Interactive Brokers Review

Interactive Brokers (IB) is a leading global broker that is offering an excellent range of products and markets to its customers globally since 1977.

IB has a built-in trading platform with a web, desktop, and mobile version available. Its commission and non-trading fees are also competitive.

Let’s review the Interactive Brokers, their key features, trading platform, and pricing mechanism.

Interactive Brokers Pros and Cons

  • An excellent range of products and markets.
  • Services offered worldwide with various languages and currency support.
  • Built-in trading platforms for web, desktop, and mobile users.
  • A wide range of trading, charting, analytical, and performance evaluation tools.
  • Competitive pricing through tight spreads, commission, and non-trading fees
  • A wide range of no-commission stocks/ETFs/Mutual Funds.
  • Customer support and platforms in a few world languages only
  • Platform might be too complex for beginners 
  • Abundance of Tools
  • LITE Account users have fewer trading options
  • The account opening experience can be improved.


Is Interactive Brokers Safe ?

Interactive Brokers is licensed and registered in several countries. As an established broker, it is regulated by several top-tier regulators in different countries including the US and the UK.

Interactive Brokers Group (IBG) is the parent company that offers broker services in different countries through its subsidiaries with similar registered names.

Here are a few key points in terms of IB regulations:

  • Interactive Brokers LLC in the US is regulated by the US Securities Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
  • Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
  • Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under license number 208159.
  • For customers in central Europe, Interactive Brokers Central Europe Zrt. is regulated by the Central Bank of Hungary (license: H-EN-III-623/2020).
  • Interactive Brokers Australia (Pvt) Ltd. is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (AFSL 453554).
  • In Asia, Interactive Brokers Australia Pty. Ltd. is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (CMS100917).
  • Interactive Brokers Hong Kong Limited is regulated by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Most importantly, Interactive Brokers is a listed company on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol IBKR and currently trading at $84.89.

Trading with IB trading platform, you can feel safe as it’s regulated by top-tier regulators and publicly disclosed financial information.

The offering of Investments

It’s hard to beat the collection of products and markets at Interactive Brokers. Whether you are looking for real stocks, bonds, or CFD trades through any asset class, you’ll find one on the IB platform.

Stocks and ETFs

IB has an excellent range of stocks from over 90 stock markets around the world. It offers 150+ Exchange-Traded Funds as well.

IB offers a varying number of real stocks for short and long trading for different countries.

  • 17,240 US stocks; Shortable, Total Stocks: 21,267.
  • 2,926 UK stocks: Shortable, Total Stocks: 8,374.
  • 3,814 Germany stocks; Shortable, Total Stocks: 11,420.
  • 143 Australian stocks; Shortable, Total Stocks: 2,704.
  • 3,482 Canadian stocks; Shortable, Total Stocks: 5,347.


Interactive Brokers offers a vast collection of corporate, municipality, treasury, and international bonds to its customers.

It has around 1.4 million bonds from the US market where 22,000 of these are shortable bonds.

Mutual Funds

IB has one the largest collections for Mutual Funds. It offers over 46,000 Mutual Funds from over 520 fund families to its customers.

Around 18,000 of these funds are offered at no commission. Other funds come with minimal commission fees as well.


You can utilize Options trading tools like “Rollover”, “Write Options”, and “Analytics” to trade Options from over 30 market centers globally.

IB also offers Futures and Futures Options from over 30 markets in different asset classes including fixed income, agriculture, commodities, forex, equity indices, and energy.


You can trade from over 100 currency pairs with 24 currencies offered by IB. You can obtain forex prices from 17 global stock markets.


IB offers crypto trading through Paxos Trust. It offers only four cryptos including  BTC, BCH, ETH, and LTC.

Fractional Shares and Penny Stocks

You can trade fractional shares from a wide range of US, European, and other stock markets stocks and ETFs.

You can also trade penny stocks from different OTC markets around the world.

Commissions and Fees

The commission and trading/non-trading fee structures of IB are a bit complicated. However, it’s important to understand the costing structure to fully utilize the trading strategies.

Interactive Brokers has two account types: IB LITE and IB PRO.

The LITE account type is for retail investors and their representatives.

The IB PRO account type is for professional traders.

Commission structure IB Lite vs IB PRO account

US Stocks/ETFsCommission-FreeFixed or Tiered
Other Stocks/ETFsFixedFixed or Tiered
OptionsFixedFixed or Tiered
FixedFixed or Tiered
Mutual Funds
FixedFixed or Tiered

Let us elaborate on the pricing mechanism for both account types.

  • For IB PRO users on tiered assets from the US Stocks/ETFs collection, the commission ranges from $0.0005 to $0.0035. For fixed assets, it’s $ 0.0005.
  • No-Commission stocks and ETFs come at $0 commission.
  • For IB LITE users, there is no commission on stocks/ETFs but the offer is for US residents only.
  • The fixed commission on Options trading is $ 0.65 per contract. While for a tiered structure, it ranges from $ 0.15 to $ 0.65 per contract.
  • For bonds, the commission cost is 10 basis points ✖ face value per order.
  • Similarly, spot currencies are charged at 0.08 to 0.20 basis points ✖ trade value per order.
  • Mutual Funds come with a $0 commission on all no-commission funds. On other funds, the commission rate is 3% ✖  trade value with a maximum of $14.95.
  • IB charges commissions on cryptocurrencies based on volume. It costs you 0.18% for crypto trading of up to $100,000, and 0.15% and 0.12% on trade volumes of up to 1 million and above respectively.

Along with the commission structure, you must keep an eye on non-trading costs and interest charged by a broker too.

  • IB does not charge an account closing or transferring fee.
  • There is no fund withdrawal fee.
  • It does not charge any account inactivity fee.
  • The margin interest rate charged by IB varies by the account type and the market you trade from.
    • USD interest rate for LITE users with less than $1 million of volume is Benchmark + 1.5%.
    • For PRO users the interest rate is Benchmark + 2.5%.
    • Similarly, users with a trading volume of up to $50 million will be charged BM + 0.75% for LITE and BM + 2.5% for PRO users.
  • You may also have to pay other fees such as account maintenance, currency conversion, SEC charges, and so on.

Compare Interactive Brokers vs. Competition

Let us now compare some key cost factors of Interactive Brokers, XTB, and eToro.

Asset ClassInteractive BrokersXTBeToro
Stocks and ETFs$0.0005- $0.0035 or $0$0$0
10 basis points ✖ face value per ordern/an/a
Forex0.08 to 0.20 basis points ✖ trade valueSpread from 0.1
Spread from 0.7 Pip
Options$ 0.15 - $ 0.65 or $ 0.65n/a$0 Base +
Margin Cost from 6.50% + 1.83%
CFDs on Stocks ETFs0.05%0.5 to 0.6%
(avg. spread)
Minimum Deposit$1$1$50
Inactivity Fee$0$10$10
Withdrawal Fee$0$0$5

IBKR Trading Platforms

You can integrate the Interactive Broker’s trading platform through APIs on your website or choose one of its trading platforms.

It offers convenient trading options for its users globally through its web, desktop, and mobile trading platforms.

Trader Workstation – Desktop Trading Platform

The desktop trading platform from IB comes with the most sophisticated features. It is more suitable for intermediate and experienced traders.

Here are a few key features of the Interactive Broker’s Trader Workstation (TWS) platform.

  • It comes with a two-factor login security feature.
  • It offers an intuitive and user-friendly dashboard.
  • It offers a wide range of trading tools and features.
  • Users can choose from over a hundred order types, algorithms, and features including:
    • Advanced trading
    • Algorithm trading
    • Limit risk
    • Time to trade
  • It comes with a robust search feature.

Trader Workstation (TWS) users can choose from a number of different order types like:

  • Stop-limit, Trail limit, stop with protection, and trailing market if touched.
  • Fill or kill, all or none, good-till-cancelled, good-till-time, etc.
  • One-cancels-all, variant algos, sweep to fill, etc.

You can set privacy settings, alerts, and notifications for your liking as well. The TWS platform offers you detailed performance reports on your portfolio to review your performance comprehensively.

You can find real-time stock quotes, charting tools, a news feed, and order tools to place and execute your trade orders quickly.

Client Portal – The Web Trading Platform

If you are comfortable with a browser version of a trading platform, the Client Portal web browser is the right platform for you.

The Client Portal web browser also offers a wide range of tools and features. It is more convenient for intermediate to advanced traders though.

You can find the same level of two-factor authentication, search features, charting tools, order types, and price quotes with the Client Portal as you get with the TWS platform.

Similarly, the Client Portal will also provide you with detailed portfolio reports, performance analysis tools, alerts, and notification options.

IB Mobile and Global Trader – Mobile Trading Platforms

Interactive Broker’s mobile trading app is available for IOS and Android users. It comes with an excellent user-interface and intuitive style.

You’ll get the same range of products, order types, and trading tools with the mobile app as you get with the desktop or browser platforms.

For basic trading inquiries and information, you can use the IB’s chatbot IBot. It can even help you place a trade order or provide basic information about the asset.

Interactive Brokers makes access to the global markets easy with its Global Trader mobile app. You can download this app to access 90+ global markets to trade your preferred assets.

Interactive Brokers’ all types of trading platforms support several languages and around 23 base currencies. It means you can save a lot on currency conversions by choosing the right type of base currency for your account.

Research and Education

IB offers an excellent collection of research and education tools for its users. Beginners and experts alike can utilize these resources to maximize their trading returns.

Some key research and trading tools offered by IB include:

  • Stock and ETF screeners to filter different types of assets. You can set up a customized screener and place an order directly from here.
  • The basic search features provide you with information about an asset’s key performance ratios, ratings, news, and trends.
  • You can use the mutual fund screener to filter funds based on fund type, country, commission, etc.
  • You can use the bond and futures screeners to find an ideal fixed-income or derivative instrument for you.
  • IB’s all platforms offer several charting tools including line, bar, candle, options volume, implied volatility, etc.
  • You’ll receive news feeds, monthly calendar, daily summaries, and investors networking tools from IB as you get from any other leading broker these days.

You can open a free trial or demo account with IB to test its trading platforms. Before you open an account, you can also learn the basics or advanced trading tools on offer with IB from its vast library of educational resources.

IB offers a wide range of tutorials, blogs, video lessons, online courses, webinars, glossary lists, and news feeds to help you learn about trading and its trading platforms.

You can also obtain professional advisory, cash management, and analytical services from IB.

Customer Service

Interactive Brokers offer excellent customer service to its users through its global segments in different countries.

You can contact IB through live chat, email, and direct phone call services in different countries.

IB offers dedicated support sections for individuals, professionals, and business clients separately. Phone support through an automated menu is available 24/7, while an agent is offered during working hours.

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