What to do if your broker refuses to pay you your earnings

Ted Capwell 522

Any broker can find themselves in a situation where their brokerage company withholds payment for long periods of time without an explanation or right out refuses to release funds. There can be a wide variety of reasons for this, ranging from real problems processing a client withdrawal request to bare-faced lies and fraudulent management of client funds. If you’ve fallen into this situation, it isn’t worth panicking, as in the majority of situations it is nothing worth crying over and you can still receive your money.

In this article, we will go through the most common reasons for this. We will also provide answers as to what users should do if they find themselves in a similar situation.

What to do if your broker refuses to pay you your earnings

Is the payment delayed or outright refused?

For starters, it is important to clarify what we are talking about specifically, be it a delay in releasing funds or a complete refusal to do so. If you look through the reviews online for the most popular companies, they flooded with posts claiming that their broker avoided releasing funds. However, 90% or more of these posts were written by panicked traders, who are often unfamiliar with the set time for processing fund withdrawal requests.

If they don’t see funds deposited in their account the morning after they request them, they immediately post a negative review. They remain unwilling to familiarize themselves with the terms of use that clearly state that fund withdrawals, for example, can take 3 to 7 days. And, in the end, when they eventually receive their funds, they can’t be bothered wasting time deleting their negative post and just forget about it. This is a slight tangent, however, in this case, it is fitting. This will allow us time to set the record straight in regards to the abundance of negative reviews of the famous brokerage companies.

So, if a user requests to withdraw funds and, following the defined period of time, the funds don’t reach the account, take the following steps.

• First, double check that the set payment period has in fact passed. You can usually find this information on the page for withdrawing funds, but sometimes it is hidden away somewhere deeper into the site. If you can’t find the information anywhere on in your personal account, then you need to open the user agreement (the one everyone agrees to during the registration process and never reads it). You can always find it there. As a shortcut, you can search the page (with a combination of “Ctrl + F”) using the keywords “payment, periods, withdrawal” and so on. You can also contact customer service about it through the online chat on the website.

• If the necessary period hasn’t passed since you made the request, then you have to simply wait, you will receive the funds later. When a lot of time has passed since the withdrawal period ended, first and foremost, you need to check that there hasn’t been any recent holidays. There could be, for example, official holidays. Weekend days don’t count as well, only working days count.

• If it is clear that the processing period has passed and the duns still haven’t arrived, then you should inquire to customer services about the reason for the delay. What to do next hinges on the kind of response you get from your operator. More often than not, it is due to some kind of technical issue with the server.

However, users should be warned in advance regarding these issues.

If the answer given by customer services is unclear or they are “feeding you empty promises”, then your problem is more likely an indirect refusal of funds rather than simply a delay. That being said, you’ll rarely encounter such situations with reputable organizations. Usually, company representatives give clear and concise answers to any problem related to payments.

Further reading

Reasons brokers can refuse payment

For a start, let’s begin with the cases that don’t have anything to do with fraud, but touch on issues with specific formalities, various technical problems or human factors. In the majority of cases, these problems can be resolved by contacting customer services. If, however, we are talking about issues involving fraud, then it is more complicated to resolve, however far from every situation ends badly, without the return of funds.

Reason №1 — Lack of Verification

All brokerage companies work within the confines of legal regulation. Their actions are controlled by specific decisive bodies (excluding scams). The law dictates that they are unable to release funds to anonymous users. Hence, if you request the transfer of funds, especially if the sum is large, as a user, you may be required to go through a personal verification process.

This process isn’t technologically complex. Everything can be done online remotely. Usually, you need to scan a copy of your passport. In some situations, you’ll need to send copies of additional documentation as well, to help verify your address. For this, any receipt of a utility bill will work. If you are transferring funds onto a bank card, several companies additionally request a photo of the card if your hands, with the number visible.

Serious companies complete the verification process within short periods outlines in the partnership agreement. If the process drags on, and customer services aren’t giving you a clear reason as to why, referring to all sorts of excuses, then it is possible that they are purposely taking their time so as to avoid releasing your funds.

Reason №2 — Funds of an Unearned Bonus

What replenishment bonuses are is a topic of its own, deserving of its own article entirely. However, common sense dictates that no one is going to simply give you money. Which is entirely true. Despite the fact that bonuses are credited to your account and merge seamlessly with the funds deposited, there is a clear difference. Bonuses can only be used for trading. You can only withdraw after you have used the entire bonus. For that, you need to finalize trades totaling specific amounts, usually 20-30 times higher than the amount accrued.

