Interactive Brokers review

Interactive Brokers is a great platform for experienced investors - find out what we thought.

Interactive Brokers 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

Don’t be alarmed by Interactive Broker’s fee structure – it’s a bit complicated but it’s designed to be one of the cheapest on the market. Much like Degiro, it has different fees for different instruments.

It’s also got different fees for different sized orders, which is its tiered structure. Depending on which account you choose to go with:

Fixed pricing

With fixed pricing, the amount you pay for each share is fixed, no matter how many you get.

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). It changes depending on the financial instruments and stock exchange, so it’s a good idea to check out its pricing page for what you want to trade.

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
Stocks$0.0005 – $0.0035 per share
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 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.
  • Complicated fee structure.

Compare share dealing platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
eToro Free Stocks
£0
N/A
£0
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $200.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
£0
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
Freetrade
Finder Award
Freetrade
£0
N/A
£0
Claim your free share worth between £3 and £200. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0.50 + $0.004 per share
N/A
£0
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. The minimum deposit with Degiro is £0. Capital at risk.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
N/A
£9.99 per month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.
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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 great 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. It’s possibly too much for an inexperienced trader, with a lot of unexplained jargon – but there are plenty of platforms more suited for beginners for these investors. That being said, it does have 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.

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