What are good faith violations (GFV) in the US markets?

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Good Faith Violations (GFV) occurs when an investor buys a security and sells it before paying for the initial purchase in full with ‘settled funds’. Only cash or the sales proceeds of fully paid for securities qualify as 'settled funds.'

Here are a few examples of Good Faith Violations.


Example 1

Wallet balance = $0.00

Kumar sold $10,000 worth of Google stock on Monday 8 pm IST. The funds from the sale are expected to settle on Wednesday, implying that he will get $10,000 proceeds on Wednesday.

On Monday 10 pm IST, he buys Apple stock for $10,000. If Kumar sells Apple stock before  Wednesday (the settlement date of the Google sale), the transaction would be deemed a good faith violation. This is because he has sold the stock of Apple before the account had sufficient funds to fully pay for the purchase of Apple stock.

Example 2 

  • Wallet balance = $10,000, all of which is settled
  • On Monday 9 pm IST, Harish buys $10,000 of Google stock
  • On Monday 11 pm IST, he sells this Google stock for $10,500. The funds from the sale are expected to settle on Wednesday.

At this point, Harish has not incurred any violation. However:

  • Near market close on Tuesday 1 am IST, Harish buys $10,500 of Tesla stock
  • On Tuesday 1.30 am IST, he sells this Tesla stock and incurs a good faith violation
  • This trade is a violation because Harish sold Tesla before Monday's sale of Google stock settled and those proceeds became available to pay for the purchase of Tesla stock

Example 3

  • Gaurav has a US brokerage account with $8000 cash in it. This is fully settled
  • Wallet balance: $8000
  • On Tuesday 8 pm IST, Gaurav buys $5000 of Amazon stock. Cash available in account for trading: $3000
  • On Tuesday at 9 pm IST, he sells this Amazon stock for $4900. He will receive the proceeds from this sale on Thursday.
  • On Tuesday 11 pm IST, he buys 3 shares of Microsoft for $6000.
  • This is not a ‘good faith violation’ yet, as his account had the capacity to place trades for $7900 ($3000 cash + $4900 expected proceeds from the sale of Amazon stock) to pay for the purchase of Microsoft stock. 
  • However, the next day, he sells the shares of Microsoft stock, and incurs a Good Faith Violation, as the purchase of Microsoft has not yet been settled.


If you incur 3 or more good faith violations in a 12-month period, the brokerage firm will restrict your account. This means you will only be able to buy stocks if you have sufficient settled cash in the account. This restriction will be effective for 90 calendar days.

How to avoid good faith violations

The easiest way to avoid good faith violations is to make sure that you are only ever buying stocks with settled funds. Another great way to avoid any issues is to always wait at least two trading days after you buy a stock before you sell it. (A trading day refers to any day that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ are open for trading.)