How to use digital onboarding for eAuthorization

How to use digital onboarding for eAuthorization

The fully digital onboarding experience, for both you and your clients, lets you open, approve, fund, and set up features for client accounts in a single digital workflow. Your client will electronically review and approve the application using their Schwab Alliance credentials, and clients without credentials will be able to create them as part of the process.

Unlike form-based methods, digital onboarding requires no paper, no pre-tagging, and only the relevant, required fields are presented for completion. And because digital onboarding is integrated with Schwab data systems, applications submitted this way benefit from the lowest rate of missing or incorrect information (under 5%) and the fastest processing time of any channel.

Schwab Advisor Center and end-client requirements:

Schwab Advisor Center user requirements:
  • Browser—Digital onboarding is not supported on Internet Explorer. To ensure the optimal experience, use Google Chrome.
  • Security functions appropriate to your needs and role:
    • Access Digital Envelopes Send to Client 2.0—Enables user to send the digital onboarding envelope to clients
    • Access Digital Envelopes Send to Schwab 2.0— Enables user to submit the digital onboarding envelope to Schwab for processing
    • Access Digital Envelopes Full 2.0—Enables user to have both functions (send to client and submit to Schwab).
  • Access to the master account(s) to which the new account(s) being opened via digital onboarding will be linked.
  • See Digital onboarding education for:
    • Instructions
    • End-to-end experience for both advisors and clients
  • Optional: Similar to customizing Schwab Alliance, you can display your firm's logo and contact information in your clients' digital onboarding experience by following these instructions.
End-client requirements:
  • Desktop or mobile device, phone number, and email address to access their digital onboarding envelope.
  • Your clients will be able to authenticate using their existing Schwab credentials, or will have the opportunity to create new credentials if they do not have any.
  • Clients with credentials also have the option to reset a forgotten password making it easy for them to access the envelope.
  • While clients may share email accounts and phone numbers, each client who will be a signer on an account must have their own Schwab Alliance credentials.
  • Browser—To ensure the optimal experience, have end-clients use Google Chrome. Other browsers may, at times, limit the functionality of the experience.
  • Additional factors may affect the client's ability to complete the workflow, such as workplace network firewalls, email filters or forwarding rules, pop-up blockers, and lack of PDF reading apps. Should they encounter difficulties, have the end-client attempt to complete the workflow on a different device, browser, or network.
Note: Your client can only access the digital envelope through a link in the Schwab email* or Schwab Alliance Message Center (for existing clients only) notification transmitted to them after you send the envelope for their review and approval. Only after the account has been opened will clients be able to view their account on Schwab Alliance.

*If multiple signers share the same email account, the signer must ensure they are using the link in the email, specifically referencing their name, to complete the review and approval.


For document requirements (account opening and additional features):

Account Related content
Schwab One Personal Account How to open a personal brokerage account
Schwab One Trust Account How to open a trust account
IRA Account

This process may be used to open all Schwab accounts supported on digital onboarding.

  1. Go to the Account Management page on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Under Digital workflows, click Open and fund an account.
  3. Advance through the screens using the following steps.
    Screen Steps
    Clients Add account holders by searching for existing or adding new clients.

    To search for existing clients:
    1. Search for a contact under the Search by name, Social Security Number, or account number field.
    2. Select a contact from the dropdown options.
    3. To expand the end-client profile, click the > to the left of the end-client's name.
    4. Verify the client's email address and phone number. If changes are needed, your client can update their account verbally by calling Schwab Alliance at 800-515-2157 or online at
      • When your client is reviewing and authorizing the onboarding envelope, they may be able to update information, such as employment or address. The specific information they can update depends on if the client is existing or a prospect.

    To add new clients:
    1. Click Add New Client.
    2. Enter the minimum required end-client's information:
      • First name
      • Last name
      • Phone number
      • Email
      • Note: The other fields are optional but are required for your client to complete. Your client will also be able to edit some of the information you input.
    3. Click Save.
    4. After all clients are added, click Next.
      Note: You can also add additional clients later in the workflow. 
    1. Select the Master Account the new account will be linked to from the drop-down menu.
      Note: Only master accounts you have access to in Schwab Advisor Center appear in the drop down. Non trading masters and wrap masters are now eligible for the digital experience.
    2. Select the account type and registration.
    3. Under Assign account roles, select client(s) from the drop-down list, or add client from here.
      • Depending on the account type and registration selected, you may need to complete other information under Assign account roles.
    4. Check applicable Transfers & Payments selections and then click Save.
    5. Review the account, role(s), and additional selections before proceeding to the next step.
    6. If adding multiple accounts to an envelope, click Add another account then choose account types and related setup and funding actions for each account.
    7. Once all accounts have been added to the envelope, the workflow will walk you through the steps related to account features, optional funding, and setup for each account.
      Note: You can also opt to complete the required fields for each account before adding the next one.
      1. Complete the steps under the Review, Advisor Documents, and Finalize & Send screens.
      2. Once you are ready to add additional accounts, return to the accounts page by clicking Accounts in the left sidebar.
      3. Click Add another account.
      4. Repeat steps i - iii above until you have added all accounts.

