Leverage vs Margin in Forex Trading

Federica D’Ambrosio

Senior Trader and CFO

Federica D’Ambrosio is a Senior Trader and CFO at Audacity Capital. She graduated in Finance from Luiss University enhancing her knowledge on global markets completing a Master of Science at Fordham university in New York.

As a new forex trader, a couple of things may sound confusing when first investing in the forex market. The key is understanding every forex terminology to avoid mistakes and confusion when investing. Leverage vs margin is one thing mainly discussed in the forex exchange market, but unfortunately, very few traders understand how they work.

First, leverage and margin are two different things. Leverage refers to how much you have invested in a transaction, while margin refers to the amount of money you need to put up as collateral for each trade.

The difference between leverage and margin is an important one. You can leverage your money to increase your profits or reduce your losses on a trade. You can also lower your risk by borrowing money from a broker or bank and then using that borrowed money for each trade.

On the other hand, margin trading is usually done with stocks, futures, and options but can also be used with bonds and commodities. Margin requirements vary by broker, but typically they range from 1% to 3%. When traders use margins, they are putting up their capital as collateral against a potential loss on the position they have taken. This means that if their positions go against them, they owe the broker money. Keep reading to gain more insight on margin trading vs leverage trading and how they work.


What Is Leverage Trading?

Leverage trading is a type of financial trading strategy that uses borrowed money to increase the potential return on investment. This method of investing can be risky, but it has been used successfully for decades by high-level professionals.

Leverage trading allows traders to multiply their capital by borrowing money from a broker and then using it to purchase stocks or other investments. So, what does 5x leverage mean? If you choose this leverage, you can purchase shares five times more of your capital.

An Image showing how leverage can help boost your forex returns

This leverage allows traders to buy more shares than they would otherwise be able to afford, which often yields higher returns than buying stocks outright with only the amount of money they have available.

Pros and Cons of Leverage Trading


  • With a small capital, you can significantly boost your returns
  • You can get access to expensive stocks
  • You can open many positions with a small capital


  • Improved risk as losses can happen much more quickly
  • Managing many leveraged positions can be tricky
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How Does Leverage Trading Work?

When looking at leverage vs margin, it is crucial to understand how they work to grasp their difference. Basically, leveraging is a business practice that involves using someone else’s money to finance your company. This is usually done through debt or equity, which means you borrow or invest in someone else’s company to use their money to get your business off the ground. This is the same thing that happens in forex trading. The broker allows you to borrow money in a specific ratio to fund your account and boost your forex returns.

Leveraging is a great way to start an investment because it requires minimal upfront capital. Instead of risking all your savings, you can get started with only a small investment and put in the necessary effort and time to grow your portfolio. All you need is to understand how forex works, and Audacity Capital will help shed some light by providing you with the right resources to help you know how to trade and make profits.

Another beauty of leverage is that you don’t have to be an expert at everything. Instead, you can build your skills by copying other professional traders and growing your account smoothly.

An image representing a beginner forex trader using leverage vs margin1

What Is Margin Trading?

Margin Trading is the process of borrowing money from a broker to trade on margin. In a margin trading account, you deposit funds with your broker and use them as collateral for buying more stocks or other securities. So, what is 5% margin leverage? Understanding leverage vs margin and how they correlate to each other helps make everything easier. Anytime you see a forex margin of 5%, it simply means you are getting leverage of 20:1.

Pros and Cons of Margin Trading


  • Improves the buying power
  • Allows you to diversify into other instruments
  • Better return potential


  • You have to maintain and meet all margin requirements
  • High risk
  • Interest is charged

How Does Margin Trading Work?

Is margin trading the same as leverage trading? While the two terms may sound one and the same, it is important to know that margin vs leverage trading works very differently. When it comes to margin trading, money borrowed is always secured by collateral.

This is precisely how it works: You buy shares of financial instruments with borrowed money and then sell them at a higher price than your initial investment. When the market falls in value below your original purchase price, you sell them back to the broker at their original price, then repay the loan with interest over time and vice versa. And how do you calculate margin leverage?

Margin vs leverage also involves calculation as it is a crucial part of understanding how they work in forex trading. The good news is that many brokers have a margin calculator, but you can still do it yourself without ever needing a calculator.

For example; If you want to open a position with £25,000 with a leverage of 25:1, then the margin would be; £25,000/25, which is £1,000

In other words, Margin = Size of the Position/ The Higher value in the Leverage Ratio.


The Difference Between Leverage and Margin

The concept of leverage vs margin may be somewhat confusing if you do not know how to apply them to trades. But there are no worries as Audacity Capital ensures beginner traders understand most things there is to know in forex trading.

An image showing how understanding leverage vs margin helps beginner traders climb up the forex ladder successfully

Among the first things to understand are their differences, and one is their buying power. Leverage boosts your purchasing power, while margin allows you to get the funds, depending on your collateral. So, can you leverage trade without margin? Both margin and leverage work interchangeably, meaning that a margin account can help you generate leverage. However, if you trade without a margin, it means that you cannot access funds from your broker to use in opening positions.

It is also worth noting that non-margin accounts cannot participate in;

  • Futures and Options trading
  • Funds shorting and stock trading

Which One is Better: Margin or Leverage?

What is better leverage or margin? This is one of the most asked questions in leverage vs margin comparison analysis. While both allow you to get the money you need to scale your portfolio, it is vital to understand how to use them. Leverage and margin are great tools in forex trading, but how you apply them matters a lot.

According to experts, leveraging your trades cautiously over a long period could be beneficial as it helps minimize losses. On the other hand, when the margin is used in short-term investments in liquid markets, it can yield greater returns. Therefore, it is wise to do your research and understand how they work and how they should be used for better returns. Prop trading firms like Audacity Capital will help you get started successfully. In fact, the firm will fund your account so that you can begin trading without worrying about trading capital.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Leverage vs Margin

  • How much margin will I get as a beginner forex trader?

    This usually depends on the forex broker you use, but it usually starts from 1%. This means you can control $100,000 with only $1000.

  • Is leverage necessary for beginner traders?

    As a newbie, using leverage is important as it will help you increase your profits. However, knowing it can blow your account is also crucial, which is why it is essential to use leverage wisely.