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Trading FAQs: Margin

How margin works

  • What securities are eligible for margin?

    The following securities can be used as collateral for margin borrowing:

    • Equities and ETFs trading over $3 a share (special requirements exist for certain securities and accounts)
    • Most mutual funds that have been held for at least 30 days
    • Treasury, corporate, municipal, and government agency bonds

    The following are not eligible for margin borrowing:

    • CDs, money market funds, annuities, options, precious metals, and offshore mutual funds
    • UGMA/UTMA or retirement accounts
  • How does margin work?

    Margin borrowing lets you leverage securities you already own to purchase additional securities. By leveraging your assets, you can potentially realize greater investment returns.

    • Example: Suppose you use $5,000 in cash and borrow $5,000 on margin to purchase a total of $10,000 in stock. If the stock rises in value to $11,000 and you sell it, you would pay back the $5,000 borrowed on margin and realize a profit of $1,000. That’s a 20% return on your $5,000 investment.
    • If you didn’t take advantage of the margin loan, you would have paid $10,000 in cash for the stock. Not only would you have tied up an additional $5,000, but you would have realized only a 10% return on your investment. The 10% difference in the return is the result of leveraging your assets.1

    Example of How Leverage Can Improve Your Return

      Using cash only Using margin credit
    Securities purchased $10,000 $10,000
    Cash provided $10,000 $5,000
    Margin credit $0 $5,000
    Sales proceeds $11,000 $11,000
    Gain $1,000 $1,000
    Cash provided $10,000 $5,000
    Return on investment 10% 20%
  • What are the risks associated with margin?

    Margin investing carries greater risks and may not be appropriate for every investor. Before you use margin, carefully review your investment objectives, financial resources, and risk tolerance to determine whether margin borrowing is appropriate for you.

    • Leverage risk
      Leverage works as dramatically when stock prices fall as when they rise. For example, let’s say you use $5,000 in cash and borrow $5,000 on margin to purchase a total of $10,000 in stock. Suppose the market value of the stock you’ve purchased for $10,000 drops to $9,000. Your equity would fall to $4,000, which is the market value minus the loan balance of $5,000. In this instance, you could suffer a loss of 20% due to a 10% decrease in market value.1
    • Maintenance call risk
      If the securities you hold fall below the minimum maintenance requirement, your account may incur a margin call. Margin calls are due immediately. It’s smart to leave a cash cushion in your account to help reduce the likelihood of a margin call.
    • Sometimes you may face higher maintenance minimums, especially when the securities you’re holding carry additional risks, such as concentration risk.
  • What is a margin call?

    If the margin equity in your account falls below a certain amount based on the amount you have borrowed, then the account is issued a margin call.

    Margin call information is provided to help you understand when your account is in a call and see what amounts are due and when. The method and time for meeting a margin call varies, depending on the type of call.

    Call type Trigger Call meeting methods
    House Account margin equity falls below Fidelity’s requirement.
    • Sell margin-eligible securities held in the account, or
    • Deposit cash or margin-eligible securities.

    Time allowed: 5 business days

    Fidelity reserves the right to meet margin calls in your account at any time without prior notice.2

    Exchange Account margin equity falls below exchange requirements.
    • Sell margin-eligible securities held in the account, or
    • Deposit cash or margin-eligible securities.

    Time allowed: 2 business days

    Fidelity reserves the right to meet margin calls in your account at any time without prior notice.2

    Federal Equity is insufficient to satisfy the 50% initial requirement on an opening transaction.
    • Sell margin-eligible securities held in the account, or
    • Deposit cash or margin-eligible securities.

    Note: Repeatedly liquidating securities to cover a federal call while below exchange requirements may result in restrictions on margin trading in the account.

    Time allowed: 5 business days

    Fidelity reserves the right to meet margin calls in your account at any time without prior notice.2

    Day trade A day trade exceeds your account’s day trade buying power.
    • Deposit of cash or marginable securities only. A sell of an existing position may satisfy a day trade call but is considered a day trade liquidation. Three day trade liquidations within a 12-month period will cause the account to be restricted.

    Note: There is a 2-day holding period on funds deposited to meet a day trade call.