    Under Account Features:
    1. Select the authorizations you are requesting on the account.
    2. Add beneficiaries (optional).
    3. Click Next.

    Note: While you or your client can add a beneficiary to an IRA account, only you can add a beneficiary to a Schwab One brokerage account. Your client can always edit information about any beneficiary you add.

    Depending on the selections from Transfers & Payments, you may have additional steps in the following screens to complete:
    1. After completing the additional features and setup actions for each account in the envelope, review the content of the envelope.
    2. Fields highlighted in blue will indicate data your client will be required to enter.
    3. On this screen, take the following actions on any section:
      • Expand/collapse
      • Edit
      • Remove
    4. When ready to proceed, click Continue
    Advisor Documents
    1. Upload advisor documents:
      • Documents for signatures—Your client will be asked to digitally sign these documents. You will receive a timestamped, electronically-signed document for your records.
      • Disclosures—Your client will be asked to acknowledge receipt of these documents. You will receive a timestamped, receipt of acknowledgement for your records.
      • Additional Materials—Include additional files in the Advisor Documents packet your clients can download. These documents will not be timestamped or signed.
    2. Click Next.

    Saved firm documents
    Firms can designate a default set of commonly-used documents to include in each envelope.
    • If an envelope has multiple accounts, the saved firm document settings for the first master account selected in the envelope will apply to the envelope.
    • Envelopes created after the firm documents were uploaded will automatically include them.
      • The documents, at the individual envelope level, can still be edited.
    • Any firm employee who has access to create envelopes under a given master account can create or edit saved firm documents.
    • To upload and save firm documents, see How to manage envelopes.
    Finalize & Send
    1. Under this screen:
      • View and edit the envelope name (for your reference only; your client will not see the name)
      • View content, such as signers and their respective contact information
      • Optional: Enroll in Status notifications to receive an email when the envelope and contained forms achieve a status of Action needed or Resolved. 
    2. When ready, click Send Envelope.
  4. After sending the envelope, you will see a confirmation page showing:
    • Summary of the envelope and next steps
    • If there are multiple signers on the account, the order in which the envelope will be sent to each signer
    • Links to:
      • Open another Account
      • Return to Account Management
      • Manage Envelopes Page
  1. To access Manage Schwab Envelopes, go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Below Digital workflows, click Manage Schwab envelopes.
    •  Select Save and Exit from the digital envelope in progress at any time.
  3. View the status of each envelope by clicking the icon in the left column. You can see the detailed history of the envelope, including a timestamp for each activity, such as when the envelope was created, when it was sent, which signers completed their eAuthorization, etc.
  4. Select various actions from the Actions column (far right), depending on the status of the envelope:
    Envelope Status Available actions
    Draft—Not ready; incomplete
    • Edit
    • Delete
    Draft—Ready; client will need to provide more information
    • Edit
    • Delete
    • Send to client
    • Edit
    • Delete
    • Send to client
    Waiting for Client Approval—Not signed by [client]
    • Review
    • Recall Envelope
    • Resend Envelope
    • Manage notifications 
    Action Needed
    • Ready to submit to Schwab
    • Ready to submit to Schwab but client made changes
    • Review
    • Submit to Schwab
    • Recall Envelope
    • Manage notifications 
    Action Needed
    • Digital envelope expires soon, not signed by [client]
    • Envelope not delivered due to invalid email address
    • Authentication failed for [client]
    • Review
    • Recall Envelope
    • Resend Envelope
    • Manage notifications 
    Action Needed—Envelope expired; not signed by [client]
    • Send to client
    • Review
    • Recall Envelope
    • Manage notifications 
    Action Needed—Envelope not submitted due to unknown technical error
    • Submit to Schwab
    • Review
    • Recall Envelope
    • Manage notifications 
    Completed—Successfully submitted to Schwab but receipts pending
    • Review
    • Delete
    • Manage notifications 
    Completed—Receipts ready for download
    • Review
    • Delete
    • Download signed receipts
    • Download signed advisor documents
    • Manage notifications 

    Note: You can enroll in notifications for any Action Needed or Resolved status event from Schwab Advisor Center Status.

    How to add your firm's documents to every envelope
    1. To access Manage Schwab Envelopes, go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
    2. Under Create a Schwab envelope, click Manage Schwab envelopes.
    3. At the top-right corner of the page, click Saved Firm Documents.
    4. Since settings are saved at the master account level, choose a master account from the drop-down menu.
    5. Upload the applicable forms and click Save.
    6. When prompted, click Exit Preferences.

