Margin Loans

Margin Loans for International Investors

Get access to cash by borrowing against the securities in your portfolio. The money can be used to purchase securities or for a variety of personal financial needs.

Schwab offers competitive rates and a flexible, convenient line of credit. Once the margin feature is in place on your account, you can borrow at any time with no additional paperwork. When used correctly, margin loans can help you execute investment strategies and can serve as a source of flexible borrowing.

How Margin Works

The margin feature on your Schwab brokerage account allows you to access your available margin cash by placing a trade or withdrawing cash. Higher balances may be eligible for lower interest rates.

See our margin rates

How much can you borrow?

The amount you can borrow depends upon the type and value of securities in your account.

  • To begin borrowing at Schwab, you must have at least $5,000 in cash or marginable securities1 in your account.
  • The amount of money you can borrow on margin toward the purchase of securities is typically limited to 50 percent of the value of marginable securities in your account. However, it is prudent to borrow less to minimize risk.
  • Once you borrow on margin, you are required to maintain a certain amount of equity in your account, depending on the securities you hold. Typically, the equity maintenance requirement is at least 30% of the total account value, but it can be higher for certain securities or accounts.
  • Schwab calculates your buying power and cash available for withdrawal and provides the information with your Schwab brokerage account.

Enjoy the benefits of a margin loan from Schwab.

With a margin loan from Schwab, you can:

  • Buy more securities than you could on a cash-only basis.
  • Take advantage of timely market opportunities or make investment changes when you want.
  • Defer any capital gains taxes that might result from selling securities to meet your financing needs.
  • Repay the loan at your own pace, as long as you maintain the required level of equity in your account.
  • Enjoy a cost-effective borrowing option with competitive rates.
  • Possibly deduct the interest against your net investment income. (Please consult your tax advisor.)

The risks of margin borrowing.

Margin borrowing may not be right for everyone. It's important that you fully understand your financial situation, the rules of margin borrowing, and conditions that may affect your investments.

  • Margin borrowing increases your level of market risk, so the value of your investments can go down as well as up.
  • You must repay your margin loan, regardless of the underlying value of the securities you purchased.
  • Schwab can change its maintenance margin requirements at any time without prior notice.
  • If the equity in your account falls below the minimum maintenance requirements (30% for most securities), you'll have to deposit additional cash or acceptable collateral.
  • If you fail to meet your minimums, Schwab may be forced to sell some or all of your securities, with or without your prior approval.

Before you begin using margin, you should read Schwab's Margin Borrowing Overview and Disclosure Statement.

How to manage your risk.

Schwab encourages you to use margin prudently. You may wish to consider the following ways to reduce the risk of a margin maintenance call, which occurs when your account equity falls below the required amount.

  • Borrow against a diversified portfolio of low-volatility securities.2 This reduces the risk that a single security will drop in value and trigger a margin call.
  • Borrow less than the maximum amount allowable in your account. Consider setting your own personal maintenance level.
  • Monitor your portfolio, especially during uncertain market conditions, to anticipate a potential decline in value.