To double your pleasure, double your fun and double your portfolio all at the same time, look no further than margin trading. But what is margin trading? And which broker offers the best margin trading platform? Well, for all of those answers and so much more, read our full review!
In This Guide
For a quick overview of the best margin trading brokers in the business, see our list below. For in-depth analysis of each, you can also scroll down for more information:
Separating the wheat from the chaff, it takes more than a pretty face to make our list of the best margin trading platforms. Excelling in everything from margin limits, financing rates, account fees, and platform features, our nine candidates continue to outperform the competition.
Whether it’s currencies, commodities, ETFs, or cryptocurrencies, eToro can finance your positions with the maximum available leverage. Far and away from the best margin trading platform, not only are eToro’s margin limits exceptional, but the broker strictly adheres to regulations set forth by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
See for yourself:
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
In addition, not only does eToro provide access to more than 2,400 stocks and 17 international markets with trades that always execute commission-free, but overnight lending fees are calculated using a standardized formula. More than just lip service, instead of surprising you with hidden charges and random fees, eToro clearly displays all charges BEFORE you finalize your trade.
Your capital is at risk.
With no account minimum and 0% commissions, Robinhood is home to quality execution, transparent fees, and the highest security standards. Case in point: while the broker is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) – which protects accounts up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash) – Robinhood also insures 100% of direct losses that occur due to unauthorized account activity.
In addition, because best-in-class security is embedded on one of the best margin trading platforms, managing your investments on Robinhood never felt so good when you open a brokerage account with them.
Regarding margin limits, Robinhood adheres to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T – which requires a $2,000 minimum account balance and allows for 2:1 leverage (50% margin). And while Robinhood’s maintenance margin – the equity value of your position that needs to be maintained at all times – varies depending on “volatility and market liquidity,” typical percentages range from 25% to 35%.
Clearly in the running for the best online broker for margin trading, Libertex ensures that all clients that are active traders can trade with maximum leverage. Providing access to online stocks, ETFs, commodities, currencies, CFDs, and cryptocurrencies, Libertex makes margin trading a breeze.
Like eToro, its margin limits are as follows:
What’s more, if you become a Professional Client – which requires that you make an average of 10 trades per quarter, have a portfolio value of more than €500,000 and/or have at least one year of experience in the financial services industry in a professional role – you can access leverage of up to 600:1 (0.167% margin).
Increasing your buying power with more leverage than a standard margin account, TD Ameritrade is one of the best margin trading platforms and stock brokers in the USA.
Dubbed ‘portfolio margin’, TD Ameritrade uses -15% and +15% risk bands for stocks and options and -12% and +10% risk bands for large and small-cap broad-based indices. Doing a little math, this works out 6.7x leverage for stocks and options, and 8.33x to 10x leverage for large and small-cap indices. However, to qualify for portfolio margin, you must have a minimum account balance of $125,000 and maintain a 30% maintenance margin at all times.
For accounts that are less than $125,000, TD Ameritrade adheres to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T, which again, requires a minimum account balance of $2,000 and allows for up to 2:1 leverage (50% margin).
On TD Ameritrade’s platform, you can trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, CDs, options ($0.65 commission per contract), non-proprietary mutual funds, futures, and currencies. For the majority of assets, trades execute commission-free, and TD Ameritrade also provides free access to interactive courses, webcasts, and the most advanced technical analysis tools.
Home to both standard margin and portfolio margin (for account balances of $100,000 to $150,000), Fidelity is clearly one of the best margin trading brokers in the USA and one of the best online brokers in the business. Like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade, Fidelity adheres to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T. As such, a minimum account balance of $2,000 can access up to 2:1 leverage (50% margin). However, like TD Ameritrade, portfolio margin accounts enjoy much higher leverage.
But in a unique fashion, Fidelity offers ‘limited margin’ for retirement accounts. To qualify, you need a minimum account balance of $25,000. And instead of borrowing directly from Fidelity, the broker allows you to finance new trades with funds from unsettled transactions (which would otherwise trigger a good faith violation).
Due to Capital.com’s wide array of assets and low spreads, the U.K.-based broker is one of the best margin trading platforms for CFDs. Unlike the other brokers on our list that offer 2:1 leverage (50%margin), like to eToro and Libertex, Capital.com’s leverage structure is much more attractive:
Even better, because CFDs are exempt from stamp duty taxes, you can open both long and short positions at the cheapest possible rates.
In addition, Capital.com is home to 0% commissions across more than 3,000 tradable assets, including forex, and in the running for the best margin trading broker, Capital.com’s platform is fully functional on all desktop, laptop, Apple iOS, and Android devices. Likewise, customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7) through live chat, email, and telephone.
76.25% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Like TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, Interactive Brokers offers both standard margin and portfolio margin accounts. Within a standard margin account, clients are subject to the margin limits of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T ($2,000 account minimum and 2:1 leverage/50% margin). Likewise, to be eligible for a portfolio margin account, you must have a minimum account balance of $110,000.