    Time allowed: 5 business days

    Fidelity reserves the right to meet margin calls in your account at any time without prior notice.2

    Day trade minimum equity Margin equity falls below the $25,000 pattern day trader equity requirement.
    • Deposit of cash or marginable securities

    Note: There is a 2-day holding period on funds deposited to meet a day trade minimum equity call.

    Time allowed: 5 business days

    Fidelity reserves the right to meet margin calls in your account at any time without prior notice.2

Margin requirements

  • What are the types of margin requirements?

    Margin requirements are intended to help protect securities firms and their customers from some of the risks associated with leveraging investments by requiring customers to either meet or maintain certain levels of equity in their account.

    There are two primary types of margin requirements: initial and maintenance.

    • Initial/Reg T requirements
    • An initial margin requirement is the amount of funds required to satisfy a purchase or short sale of a security in a margin account. The initial margin requirement is currently 50% of the purchase price for most securities, and it is known as the Reg T or the Fed requirement, which is set by the Federal Reserve Board. In addition, Fidelity requires customers to have a minimum account equity of $2,000 when placing orders on margin.
    • Maintenance requirements
    • Ongoing margin requirements after the purchase is complete are known as maintenance requirements, which require that you maintain a certain level of equity in your margin account. Maintenance requirements are set by the NYSE, FINRA, and/or the brokerage firm.
    • At Fidelity, house maintenance requirements are systematically applied based on the composition of an account. These are called rules-based requirements (RBR). RBR applies changes to requirements based on the changes in the positions held in an account on a daily basis. In this way, the aggregate requirement truly reflects the risk in an account based on the current structure of the portfolio. Fidelity, as well as other broker dealers, has the right to modify the maintenance requirements on specific securities and individual customer accounts.
    • RBR is applied to accounts with a margin debit balance greater than $10,000 or any short position in a margin or short account. Accounts that do not meet these criteria will receive base requirements. RBR is applied to stocks, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, treasuries, and preferred stock. Options requirements are not impacted by RBR.
    • RBR examines individual accounts and calculates requirements based on portfolio attributions (add-on percentages), which are added to the existing base requirements. RBR requirements are additive, i.e., any one security could qualify for more than just one type of add-on with a maximum requirement of 100%. The account level add-ons are:
      • Issuer (position) concentration: Concentration of a position held versus the account’s gross market value.
      • Liquidity: Concentration based on the trading volume of a security.
      • Ownership concentration: Concentration based on all the securities held of a common issuer.
      • Industry concentration: Concentration based on all the securities held in a common industry.

    Fidelity provides the margin maintenance requirement for all securities held in your account. Fidelity also provides the ability for you to enter symbols to retrieve the maintenance requirement for securities not held in your account, as well as evaluate the impact of hypothetical trades on your account balances using our margin calculator.

    Note: All margin maintenance requirements displayed using the “margin requirement” tool are specific to the margin account through which you access the tool. Maintenance requirements may vary by account and may be subject to RBR add-on requirements in addition to the base requirements. Fidelity requires customers to have a minimum account equity of $2,000 when placing orders on margin.

    With respect to maintenance requirements on specific securities, Fidelity considers a number of factors, including the stock’s trading volatility and liquidity, company earnings and market capitalization, as well as whether the account in question is in a concentrated position.

    Example: If you purchase $20,000 of marginable stock with a 30% house margin requirement, you would need to initially deposit $10,000, which is the 50% Fed requirement. You would not need to deposit additional money beyond the $10,000 because the house maintenance requirement is below the 50% Fed requirement.

    Let’s say, however, the security purchased now makes up 80% of the gross market value of your portfolio. This security would be subject to an RBR add-on of 30%, bringing the house requirement to 60%. Since the account has a maintenance requirement higher than the Fed requirement, you would need to deposit funds to meet the higher requirement, rather than 30%. In this example, the security purchased increased the house maintenance requirement to 60%, requiring a deposit totaling $12,000. This amount is equal to 60% of the purchase price.

    Note: Fidelity may impose a higher house maintenance requirement than the Fed requirement (or Reg T). In a situation where the maintenance requirement is the greater of the two, you must maintain an equity level at or above the higher requirement.

  • What are the requirements for equities?

    Maintenance requirements are calculated using rules-based requirements in which the RBR add-ons are added to the base requirements. A majority of securities have base requirements of:

    • 30% (long side)
    • 35% (short side)

    There may be instances where securities have higher base requirements. Some examples are distressed sectors, distressed issuers, and levered ETFs.

