Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a well-regarded choice for those looking for a comprehensive brokerage service with cost-effective fees.
With a pristine track record featuring no major regulatory incidents or fines, it’s a trusted name among investors.
What you'll learn:
➤ IBKR Review
|🗺 Regulation||USA, Ireland, UK, Hungary, India, Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore|
|💰 US Stock Fee||Fixed pricing: $0.005 per share, min. $1, max. 1% of trade value. Free for US clients choosing IBKR Lite plan.|
|💰 Inactivity Fee||No|
|💰 Withdrawal Fee||$0|
|💰 Minimum Deposit||$0|
|💵 Base Currencies||AUD, CAD, CHF, CNH, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HUF, INR, ILS, JPY, KRW, MXN, NOK, NZD, PLN, RUB, SEK, SGD, USD, ZAR|
|💵 Conversion Fee of Deposits in Non-Base Currency||Trade value less than $1 billion: 0.2 bps * trade value; min. $2|
|💳 Deposit with Bank Card||Not available|
|🕖 Account Opening||1-3 days|
|🎮 Demo Account||Yes|
|🛍️ Products Offered||Stock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, CFD, Crypto, Warrants, Structured Products|
➤ IBKR Pros and Cons
We have distilled the key advantages and disadvantages of Interactive Brokers for your convenience:
|Low Trading Fees||Complicated Account Opening Process|
|Wide Range of Products||Complex Desktop Trading Platform|
|Many Great Research Tools||Understaffed Customer Service|
Interactive Brokers Pros
- Low Trading Fees: Interactive Brokers offers highly competitive trading fees, making it attractive for investors looking to minimize costs.
- Wide Range of Products: The broker provides an extensive range of products, giving investors a plethora of options for their portfolios.
- Many Great Research Tools: Interactive Brokers equips users with a wide array of research tools to support their investment decisions.
Interactive Brokers Cons
- Complicated Account Opening Process: Account opening with Interactive Brokers can be a lengthy and intricate process, potentially deterring some prospective clients.
- Complex Desktop Trading Platform: While offering advanced features, Interactive Brokers’ desktop trading platform may overwhelm novice traders.
- Understaffed Customer Service: The customer service department at Interactive Brokers might face challenges in providing prompt assistance due to understaffing.
Interactive Brokers, with its long-standing reputation and top-tier regulation, is an attractive choice for both seasoned and novice investors.
However, potential clients should be prepared for a complex account opening process and a desktop trading platform that is better suited for advanced users.
If you’re willing to navigate these challenges, Interactive Brokers offers low-cost trading and access to an extensive range of markets and products, making it an excellent choice for cost-conscious and diverse investors.
➤ IBKR Fees
Interactive Brokers stands out with its competitive fee structure.
|U.S. Equities (PRO Account)|
|Fixed Per-Share Pricing||$0.005 per share with a $1.00 minimum and a maximum of 1% of the trade value (includes exchange and most regulatory fees).|
|Tiered Per-Share Pricing||Ranges from $0.0035 per share for <300,000 shares per month to $0.0005 per share for >100 million shares per month (minimum $0.35 per trade, does not include exchange and regulatory fees).|
|IBKR Lite Program||Fee-free trades for U.S.-listed equities and ETFs (routed to generate payment for order flow).|
|Per-Contract Fee (No Per-Leg Fee)||$0.65 per contract with a minimum commission of $1. Low-value contract fees drop to $0.50 (premium $0.05–$0.10) or $0.25 (premium under $0.05).|
|Trading a Single Contract||$1.00|
|Trading 50 Contracts||$32.50|
|Covered Call Trade (500 Shares + 5 Contracts)||$5.75|
|Fees||Lesser of 3% of trade value or $14.95 for funds not on the no-transaction fee list.|
|Margin Interest (Pro vs. Lite)||6.08% for balances up to $100,000 (Pro), 7.08% for Lite customers (Lite)|
|Per Contract Fee||$0.85 per contract (plus exchange and regulatory fees), tiered between $0.25 and $0.85 per contract.|
|Trading Cost||Between 0.20 and 0.08 basis points, depending on volume.|
|Fee Based on Trade Value||0.18% up to $100,000 in crypto, 0.15% for $100,000 to $1 million, 0.12% for monthly trade values above that.|
|Commission||150 ETFs can be traded with no commission for fixed or tiered commission plans. Otherwise, $0.005 per share with a minimum of $1 per order (Lite clients pay no ETF trading commissions).|
|Closing or Transferring an Account||No fees|
|Inactivity Fees||None (no inactivity fees on any accounts).|
➤ IBKR Account Opening
Interactive Brokers offers a digital account opening process, keeping minimum deposits low.
However, the complexity of the process and the time required for account verification are noteworthy downsides.
|Fully Digital||Not User-Friendly|
|No Minimum Deposit for Most Account Types||–|
- Fully Digital: The account opening process is entirely digital, providing convenience for clients.
