A day trade occurs when you buy then sell the same stock on the same day.
For example, if you purchase 5 shares of Apple and then decide to sell 3 shares of Apple on the same day, that is considered a day trade. The number of shares is irrelevant, as long as you are buying then selling one particular stock within one trading day, it is considered a day trade. If you proceed to buy then sell another stock, such as Amazon, that will be considered as another day trade.
You become designated as a pattern-day trader once you have completed 4 day trades within a rolling five-day period. As per the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), we restrict you from becoming a pattern-day trader unless you hold a $25,000 minimum equity balance in your Sarwa Trade account. This must be deposited in the account prior to any day trading activities and maintained in your account at all times.
If you have completed 3 day trades within a five-day period, you will not be able to complete the 4th unless you hold the minimum equity balance in your account. When you are attempting to complete your 4th day trade, you will receive a “Pattern-day Trading Restriction” message that will not enable you to complete the order. That being said, you would be able to place the order the following day, as it would then not be considered a day trade.
The below visual explains what Pattern Day Trading could look like: