In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • How we rated Interactive Brokers's investment features
  • Interactive Brokers fees
  • Interactive Brokers investment choice and stocks
  • Is Interactive Brokers safe?
  • Interactive Brokers account types and products
  • Interactive Brokers ease of use
  • Interactive Brokers customer reviews
  • Interactive Brokers tools, resources and features
  • Your reviews
Interactive Brokers
4.5
★★★★★
Finder score
Capital at risk

Our verdict

Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive investing platform that’s geared more towards traders, but the fees are low and it has plenty to offer.

On the whole, Interactive Brokers (also known as IBKR) has a lot to offer. It has everything you need for investing and trading - plenty of tools and resources plus a vast range of investments and markets.

However, the devil is in the detail, and Interactive Brokers has one of the most complex fee structures we've seen. The fees do actually work out quite cheap, but deciphering them is more complex than reading Morse code.

Interactive Brokers is definitely geared more towards traders than investors. Still, it has been expanding its offering in the UK by launching educational resources and introducing a stocks and shares ISA account. We think beginners may find IBKR slightly overwhelming, but experienced investors will rejoice at the sheer depth of assets and trading tools on offer.

Pros

  • Low fees
  • Demo account available
  • Lots of trading tools and learning resources
  • Huge range of access to investments and global markets

Cons

  • Complex fee structure
  • Platform is most suitable for experienced traders
  • Strong emphasis on trading
  • Not the easiest app and website to navigate

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • How we rated Interactive Brokers's investment features
  • Interactive Brokers fees
  • Interactive Brokers investment choice and stocks
  • Is Interactive Brokers safe?
  • Interactive Brokers account types and products
  • Interactive Brokers ease of use
  • Interactive Brokers customer reviews
  • Interactive Brokers tools, resources and features
  • Your reviews
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

How we rated Interactive Brokers's investment features

CategoryScoreDetails
Fees

★★★★★ 3.8/5

Interactive Brokers offers decent value for some investors, but it’s not the cheapest in some areas.
Investment choice

★★★★★ 5/5

It offers a wide range of investments with access to plenty of global markets and assets.
Safety and security

★★★★★ 4/5

Interactive Brokers has plenty of safety features in place to protect investors but lacks FSCS protection.
Account types and products

★★★★★ 4.2/5

You can invest with lots of options, using most major tax-efficient accounts.
Ease of use

★★★★★ 4/5

Interactive Brokers offers an investing experience that most customers seem happy with but it does have its flaws.
Tools, resources and features

★★★★★ 4/5

Interactive Brokers offers plenty of tools and resources, apart from social features.

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. Find out if this sophisticated investment platform is suitable for you and what we thought.

Interactive Brokers fees

Fees score

★★★★★

Platform fee£0
UK sharesTiered
0.05% (£1 minimum)
Fixed SmartRouting
0.05% (£3 minimum)
Fixed Direct Routing0.1% (£4 minimum)
US stocks
Tiered
$0.0035 ($0.35 minimum/1% maximum)
Fixed$0.005 ($1 minimum/1% maximum)
International shares
Tiered
0.05% (€1.25 minimum/€29 maximum)
Fixed SmartRouting 0.05% (€3 minimum)
Fixed Direct Routing0.1% (€4 minimum)
(prices can vary based on exchange)
Funds/ETFsETFs
Same price as equivalent stocks (some are free)
Mutual funds £0 (some cost €4.95)
Foreign exchange (FX) fee0.002% ($2 minimum)
Regular investingYes (recurring investments)
Telephone dealing£25 per order (other fees for other countries)
Withdrawal/deposit fee£7 (1 free withdrawal a month)
Inactivity fee£0

Interactive Brokers is a bit of an odd one for fees because the complexity of the arrangement overshadows the fact that overall, it’s pretty cheap.

There first hurdle is that there are 2 types of pricing:

  • Fixed pricing. This is what most investors will use and it’s the simplest.
  • Tiered pricing. This is for investors making large trades (over 300,000 shares a month).

