How are dividends paid?

When are dividends paid out?

There are 4 important dates to know

When dealing with dividends, there are four important dates you need to know. Knowing the dates below will help you determine whether or not you receive the dividend (from long shares) or when you will owe the dividend (from short shares).

  1. Stock Record Date
  2. Ex-dividend Date (Ex-date)
  3. Stock Settlement Date
  4. Dividend Payable Date

Due to stock settlement times (T+2), the last day to purchase a stock or exercise a long call(s) to be entitled to the dividend is Monday or the trading day before the ex-date. On the other hand, if you are short a call, then you may owe the dividend if you are assigned short shares before the ex-date (Dividend Risk). The Dividend Payable Date is specified on a date after the Record Date by the underlying company or ETF company.

Last day to buy shares or exercise long call(s) to be eligible for the dividend.Ex-date
When stock trades without the dividend.
Record Date
Owners of the shares are entitled to dividend

Buy Shares1st day of Settlement2nd of Settlement

To learn about Dividend Risk, please click here.

Cash Dividends for Long Stock

Getting paid the dividend

Do you hold any stocks that pay a cash dividend? If so, the cash dividend will appear in the History tab as a credit and will post to your account a day after the payable date and reflect in your account's cash balance. Dividends with three asterisks (***) before the description are dividends paid by a foreign corporation and are generally subject to foreign taxes withheld upon payment. To learn how to enroll in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), click here.

Example of a cash dividend on the History tab on the desktop trading platform.

Owed Dividends for Short Stock

Owing the dividend

Were you assigned short stock or held a short stock position and owe the dividend? If so, the dividend amount will initially list as a pending cash entry when the underlying trades ex-dividend. The owed dividend will appear in the History tab as a debit on the payable date and deduct from your account's cash balance.

Example of an owed dividend on the History tab on the desktop trading platform.