I'm trying to understand how IB margin account works. When I buy a stock I always see there "Initial Margin" and "Maintenance Margin" fields regardless of cash available. Should I always pay margin fees even if I don't need to borrow that money? Is it possible to buy stocks with own money there in margin account?

Here is an example on my paper trading account:


2 Answers 2


The maintenance margin requirement is the minimum amount of equity you need in your account to hold the position. There is no fee associated with maintenance margin.

You only start to pay interest when your cash balance is negative (i.e. you hold more stock than you have cash for).

  • What about Current Initial Margin of account? Does it have a fee if it's greater than the cash balance?
    – Vlad
    Jun 11, 2020 at 15:24
  • 1
    Initial margin is the margin you need when you open a position. No fee if it is greater than the cash balance. The only time you pay interest is when the cash balance is below zero.
    – xirt
    Jun 11, 2020 at 17:32

The numbers don't add up in your screen shot. I suspect that it has something to do with the warning that you are trying to place the trade without "having market data for this instrument". So here's generic info:

When buying stock on margin, you borrow money. If you do not borrow money, you do not pay margin interest. If shorting, you pay a borrow fee.

On the account summary page, IB provides a breakdown of the maintenance requirement for existing positions.

When you create an order ticket, it calculates the margin requirement and the maintenance requirement for the trade. For long positions, initial margin is 50% (2x) and the maintenance requirement is 25%. Intraday, the margin requirement for a Pattern Day Trader is 25% (4x) but must be restored to 50% (2x) by the close.

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