Here’s an example, to help make it clearer. Say you replenish your account with $100, and you get a 100% bonus, then the final balance will read $200 USD. After trading, for example, the balance is increased to $350 dollars, then $100 will be available for withdrawal. In the case of a loss, when there is $100 left of the deposit, you can withdraw $0, meaning that, first and foremost, you actual funds decrease, and only then does your bonus. Bonus politics are hidden by brokerage companies, however, it is all outlined in the terms and conditions.

Therefore, you de facto don’t receive an actual trading advantage in the majority of cases. It is only warranted in specific situations, such as, when diversifying your deposit.

Reason №3 — Violation of the System’s Rules

There are hundreds of point in the client partnership agreement. And, of course, nearly no one reads through it. Some more devious companies use this with success to their own advantage. If a user accidentally violates one of the terms or tried to manipulate the situation to receive some sort of advantage, then the company can freeze their funds. They will outline the specific point that has been violated either directly after refusing to release funds, or after the user contacts customer service. This is usually done in combination with blocking that user’s account.

Right away, we’d like to point out that even if the rule was actually broken, the client can still at least request the return of their initial deposit (transferred from a card or an account). This point is always in the user agreement. However, customer service representatives often “forget” about it, in hopes that users won’t argue the loss any further and will just make their peace with it. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, you should negotiate using this point specifically, so as to regain your initial investment.

Further reading

What should you do if your broker turns out to be a fraud?

Above, we only outlined situations when companies, overall, legally withhold funds, meaning situations that arise with large brokerage organizations of good standing who have been on the market for many years. However, there are many fraudulent companies amongst them on the market, which offer a platform for trading with options, however, they, from the very start, aren’t prepared to release client funds. What should users who find themselves in this unenviable position do? We’ll go through a strategy of what users should do in order to increase their chances of getting their money back.

You need to document everything you’ve done with the broker, including your history of account replenishment, as well as all of your correspondence with customer service. If you contact them through the phone, it is also best to record it (Android smartphones have this function built-in as a default).

1. To begin with, it is worth taking relatively respectful approach to negotiating. If it doesn’t help, then slowly raise the “degree” of tension, politely make it clear that you won’t back off until you get your money back. You can openly say that you are prepared to make an official complaint to the police. In some situations, it clearly helps. Some fraudsters prefer to return the funds to persistent clients so they can continue on with their “con”, taking more money from less determined clients, who quickly give up regaining their lost funds.

2. If negotiation doesn’t produce results, then the next step is action. If the broker is regulated by CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) or the FMRRC (Russia’s Financial Market Relations Regulation Center), then you need to contact these organizations. They were created especially for regulating company actions and resolving conflicts. To do this, you need to attach all the information you gathered in the first step. If you are unlucky enough to have entrusted your money with an uncertified company, then your chances of getting your money back are slim. Only the CySEC in EU and the FMRRC hold legal weight in Russia. Also, FCA should start regulation process in UK from 2018. All other organizations are imposters and exist only as a “smokescreen” for naive users, and give off the impression of a legally operating company.

3. If the transfer was done through WebMoney, then you can apply to internal arbitration to begin proceedings. This applies to payments made through bank accounts or cards as well. Banks set a period of 120 days in which you can report a fraud and regain funds if your case is proven. The first step of collecting information plays a key role in this as well. This process is called chargeback.

Further reading


If everything outlined above is of no use, you can submit an official complaint to the police as a last step. However, to tell you the truth, in that case, your chances of regaining your funds are next to nothing, as the fraudsters usually act through foreign firms, and all the funds are promptly withdrawn from their accounts. Therefore, every beginner should, first and foremost, put a lot of thought into what broker to work with.

Mostly, certified companies are listed on our site, many of them have official certificates from either CySEC or FMRRC. They all have great reputations, and the worst that could happen to a user is they could have their account blocked due to a violation of the terms and conditions. However, in that case, the company is required to return everything the client deposited them self (if it hasn’t been lost in trades). And, if a conflict arises, you can always turn to the regulator for help.

Among other bargaining tools at your disposal, they have an insurance fund for user financial compensation, which pays out in cases where brokerage firms suddenly stop operating.


“General Risk Warning: Binary options and cryptocurrency trading carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds.”

Further reading