Terms and Conditions for Inbound ACATS Transfers

Updated April 10, 2024

Subject to certain exceptions and limitations described below, Betterment supports the use of the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (“ACATS”) to transfer assets into your Betterment account(s). 

In connection with inbound ACATS transfers, you acknowledge and accept that:

  • Any assets not readily transferable might not be transferred within the time frames set by FINRA (e.g., by FINRA Rule 11870) or other applicable authorities. Additionally, in certain cases, transfers may be rejected which can cause a delay in the completion of your transfer beyond the estimated date originally provided to you when you initiated the transfer.
  • Betterment is not responsible for changes in the value of assets that may occur during the transfer process.
  • You have considered whether any required minimum distributions (RMDs) are necessary if you are retired or of retirement age.
  • You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Betterment and its affiliates (collectively, “Betterment”) from and against any liability incurred by Betterment for relying in good faith upon your transfer request or authorization.

When you agree to Betterment's ACATS terms and conditions, you are directing the sending account, or delivering firm, to:

  • Transfer your assets to Betterment as you have instructed, even though the destination account may have a different account title or different taxpayer identification number than the delivering account.
  • Deduct any outstanding fees from the credit balance in your account and, if a credit balance does not exist or does not cover the balance due, liquidate assets in the account to the extent necessary to satisfy the balance due.
  • Freeze your account when this transfer is validated, which includes canceling all open orders and not accepting new orders on the transferring account (except for transactions closing option positions that expire within seven days).
  • Release any requested historical information to Betterment about the assets you’re transferring, including cost basis information.

You acknowledge and accept that:

  • We can only accept cost basis information directly from your previous firm. Contact your previous firm and ask them to send your cost basis to Betterment through the Cost Basis Reporting Service (CBRS). If your previous firm cannot send your cost basis through the CBRS, have them email your cost basis to support@betterment.com (note that email will take longer for us to update your cost basis).
  • You understand and accept any tax or financial implications that may arise in connection with this transfer and with the sale or liquidation of any assets, including any wash sales, as well as applicable penalties or charges imposed by the delivering firm.
  • In order for Betterment to receive transferred assets, Betterment uses third-party market data to assign a profile to transferred securities based on asset class. You acknowledge and accept that Betterment is not responsible for the accuracy of third-party data or verifying the underlying characteristics of transferred securities. Any inaccuracies may impact Betterment’s management of your portfolio.
  • In the case of security types that Betterment is unable to support, including most mutual funds and single stocks, unless you have requested and Betterment has confirmed that it will not sell the securities, you acknowledge that Betterment may, in its discretion, sell such securities immediately and use the proceeds to purchase new securities consistent with your goal’s target allocation. You further acknowledge and accept that such transactions may have tax implications. Further, with respect to mutual funds that Betterment does not sell immediately, you understand that the value of shares may fluctuate between the time when a Client instructs Betterment to make a withdrawal involving the sale of mutual funds, or to transfer mutual funds from one goal to another, and the time when Betterment completes the transactions.
  • In the case of transferred securities to which Betterment is able to assign a profile, Betterment will endeavor to manage the transferred securities as a part of your portfolio consistent with your investment strategy. You acknowledge and agree that Betterment will make a good faith effort at assigning a security to a particular asset class that is consistent with the security’s underlying characteristics but does not guarantee the accuracy of such categorization. You further understand and acknowledge that the effectiveness of Betterment’s management of your portfolio according to your risk preferences (including but not limited to Betterment’s rebalancing feature) may be impacted if the profile Betterment has assigned your transferred securities is not consistent with its underlying characteristics.
  • Rebalancing transactions may occur unless you have requested, and Betterment has confirmed, that rebalancing is disabled in your receiving account. You understand that rebalancing transactions may result in the purchase and/or sale of securities in accordance with your investment strategy, and that such transactions may have tax consequences. 
  • You understand that certain mutual funds may assess sales fees (“back-end loads”) at the time Betterment determines to sell them. Betterment does not consider any such fees in its financial advice regarding transferred assets and does not incorporate those fees into performance information about your portfolio.
  • You understand that any mutual funds that are transferred to your Betterment account and not sold immediately may result in delayed transaction times and reduced tax loss harvesting efficiency.
  • You have not received tax advice from Betterment and Betterment is not responsible for the tax consequences of this transfer or any associated sales. You should consult a tax advisor if you have any questions about your personal tax situation.
  • If an account transfers to Betterment with a debit balance (e.g. from the delivering firm's transfer fees), you are responsible for satisfying the debit balance and Betterment will automatically sell securities to cover such debit balance.
  • To the extent that you are transferring all of the assets you hold at a firm, you affirm that you have destroyed or returned any credit/debit cards and/or unused checks associated with the account.
  • If the assets you are transferring to Betterment lack cost-basis information, either because your previous firm fails to provide Betterment cost basis information for the transferred securities or the transferred securities were purchased prior to January 1, 2012 (for ETFs and mutual funds), the assets will be assigned a cost-basis in our system of “$0” or “Unavailable”. The functionality of any Betterment feature that relies on cost-basis information, including but not limited to rebalancing, tax loss harvesting (TLH), and tax coordinated portfolios (TCP), is impacted when your account contains securities with unavailable cost-basis information. To review whether we have cost basis information for your transferred securities, you can download your cost basis file from your account “Documents” tab, under Documents > Taxes > Cost basis > Download CSV cost basis report.
  • If taxable assets are transferred in-kind into a Tax-Coordinated Portfolio, Betterment's rebalancing algorithm may prioritize capital gain avoidance and delay or avoid rebalancing to your target portfolio and allocation. Doing so may result in a portfolio that maintains both transferred investments and Betterment’s recommended ETFs, which can limit the functionality of some features and result in a portfolio that does not exactly follow recommended target allocations. Performance and risk may be impacted as capital gains avoidance is prioritized.

Betterment supports outbound transfers via ACATS for a $75 fee per transfer. Please refer to our FAQs and Betterment’s client agreements for more information about outbound transfers.