Interactive Brokers review

Invest in stocks, options, futures, cryptocurrencies, forex, bonds and funds all from a single account.

finder.com’s rating: 4/ 5.0

★★★★★

Interactive Brokers offers a full investments package with low fees for active or professional investors and traders. Depending on the pricing model, you’ll either pay no or low commissions on US stocks and ETFs. You get access to 135 markets in 33 countries, some of the lowest margin rates and more than 100 order types and algorithmic trading. You can also buy cryptocurrencies with some of the lowest fees on the market.

  • Consider Interactive Brokers if you’re a professional and active investor who wants to diversify in global markets or use advanced research and trading tools.
  • Look elsewhere if you want a simple approach to investing.

Details

Annual fee0%
Option trade fee$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, Currencies
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 4/5

IBKR Lite offers commission-free stock trading, and IBKR Pro offers stocks at low commissions.
Available securities

★★★★★ 5/5

It offers access to all securities, including cryptocurrencies and bonds.
Customer support

★★★★★ 3.5/5

Support can be reached three ways, but long wait times have been reported.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 3.4/5

Investors complain that the app is buggy and unreliable.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 5/5

Tools and resources are robust, but expect to pay for premium research.
Reliability

★★★★★ 3.5/5

One major outage has been reported.
Bonus star

1

We awarded a bonus star for offering access to multiple trading platforms.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.

What I think of Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is as sophisticated as it is robust, making it an ideal platform for experienced traders in need of research tools for complex trades. It’s got all of the standards, like stocks, ETFs and options, but also offers access to international currencies, crypto, bullion — even hedge funds for accredited investors.

It’s tough to talk about IB without praising its extensive features. But this platform truly shines for four distinct reasons:

  1. It has five unique trading platforms. IBKR’s flagship the Trader Workstation has everything you need, from smart routing, advanced orders and algos to advanced management and research tools, including back testing.
  2. It’s renowned for its powerful research and analytics tools. Get access to Refinitiv research and analysis, TipRanks analyst projections, technical analysis from Stock Traders Daily and more. Alone, these services cost hundreds of dollars, but you get them for free as an IBKR user.
  3. It offers international access to 135 markets in 33 countries. What’s more, it offers one of the lowest fees to trade in these markets. Pay a flat 3 EUR/GBP for trades up to 6,000 EUR/GBP in value in European markets or a 0.015% – 0.05% fee of the trade value for Hong Kong stocks without added spreads, platform fees or account minimums.
  4. Some of the lowest cryptocurrency fees compared to other brokers and trading platforms. Pay 0.18% fee for crypto transactions. That’s $1.80 for every $1,000 invested. For comparison, Coinbase would cost you $5, while Webull $10 and SoFi charge $12.50 for every $1,000 traded.

Now, all that said, Interactive Brokers is far from perfect. Its pricing structure is convoluted, and investors warn that its tools come with a steep learning curve. For these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend Interactive Brokers for newbies. It’s a solid bet for advanced traders, but its offerings may be overkill for those new to the market.

What investments does Interactive Brokers offer?

Interactive Brokers offers a wealth of investment products, including:

  • Stocks and ETFs. Trade in 135 markets with zero commissions on US-listed stocks and ETFs.
  • Options. Pay $0.15 to $0.65 per options contract, depending on how often you trade.
  • Futures. Buy and sell futures in over 35 global markets.
  • Currencies. Trade 23 currencies worldwide with a minimum commission of $2.
  • Cryptocurrencies. Trade four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin with commissions starting from 0.18% of trade value, with a minimum of $1.75, but no more than 1% of trade value.
  • Mutual funds. Access more than 40,000 funds, including over 8,300 no transaction fee options.
  • Hedge funds. SEC-recognized accredited investors and qualified purchasers can invest in hedge funds.
  • Bonds. Access more than 1 million bonds worldwide.
  • Metals. Tap into London’s bullion market for over-the-counter (OTC) gold and silver.

Interactive Brokers unique features

Interactive Brokers offers a few unique features that exceed its competitors, including access to 135 markets in 33 countries, stock yield enhancement program, access to multiple research platforms without additional cost and more.

International markets

With access to more than 135 markets worldwide, no other broker comes close. For comparison, Charles Schwab provides access to 30 global markets, while Webull doesn’t offer access to foreign markets at all.

You can access:

  • Stock markets in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and more.
  • Bonds in Europe and Hong Kong.
  • Warrants in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland.
  • Options in Australia, Canada and Mexico.
  • Index options in Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom.
  • Futures in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and more.

Stock yield enhancement program

IBKR allows you to borrow your fully owned shares from traders who want to short them. This way you get to earn 50% of the interest that the trader who borrows pays to IBKR.

For example, someone borrows $100,000 worth of stock from you, and they pay 9% interest to IBKR. In this case, you would earn $4,500 annually — 50% of the 9% interest. Not bad, considering you would hold the stocks anyway.

