This may be a really noob question, but I am just getting into trading options. I had an interesting conversation with a rep at MB Trading yesterday. He informed me that when I write a covered call (or any option for that matter), the premium is not deposited as cash in my account, but is held separately by Penson (the clearing firm) until the call expires, is assigned, or is sold. So I can't use the premium as cash and I don't collect interest on it. I feel like I'm on drugs or something, but that's not the way covered calls are supposed to work is it? What's the point of writing an option if Penson is going to hold my money and dole it out to me only when they see fit?? Also, I have to assume that Penson is collecting the interest on MY premium while the option is in force... Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Seems pretty shady.