    Issuer (Position) Concentration
    The market value of a position as a percent of the account’s gross market value (position market value/portfolio gross market value)

    Long positions

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–10% 0%
    10.01%–20% 5%
    20.01%–40% 10%
    40.01%–50% 15%
    50.01%–75% 20%
    75.01%–100% 30%

    Short positions

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–10% 0%
    10.01%–20% 10%
    20.01%–40% 15%
    40.01%–50% 20%
    50.01%–75% 30%
    75.01%–100% 35%

    Liquidity
    The quantity of a position as a percent of the security’s 20-day average trading volume (position quantity/security’s 20-day average volume)

    Long side

    Days to liquidate Add-on
    0–1 0%
    1.01–2 10%
    2.01–3 20%
    3.01–5 30%
    above 5 50%

    Short side

    Days to liquidate Add-on
    0–1 0%
    1.01–2 10%
    2.01–3 20%
    3.01–5 30%
    above 5 50%

    Ownership concentration
    The quantity of a position as a percent of the number of shares outstanding (position quantity/shares outstanding)

    Ownership Add-on
    0%–1% 0%
    1.01%–3% 10%
    3.01%–5% 25%
    5.01%–100% 100%

    Industry Concentration
    The net market value of position(s) in the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) as a percent of the account’s gross market value (net market value in each GICS sub sector/gross market value)

    Level of concentration (within same industry) Add-on
    0%–30% 0%
    30.01%–70% 5%
    70.01%–100% 10%

    Note: The industry add-on should only trigger for an account that has no positions greater than 40% of total market value.

  • What are the requirements for mutual funds?
    Security Price per share/maintenance requirement
    Mutual funds $3 and under: 100% of market value
    Over $3 and under $10: $3 per share
    $10 and over: 30% of market value
    Exception: Select Money Market and Spartan® Money Market are 30%.
  • What are the requirements for fixed income?
    Security Initial requirement Maintenance requirement
    Convertible corporates 50% of market value Greater of 30% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Nonconvertible corporates Greater of 30% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) Greater of 25% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    U.S. agency debt
    • Treasury Notes
    • Bonds
    • Zeros
    Greater of 10% of market value or 6% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) 15% regardless of maturity and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Municipals Greater of 25% of market value or 15% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) Greater of 20% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Treasury bills 1% of market value 1% of market value and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Treasury notes, bonds, and zeros Greater of 10% of market value or 6% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) Greater of 10% of market value or 6% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    CATS and TIGRs Greater of 25% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) Market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Preferred stock Aligned with its equivalent corporate debt Aligned with its equivalent corporate debt and subject to RBR add-on requirements
    Unit investment trusts Same as regional equities Same as regional equities
    Other fixed income Greater of 10% of market value or 6% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value) Greater of 10% of market value or 6% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value)

    Corporate Bonds

    Industry concentration add-on
    The aggregate industry net market value of position(s) as a percent of the account’s gross market value (aggregate industry net market value/gross market value)

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–25% 0%
    25.01%–50% 10%
    50.01%–75% 20%
    75.01%–100% 30%

    Concentration add-on
    The aggregate issuer net market value as a percent of the account’s gross market value (aggregate issuer net market value/gross market value)
    Note: Concentration add-ons are applied at the issuer level.

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–15% 0%
    15.01%–25% 10%
    25.01%–50% 15%
    50.01%–75% 20%
    75.01%–100% 30%

    Ownership add-on
    The quantity of a position as a percent of the number of shares outstanding (position quantity/issue shares outstanding)
    Note: Ownership add-ons are applied at the issuer level.

    Ownership Add-on
    0%–5% 0%
    5.01%–10% 10%
    10.01%–20% 20%
    20.01%–50% 50%
    50.01%–100% 100%

    U.S. Agency Debt

    Concentration add-on
    The aggregate issuer market value as a percent of the account’s gross market value (aggregate issuer market value/gross market value)
    Note: Concentration add-ons are applied at the issuer level.