    Note: The documents, at the individual envelope level, can still be edited.

When setting up the account, add the following attributes and features: 

  • Advisor authorizations
  • Issuer communication settings
  • Prime Broker—Only available for masters permissioned for prime broker
  • Margin—Only available on taxable brokerage accounts

Your client will be able to review these account features during their workflow, but they cannot change these selections.

You also have the option to add in beneficiaries on any Schwab One Individual or Joint tenant account (taxable) or IRA account on behalf of your client. Beneficiaries can be edited by your client:

  • Primary beneficiaries
  • Contingent beneficiaries

Note: While you or your client can add a beneficiary to an IRA account, only you can add a beneficiary to a Schwab One brokerage account, as doing so will change the registration of this account to a Designated Beneficiary Plan. Your client can always edit information about most beneficiaries you add, however, in the case of the Designated Beneficiary Plan, at least one beneficiary must remain on the account.

Additional data entry may be required for specific account registrations, like Trust, Custodial, or Inherited IRA accounts.

To set up Schwab Moneylink® , complete the following steps:

  1. Check the box to request investment advisor authorization to move money and modify recurring transfers between the external bank account and Schwab account on behalf of your client. Your client will need to approve this authorization in their workflow.
  2. Confirm at least one Schwab account holder on the external account and select the applicable Schwab account holder(s) from the list of clients who have been added to this envelope. If least one Schwab account holder is not on the external account, remove this option from the envelope.

Complete the remaining steps, or you can opt to leave them for you client to complete.

Enter the details for the external account:

  • Select the external bank account type from the drop-down list of eligible account types.
  • Enter the routing number:
    • If Schwab recognizes the routing number, the financial institution will automatically pre-fill for you.
    • If not, enter the financial institution name.
  • Enter the account number.
  • Upload one of the following acceptable forms of documentation to verify the account holder names:
    • Check image (front only)
    • Account statement
    • Deposit or withdrawal slip
    • Direct deposit form
    • A letter on official letterhead from the financial institution and signed by an officer
      • If an account holder's name appears differently on the Schwab account and the external account document, a Second Name Letter/Name Change Form may be required.

Lastly, set the transfer settings:

  • Direction: Select the direction of the transfers (into and/or out of the Schwab account).
  • Recurring: To set up recurring transfers, select the direction, amount, frequency, and first send date.
  • Investment income distribution: Select this option to set up automatic distributions of investment income (Dividends and capital gains, Fixed income interest (including CDs), and/or Money market interest (including Schwab brokerage and Schwab Bank interest) and frequency (monthly, or as it is received).

Add up to 10 MoneyLink setups per account.

Note: The contra account must be like-registered for the account transfer to be initiated through digital onboarding.
Set up the details to initiate an Automated Customer Account Transfer (ACAT). You are required to enter the account information below before submitting to your client. This information cannot be edited by your client. To begin:

  1. Search for the firm name and select the applicable ACAT firm from the list.
  2. Enter an account name or title (this can be a "nickname" for the account).
  3. Enter the account number.
  4. Select the account type and click validate.
  5. Indicate whether the names and account holders are the same. If they are not, you may be required to submit additional documentation by uploading it into the workflow.

The next step is to establish the transfer settings. Your client can enter or edit this information.

  • Transfer the entire account or select the cash and/or securities your client is transferring
    • Select all, none, or some of the cash (and amount)
    • Transfer all securities or indicate specific securities and number of shares to transfer.

If you enter a transfer that is ineligible for digital onboarding (e.g., a non-ACAT transfer), Schwab will provide instructions on the next best steps to take to fund the new account.

Note: You or your client can upload an account statement or any additional required documents directly into the workflow. An account statement is not always required, but Schwab suggests uploading one as a best practice.
Add up to 10 asset transfers per account.

A standing letter of authorization (SLOA) creates the ability to transfer cash from this Schwab account to designated Schwab accounts at a future date. You can fill out these fields or leave them blank for your client to complete.

  1. Check the box to request investment advisor authorization to initiate cash transfers on behalf of your client from this Schwab account to the Schwab accounts designated in this standing authorization. Your client will need to approve this authorization in their workflow.
  2. To select the receiving Schwab account, search for an account by name or account number or manually enter the account information (Schwab account number and name on account).

There is no limit on the number of cash transfers you can add. 

A standing letter of authorization (SLOA) creates the ability to send check distributions from this Schwab account to designated recipients at a future date. Fill out these fields or leave them blank for your client to complete.

  1. Check the box to request investment advisor authorization to send checks from this Schwab account on behalf of your client. During the approval process, your client will be asked to authorize this.
  2. Confirm the name(s) and delivery address of the Payee(s).
    • It will default to the names on this Schwab account, or you can delete the pre-filled information and enter a new Payee.
    • You can also enter a memo to the check.

