Free Credit Balance

DEFINITION of 'Free Credit Balance'

The cash held by a broker in a customer's margin account that can be withdrawn by the customer at any time without restriction. This balance is calculated as the total remaining money in a margin account after margin requirements, short sale proceeds and special miscellaneous accounts are taken into consideration.

BREAKING DOWN 'Free Credit Balance'

In a cash account, the credit balance is the amount of money that remains after all purchases, and it is free from withdrawal restrictions. However, within a margin account, the credit balance of the account includes not only the cash remaining in the account, but also proceeds from short sales along with money used to meet margin requirements, and excess margin and buying power. Because the credit balance of a margin account includes both unrestricted amounts and restricted amounts, the free credit balance is created to determine the total amount that can be withdrawn by the account holder.