Can I do wire transfers from the brokerage? Will that be as easy as from a bank account or will it be difficult/impossible?

In the rare instance that I need a check, will the brokerage issue a check the same way that a bank would? In other words, can I tell them I need a check for $50,000 or whatever it is made out to "ABC Auto Sales" and then they just mail me the check and I hand the pre-made check to the dealer? Is it that simple, or will it be more complicated than that? (Note that this would be a check FROM THE BROKERAGE, not from me. Ie it would be analogous to a treasurer's check from a bank.)

  • This will depend on the brokerage - mine allows for check writing (from a book; I don't know about checks on-demand) and for electronic ACH transfers to my local bank account. I would call their customer service and see if sending you a check or a wire transfer is something they offer. I would note that requiring that the check come from the brokerage and not from you seems dodgy. – D Stanley May 12 '17 at 16:37
  • Almost all brokerage accounts have an account where your money waits between deposit and trade. Many (most?) even offer moneymarket checking accounts as part of their service. I wouldn't call them free since you pay fees to the brokerage, but...no added cost. Personally, I like having a debit card tied to money market account. I don't carry such, it stays in a lockbox at home until I need it, like you say, for a big purchase. – Xalorous May 12 '17 at 17:37
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My Schwab panel has the following options:

  • Online Transfer
  • Wire Transfer
  • Check Request
  • Bill Pay
  • External Accounts
  • Transfer Account
  • Routing Numbers

As an example, when I go in to "Wire Transfer," it prompts me to select which Schwab account, then Domestic or International wire, then amount etc.

enter image description here

This will likely depend on the brokerage, I don't think Scottrade or Zecco/Tradeking was this integrated.

Personally, I keep brokerage funds pretty well segregated from the remainder of my finances. I transfer money in and out from a more used checking account to keep the accounting more simple.

  • Can you wire transfer to any account, or only to your own account? Can you request that a check be made out to to a vendor, like a car dealer? – Five Bagger May 12 '17 at 17:31
  • @FiveBagger The check option looks to be a request that a check is sent to yourself. But, you could just have checkbook made with the account and routing numbers, and I have a debit card. – quid May 12 '17 at 17:35
  • +1 to "I transfer money in and out from a more used checking account to keep the accounting more simple." Just sell some stock and then transfer the money to your checking account. The whole process will take about a week, but that's not a problem for big ticket items that you're planning ahead to buy. – RonJohn May 12 '17 at 18:37
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Unless you are a client with boatloads of money, I don't think service like you are asking about is very common. And I kind of assume that if you did have the boatloads of money, you would already have had such a relationship with a brokerage or accountant or similar financial professional. When I have taken money from brokerage accounts, I have had to call them to ask for it or requested it online. For both, the only option was to receive a check in the mail made out to the account holder (me). This usually takes about a week, although that does include waiting for the funds to settle after a stock sale which itself is about 3 business days.

I know a lot of brokerages do have banks affiliated with them and one of the benefits of having a bank account with that affiliated bank is quicker transfers in and out of your bank account. But if you aren't willing to do that, I don't think you have many other choices other than receive a check in the mail.

  • Online brokerage accounts differ greatly from dealing with brick and mortar. See the other answer with screencaps from Schwab. – Xalorous May 12 '17 at 17:33

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