Interactive Brokers IBKR
5.5

Interactive Brokers IBKR

Regulation: US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Pros
  • Wide range of available investment assets
  • Low commission and margin rates
  • Vast array of technical and fundamental trading tools
  • Built to serve global traders and international investors
Cons
  • Conservative in granting trading permissions.
  • Some research tools incur a fee.
  • Not user-friendly and intimidating for both beginners and experienced traders

Reviewed broker: Interactive Brokers

Established in 1993

Regulation: US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Location: United States USA

Trading instruments: • Stocks. • Bonds. (Treasuries, corporates, municipal bonds, non-U.S. sovereign bonds, certificates of deposit, bond funds.) • Mutual funds. • ETFs. • Options. • Fractional shares. • Futures. • Crypto. • Forex. • Metals.

Trading Conditions and Features

IBKR supports a flexible array of order types on the Client Portal and mobile app, as well as over 100 order types and algos on Trader Workstation.

One-triggers-other (OTO) orders are supported on TWS with attached orders and on mobile as part of bracket order functionality.

With one-cancels-other (OCO) orders, you can choose from and combine logical conditions from price, time, and volume variables (using <, =, > operators), as well as margin cushion, daily P&L, percent change, number of shortable shares, and rebate rate. Options traders have access to single- and multi-leg options trades, up to eight legs.

Commissions start at $0 on US listed stocks & ETFs with low commissions on other products, and there are no added spreads, ticket charges, or account minimums

Margin traders will benefit from the low rates at Interactive Brokers.

For IBKR Pro customers, the maximum margin rate is 1.58%, and NerdWallet users get an extra 0.25 percentage point discount. For IBKR Lite, it’s 2.58%. Those rates apply on balances between $0 and $100,000; the rates drop at higher balances.

The broker charges a blended rate based on the size of the margin loan, and has a calculator on its website to help investors quickly do the math based on their balance. (Only U.S. residents who open and fund a new IBKR Pro account are eligible for the discounted margin rate.)

Low commissions

The IBKR Lite platform offers zero-commission stock and ETF trades. Higher-volume traders on the IBKR Pro plan can enjoy a standard commission rate of one-half cent per share ($1.00 minimum per trade), or a tiered commission plan starting at just $0.0035 per share ($0.35 minimum per order). Interactive Brokers offers pricing designed for investors and traders who want to minimize the cost of trading.

Low margin rates

Interactive Brokers’ margin rates are substantially lower than most of the competitors we’ve reviewed. Whereas many brokers price the first dollar of margin at an interest rate in excess of 10%, margin loans from Interactive Brokers cost half as much. The difference really adds up, particularly for investors who carry large margin balances for long periods of time.

Buying cryptocurrencies

Interactive Brokers introduced cryptocurrency trading in 2021, and the offering now gives users 24/7 access to bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash. And while the service doesn’t offer commission-free trading like some brokers do, the fees are pretty minimal, ranging from 0.12% to 0.18%, depending on monthly volume. There is also a $1.75 minimum per order.

Account Types

The account opening process is fully digital but a bit complicated. After the online registration, the account verification takes around 2 business days, which is a bit longer than the usual account verification time at most brokers.

During the account opening process, you have to provide some personal information and answer questions about your trading experience.

In the end, you have to verify your identity and residency by uploading the required documents:

  • Verification of identity: passport / national ID / driver’s license
  • Verification of residency: bank statement / utility bill / driver’s license / credit card statement / other document

This is a standard process, which in financial lingo is called a KYC (know-your-customer) process. This is required to make sure you are truly identifiable.

As you would expect with a platform designed for both professional and individual investors, IBKR offers a wide range of account types to fit the needs of their clients. International accounts are available to those living outside the U.S. The only account type lacking is the 529 college savings account. 

Individual account types include: 

  • Individual and joint brokerage
  • Retirement: traditional, Roth, rollover, and inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Custodial: UGMA and UTMA
  • Trust 

Professional account types include: 

  • Family office
  • Small business: corporation, partnership, LLC, and unincorporated legal structure
  • Advisor 
  • Hedge and mutual fund
  • Institutional

Trading Platforms

IBKR Trader Workstation (TWS)

Trading Skills: Intermediate, Advanced

Our flagship desktop platform designed for seasoned, active traders who trade multiple products and require power and flexibility. Trade stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds on over 150 markets worldwide from a single unified platform.

IBKR Desktop

Trading Skills: Beginner, Intermediate

Our newest client-driven desktop trading platform combines the most popular tools from our flagship Trader Workstation (TWS) with a growing suite of original features suggested by our clients. Trade stocks, options, futures, and more on over 150 markets worldwide from this easy-to-use platform, and continue to enjoy IBKR’s great pricing, order execution, research, and market data services.

IBKR Mobile

Trading Skills: Intermediate, Advanced

For experienced traders who need the power to trade stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds, and more across more than 150 markets worldwide. No matter where you are, you can access it all with advanced order types and trading tools.

IBKR GlobalTrader

Trading Skills: Beginner, Intermediate

A streamlined experience to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto – worldwide. Invest with as little as $1 and trade in fractions. Open a simulated trading account in seconds and try IBKR GlobalTrader before opening a live trading account.

