:freetrade: Account balances

Hey everyone, we’re iterating on our account balances based on some feedback we’ve had. Currently we don’t display the breakdown of cash very well, so we’re trying to improve this and also we’ll have a drill-down to explanations of what they mean (for anyone who is unfamiliar).

The question I have is in this screenshot, would you expect to see a total cash balance including your reserved cash (money “reserved” for the basic/batch orders that are pending) or just see your available cash i.e. that which you can invest or withdraw.

Here’s a poll, because voting is cool folks :v:, feel free to comment below though if you have any questions or strong opinions on this.

  • Only see available cash
  • See Total cash balance

0 voters


Since I’m unable to use the reserved cash, including it in the balance doesn’t seem like ‘actionable’ information to me. I’d rather focus on how much I have available to invest.


Thank you James, great idea for the poll there!

I personally think it is rather similar to bank transactions. I never liked seeing the money as “available” when I have spent something and it was not yet settled. Similarly with Freetrade, if trades will be settling T + 2 days, I would not want to be mislead by the “nominal cash” when making investment decisions.


One thing I should have mentioned is that although it’s reserved it’s not really gone anywhere yet as the trade hasn’t taken place. You can also cancel basic orders therefore making this cash amount available again.


Thanks for clarifying that, I still feel the same way about this though.


Agreed with @anon2636484. If you pressed the “Buy for free” button, in your own little world you already own the share. Yes, you still can cancel the transaction until the set deadline, but if you lurk for something else to buy, you probably would be inclined to see the remaining balance assuming what you bought will settle.


Definitely share Alex’s and Vlad’s initial sentiments. There’s probably some scope for confusion, and unnecessary customer service interactions if users misunderstand balances as being available when they are not? “I can’t place this trade?! I’d better get onto COps at once”

That being said, having a drilldownable list of your actual cash position is important.

Couple of questions:

If I tap “Unsettled Cash”, “Reserved Cash”, “Withdrawable Cash” what happens? - Could it be useful to provide a list of pending trades, pending settlements from each ‘balance’?

Would it be useful to have a “cash available to invest” balance? Whilst retaining the other balances as it shows your actual cash position and goes some way to explaining the mechanics of the transaction process. If that makes sense?

Slightly off topic but related: If the market moves upwards before the trade is placed, and you don’t have enough available funds to cover, what happens? Does available cash reflect movements in the price of the security?


Hey @CTE, thanks for this very insightful. Tapping the cash amounts presents a view with an explanation of that cash balance, I definitely want to show you’re pending trades when you tap reserved but hadn’t considered showing trades pending settlement, fair shout. The “Available cash” is your available to invest balance, maybe it requires a clearer label or potentially the drill-down explanation would be enough?

off-topic: If you have enough available funds then you’ll get the same number of shares albeit at slightly higher price. If you don’t have enough we reduce the number of shares you’ll get to what you can afford.


A tappable question mark with an explanation upon tapping should suffice, something like this (could not find a better example but you get an idea):


For transparency reasons, will such cases be highlighted in a message or push-notification in the App?

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Personally I think a clear, easy to understand label would be a better solution. It helps keep the UI simple / clean.


@Vlad it is our intention to send a push notification but this may not be the case on launch. It will actually be quite hard for this to happen though so it’s an edge case really. We’re just providing a better experience than killing the order altogether.


Thanks for detail @Freetrade_Team_Design! I’m curious to know if anyone else thinks there’s utility in having lists of pending trade and settlements relating to each balance?

Sorry, this is essentially what I meant, in so far as making it 100% explicit that it’s cash available to invest. Now whether that’s detail for a drill down or a a super explict label…brain clunking

Maybe another question is, what should the headline cash balance be? Total, available to invest? Or…?

Apologies for all the questions!

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No worries, it’s keeping my brain ticking over in this heat! :fire:

Yes, and I think this actually frames this whole topic more clearly (thanks :wink:). Essentially we have to show your total cash position somewhere but I think in terms of what the headline value should be, available to invest might be the better/clearer figure and then show total cash more nominally in the list.


Re what to show I have the same reaction as the others - show available balance only. Once an investment is committed, the money should be hidden. Yes you can cancel certain investments, but I’d expect to see the money back in the account only if cancelled - that it is in limbo for a day in the account behind the scenes is an implementation detail that you don’t need to leak to users.

I’d expect something like:

Cash Available £100

Pending investments £50

Wouldn’t really mind if Pending wasn’t there as once the money is committed it is gone in my mind. I find labels like Reserved and Unsettled pretty inscrutable personally, would prefer plainer language labels - like the idea of a ? though to fully explain.

I assumed at first this account screen is tied to one account (an ISA for example). Seems weird it says ‘Account’ at the top and on a tab. Looking at your tabs it looks worryingly like you have an ‘Account’ tab separate from the Portfolio (which I assume will eventually contain all accounts), how are you going to reconcile that with Cash held in an ISA, Cash held in a SIPP etc? Unless I’ve misunderstood I’m not sure I want this separate staging area for cash at all - cash goes into separate accounts (SIPP, ISA, GIA), and is held there pending investment (at least in my head as a client, but also legally it makes a difference which account it is in - withdrawal and deposit rules differ).


Will orders be placed by £ amount/number of shares/or both options?

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@Freetrade_Team_Design love it! Agree with @CTE, it would be nice to see the unsettle cash as a sub-heading as you have it here; transparency is the name of the game. I think you got it visually, and you might just be worried about the naming. :+1: great work! :slight_smile:


By number of shares at the rollout, but both options will be available down the road.

Sorry if I am not answering your question directly but I see the account “tab” differently.

The account page, in my humble opinion, should show your the current balance and the history of all your transactions.

Similarly to bank apps (even the most modern), a trading app, for me, should show the history of all you transactions. This way the user does not get lost among what is pending/reserved/whatever.

For example, if you make a bank transfer in a banking application (at least in those I am using) you don’t see it as pending - you see it in your transactions history and you also see a change in your account balance.


I actually don’t hate the way the IG app deals with this. There’s three simple numbers I look at the most (They let you customise which)

  • Available cash (usually 0 unless there’s dividends or a few pounds left from previous trade)
  • Account value. Total value of all the shares I bought
  • P&L, amount made or lost on all investments.

Gives you a simple snapshot of where you are!

Just to round this conversation off, there’s been some really helpful input here so thank you very much. We have iterated pretty fast on this one as we need to concentrate our efforts on the thing you all want :smile:.

There’s an update below of the wires that we narrowed down to (there were many more versions!) and the visuals that are now being finalised. We decided to go with your “available to invest” amount as the headline figure as here in your account that’s what’s important, then showing the breakdown of your balances with links to descriptions via a bottom sheet component.

I can totally see what some of you are saying above but you will actually see most of the mentioned information in your portfolio aka your home screen, which is where you’ll have all your holdings, see your total cash balance and your true total portfolio value.

Thanks for the feedback folks :+1: