In general, orders are matched when bid (buy) and ask (sell) prices equal or cross each other, prioritized based on “best price” and time submitted, similar to the stock market.

Prices cross when a bid (an order to buy) is placed at a price higher than any current asks on the order book, or vice versa, when an ask (an order to sell) is placed at a price lower than any current bids on the order book.

What if there are multiple offers, which get matched first?

Orders in this case are matched in order of time priority. That is, the orders that were first submitted will get matched first.

What happens if my order doesn't get matched?

If your order does not match, this means either:

  1. Your desired bid (buy) price is lower than the lowest ask currently on the order book, or

  2. Your desired ask (sell) price is higher than the highest bid currently on the book.

In these cases, your order will remain pending until it is matched. In other words, it will remain on the order book until an order on the other side gets submitted that would cross and match yours. A matching order in the case of (1) would be an ask order equal to or less than your desired bid price. A matching order in the case of (2) would be a bid order equal to or greater than your desired ask price.

Unmatched orders are canceled after 90 days.

What happens if my order is partially matched?

If only a portion of your bids or asks can be matched with the current order book, the matched orders will be executed, and the remaining orders will stay on the order book until the earlier of being completely filled or close of market that day, at which time any remaining portion of the order will be canceled.

For example, if you placed a bid for 2 shares at $10, but there is currently only 1 ask on the order book for $10 (and no other asks), then you would purchase 1 share (for $10). Your other bid would stay on the order book until either (a) another user puts in an ask order of $10 or lower, or (b) the market closes that day, at which point the order would be canceled.

The reverse is also true if you placed an ask, that is, if you put an ask for 2 shares at $10, but there is currently only 1 bid on the book for $10, you would only sell 1 share (for $10). Your other ask would remain pending on the order book until it matches or the market closes that day.

At what price are matched orders executed?

Your trade will execute at the “best price,” defined as the current highest bid (if you are the seller) or lowest ask (if you are the bidder) on the order book, similar to the stock market.

For example, if you would like to sell one share, and the current highest bid on the order book is $12, then you can sell your share at $12. If you input an ask price lower than $12, your trade will still execute at $12, because this is the best price.

The same mechanics occur on the other side. If you would like to buy a share, and the current lowest ask on the order book is $12, then you can buy a share at $12. If you input a bid price higher than $12, your trade will still execute at $12.

In short:

  • in order to instantly sell a share, you would need to submit an ask equal to or less than the highest bid currently on the order book to “match”; and

  • in order to instantly buy a share, you would need to submit a bid order that is equal to or greater than the lowest ask currently on the order book to “match.”

    If you have any questions, please reach out to Support by tapping ⚙️in the app or emailing support@public.com.

    Brokerage services for US-listed, registered securities available on Public are offered by Open to the Public Investing, Inc., member of FINRA & SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Public Holdings, Inc. Brokerage services for alternative investments available on Public are offered by Dalmore Group, LLC, member of FINRA & SIPC. Alternative investments are over-the-counter equity securities that have been issued pursuant to Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933. Dalmore Group, LLC and Open to the Public Investing, Inc. are not affiliated entities.

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