What is margin?

Margin trading gives you full exposure to a market using only a fraction of the capital you’d normally need. Margin is the amount of money you need to open a position, defined by the margin rate. For example: if you were to buy £1000 of shares through a traditional broker, you’d need to pay the full £1000 upfront to own them (plus the associated broker charges).

As spread bets and CFDs are leveraged products, you don’t need to pay the full value of your exposure in order to deal. Instead, you’ll only need to put up a fraction of your total exposure to open your position.

There are two types of margin to consider:

Initial margin

The initial margin is the minimum amount you’ll need to put up to open a position. It is sometimes called the deposit margin, or just the deposit.

Maintenance margin

The maintenance margin, also known as variation margin, is extra money that we might need to request from you if your position moves against you. Its purpose is to ensure you have enough money in your account to fund the present value of the position at all times – covering any running losses.

Things to remember

  • You should ensure that you have enough funds in your account to cover both margin and losses. If there isn't, you may be put on margin call.
  • CFD and spread betting accounts are margined independently: funds in one account will not cover the margin requirement or losses in another.
  • You are able to limit your potential losses and reduce your margin requirement by the use of different stops (this is available to tier one only).

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.