However, Interactive Brokers allows you to trade U.S. listed stocks and ETFs commission-free and you can access tradable assets on 28 exchanges across 14 countries. What’s more, while commissions on options ($0.15 to $0.65 per contract) and futures ($0.25 to $0.85 per contract) are extremely competitive, even lower margin rates make Interactive Brokers the best margin trading platform for cost-conscious investors.
Filling a niche and prioritizing specialization, Plus500 is the best margin trading platform for CFDs. Offering a $100 account minimum and no withdrawal fees, Plus500 offers 30:1 leverage (3.33% margin) on nearly all of its tradable assets. What’s more, if you become a Professional Client, you can increase your maximum leverage to up to 300:1 (0.33% margin). However, to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
Also home to the Best Paper Trading Account for Leveraged CFDs, Plus500 has cemented itself as one of the best margin trading brokers. Likewise, all of Plus500’s platform features work seamlessly on Apple iOS and Android devices, while the broker allows you to make deposits in 16 different currencies, including an e-wallet.
72% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
Also adhering to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T, standard margin accounts at Charles Schwab requires a minimum deposit of $2,000 and allow for 2:1 leverage (50% margin). However, for long positions in stocks, ETFs, preferred shares, and warrants that are priced at less than $3.00, you need to maintain a 100% maintenance margin at all times.
But still in the running for the best margin trading platform, stocks, ETFs, preferred shares and REITs always trade commission-free on Charles Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge platform, while futures ($1.50 per contract) and options ($0.65 to $1.50 per contract) are also priced competitively. Even better, Micro E-mini futures – which are 1/10th the size of normal futures contracts – also come with lower margin requirements.
For a breakdown of our brokers’ fee structures, please see the table below:
$5 withdrawal fee
$10 inactivity fee
Conversion fee from 50 pips
€1 to 1% withdrawal fee
$75 outbound transfer fee
$25 wire transfer fee
1 free withdrawal per month
To avoid an inactivity fee, you must spend $10 or more per month on commissions
$10 inactivity fee (if you don’t log in to the platform for at least 3 months)
$15 online wire transfer fee
Margin trading is an efficient way to increase returns and grow your portfolio. Whether you trade cryptocurrencies, stocks, ETFs, commodities, or currencies, you can increase the dollar value of your positions by borrowing money from your broker. For example, when using 2:1 leverage (50% margin), you can open up a $10,000 trading position with only $5,000 of your own funds.
To enjoy the benefits, you first need to open up a margin-eligible account. Thereafter, you can borrow funds from your broker (which is easily done using any of the above brokers’ online platforms) and use the financing to purchase nearly any asset.
Remember though: if your position increases in value, the return is much higher than an all-cash purchase. However, if your equity value falls below the brokers’ maintenance margin (often 25% to 35% of the total position), the broker can issue a margin call and ask you to deposit more money. If you don’t, the broker has the right to sell all of your holdings.
Easily winning the platform wars, margin trading on eToro is as easy as 1.2.3. To get started, simply follow the steps below:
By clicking the “Join Now” button at the top of eToro’s homepage, you’re only a few steps away from accessing the best margin trading platform available.
Next, you’re prompted to enter a username, password, and email address. You also have to provide your first and last name, date of birth, home address, and mobile number. For security purposes, eToro also confirms your mobile number via text message.
To verify your identity, you need to submit a copy of a valid driver’s license or passport, plus a utility bill or bank statement issued within the last three months. Most often, verification takes less than a few minutes and you can begin margin trading immediately.
Requiring a minimum despot of $200, you can choose from the following U.K. payment methods:
Even better, apart from a U.K. bank transfer, the above deposit methods are processed instantaneously.
Whether it is EUR/USD, Bitcoin, or Netflix, after choosing your desired target, follow the steps below to easily finance your position:
Also, be aware that leveraged trades are processed as CFDs.
While the marginal buyer is often viewed as the sucker in financial markets, margin trading is the exact opposite. Allowing you to increase your exposure with little upfront costs, margin trading can be a gateway to a more prosperous future.
However, before taking the plunge, it’s important to hitch your wagon to the right horse. Offering the unparalleled combination of 0% commissions, maximum leverage, cheap financing rates, and best-in-class service, if it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now, that eToro is 2021’s best margin trading platform. What’s more, sign up is a breeze and you can begin trading with as little as $200.
So what are you waiting for?
Mechanically, margin trading is identical to standard equity trading. However, because positions are partially financed with debt, you can make more or lose more than you would with an all-equity position.
Yes. Margin trading is analogous to leverage. Similar to taking out a mortgage loan on your home, trading on margin allows you to purchase more of an asset than you otherwise could with only cash.
Like any asset, margin trading futures results in a higher ROI when your positions increase and a larger loss when your positions decrease.
When the equity balance of your position falls below a certain value, your broker can insist that you deposit more funds. And if not, the broker reserves the right to liquidate all of your holdings.
Absolutely. With interest rates at historic lows, margin loans are more affordable now than ever. In addition, because your interest incurred is tax-deductible, the net-cost of financing is actually less than it appears.
Michael Graw is a freelance journalist based in Bellingham, Washington. He covers finance, trading, and technology. His work has been published on numerous high-profile websites that cover the intersection of markets, global news, and emerging tech. Michael has also written for TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, StockApps, Buyshares and LearnBonds.
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