How To Borrow Money From Etrade: A Comprehensive Guide

Borrowing money from ETRADE primarily refers to the use of margin. Margin is a tool that can amplify your purchasing power, but it can also amplify your losses. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding and using ETRADE’s margin borrowing capabilities:

How To Borrow Money From Etrade

1. Understanding Margin

Margin allows you to borrow money from E*TRADE to purchase securities. The securities in your account act as collateral. If the value of the securities declines significantly, you might be subject to a margin call, where you need to deposit more funds or sell assets to cover the deficit.

2. Eligibility:

To borrow on margin, you’ll need a margin-approved brokerage account. E*TRADE typically has specific criteria for margin eligibility which may include:

  • A minimum account balance
  • Satisfactory trading history

3. How to Apply:

  • Log in to your E*TRADE account.
  • Go to the account settings or features.
  • Look for the option to “apply for margin” or similar wording.
  • Complete the application process, which may include a review of your financial situation and investment experience.

4. Interest Rates:

Borrowing on margin isn’t free. E*TRADE will charge you interest on the money you borrow. Rates can vary and may depend on:

  • The amount you borrow
  • Prevailing market rates
  • Promotional rates or discounts you might qualify for

5. Buying on Margin:

Once approved, you can buy stocks on margin. This means you can buy more stock than you’d be able to with just your deposited funds. For example, with $5,000 in your account and a 50% margin requirement, you could potentially buy up to $10,000 worth of stock.

6. Understanding the Risks:

  • Margin Calls: If your equity (the value of your securities minus what you owe) drops below E*TRADE’s maintenance requirement, you’ll face a margin call. You’ll need to deposit more money or sell some assets.
  • Potential for Greater Losses: With margin, you can lose more than your initial investment. If you bought $10,000 worth of stock on margin and its value drops to $4,000, you’d still owe the borrowed $5,000 plus interest.

7. Maintenance Requirements:

E*TRADE, like all brokers, has a maintenance margin requirement. This is the minimum account balance you must maintain to avoid a margin call.

8. Monitoring Your Margin:

Keep an eye on:

  • Your account balance
  • The value of your securities
  • The amount you owe on margin

This can help you avoid unexpected margin calls and manage risk.

9. Paying Back the Margin Loan:

As you sell securities in your margin account, funds are first used to pay off the margin loan. Any remaining funds can be withdrawn or used to buy other securities.

10. Alternatives:

Before using margin, consider if it’s right for you. There are other ways to amplify your buying power, like options, which come with their own set of risks and advantages.


Borrowing on margin with E*TRADE or any other brokerage can be a powerful tool for experienced investors. However, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved and have a solid plan for managing those risks. Always do thorough research and consider seeking advice from financial professionals before making decisions regarding margin trading.


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