- No Minimum Deposit for Most Account Types: Most account types have no minimum deposit requirement, making it accessible to a broad range of investors.
- Not User-Friendly: The account opening process, while efficient, may not be the most user-friendly, potentially creating confusion for some users.
➤ IBKR Deposit and Withdrawal
Interactive Brokers offers several account base currencies and allows one free withdrawal per month. However, it exclusively supports bank transfers.
|Deposit and Withdrawal||Details|
|No Deposit Fee||Interactive Brokers does not charge deposit fees, reducing costs for clients.|
|Several Account Base Currencies||Clients have the flexibility to choose from several account base currencies.|
|First Withdrawal Free Each Month||The broker offers one free withdrawal per month, saving clients from withdrawal fees.|
|Bank Card Not Available||Interactive Brokers lacks support for depositing with bank cards, limiting deposit options.|
➤ IBKR Trading Platforms
Interactive Brokers provides a range of trading platforms to cater to different user preferences.
Web Trading Platform
|User-Friendly||The web trading platform offered by Interactive Brokers is user-friendly and suitable for traders of all levels.|
|Clear Fee Report||Clients have access to a clear fee report, making it easy to monitor costs.|
|Two-Step (Safer) Login||Two-step login enhances security for user accounts.|
|User Experience Could Be Better||While user-friendly, there are some minor glitches that could be improved to enhance the user experience.|
Mobile Trading Platform
|User-Friendly||The IBKR GlobalTrader app is designed to be user-friendly and provides an effective search function.|
|Good Search Function||Clients can conveniently use Touch or Face ID for secure login.|
|Limited Order Types||The mobile trading platform offers limited order types, potentially limiting trading strategies.|
|No Price Alerts||Lack of price alerts may require more manual monitoring.|
Desktop Trading Platform
|Clear Fee Report||The desktop trading platform, TWS, offers clarity in fee reporting, essential for tracking expenses.|
|Good Customizability||Users enjoy the flexibility to customize charts and workspaces, catering to individual preferences.|
|Good Variety of Order Types||The platform provides a broad range of order types for diversified trading strategies.|
|Not User-Friendly||While feature-rich, Interactive Brokers’ desktop platform might pose usability challenges for beginners.|
|Complexity Might Be Overwhelming||The complexity of the platform may overwhelm users who are not experienced traders.|
➤ IBKR Markets and Products
Interactive Brokers grants access to a vast range of markets, offering a comprehensive selection of product types. This expansive market coverage is a definite strength.
➤ IBKR Research
Interactive Brokers presents a plethora of research opportunities, although the user interface may require some adaptation.
|Good interactive chart for in-depth analysis||User interface may not be very intuitive|
|Provides trading ideas||Some users may find the learning curve challenging|
|Access to valuable data on asset fundamentals||–|
➤ IBKR Customer Service
While Interactive Brokers offers multiple contact options, including phone, email, live chat, and an automated ‘iBot,’ the quality and responsiveness of customer service may vary.
|Clients can reach Interactive Brokers through phone support, live chat, and an automated iBot, receiving generally relevant assistance.||Waiting times for customer service, particularly via phone, may be extended at times, leading to slower resolution of inquiries.|
➤ IBKR Education
Interactive Brokers extends a range of educational materials and tools to its clients, making it a valuable resource for learning and improving trading skills.
|Demo Account||Clients have access to a demo account for risk-free practice.|
|Trading Platform Tutorial||Interactive Brokers provides a trading platform tutorial, supporting clients in maximizing the platform’s potential.|
|Educational Videos||Educational videos offer valuable insights and knowledge enhancement.|
➤ IBKR Safety
Interactive Brokers maintains robust safety measures, with multiple financial authorities regulating its operations. These authorities include the SEC in the US and the UK’s FCA, providing clients with confidence in the broker’s reliability.
|Safety and Regulation||Details|
|Listed on Stock Exchange||Interactive Brokers’ parent company is listed on the stock exchange, contributing to its transparency and accountability.|
|Negative Balance Protection||The broker ensures negative balance protection, limiting client losses.|
|Regulated by Top-Tier Financial Authorities||Regulatory oversight from top-tier financial authorities guarantees the broker’s compliance with stringent industry standards.|
➤ Final Thoughts
Interactive Brokers stands as one of the leading low-spread brokers based in the US, boasting top-tier global regulations. This broker suits both advanced traders and everyday investors seeking access to a diverse range of stock markets.
With the advantage of low fees, extensive market coverage, and rich research tools, Interactive Brokers is an appealing choice for many. However, potential clients should be aware of challenges related to customer service and the account opening process.
The desktop trading platform, while feature-rich, might not be suitable for beginners. If you are willing to navigate these hurdles, Interactive Brokers is an excellent option for cost-conscious and diverse investors.
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