Margin Trading Overview

What is Margin Trading?

There are two margin definitions. Securities margin is borrowing money to buy stock. However, commodities margin involves putting in your own cash as collateral for the contract.

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Benefits of a Margin Trading Account

Leverage Assets

Use the cash or securities in your account as leverage to increase your buying power.

Access Funds

Get the lowest market margin loan interest rates of any broker.1

Enable Account for Short Selling

Diversify trading strategies with short selling, options and futures contracts, or currency trading.

Get a Line of Credit

Borrow against a margin account at any time and repay the loan on your own schedule.

Understand the Risks of Margin Trading

Margin borrowing is only for experienced investors with high risk tolerance.
You may lose more than your initial investment.

Before trading on margin, understand the following risks

  • Trading losses may be greater than the value of the initial investment
  • Leveraged investments create a greater potential risk of loss
  • Additional costs from margin interest charges
  • Potential margin calls or liquidation of securities

How Trading Securities on Margin Works

Rules-based vs. Risk-based Margin

Margin models determine the type of accounts you open and the type of financial instruments you may trade. Trading on margin uses two key methodologies: rules-based and risk-based margin.

  • In rules-based margin systems, your margin obligations are calculated by a defined formula and applied to each marginable product. This is the more common type of margin strategy used by securities traders.
  • In risk-based margin systems, margin calculations are based on the risk inherent in your trading portfolio. The positions in your account are evaluated, including any hedged positions that decrease potential risk, and based on their risk profile, used to create your margin requirements.
Example profit / loss on stock trade using margin
Example profit / loss on stock trade using margin: Bought 100
shares @ $40 (50 shares with cash and 50 shares on margin)
Futures trading at IBKR

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Disclosures

  1. According to BrokerChooser's 2023 broker review: Read the full article Interactive Brokers Review 2023. "Interactive Brokers has low trading fees and the best margin rates in the industry."

The risk of loss in online trading of stocks, options, futures, currencies, foreign equities, and fixed income can be substantial. Options are not suitable for all investors. For more information, read the "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options".

Your capital is at risk and your losses may exceed the value of your original investment.

Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA Reference Number 208159.

Cryptoassets are unregulated in the UK. Interactive Brokers (U.K) Limited ("IBUK") is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as a cryptoassets firm under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

Interactive Brokers LLC is regulated by the US SEC and CFTC and is a member of the SIPC (www.sipc.org) compensation scheme;
products are only covered by the UK FSCS in limited circumstances.

Before trading, customers must read the relevant risk disclosure statements on our Warnings and Disclaimers page.

For a list of IBG memberships worldwide, see our exchange listings.