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–50% 0%
    50.01%–75% 5%
    75.01%–100% 10%

    Municipals

    Concentration add-on
    The market value of a position as a percent of the account’s gross market value (position market value/gross market value)

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–25% 0%
    25.01%–50% 10%
    50.01%–75% 15%
    75.01%–100% 20%

    Ownership add-on
    The quantity of a position as a percent of the number of issue shares outstanding (position quantity/issue shares outstanding)
    Note: Ownership add-ons are applied at the issuer level.

    Ownership Add-on
    0%–5% 0%
    5.01%–10% 10%
    10.01%–20% 20%
    20.01%–50% 50%
    50.01%–100% 100%

    Treasuries

    Security Maturity Requirement
    Bills, bonds, and notes Less than 1 year 3%
    1–3 years 5%
    3–5 years 6%
    5–10 years 8%
    10–30 years 10%
    CATS and TIGRs All maturities Greater of 20% of market value or 10% of principal (not to exceed 100% of market value)

    Preferred Stock

    RBR add-on
    The aggregate issuer net market value as a percent of the account’s gross market value (aggregate issuer net market value/gross market value)

    Level of concentration Add-on
    0%–15% 0%
    15.01%–20% 5%
    20.01%–50% 10%
    50.01%–75% 20%
    75.01%–100% 30%
  • What are the covered and uncovered option requirements?

    Covered Options Margin Requirements

    Fidelity sets its own margin guidelines to better reflect its view of the risks of options trading.

    Order Options level Margin requirement
    Buy calls to open
    Buy puts to open
    Level 2 The initial debit, in cash or available to borrow. No margin agreement required.
    Buy calls to close
    Buy puts to close
    n/a The initial debit, in cash or available to borrow. The position must be short in the account. Check for possible assignment.
    Note: Closing a short options position may release additional funds that can be applied to the purchase requirement.
    Sell calls to open Equities: Level 4
    Indexes: Level 5
    Covered: Level 1
    Uncovered: See below.
    Covered: No margin requirement. The underlying stock must be long in the account.
    Sell puts to open Equities: Level 4
    Indexes: Level 5
    Cash covered: Level 2
    Uncovered: See below.
    Covered: No margin requirement except for the short stock. The underlying stock must be short in the account.3
    Sell calls to close
    Sell puts to close
    n/a No margin requirement. Positions must be long in the account.

    Uncovered options margin requirements

    Looking to place uncovered options trades? Then you must have margin and be approved for the appropriate options level:

    • Level 4 for equity
    • Level 5 for index

    To short naked options you must maintain a minimum equity balance of $20,000 for equity options and $50,000 for index options in your account.

    Equity calls: The higher of the following requirements:

    • 25% of the underlying stock value, minus the out-of-the-money amount, plus the premium
    • 15% of the underlying stock value, plus the premium

    Equity puts: The higher of the following requirements:

    • 25% of the underlying stock value, minus the out-of-the-money amount, plus the premium
    • 15% of the strike price, plus the premium

    Index calls: The higher of the following requirements:

    Broad-based:

    • 20% of the underlying value, minus the out-of-the-money amount, plus the premium
    • 15% of the underlying value, plus the premium

    Narrow-based:

    • 25% of the underlying value, minus the out-of-the-money amount, plus the premium
    • 15% of the strike price, plus the premium

    Options spread requirements
    Nonretirement accounts require the following account agreements and equity requirements before placing any spreads:

    • Margin agreement on file
    • Level 3 options agreement for equity and index spreads
    • A minimum equity balance of $10,000 for equity and index spreads

    The margin requirement for debit spreads in a nonretirement account is the initial debit paid to execute the trade. The margin requirement for credit spreads in nonretirement accounts is the lower of the difference in strike prices or the short option’s requirement as an uncovered position.

    Retirement accounts require the following account agreements and equity requirements before placing any spreads:

    • Level 2 options agreement
    • Option Spreads in Retirement Accounts Agreement on file
    • A minimum equity balance of $10,000 while holding any spread positions

    The margin requirement for debit spreads in a retirement account is the initial debit paid to execute the trade, plus a cash spread reserve of $2,000. The margin requirement for a credit spread in a retirement account is the greater of the difference in strike prices and the $2,000 cash spread reserve.

    Note: The $2,000 cash spread reserve is counted towards the credit spread requirement, and is not required for each subsequent spread that is maintained in the account.

Limited margin for IRAs

  • What is limited margin?

