Regulatory rules define a Day Trade as the purchase and sale, or the sale and purchase, of the same security (including options) on the same day (regular and extended hours) in a margin account. It is also known as a 'round trip'.
For clarification, a same-day round trip (opening and closing) of an options spread will also qualify as a Day Trade.
If you wish to day trade regularly, you must comply with day trading rules.
What is a Pattern Day Trader (PDT)?
Regulatory rules state that a Pattern Day Trader (“PDT”) is any margin account that executes four (4) or more Day Trades in any rolling five (5) trading day period. Therefore, an account may make up to three (3) Day Trades in any rolling five (5) trading day period without being designated as a PDT.
What happens if my account is designated as a Pattern Day Trader?
A Pattern Day Trader (“PDT”) account must maintain a minimum equity of $25,000 on any day on which Day Trading occurs. A PDT account with greater than $25,000 may continue to Day Trade freely. A PDT account with less than $25,000 may be issued an Equity Maintenance (“EM") Call to bring the account up to the $25,000 requirement. The account may also be restricted to closing-only trades while the EM Call is outstanding.
What happens if I do not meet an Equity Maintenance ("EM") Call?
An account designated as a Pattern Day Trader (“PDT”), which has less than $25,000 in equity, may be restricted to closing-only trades until an open EM Call is met. However, once in any 90 calendar day period, an account may also request a 'PDT Reset' to meet the EM Call and clear the PDT designation.
Options AI customers are able to request one (1) PDT Reset in any 90 calendar day period. If submitted prior to 4:00pm EST, a successful PDT reset will usually take effect the following trading day, but can take up to two (2) business days.
Day Trade (DT) Calls are separate from Equity Maintenance (EM) Calls that occur as a result of an account being designated as a Pattern Day Trader (PDT). However, they may also occur in relation to Day Trading. DT Calls can be generated by opening trades that exceed the start of day buying power of an account (using newly released buying power from other closing positions) and subsequently closing those trades same-day.