There is no limit on the number of check instructions you can add.

Options trading approval allows you and your client to incorporate additional trading strategies and accept higher levels of risk in this account. Your client will not be able to edit your selections.

You must have a master account eligible for options trading.

  1. Select the option level for this account (which must not be greater than the level associated with this master account).
  2. Enter the account holder information 
    1. Marital status
    2. Number of dependents
    3. Annual income
    4. Liquid net worth
    5. Total net worth

Enter the account holder's investment experience for both stocks and options.

After you send the envelope to your client, all clients will receive an email invitation to review their digital envelope. Existing Schwab clients with Schwab Alliance credentials will also receive a notification in the Alliance Message Center. All clients can only access the digital envelope by clicking on the link in one of these notifications. To watch a quick video showing your client's digital onboarding workflow experience, click here

  1. Before they are able to enter the full workflow, they will be required to authenticate themselves.
    1. Existing clients with credentials will use their (or credential to authenticate.
    2. New-to-Schwab clients or existing clients without a (or credential will create their credential after completing a multi-factor authentication process. After clicking the invitation email, your client will be prompted to authenticate using a one-time passcode via text message or automated call. Within 30 seconds, the signer will receive the access code to enter on the Authentication window of their device.
    3. After that, your client will be asked to confirm their identity by entering their SSN and DOB.
    4. Once authenticated, your client can set up their login ID, Password, and security question.
      Note: Once created, your client can use this credential to authenticate their identity when accessing other in progress digital onboarding envelopes.
  2. After authentication, the signer can review, add and/or update the information in the envelope. Much of the information can be added or edited by the client. Existing clients cannot edit: client name, email, SSN, DOB, and citizenship data; however, new-to-Schwab clients can edit all fields except their email address.
  3. The signer reviews the user agreement and consents to use electronic signature. They then review and sign and/or acknowledge your firm documents. They complete the signing process by reviewing documents, updating required fields, and electronically authorizing the account open, funding and set up transactions you include in the envelope.
    Note: If changes must be made to the account open or set up transactions that cannot be made by your client (e.g., trading and disbursement authorities, ACAT asset transfer details), recall and edit the envelope before resending to your client.
  4. When additional account holders are assigned, the primary signer begins the account approval process. Secondary account holders will be prompted to initiate their own process once the primary signer has completed their flow.
    Note: Account funding and set up features must be completed and edited by the primary account holder. Secondary account holders can only edit their personal information and sign the account open and set up transactions.
  5. Each client has 30 days to authorize the envelope from the time they receive the email. If you resend the email, the clock restarts and the client will once again have 30 days to review and eAuthorize the onboarding envelope.
    • If you recall and resend the envelope, the client will need to use the most recent notification to access their envelope, as the previous link expires once an envelope is recalled.
  6. Once each signer completes their process, the envelope will be returned to you for your review and submission to Schwab.
    • If you recall the envelope at any point, the envelope process will re-start with the first signer; all information input by your client(s) will be saved.

If your client is experiencing issues, they may contact a dedicated team of Schwab Alliance Service professionals at 877-913-5545.

Once your client(s) complete(s) the signing process, you will need to submit the eAuthorized envelope to Schwab for processing. You have 90 days to submit the envelope before it expires.

  1. Upon submitting to Schwab, processing begins for each transaction. In most cases, the account is opened immediately, and the account number is provided to you. Schwab will also start working on any funding and set up transactions like the account transfer.
  2. For each envelope, Schwab provides you two receipts with evidence of your clients' authorization. One for Schwab documents and one for your firm (advisor) documents. Schwab recommends you download and store these receipts for your records. You can access these receipts to download for a period of 90 days from Manage Schwab envelopes:
    1. Download Signed Receipt—Schwab documents
    2. Download Signed Advisor Docs—your firm documents
  3. To review all applications:
    1. Go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center and access the Manage Schwab envelopes page to see a list of all digital envelopes.
    2. Sort the columns alphabetically or chronologically.
    3. Review the How to manage envelopes section above for status details and available actions to take on an envelope.
  4. You can also track the status of your digital onboarding envelopes at any stage of the process from Schwab Advisor Center Status. From there, you can also access the Manage Schwab envelopes page.

If you have any questions about the digital onboarding process, call your service team.

If you are experiencing technical issues, contact Advisor Platform Support at 800-647-5465.

Resource: Digital onboarding education

Resource: Interactive guide to digital onboarding

Resource: Schwab Alliance Enrollment Guide

How to invite your clients to Schwab Alliance

How to open a personal brokerage account

How to open a Roth IRA

How to open a traditional IRA

How to open a trust account

How to open an inherited IRA

Introduction to move money eAuthorization