    Limited margin allows you to trade on unsettled funds and trade without triggering trading restrictions, such as good faith violations, in an IRA. Limited margin does not allow for borrowing against existing holdings, account leveraging, creating cash or margin debits, short selling of securities, or selling naked options. It allows for day trading of stocks and options (option agreement required) in your IRA.

  • What account registrations are eligible for limited margin?

    Only the following IRA registrations are eligible for limited margin:

    • Traditional IRA
    • Rollover IRA
    • Roth IRA
    • SEP IRA
    • SIMPLE IRA
  • What are the eligibility requirements for limited margin?
    • You must enroll in limited margin lock_green online.
    • A total account value of $25,000 or greater is required.
    • IRAs with an FDIC core are ineligible. Please contact a representative for ways to change your core account.
    • IRAs with a day trade restriction are ineligible. See Trading Restrictions for more information.
    • Your IRA investment objective must be Most Aggressive. You can update your investment objective in your Financial Profile lock_green.
  • How does it work?

    Trading

    Once you complete the online enrollment process, limited margin is immediately available on your account if you have greater than $25,000 in core. However, if you have less than $25,000 in your core, your Intraday Buying Power balance will be zero, which will prevent you from day trading. You can contact a Fidelity representative to have your positions moved to Margin. Otherwise, this will happen automatically the following business day.

    You can continue to use the trade tickets on Fidelity.com (i.e., Trade Stocks/ETFs, Trade Options, and Trade Conditional) to place your orders. However, a new Margin Trade Type radio button will appear and be the default for orders placed in your IRA. Securities intended to be day traded must be placed in the trade type, Margin; otherwise, you'll be subject to cash account trading restrictions.* See Trading Restrictions for more information.

    Note: Proceeds from margin positions held overnight and liquidated the next business day are not available to be purchased in the margin trade type until the following business day (trade date + 1 day). For example, let's say you purchased symbol XYZ in margin on Monday and held it overnight, then you sold symbol XYZ on Tuesday morning. The proceeds from this sale would not be available for additional purchases in the margin account type until Wednesday.

    *Orders in trade type Margin can only be placed through Fidelity.com, but you can check the status of these orders and straight cancel them through other front-end applications such as ATP, ATP.com and mobile devices, or through a Fidelity representative.

    Balances

    After enrolling in limited margin, you will see some new balances in your IRA.

    On the Balances page, under the Limited Margin in the Cash Available to Trade section, there will be two new balances: Intraday Buying Power and Day Trade Buying Power (Start of Day).

    Intraday Buying Power

    This balance field only applies to pattern day trade accounts and limited margin accounts and is the amount that can be used to buy stock or options intended to be day traded. Unlike Day Trade Buying Power, this value does update intraday to reflect day trade executions, money movement into and out of the account, core cash, and buying power allocated to open orders.

    Day Trade Buying Power (Start of Day)

    This balance field only applies to pattern day trade accounts and limited margin accounts. It represents a start-of-day value and does not update during the course of the trading day to reflect trade executions or money movement. A pattern day trade account or limited margin account is required to maintain minimum margin equity of $25,000. If the margin equity falls below this value, this field name will change to Minimum Equity Call and the value indicated will show what is due to meet the minimum equity requirement.

    Margin calls

    Day trade minimum equity call

    If the equity in your IRA falls below $25,000, a day trade minimum equity call will be issued which will limit you to closing transactions only (sell orders) in the margin account type. This $25,000 minimum must be restored within five business days with a deposit of cash or marginable securities (annual IRA contribution limits apply). If the day trade minimum equity call is not met, then your day trade buying power will be restricted for 90 days. Note that there is a two-business-day holding period on funds deposited to meet a day trade minimum equity call or day trade call.

    Day trade call

    A day trade call is generated whenever opening trades (buy orders) exceed the account's day trade buying power and are sold on the same day. Accounts with an open day trade call will lose time and tick and the day trading buying power will be reduced by half. The day trade call amount must be met within five business days with a deposit of cash or marginable securities (annual IRA contribution limits apply). If the day trade is not met, then your day trade buying power will be restricted for 90 days. Note that there is a two-business-day holding period on funds deposited to meet a day trade minimum equity call or day trade call.

    The sale of an existing position may satisfy a day trade call but is considered a day trade liquidation. Three day trade liquidations within a 12-month period will cause the account to be restricted.