You can sell your shares anytime without restrictions. In the rare event the borrower can’t return your shares, IBKR will pay you the cash value of the borrowed stock.

Research tools

The Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation offers a comprehensive suite of research and analytics tools:

  • TipRanks. IBKR clients get access to TipRanks analysts via the Fundamentals Explorer tab in the desktop trading platform. There’s no fee to use this feature, which otherwise costs $359 a year. Traders who pay to see the TipRanks analyses may find IBKR worth switching.
  • Account window. View your account balances, available funds, market value and portfolio data from a single dashboard.
  • Watchlists. Craft personalized watchlists to monitor market quotes in real time.
  • Alerts. Set alerts by price, time, margin and volume.
  • Risk navigator. Calculate and review your risk exposure across multiple assets.
  • Options analytics. Monitor options price fluctuations across a number of risk dimensions.
  • Industry news. Access news and research from Morningstar, Reuters, Dow Jones, Zacks Investment Research and Seeking Alpha.
  • Paper trading. Test trading strategies without risking capital.

Interactive Brokers offers the following tools for its automated investing service:

  • Interactive Advisors. Interactive Advisors is IB’s robo-advisor service. With a minimum deposit of $100, you can leverage dozens of automated portfolios tailored to your investment goals. Annual management fees range from 0.08% to 1.5%, and investments are automatically rebalanced every quarter.
  • PortfolioAnalyst. Use PortfolioAnalyst to compare your portfolio against a benchmark index and other investors, plus gain access to a live news feed and real-time notifications of takeovers, earnings, options expirations and more.

Who is Interactive Brokers best for?

Interactive Brokers has the potential to suit a wide range of investors thanks to its two distinct services: IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite. Experienced traders will enjoy IBKR’s low brokerage fees, access to extensive investment vehicles, portfolio tracking, live updates and company notifications. And beginners can use IBKR Lite — a simplified version of Interactive Brokers’ software aimed at casual investors.

IBKR Pro vs. IBKR Lite

Amid a sea change of online brokers slashing commissions, Interactive Brokers launched IBKR Lite, a simplified trading platform for casual investors. The platform offers unlimited trades with no commissions on stocks and ETFs listed on US exchanges. Trade mutual funds, options, futures, fixed income and other such investments for a fee.

The company rebranded its platform for experienced traders as IBKR Pro. Take advantage of tools such as advanced charting, an options strategy lab and heat maps of stock performance.

Fixed fees are $0.005 per share for stocks and ETFs, with a $1 minimum commission and a maximum of 1% of total trade value. High-volume traders may be eligible for lower fees on IBKR’s tiered-fee structure.

  • Choose IBKR Pro if you’re an active trader with experience navigating investment research and analytics tools.
  • Choose IBKR Lite if you’re new to trading and want simplified commission-free stock trading.

Pros and cons

Pros

Here’s what makes Interactive Broker a powerful platform:

  • Multi-platform. Use your IBKR Pro Traders Workstation trading platform on both desktop and mobile, or place trades through the Client Portal or IBot.
  • Broad access. Unlike other trading platforms, you can access stocks, options, futures, futures options, ETFs, warrants, single stock futures, forex, metals, indexes, fixed income, mutual funds bonds and cryptocurrencies through one account.
  • Wide range of order types. Execute faster trades and limit risk through more than 100 order types and algorithms.
  • Low brokerage fees. IBKR Lite lets you trade US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs for free, while IBKR Pro offers fixed pricing of $0.005 per share with a $1 minimum per order. Tiered commissions start at $0.0035 per share with a minimum of $0.35 per order.
  • Low margin lending rates. IBKR Pro margin loan rates are 0.75% to 1.59%, depending on the balance. IBKR Lite rates are 2.59% regardless of balance.

Cons

Interactive Broker also comes with its fair share of hitches:

  • High learning curve. To optimize your account through Trader Workstation, you must thoroughly understand what you want to get out of it — no easy task for beginners. On top of this, the setup is complex enough that even advanced traders may need practice to get right.
  • Real-time data may cost you. Interactive Brokers boasts extensive live data feeds and customizable company notifications. But data and news may involve fees that depend on the options you choose.

Compare Interactive Brokers to similar brokers

These brokers trade some of the same securities and offer similar services to Interactive Brokers.

Robinhood

SoFi Invest

★★★★★

Finder rating 3.5 / 5

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.35 / 5

Go to site
on Robinhood's secure site
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on SoFi Wealth Management's secure site

Account types

Brokerage

Account types

Brokerage, Retirement, Robo-Advisor

Asset types

Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency

Asset types

Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency

Fees and costs

Interactive Brokers markets itself as the lowest-cost trading platform on the market. That may be true but watch for pricing loopholes for stocks, ETFs and warrants.

Trades for options, futures, forex, fixed income and more come with their own fee structures.

IBKR Lite brokerage fees

Minimum per orderMaximum per order
US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs$0$0

IBKR Pro brokerage fees

If you open an IBKR Pro account, you can choose between fixed and tiered pricing structures.

