What is Leverage in Forex Trading? Understanding Forex Margin
FOREX trading on TD Ameritrade
Hi, I have been trading paper FOREX for a few months now on Think or Swim. When I tried to trade FOREX live, TD Ameritrade said I had to apply for margin and options approval (Options Level 2). I was approved for margin, but got rejected for options level 2. When I asked the rep how I can get the option 2 approval he said I had to complete an options course on their website which will give a certificate. Once I do that I need to reapply, but no guarantee that I will be approved for options level 2. He said I was rejected because of my profile and net value and those things and that I need Options level 2 to even start trading FOREX. Anyone have this experience with TD Ameritrade? What platforms do you use for FOREX? Thank you.
So the general idea is that TD is an introducing broker to Gain (Forex.com) and it even says on the sticky info thread here. Thing is, I pulled up both live accounts and Forex.com and TD do NOT have same spreads. TD also has floating margin requirement that is not present on Forex.com. Right now there is 3% margin requirement on EUUSD while Forex.com has usual 2%. Forex.com usually has 1.2 - 1.5 pip spread on EU while TD majority of time is 09 to 1.0 pip spread. USDCAD spread is 0.2 - 0.4 pips worse on TD than Forex. So clearly there is some differences here. Meanwhile ATC is completely identical in everything to Oanda. So what is TD ameritrade??
I am a complete beginner that just signed up for an account but I am confused about the following:
Upgrading to advanced features
Applying for margin approval
Applying for options approval
Using thinkorswim vs. the web interface
If I upgrade to advanced features, it says I permanently lose tools / features that will no longer be available but I also gain features / tools as well. I am not sure if the tools I am losing are worth the tools I am gaining. Is it worth it? What do all of the tools do? I would like to invest in every asset class that TD Ameritrade has available. If possible I would like to enable everything such as futures, forex, thinkorswim, and the web interface and use them all at the same time. Is this allowed or am I only allowed to use one or the other? To enable futures and forex, it says I need to apply for both margin approval and options approval. I do not plan on ever borrowing money on margin to invest. I would rather use my own money. Should I decline margin trading on the application? For options, there are tiers 1 through 3. Should I just go for tier 3 which seems to provide the most features? Or is there a catch that I am missing that makes it more beneficial to use a lower tier?
First, I want to thank all the individuals that help me on this sub-reddit. I've come across many other trading groups but this has been the most memorable. I've been trading for about 2-3 months now but, it was strictly penny-stocks the USA Market. I learned a lot there but I seemed to fail every time. I didn't know anything about Forex until a mechanic introduced me to babypips. From there I began to learn the trade. For about 2-3 weeks straight I studied what the website could give me. But, I knew i couldn't learn everything from there. My father still tells me "Birds of common feather, flock together." so i went out to find a group of forex traders. About half way in I thought to myself, all the forex traders probably live in super foreign countries on high level platforms that i would never gain access to unless I was born in the "Circle". But then one day while i was looking at $SNAP memes and /wallstreetbets I thought to myself, "Why not look in Reddit?". And sure enough I found this group. I read though a bunch of the hot post and knew that this was the place. So I asked questions, learned things and tried to fit in. So in comes the trading. I've been using TD Ameritrade since I started so that's the platform I've been using. Since I graduated high-school last year and only had one job, I knew that I would have to start with the minimum amount. So I opened up a Demo account and put $2,000 in. I have to say the first few days were more of luck than skill. I went in with a penny-stock mind set. My first few trades were max 1,000 units. So when I did good I got pennies but when I did bad vice-versa(Not Vice-Versa but you know what I mean). Then I learned about margins and, ooh boy let me tell you. All my trades increased to standard lots(100,000u). And i was losing left and right. And then one would be super good. The good one was, a little bit of my knowledge and lot of a fundamental event happening and me not knowing about it. So I road it and got to about $200 Dollars of it. I forgot how much I put into it but, I was hooked. I was running around my room wondering why didn't i try this before! Then the next day came and I lost $500 dollars. I was about to call it quits when, I went thought the subreddit again and saw that the real thing that makes a trader the will power and stubbornness not to give up and to recover from failures. So I buckled up and said lets do this. Everyday I drove to work I'd listen to a Forex podcast. When I got home instead of playing World of Warcraft or spending money on steam for games, I'd sit and look at the charts and learn how to use indicators and how they work. Then I jumped back into the market and began trading. I was still using crazy units but every now and then I'd make a breakthrough. One day I'd make $200-$300 dollars and in the same day lose 90-100% of it. It wasn't until SanDiegoMAGApede (Prob tired of me linking them) commented on one of my post that I began to learn risk management. Then the game was on. My trades were becoming more efficient and my days became more green. I was scalping for the majority of it until I started to see trends in the market. It was about two days ago, I was trading for ten hours straight 7-4pm(Currently getting ready for college so the weekdays are all free to me for a little bit) that i made my first real break though. I saw a trend coming and acted on it. And to my surprise it worked! I got a nice 30-40 pips. Then I longed and got a 10-20 pip gain. Then shorted for a another 30-40 pip gain. (USD/CAD). I was shocked! The next day I tried to do it again and... well lets say I wasn't a happy trader.. Then today came. I've asked questions about Fundamentals here because, one time an event caught me off guard and I lost a lot. So today came and I said to myself "lets trade on this news." I jumped on Forex Factory, set about a dollars worth of Yen on notifications to my phone and waited. It was the longest 5 minutes in my life my heart was racing super fast and then it came.. and I was right!. I road the EUUSD train all the way to the top and sold. Then I shorted and rode about half way before I went to work and closed. I was almost at $2,900 in my account I was trading on my phone on the way to work (as a passenger) which wasn't a good idea because I lost about $100+. I'm a server in a sports bar so work looked like a weekend in the markets. I then decided to go into a party room and start to trade again. I was so close to reaching my goal ($3,000 BP). So for a few hours I traded EUUSD and I then a table came and I left for about 4-5 hours. Got my $17 from work bought a salad and jumped on EUUSD. I was at $2,958 I was eyes on the market. I saw a fighting box(IDK what to call it) and started scalping the living hell out of it. Eventually I made it to $3,001.15. I started to run around the restaurant and jump around. My manger was worried and told me I was scaring him so I calmed down, jump on the phone with my father and was we were both stoked. Here's the link to day one to today: http://imgur.com/j06ycgB . But that's all I want to say. Thanks again guys and thanks for reading! Edit: Added some much needed commas and fixed a few words. I'm still at work.