    Restricted accounts will be limited to closing transactions only (sell orders) in the margin account type. Buy orders in the cash account may be permitted, but are subject to normal cash trading rules.

Managing your account

  • What is the difference between my cash account and a margin account?

    All new accounts are established as cash accounts unless you have submitted a margin application and been approved for margin trading. Because margin accounts allow for trading on credit, they have several balance fields that cash accounts would not have. Accounts identified by trade activity as pattern day trade accounts also include balance fields not displayed for other account types.

  • How do I view my balance?

    Use your account’s Balances page to view cash and/or margin related balances at a glance:

    • Obtain real-time account valuation for your account’s total value as well as other key balance information.
    • Determine how much money you have available to purchase securities (updated intraday with trade executions and money movement into and out of the account).
    • See how much you have available to withdraw from an account either in cash or borrowing on margin.

    Show/hide balances

    For both cash and margin accounts, your initial (default) view of the Balances page displays a high-level, collapsed view of your account balances. This overview is designed to provide answers to the basic questions about an account—how much it’s worth, how much you can buy, and how much you can withdraw.
    • Cash accounts
      For more detailed information about your account balances, you can expand the balances table by clicking Show All or you can expand an individual section by clicking the “+” sign to the left of any section name, or just clicking the name of the section. When the table is expanded for a detailed view of individual balance fields, the “+” sign becomes a “–” sign that you can click to collapse the table and return to the summary view. If all the sections of the balances table have been expanded (because you either clicked Show All or expanded each section individually), you can collapse the table and return to the summary view by clicking either Hide All or the “–” sign to its left.
    • Margin accounts
      For more detailed information about your account balances, you can expand the balances table by clicking Show All or you can expand an individual section by clicking the “+” sign to the left of any section name, or just clicking the name of the section. When a section is expanded for a detailed view, the “+” sign becomes a “–” sign that you can click to collapse that section, or you can just click the section name again to collapse that section. If all the sections of the balances table have been expanded (because you either clicked Show All or expanded each section individually), you can collapse the table and return to the summary view by clicking either Hide All or the “–” sign to its left.

    Positive/negative and credit/debit

    • Positive/negative
      All values in the current column are reflected as positive values unless the calculation for a specific balance field results in a negative number or money is due to meet certain requirements. In this case, the number will be reflected with a minus sign “–” in front of it.
    • Credit/debit
      Certain field names will change depending on whether the value is positive (credit) or negative (debit). Whether the balance field indicates credit or debit, the amount is always represented as a positive value. For example, if you have money due to you from the execution of trades in your margin account, the amount owed to you is displayed as a margin credit. If instead, you owe money from the execution of trades in your margin account, the amount you owe is displayed as a margin debit. Both values display as positive numbers, and the field name (in this example, Margin Credit or Margin Debit) reflects whether the value is a credit or debit to your account.
  • What do the different margin account values mean?
    Balance Description Update frequency

