Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers review

Interactive Brokers is a great platform for more experienced investors... Freetrade it ain't!

No reviews yet. Write a review

Interactive Brokers, or “IBKR”, is a comprehensive trading platform that lets you trade on stocks in more than 200 countries. It claims to offer the lowest trading fees – albeit in a bit of a complicated way, which we’ll get to later. Interactive Brokers has four trading platforms to choose between, letting you decide how much detail you want to see your investments with. Find out if this sophisticated investment platform is suitable for you and what we thought.

What is Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers is an investment broker designed for experienced investors. It’s got all the tools you need to understand your investments, including:

  • Advanced charting. You can customise your charts, add technical indicators and display volume charts.
  • News. You can stay on top of news that’s relevant to specific products.
  • Key metrics at a glance. You can see essential information like your Net Liquidation Value and buying power.
  • Quick trade. You can quickly place orders, manage ones you already have open and view recent trades.
  • Notifications. You can turn on notifications and FYIs.
  • Order types and algos. These help you limit your risk.
  • Risk management. Interactive Brokers has a risk navigator and other technology to help you manage your risk.
  • Paper trading. Interactive Brokers’ demo account. You can try out strategies without using real money.
  • Ethical investing. Interactive Brokers has great tools to help you choose investments that match your values.

Who is Interactive Brokers good for?

Interactive Brokers is good for experienced investors looking for a sophisticated platform. It’s great for active traders looking for something advanced.

Interactive Brokers isn’t really for beginners. It’s quite intimidating, with lots of different tools and a lot of jargon, which is exciting for experienced investors but is enough to put a beginner off.

If you’re just starting out and want something a little less intimidating, check out Hargreaves Lansdown or IG.

What can I invest in with Interactive Brokers?

International Brokers has one of the largest ranges of financial instruments available from the providers we’ve reviewed.

Here are some of the financial instruments you can trade with Interactive Brokers:

  • UK stocks
  • International stocks
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Bonds
  • Funds

Stock exchanges covered

If you’re looking for international stocks, Interactive Brokers may be a contender for the amount of stock exchanges it covers. You can browse the exchanges covered by their region below:

Ethical investing with International Brokers

International Brokers has a pretty impressive ethical investing feature that lets you see how your investments line up with your values. This lets you endorse the companies that you believe are contributing to the world.

You can tell International Brokers what matters to you, such as racial equality or clean air, and what you’re against, such as animal testing or greenhouse gases. Interactive Brokers will then tell you if your current and future investments reflect these values – it even gives you an overall score.

It also shows you the company environmental, social and governance scores (ESG scores). You can compare the scores against other companies and see which ones rank higher than the company you’re looking at. It’s got the ESG scores in more detail too, so you can see the individual factors that make up the environmental, social and governance of each company.

From our knowledge, this is one of the first brokers that gives you this much detailed information about company ethics in a trading platform.

What products does Interactive Brokers have?

Interactive Brokers currently only has one account: a general investment account. This means that you can’t make use of your annual ISA allowance and can’t save in a dedicated pension for your retirement.

Is Interactive Brokers safe?

Interactive Brokers is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Client money is segregated from Interactive Brokers’ own money and your deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means that £85,000 of your deposits are covered if Interactive Brokers were to go bust.

Interactive Brokers fees

Interactive Brokers buries its trading fees in a complicated jungle of tables, so you could be forgiven for thinking it’s trying to hide something. But the crazy thing is, it’s prices are very competitive… if you can actually decypher them!

It’s designed to be one of the cheapest platforms on the market. The popular trading platform Degiro used to operate in a similar way before opting for a more simple approach. Fees vary according to the location of the exchange (not according to your location, as we established on a 30-minute live chat with IBKR!). IBKR makes a lot of noise about its Smart Routing service, which routes your trade to the exchange offering the best price. You can pay a little extra if you want to stipulate which exchange is used.

It’s also got different fees for different sized orders, which is its tiered structure. But unless you’re Elon Musk, trading £40m+ each month, you can just focus on the fixed pricing.

Fixed pricing

With fixed pricing, the amount you pay for each share is fixed, no matter how many you get. That said, a minimum per trade will apply.

Tiered pricing

With this type of pricing, the amount you pay per trade can be reduced based on the number of shares you buy (kind of like bulk buying toilet paper – the more you buy, the cheaper you get them per roll… except with IBKR you’d have to buy warehouses and warehouses of the stuff to access cheaper pricing). The tiers change depending on the currency and stock exchange, so it’s a good idea to check out its pricing page for what you want to trade. Unfortunately, right now, you’ll need to be trading millions each month to access the tiered pricing, so, er, maybe only a benefit to the super-high rollers!

Summary of Interactive Brokers fees

Of course, a complicated fee structure can be hard to summarise, so here’s some of the main instruments and their average fees. If you want more detail, take a look at the Interactive Brokers website.

InstrumentCost
StocksUK: 0.05% (min. £3)
US: £$0.005 per share (min. $1)
EU: 0.05% (min. €3)
ETFs$0.0005 – $0.0035 per share
Options$0.15 – $0.85 per contract
Futures$0.25 – $0.85 per contract
CurrenciesPrice quotes in 1/10 of a PIP.

Other fees

  • Exchange fee. This is a 2% fee for exchanging your money from your currency to the one that you’re buying the shares in.
  • Regulatory clearing fee. This is a fee from a clearing house for completing a transaction.

Pros and cons of Interactive Brokers

Pros

  • Lots of stock exchanges covered – the most for any provider we’ve reviewed
  • Huge range of financial instruments on offer
  • Plenty of tools available
  • Four different trading platforms to choose between
  • Low fees
  • Great for ethical investing

Cons

  • Intimidating for beginners
  • Absurdly complicated fee structure

Alternative share dealing services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Ratings Finder rating Customer rating Min. initial deposit Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fee Offer Link
FREE TRADES
eToro Free Stocks
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
$50
£0
N/A
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
FREE TRADES
IG Share Dealing
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£250
UK: £8
US: £10
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
UK: £3
US: £0
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
£0
Get 0% commission on US shares when you make 3+ trades in the previous month.

Capital at risk

Platform details
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£1
£11.95
£5.95
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
Finder Award
OFFER
Freetrade
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£1
£0
-
£0
Receive a free share worth at least £10 when you deposit £50 within 30 days into your account. Terms & conditions apply.

Capital at risk

Platform details
Degiro Share Dealing
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£0.01
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0
N/A
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
interactive investor Trading Account
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£0
£5.99 (plus 1 free trade each month)
£3.99
£9.99 per month

Capital at risk

Platform details
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Our verdict: Is Interactive Brokers any good?

On the whole, Interactive Brokers is a good trading platform. It’s got everything you could ever need when investing, a huge range of markets covered, plenty of tools and a choice of platform.

Interactive Brokers has one of the most complex fee structures we’ve seen, and yet despite this it’s actually quite competitive! So it’s probably doing itself a disservice on that front. It’s possibly a bit much for an inexperienced trader, with a lot of unexplained jargon too – but there are plenty of platforms more suited to beginners for these investors. Freetrade it ain’t. That being said, it does offer a range of educational content which could help would-be investors get to grips with the terminology and how it works if they did want to invest with International Brokers.

We liked that it has a demo account for these investors too, so if you don’t want to jump right in with real money, you can give it a go. There’s not currently any support for individual savings accounts (ISAs) which is a bit of a let down – we look forward to seeing if it adds these later on.

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site