Fixed fees
Commissions you pay include exchange and regulatory fees.

Cost per shareMinimum per orderMaximum per order
No-transaction-fee ETFs$0$0$0
Stocks$0.005$11% of trade value

IBKR Pro tiered brokerage fees for US stocks, ETFs, ETPs and warrants
Available only for IBKR Pro, tiered pricing means your brokerage fee decreases the more you trade per month.

Fees vary based on what and where you’re trading, with different fee schedules for different countries and options. Additional clearing and exchange fees depend on which exchange the security is listed on. With IBKR Pro tiered pricing, you’ll pay exchange, regulatory and clearing fees.

Monthly trade valueCost per shareMinimum per orderMaximum per order
First 300,000 shares$0.0035$0.351% of trade value
300,000-3,000,000 shares$0.002$0.351% of trade value
3,000,001-20,000,000 shares$0.0015$0.351% of trade value
20,000,001-100,000,000 shares$0.001$0.351% of trade value
100,000,000+ shares$0.0005$0.351% of trade value

Other account fees

Other fees to be aware of include:

  • International share trading fees. IB’s fees on international stocks depend on the country the stock is listed in and whether you’ve chosen a tiered- or fixed-fee structure. Stocks listed in the US and Canada charge brokerage fees per stock rather than value. Most stocks listed in Europe and Asia-Pacific use trade value to set the fees.
  • Data fees. Subscriptions to real-time streaming market data are free in some instances — for example, if you make $30 in trading fees each month with IBKR Pro — but you may need to pay when exchanges charge Interactive Brokers for the data.

How do I sign up?

Follow these steps to get started trading with Interactive Brokers:

  1. Head to the Interactive Brokers website.
  2. Select Open an account.
  3. Choose a username and password, and select Create account.
  4. Enter and confirm your email address.
  5. Select an account, such as an individual or retirement account.
  6. Fill in your personal information, including your name and address.
  7. Review the agreements and disclosures.
  8. Fund your account and submit your application.

Eligibility

It’s relatively simple to open an Interactive Broker account, but there are a few unique eligibility requirements. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have confirmed knowledge of the product you wish to trade — you may be asked to conduct simulated trades using the demo version first.
  • Possess liquid net assets of at least $20,000 if you’re over 21.

Required information

When you’re ready, provide personal and financial details that include:

  • Your name and date of birth.
  • Contact details and residential address.
  • Asset and income details.
  • Employer name and address.
  • Proof of government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.
  • Bank details for funding.
  • Investment objectives and details about your investing experience.

Is Interactive Broker legit?

Yes. Interactive Brokers is a multinational brokerage firm founded in 1977 and headquartered in Connecticut. It’s authorized and regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Interactive Brokers reviews and complaints

Interactive Brokers is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, it earns an A+ rating based on internal BBB criteria that include the company’s response to five customer complaints.

Many clients complain that customer support is slow to resolve issues and that the platform often runs into technical problems.

BBB ratingA+
BBB accreditedNo
BBB customer rating1.2/5 based on 10 customer reviews
Trustpilot score3.3/5 out of 1,503 customer reviews
Google Play app3.2/5 stars based on 7,1373 reviews
Apple app store3/5 stars based on 1,232 reviews
Customer reviews verified as ofNovember 2021

How do I contact Interactive Brokers support?

Contact Interactive Brokers in three ways:

  • Call 877-442-2757 weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT or Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
  • Chat live with a rep through your Client Portal 24/7 on weekdays or Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
  • Email through the message center anytime for a response within 24 hours.

Compare with a wider range of brokers

Explore your options by comparing fees, asset types and signup bonuses. Select the Go to site button for more information about a particular platform.

Name Product Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
M1 Finance
Stocks
$0
0%
Free 1-year trial of M1 Plus
when you sign up for M1 Finance
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SoFi Invest
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
Get one free stock worth up to $1,000
Open an account
A free way to invest in most equities.
TradeStation
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0 + $0.50/contract
$0 per month
$10 of crypto
Open an account with access to crypto
A platform built for all kinds of traders and all styles of trading
Robinhood
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
0%
Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
Sign up using the "go to site" link
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Stash Invest
Stocks, ETFs
$0
$1 per month
$5
Add at least $5 to your Invest account
Stash is more than an investment app. You’ll have access to tools that can help you become a confident investor.
Public
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
$0 per month
Download and sign up with Public.com; approved accounts receive a free stock slice worth up to $300, selected from 9 popular stocks.
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Commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs with a social networking twist.
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Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

Interactive Brokers offers an extensive list of tradable securities, multiple platforms, comprehensive news coverage and robust research offerings, making it well-positioned to serve professional traders. Its PortfolioAnalyst tool can help you adjust ongoing investments, and you can test new strategies risk-free with its paper trading feature. The platform is equipped with just about everything you need to execute swift, well-informed trades.

That said, its fee structure is more complex than most. Be prepared to invest some time learning the software, or you’ll need to consider another brokerage firm.

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent

★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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