    Total account value

    Total account value The total market value of all positions in the account, including core money market, minus any outstanding debit balances and any amount required to cover short option positions that are in-the-money Real-time
    Account equity percentage The account equity, as a percentage of the total market value of positions in your account. The total market value is calculated by using the real-time absolute market value of all sellable security types in your account including cash, margin, and short positions, as well as options market value. It also includes options requirements and the exercisable value of cash covered puts while excluding your core account. The total account value is divided by the total market value to calculate your account equity percentage. Real-time
    Cash (core) Account settlement position for trade activity and money movement. Executed buy orders and cash withdrawals will reduce the core, and executed sell orders and cash deposits will increase the core. Overnight
    Cash credit/cash debit A cash credit is an amount that will be credited to (positive value) the core at trade settlement. A cash debit is an amount that will be debited to (negative value) the core at trade settlement. Intraday
    Securities held in cash The total market value of all long cash account positions. This figure is reduced by the value of any in-the-money covered options and does not include shares bought on margin, shares held short, or cash in the core money market. Real-time
    Margin credit/debit A margin credit indicates the amount due to you based on margin trade executions or an amount needed to meet margin requirements. On settlement date, this amount would be journaled to your core if there is surplus in the margin account. A margin debit indicates the amount you owe Fidelity based on margin trade executions. If there is cash in your core, a journal would take place on settlement date to reduce this debit balance. If there was not enough cash in the core, you would start paying margin interest on this value at settlement. Intraday
    Securities held in margin The total market value of all long margin account positions. This figure is reduced by the value of any in-the-money covered options and does not include shares held as cash positions, shares held short, or cash in the core money market. Real-time
    Held in options The market value of all long and short options positions held in the account. Real-time
    Short credit/short debit A short credit is the amount of money held aside to close short positions in an account. This value is compared against the market value of securities held short, and is marked to market weekly. If the market value of the securities held short increases (moves against you), it will cost more to close short positions, and money will be journaled (transferred) from margin and increase the short credit balance. If the market value of securities held short decreases (moves in your favor), it will cost less to close short positions, and money will be journaled (transferred) out of the short credit to margin. When a short position was covered and there were insufficient funds held as a short credit to cover the position, a short debit occurs instead of a short credit. This debit would be cleared with the mark to market following settlement. Intraday
    Securities held short The total market value of all positions held short in the account. This figure is reduced by the value of any in-the-money covered options and does not include shares held as cash or margin positions, or cash in the core money market. Real-time
    Daily mark to market The difference between the short credit balance and the market value of securities held short balance, which reflects whether short positions have decreased in price and moved in your favor (positive value), or increased in price and moved against you (negative value), on a daily basis. This balance does not impact the weekly mark to market which is calculated each Friday morning. See the short credit/short debit balance definition for more information about this weekly process. Note: Unsettled short positions are not reflected in the daily mark to market balance. Real-time

    Available to trade

    Intraday buying power This balance field applies only to pattern day trade accounts. Unlike day trade buying power, this value does update intraday to reflect day trade executions, money movement into and out of the account, core cash, and buying power allocated to open orders. Intraday
    Margin buying power (fully marginable securities) The maximum dollar amount available, including both cash and margin, to purchase marginable securities without adding money to your account. The balance includes open order commitments, intraday trade executions, and money movement into and out of the account. Intraday
    Non-margin buying power (options, mutual funds, penny stocks) Margin buying power available to purchase securities that are not marginable (have a 100% margin requirement) Intraday
    Committed to open orders The dollar amount allocated to pending orders that have not yet been executed (for example, buy orders and short sale orders). The amount you have committed to open orders decreases your buying power. For margin accounts, this field reflects the impact that an order has on margin buying power for fully marginable securities, even if the open order itself is not for a fully marginable security. Intraday
    Available to trade without margin impact The maximum dollar amount available to purchase a security without creating a margin debit in your account. This balance includes open order commitments, intraday trade executions, and money movement into and out of your account. Note: This balance is provided in order to help you reduce the likelihood of incurring a margin debit balance on your account. However, it is still possible to be charged margin interest when using this balance due to varying security settlement and mark to market dates. Intraday

    Available to withdraw

    Cash only (core + other money markets) Amount collected and available for immediate withdrawal. This balance includes both core and other Fidelity money market funds held in the account. This balance does not include deposits that have not cleared. Proceeds from sell orders are reflected in this balance on settlement date. Intraday
    Cash and borrowing on margin Total amount collected and available for immediate withdrawal. This balance includes both core and other Fidelity money market funds held in the account as well as the amount available to borrow generated from securities held in margin. This balance does not include deposits that have not cleared. Proceeds from sell orders are reflected in this balance on settlement date. Withdrawals that exceed the cash in the account by using loan value generated from positions held in margin will increase the margin debit balance in the account. Intraday

    Additional balances

    Margin equity The value of all securities held in margin, minus the amount of in-the-money covered options and margin debt (if any) in the account Real-time
    House surplus/call A house surplus is the amount of margin equity in the account above the Fidelity minimum requirement (which ranges from 30% to 100%). If the margin equity in the account falls below Fidelity’s minimum requirement, this value will be reflected as a house call. Generally, house calls must be met within five business days, but Fidelity may cover the call at any time. Real-time
    Exchange surplus/call An exchange surplus (also known as NYSE surplus) is the amount of margin equity in the account above the NYSE minimum requirement (currently 25%). If the margin equity in the account falls below 25%, this value will be reflected as an exchange call. Generally, exchange calls must be met within 48 hours, but Fidelity may cover the call at any time. Real-time
    SMA/Fed call Special Memorandum Account/Federal call: When the margin equity in the account exceeds the federal “Reg T” requirement of 50%, the amount in excess of the requirement is referred to as the SMA. If the Reg T initial requirement is not met, a Fed call is issued against the account. Generally, Fed calls must be met within five business days, but Fidelity may cover the call at any time. Intraday