IBKR Client Portal

Trading Skills: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Access all the features that you need with our easy-to-use web platform. View, trade, and manage your account all with a single login. No downloads required.

Payment Methods

The required Interactive Brokers minimum deposit is $1. However, there is a $2,000 minimum if you would like to trade on margin (or sell short). Trading on margin means that you are trading with borrowed money, also known as leverage.

Interactive Brokers deposits are free of charge. However, deposit options are limited, as neither credit/debit cards nor electronic wallets can be used.

If you reside in the US, though, you have multiple extra options such as: 

  • ACH (Automated Clearing House)
  • Check
  • Online bill payment
  • Direct Rollover (IRA accounts only)
  • Trustee-to-Trustee (IRA accounts only)

Also Interactive Brokers introduced direct debit card deposits as part of their Integrated Investment Management account. This is only available to US residents.

Australian clients can also use BPAY as a deposit method.

A bank transfer can take 2-3 business days to arrive. You can only deposit money from sources that are in your name.

Interactive Brokers allows you to open an account with no minimum required.

Interactive Brokers charges no annual, account, transfer or closing fees, which is relatively rare among brokers we review.

Clients can select any of 25 currencies to serve as the base currency for their account. Your base currency determines the currency of translation for your statements and the currency used to determine margin requirements. In addition, charges related to market data and research, inactivity fees and commissions on currency trades are also charged in your base currency.

  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • British Pound (GBP)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Chinese Offshore Yuan (CNH)
  • Czech Koruna (CZK)
  • Danish Krone (DKK)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
  • Hungarian Forint (HUF)
  • Israeli Shekel (ILS)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Korean Won (KRW)
  • Mexican Peso (MXN)
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Norwegian Krone (NOK)
  • Polish Zloty (PLN)
  • Saudi Riyal (SAR)
  • Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • South African Rand (ZAR)
  • Swedish Krona (SEK)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
  • United States Dollar (USD)

The first withdrawal each month is free of charge, while subsequent withdrawals have a fee. The fee for subsequent withdrawals after the first free one depends on the currency and the method used for withdrawal.

Similar to deposits, you can only use bank wire for outgoing transfers. US residents can also withdraw via ACH or check. Check payments are also available in USD and they carry a $4 fee.

How long does it take to withdraw money from Interactive Brokers? We tested it and it took 2 business days. While you wait, as a new feature since early 2020, you can track your withdrawal in real-time on the Client Portal.

How do you withdraw money from Interactive Brokers?

  • First, log into the Client Portal then click on ‘Transfer & Pay’ and ‘Transfer funds.’
  • Select the account you want to use for the transaction.
  • At the top of the page, click on the ‘Withdraw Funds’ tab. 
  • Select the currency of your withdrawal, then the withdrawal method.
  • Enter the required information.
  • Submit your withdrawal request. 
  • You can see the status of your request under ‘View Transaction History.’ 

Customer Support and Educational Material

IBKR has long been considered short on customer service, but the company is improving its customer service access and response time. The AI-powered IBot answers questions asked in plain English. IBot is available throughout the website and trading platforms and can help customers find answers—without having to endure long wait times. 

Customer service features include: 

  • Toll-free telephone support is available 24 hours a day, six days a week
  • Callback service lets you request a call back if you need to hang up and don’t want to lose your place in line
  • Online chat with a human agent is available from within the trading platform or website
  • Secure message center is available from within the trading platform or website
  • AI-powered IBot directs customers to online FAQs and resources

Interactive Brokers stands alone in its breadth of assets, research reports, global market access, tools, calculators, and educational materials. This range of products and services is both a blessing and a curse. IBKR’s sheer wealth of information sometimes can be challenging to digest. That said, the free paper trading and 3-month trial give users a path to try out this comprehensive investment broker.

IBKR provides a broad range of investor education programs for customers and the public. The short videos are ideal for bite-sized learning about TWS and the Client Portal. The multi-language tutorials aid international investors in learning to navigate the platform. 

Traders Academy is an online, on-demand resource with a structured, rigorous curriculum intended for financial professionals, investors, educators, and students who want to learn about asset classes, markets, currencies, tools, and functionality available on IBKR’s trading platforms. Quizzes and tests benchmark student progress against learning objectives. Course offerings include introductions to asset classes such as options, futures, forex, international trading, bonds, and how to use margin. 

IBKR and industry experts offer daily webinars. These events cover various topics, including how-tos for platforms and tools, options education, trading international products, and more. 

How was the rating of IBKR performed compared to other brokers? 

This 2023 Forex Broker Review  has been conducted though thorough research and assessment of rating and ranking among almost 300 international forex brokers. The final grade is given based on IBKR broker performance and features. 

Overall our online IBKR review was conducted with the details obtained from the demo trading and the forex brokers website. If you would like to add details to this online IBKR or you find inaccurate details IBKR broker review please get in touch with us and the changes will be applied. 

135 international markets in 33 countries.

9.0
Regulation and Security
7.0
Platforms and Features
1.0
Deposit and Withdrawal
5.0
Educational Material
5.5 Overall Rating

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