Margin Trading - What Is Buying On Margin?

Margin Trading

Margin Benefits


What is buying on margin? Infographic
  • Get the lowest margin loan interest rates of any broker
    We offer the lowest margin loan1 interest rates of any broker, according to the Barron's 2017 online broker reviews.
  • Global Trading on a Universal Account
    Enjoy the convenience of trading stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, and funds worldwide from one location.
  • Portfolio Margin
    When available, Portfolio Margin allows sophisticated traders with hedged portfolios to benefit from lower requirements and greater leverage.
  • Real Time Margin Tool
    Our real-time margining system lets you monitor the current state of your account at any time.

Margin Education Center


A primer to get started with margin trading.

Explore an introduction to margin including: rules-based margin vs. risk-based margin methodologies along with calculations and examples for securities and commodities margin.

Margin Requirements


Your Margin Requirements are based on the following:
  1. Your country of legal residence.
  2. The exchange where you want to trade.
  3. The product(s) you want to trade.
After making your selection in Step 3 below, you will automatically be taken to the margin requirements page.
Your account may be subject to additional house requirements and/or an exposure fee. See the information below regarding the exposure fee.

Notes:

  • Forex, CFD, and Metal products are global products and will appear based on your answer to "Step 1" below. "Step 2" will not apply.
  • Not all products listed below are marginable for every location.

Color Key:

Selectable Button
Current Selection
Not Applicable

  1. US
  2. CANADA
  3. EUROPE
  4. AUSTRALIA
  5. HONG KONG
  6. JAPAN
  7. INDIA
  8. OTHER
  9. US
  10. CANADA
  11. EUROPE
  12. AUSTRALIA
  13. CHINA
  14. HONG KONG
  15. JAPAN
  16. INDIA
  17. MEXICO
  18. SINGAPORE
  19. KOREA
  20. STOCKS
  21. OPTIONS
  22. FUTURES
  23. SSFs
  24. FOREX
  25. BONDS
  26. MUTUAL FUNDS
  27. METALS
  28. CFDs


Exposure Fee for High Risk Accounts

Interactive Brokers imposes a daily "Exposure Fee" on a small minority of IB customer accounts that have a very high worst-case loss risk exposure. This is to attempt to partially protect IB and its customers from those accounts that have very risky positions that currently satisfy exchange margin requirements, but nonetheless could suffer excessive losses in the event of a significant market move (for example, accounts with high exposure to short option positions).

Exposure Fees only apply to a small minority of IB customer accounts with unusually risky positions. Most IB accounts are not subject to the fees. The fee is not a higher margin requirement. It is a fee to be deducted from affected accounts to compensate IB for the risk in servicing such accounts. Please note that the exposure fee is not insurance against losses in your account and you will remain liable to Interactive Brokers for any debt or deficit in your account even if you have paid exposure fees.

Each day, as part of its risk management policy, IB simulates profit-loss scenarios for client portfolios based on hypothetical market movements of certain magnitudes ("Exposure Analysis"). The scenarios examined may exceed the parameters used by various exchanges for determination of minimum margin requirements.

As part of this daily process, IB will calculate an Exposure Fee to be charged to high-risk accounts based on the potential exposure the account represents to IB in the event of a major loss. Under the Exposure Analysis conducted by IB, if an account would lose so much value that its equity would be eliminated and it would then additionally have an unsecured debt to IB (i.e., negative equity), this would represent an Exposure to the firm (since IB is legally obligated to guarantee its customers' performance to the clearinghouse even if the customer has no remaining equity).

The Exposure Fee will be calculated for all calendar days and charged to the account at the end of the following trading day. Example, the exposure fee charge on Monday's activity statement will reflect the charges for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The results of the Exposure Analysis relating to the Exposure Fee will be made available for each account via the Account Management section of IB's website.

Please note the following:

  • Interactive Brokers will calculate the Exposure Fee in its own discretion and using its own proprietary algorithms (which are subject to change without notice) to determine the exposure that an account poses to the firm.
  • The Exposure Fee may change each day based on market movements, changes in the account's portfolio, or changes in the formulas and algorithms IB utilizes to determine the riskiness of the account.
  • The Exposure Fee will be deducted from affected accounts on a daily basis. You should keep excess capital in your account to cover the fee if your account will be affected. If deduction of the fee causes a margin deficiency, the account will be subject to liquidation of positions as specified in the IB Customer Agreement.
  • The Exposure Fee is judged separately account by account. If you have multiple accounts with offsetting risk exposures, you should combine them in order to reduce or avoid the Exposure Fee.
  • Accounts that are subject to both the overnight position fee and the exposure fee will be charged the greater of the two fees.
  • The Exposure Fee is not a form of insurance for your account. If your account incurs a debt or deficit to Interactive Brokers you are still liable to IB to satisfy that debt or deficit and the fact that your account may have paid exposure fees does not relieve you of that liability. Nor will your debt or deficit to IB be offset or reduced by the amount of any exposure fees your account may have paid.

If you wish to avoid being charged an Exposure Fee, please consider the following:

  • Adding additional capital will improve the risk profile of your account and may reduce or eliminate the Exposure Fee;
  • Reducing the exposure in your account by repurchasing short positions in options may also reduce or eliminate the Exposure Fee. IB has found that short positions in low-priced options generate the largest exposures relative to capital. You can use the IB Risk Navigator to simulate the effects of changes in your portfolio.


Exposure fee is calculated for the following products

  • Equity with coordinated volatility change
  • Crude Oil and Refined Oil
  • Volatility



  1. According to Barron's Online Broker Survey 2017: One More Reason to Buy Online, March 20, 2017. Lowest margin fees of any broker listed in Barron's survey of accounts having $100k or more in assets with margin rates of $10k, $25k, $50k and 100k balances.