    Additional buying power

    Day trade buying power (start of day)/minimum equity call This balance field only applies to pattern day trade accounts. It represents a start-of-day value and does not update during the course of the trading day to reflect trade executions or money movement. A pattern day trade account is required to maintain minimum margin equity of $25,000. If the margin equity falls below this value, this field name will change to “minimum equity call” and the value indicated is what is due to meet the minimum equity requirement. Overnight
    Cash available to trade The amount available to purchase securities in a cash account without adding money to the account. An executed buy order will reduce this value, and an executed sell order will increase this value at the time the order executes. Intraday
    Settled cash The portion of your cash (core) balance that represents the amount you can buy and sell of a security in a cash account without creating a good faith violation. This amount includes proceeds from transactions settling today, minus unsettled buy transactions, short equity proceeds settling today and the intraday exercisable value of options positions. Additionally, uncollected deposits may not be reflected in this balance until the deposit has gone through the bank collection process which is usually four business days. Intraday
    Corporate bonds Margin buying power available to purchase corporate bonds. Most corporate bonds are marginable, but margin requirements may vary based on the type of bond. Intraday
    Municipal bonds Margin buying power available to purchase municipal bonds Intraday
    Government bonds Margin buying power available to purchase government bonds Intraday
    Day trade call A day trade call is generated whenever an executed day trade exceeds the account’s day trade buying power. Customers have five business days to meet the call. Overnight

    Additional options balances

    Options in-the-money Options that have intrinsic value. A call option is considered “in-the-money” if the price of the underlying security is higher than the strike price of the call. A put option is considered “in-the-money” if the price of the security is lower than the strike price. Real-time
    Options requirements Margin requirements for single or multi-leg option positions. Your positions, whenever possible, will be paired or grouped as strategies, which can reduce your margin requirements. Intraday
    Cash covered put reserve The value required to cover short put options contracts held in a cash account. Cash covered put reserve is equal to the options strike price multiplied by the number of contracts purchased, multiplied by the number of shares per contract (usually 100). Cash available to buy securities, cash available to withdraw, and available to withdraw values will be reduced by this value. Intraday
    Cash spread reserve The requirement for spread positions held in a retirement account. For debit spreads, the requirement is full payment of the debit. For credit spreads, it’s the difference between the strike prices or maximum loss. A $2,000 minimum equity deposit is required in addition to the debit requirement, but can be counted toward the credit requirement. Overnight

    Options balances appear if options agreement exists. Day trade balances appear on pattern day trade accounts.

    Update frequency explained:

    Real-time: Balances display values that change with market price fluctuations on the underlying securities in your account. Essentially, it is a complete recalculation based on price fluctuations of positions, trade executions, and money movement into or out of the account.
    Intraday: Balances reflect trade executions and money movement into and out of the account during the day.
    Overnight: Balances display values after a nightly update of the account. In some cases, certain balance fields can only be updated overnight due to regulatory restrictions.

  • Can I calculate hypothetical trades on margin?

    Fidelity’s Margin Calculator lets you calculate the impact of hypothetical equity trades on your margin balances and buying power while also factoring in the specific margin requirements for your account. With the Margin Calculator, you can:

    • Check the impact several margin trades will have on your overall margin balances.
    • Determine how many shares you may purchase of a particular security.
    • Determine how many shares of a specific security to sell to meet a margin call.
    • Estimate the cost of placing a trade on margin for a specific account.

    margincal
    For illustrative purposes only

Questions?

More Information

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1. This example does not account for any fees, commissions, interest, or taxes you may be required to pay.
2. Fidelity can sell assets in your account without contacting you. While Fidelity generally attempts to notify customers of margin calls, it is not required to do so. Even if you are notified, Fidelity can still sell assets before the time indicated in the notice, if it believes such action is warranted. You understand that if we contact you in advance in certain instances, we are not obligated to do so and such action will not be deemed a waiver of our rights under this agreement.
3. If there is no underlying stock in the account, the full exercise value of the short put must be in the cash account.
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