What's Your Margin Strategy?

Margin Trading

Margin can be used to increase your market exposure or provide fast access to cash for your personal needs.

Margin loans can be a low-cost, flexible way to borrow funds for your trading or financial strategy. While margin isn’t for everyone and presents unique risks, it can potentially provide an effective way of working toward your strategies. When used responsibly, margin offers several benefits, such as the abilities to:

  • Increase Your Buying Power
        Margin trading allows you to leverage the assets in your account to purchase more
        securities than you would be able to buy on a cash-only basis.

  • Take Advantage of Competitive Interest Rates
        Margin loans can be more cost effective than credit cards or other lending options.
        If you decide margin is right for you, Scottrade offers competitive interest rates
        based on the amount you borrow.

  • Use an Accessible Line of Credit
        You can borrow on margin to meet your personal financial needs whenever you
        want without extra paperwork, credit checks or approvals.

  • Enjoy a Flexible Repayment Schedule
        There are no minimum monthly payments on a margin loan as long as you maintain
        a certain equity level in your account.





Margin Borrowing

Because trading with borrowed funds allows you to increase your market exposure, there is a potential for increased gains as well as increased losses.

Four Ways to Use Leverage

  • Bullish Strategy: Buying on Margin
        Amplify your exposure to a particular sector or stock, or take greater advantage of upswings that result from anticipated news, earnings announcements
        and other market events.

  • Bearish Strategy: Short Selling
        Take advantage of the downside of the market and hedge against risk by selling a security you don’t own and attempting to buy it back later at a lower price.

  • Optimizing Your Buying Power
        Retain more of your buying power by evaluating the maintenance requirements of securities before you make purchases.

  • Maximizing Your Buying Power
        Become fully exposed to the market by applying all your borrowed funds toward purchases. This is the riskiest way to use leverage, so it’s important to
        carefully evaluate your risk tolerance before attempting to maximize your buying power.


Once you open a margin account, Scottrade offers immediate access to your borrowed funds without extra paperwork, credit checks or approvals. In addition to being easy to access, margin loans can have lower interest rates than other loan types to help you meet your personal financial goals at a lower cost.

Ways to Use Margin Loans

  • Making Purchases
        Instead of closing positions to access cash, margin loans offer you a way to maintain your market exposure and still withdraw funds that can be applied to
        material purchases, bills or other expenses.

  • For Outside Investments
        Similar to a home equity line of credit, you can borrow from your margin account to cover unexpected expenses, real-estate investments, home improvements
        or similar investments outside your brokerage account.


Margin can be used to help manage risk either through employing hedging strategies or just generally increasing the overall diversification of your portfolio.

  • Hedging
        One way to hedge is by selling short. By using a short position to hedge against a long position, you’re attempting to manage the risk associated with the
        underlying security and prepare for a market shift in either direction. A margin account is required for short selling.

  • Increasing Overall Diversification
        Margin can provide additional funds to help you purchase multiple securities with low correlations to one another thereby helping to ensure that your portfolio
        isn’t entirely dependent upon one sector, industry or stock.


Keep in mind that while diversification may help spread risk it does not assure a profit, or protect against loss, in a down market.

Today’s Margin Interest Rates

During the time your loan is outstanding, Scottrade charges interest daily based on the amount of funds you borrow. Keeping a higher debit balance in your account generally makes you eligible for lower interest rates.

Loan Balance Interest Rates
$0.01 - $9,999.99 7.75%
$10,000.00 - $24,999.99 7.50%
$25,000.00 - $49,999.99 7.25%
$50,000.00 - $99,999.99 6.75%
$100,000.00 - $249,999.99 6.50%
$250,000.00 - $499,999.99 6.25%
$500,000.00 - $999,999.99 5.75%
$1,000,000.00 and above 5.25%

Our margin rates will be set in reference to commercially recognized interest rates, industry conditions relating to the extension of margin credit, and general market conditions.



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Understanding Margin Maintenance & Risks

An initial deposit of $2,000 is required to request margin privileges. Once a loan is extended, you’re required to keep a minimum equity level, called the maintenance requirement, in your account if you’re trading on margin or using margin loan privileges.

Before you decide whether margin is right for you, it’s important to carefully consider the risks associated with margin loans, and evaluate your risk tolerance and financial situation. Some of the primary margin risks include:

  • Amplified Losses
        Margin offers you a way to increase your market exposure. The downside to greater market exposure is that a decrease in your investments can amplify your
        losses. It’s possible to lose more funds than you deposit in a margin account and, if that occurs, you’ll still be responsible for paying back your loan with interest.
        Keep in mind interest rates may fluctuate during the time your loan is outstanding.

  • Margin Calls
        Scottrade requires you to keep a minimum equity level in your account at all times. If you fall below the minimum maintenance requirement, Scottrade will issue
        a margin call that requires you to deposit cash or new securities immediately. We reserve the right to change the minimum equity level at any time without notice.

  • Forced Liquidation
        If you’re unable to meet a margin call, Scottrade may need to sell some or all of your securities to bring your account back up to the minimum equity requirement.
        We reserve the right to sell any securities or other assets you hold at Scottrade with or without your approval, and we reserve the right to choose which securities
        are liquidated to protect our loan. While Scottrade’s practice is to attempt to contact you, there may be some instances where we will have to liquidate your
        securities without notice.

  • Interest Rates
        Margin account owners are responsible for meeting the interest charges they accrue on any borrowed funds.


Scottrade’s margin agreement is available at scottrade.com, or through a Scottrade branch office, and contains the Margin Disclosure Statement and information on our lending policies, interest charges, and the risks associated with margin accounts.