Hi! I'm new to forex and this subreddit and was wondering if anyone uses TD Ameritrade for your broker. I transferred some money from my main account yesterday into a forex account. The spreads seem decent, usually around 0.0001 during the active sessions. There is no additional commission for the $10000 lots which is good. The margin is $210 per lot. I'm not sure if this is good or not. The main reason I started a forex account with TD Ameritrade is because I have some equity buy and hold positions and would like to continue trading futures at some point. Commissions for futures are kind of high, but I guess that's part of the price to pay for having an all in one broker. Just wondering anyone's thoughts on using TD Ameritrade for forex.
Hi. So, I've traded leveraged assets before... namely options. Recently, I discovered forex, and I realized certain immediate advantages:
Better bid-ask spreads than options, by a lot. (for options, 6-10% is considered a good bid-ask spread, with most being upwards of 30-40%).
Better commissions, at least from my broker. TD Ameritrade basically doesn't charge commission on forex trades.
Buying power recycles immediately, allowing me to trade however much I feel like. As I like to trade microtrends (trends that are 1 hour long, max), I particularly love this.
The currency pairs are open at weird hours, so I can trade after work or even in the middle of the night, allowing me to direct my full attention to trading whenever I have a free gap in my schedule, whatever time of day that might be.
All of that being said, I am extremely uneasy about certain aspects of forex, and maybe some of you can help me out. My biggest concern is margin. As I said before, I traded options, which are leveraged derivatives. However, the leverage built into options contracts is not the same thing as margin leverage. With options, I could still only lose my own money. Personally, in my entire time trading, I've had very few problems with my orders, but I was always trading in cash accounts, so I never much cared if there were minor hiccups. My worries are:
What if I overlook some important news, and a currency nosedives (like the EUCHF did in January) while I'm in a position? Normally I place a stop order and don't give it any more thought, but with margin, the question becomes more important... could a stop order fail?
What happens if trading halts while I'm in a leveraged position, and I'm unable to sell in time?
If I'm in a position on margin, and I am unable to stop it in time, I hear that the broker will attempt to do a "closeout" and close my position out. But what if the market isn't open at the time, or the broker doesn't close the position out in time?
Is there a limit on how much money I could owe my broker in case my margin blows up? I mean, I've heard of accounts going negative, but how negative could they go? My trading style usually involves being in a maximum-leverage position for a very short amount of time (usually a few minutes), and it's worked decently for me with options, but I can imagine a horror story with forex that couldn't really happen in the options world: what if I go all-in on a $20,000 position leveraged 50:1, and something goes terribly, horribly wrong 2 minutes in, and my stop order doesn't take me out for whatever reason, and the broker fails to catch it in time? Could I be liable for $1,000,000? What would you even do in that scenario, hire a lawyer?
Forgive me if these are noob margin questions, but I haven't really read any personal stories of people actually losing a bunch of margin on a leveraged position. I've heard of forex brokers filing for bankruptcy, but not individual traders over a forex trade... does this happen? And if so, how often, and what do you guys do to deal with the extraordinary leverage in the forex world?
Pricing: TD Ameritrade uses GAIN Capital, the owner of FOREX.com, as its liquidity provider to handle its forex execution (on an agency basis). The spreads at TD Ameritrade for the EUR/USD contract was 1.06 pips, using average spread data from Oct 2018 through September 2019. TD Ameritrade Forex Margin/Leverage One more reason we like TD Ameritrade is because their leverage requirements are lower than other popular FOREX platforms. They use a 50:1 and 20:1 leverage model depending on whether the pair you’re trading is a major pair or an exotic pair. Please note: TD Ameritrade imposes higher maintenance requirements for specific securities based on volatility, liquidity, or overall market conditions. Additionally, not all securities are margin eligible. Margin requirements will change depending on regulatory requirements, market conditions, or if there is an undue concentration in one account. TD Ameritrade Futures and Forex reserves the right to change this minimum threshold at any time and without notice. The Intraday Margin rate granted to customers is typically 25% of the TD Ameritrade Futures and Forex margin requirement for that particular Futures contract. Forex investments are subject to counter-party risk, as there is no central clearing organization for these transactions. Please read the Forex Risk Disclosure before trading this product. A forex dealer can be compensated via commission and/or spread on forex trades. TD Ameritrade is subsequently compensated by the forex dealer.
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