Interactive Brokers: How Does This Trading Broker Compare?

Interactive Brokers
  • Customer Service
  • Commission Fees
  • Trading Platforms
  • Research Tools
4.4

Interactive Brokers has four decades of experience, and it is a well-known leader in the trading industry. Their portal offers many opportunities to potential investors, and it also gives them access to over 120 market centers. Through this portal, you can trade ETFs, futures, bonds, stocks, and other securities.

Interactive Brokers Fees

IB’s primary clients are professionals in the trading industry. Thus, it is vital for the company to offer the lowest commissions. Luckily, they have achieved that. 

Before trying their services, there are a few things you should bear in mind. First, they don’t accept order flow payments. Furthermore, they also have low margin rates – the lowest ones in the industry. They are usually between 2.66% and 1.66%, and the lowest rates are reserved for clients who have invested more than $1 million through this brokerage. 

IB charges $0.005 per share, and the company also nurtures a fixed-rate structure. However, you can also use the tiered-rate structure. One share will then cost you $0.0035, but you will also have to factor in the routing costs.

IB has proven to be the best choice for small order sizes. Nevertheless, if you are trading several thousand shares, the fees will be higher.

If you want to trade options, you can do that by paying the $0.70 fee for every contract. Also, active options traders can enjoy a few benefits – IB won’t charge them too much for assignments and exercise. 

One thing you have to remember about this company is that they will charge you for inactivity. The fees can go up to $20 per month.

Interactive Brokers Trading Tools and Platform 

The main platform is Trader Workstation. It features an innovative design, and the platform itself allows you to trade just about anything- even global assets. However, if you don’t have enough market experience, it will be hard for you to learn how to use.

Since the company has many asset classes, they had to revamp their watchlists. Now, you can just type in the stock symbol, and it will show you a summary of available securities. The watchlists are extensive, and they can have as many as 453 columns. The best part is that you can customize them as much as you want.Interactive Brokers

If you are a technical trader, you will love the charting options on this platform. You can use 121 indicators, and the charts are exceptionally user-friendly. The markups have nine tools you can choose from, including zooming and notes.

What sets TWS apart from other platforms is the number of different orders you can make – 63, to be exact. Also, the platform has a Risk Navigator, a Portfolio Builder, and many other features. The most useful ones include Trade Journal and the Layouts Library. 

Trade Journal is an integrated tool which you can use to keep track of your investing activities. Meanwhile, the Layouts Library allows less experienced traders to pick one of the 24 pre-built layouts. You can also pull quotes, but that tool has just a few basic features.

Research Options 

Unfortunately, IB is not well-known for its research options. You can research different ETFs, but you will not find enough information about bonds or mutual funds.

Nevertheless, the company also offers third-party feeds like Morningstar.

Customer Support 

In collaboration with Confero, the company conducts customer support phone tests. Their overall score is 6.59 out of 10, and the professionalism score is 5.9.

IB Mobile App

 Available for all devices, the app features a fantastic design, and the whole experience is quite enjoyable. It has everything you might need – portfolio management tools, full order entries and even streaming data. The app also comes with a useful Order Wheel tool, which allows you to create detailed order entries in a matter of minutes.Interactive-Brokers-mobile-app

However, the charts provided within the app are not flexible, and there are no stock or index comparisons. You also cannot set push notifications and execute ACH account transfers.

Other Thoughts About IB 

The company announced a new Debit Mastercard in 2017, which lets you earn 0.66% interest on any cash sitting in your brokerage account. But, if you spend above the limit, IB will cover it by borrowing against your portfolio margin. The interest rates for this card are low – they start at 2.66%. 

Even though the company doesn’t offer asset management or advisory services, the platform is a unique marketplace for active traders.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you should opt for Interactive Brokers. Apart from its incredible investment support, and the international market availability, the company also offers a variety of order types (more than 50 of them). Furthermore, the TWS platform is the perfect solution for any trading professional, and the best choice for an investor who wants to access fantastic trading tools and features.