For the purpose of this review, we’re going to be looking mainly at the fixed pricing because that’s what the majority of UK retail investors would be using.

To complicate things further, the fixed pricing also offers 2 options for some investments: “SmartRouting” or “Direct Routing”. Direct routing means selecting what exchange you want an order to be routed through and SmartRouting searches for the best available prices across exchanges and “dark pools”.

There’s no platform fee for Interactive Brokers, thumbs up from us. However, there is a withdrawal fee of £7, thumbs down from us. Although, you do get one free withdrawal per calendar month.

The investing commissions are quite competitive. The price you’ll pay will depend on the currency you’re using and the location of the stock (the exchange where it’s based).

For UK shares, it costs 0.05% (£3 minimum) for SmartRouting and 0.1% (£4 minimum for Direct Routing). With US shares, it’s $0.005 per share ($1 minimum and maximum 1% of the trade size).

International shares can vary based on the currency and stock exchange. It’s well worth spending some time familiarising yourself with Interactive Brokers full commission structure before you start investing.

Most exchange-traded funds (ETFs) cost the same to buy or sell as a stock from the same country. There are also some commission- free ETFs. For mutual funds, the majority are free, but some come with a €4.95 commission.

The other notable cost is the FX fee, which is 0.002%. This is leaps and bounds cheaper than most other platforms, but there’s a catch. There’s a $2 minimum fee. So, it doesn’t work out very cheap for smaller trades, but provides good value for big transactions.

Interactive Brokers investment choice and stocks

Investment choice score

★★★★★

Asset options9+
Markets150+
Number of investments100,000+
Number of ETFs/funds48,000+
Fractional sharesYes (some exceptions)
Minimum deposit£0
Minimum investment£0

Interactive Brokers is an unstoppable force when it comes to the investments and assets available, definitely its trump card. Overall, there’s more than 100,000 investments across a range of asset types, so there’s little chance you won’t find what you want here.

This sheer amount of choice might be slightly overwhelming for beginners, and to be honest, most UK investors won’t necessarily need such a breadth of options but it doesn’t hurt to have them.

Another slight downside is that having so many options is partly what makes Interactive Broker’s fee structure so complex. Because, there are various fees for each type of investment from each global market but then there are also exceptions.

For example, you pay a commission to invest in most ETFs but some are free. And for mutual funds, it’s the other way around. Or for UK shares, you pay on a percentage basis but for US stocks you pay on a dollar per share basis.

With so many investments available, it’s understandable that this is the case, but it does make it quite a challenge for investors to easily get an idea of the costs for investing in the way they want.

The type of assets available with Interactive Brokers includes:

  • Stocks and shares
  • ETFs and mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures and options
  • Currencies and commodities
  • Contracts for difference (CFDs)

Is Interactive Brokers safe?

Safety and security score

★★★★★

Biometric login/2FA
FCA regulated
FSCS protection
SSL certificate
Public company

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). One major downside with Interactive Brokers is that it doesn’t come with Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.

Interactive Brokers does offer alternative compensation for some investments because it’s FINRA regulated and a registered member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This means your US securities are protected up to the value of $500,000 should Interactive Brokers go bust (with a $250,000 cash compensation limit).
Another way Interactive Brokers provides transparency to investors is because it’s part of a publicly traded company, Interactive Brokers Group (IBKR) listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Interactive Brokers account types and products

Account types and products score

★★★★★

General investment account (GIA)
Stock and shares ISA
Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)
Lifetime ISA (LISA)
Junior ISA (JISA)/Junior SIPP (JSIPP)
Business Account
Interest on cash balances

Interactive Brokers has a decent range of account on offer, including:

  • General investment account (GIA)
  • Stocks and shares ISA
  • Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)
  • Business accounts
  • Junior ISA (JISA)

Interactive Brokers GIA

The general investment account (GIA) is Interactive Brokers’s most basic account. If you select this, you can open an individual or joint account.

There are no restrictions or limits on how much you can invest but there aren’t any tax advantages to trading with a GIA, like there are with a stocks and shares ISA, which we cover in a second.

If you make more than £6,000 in each tax year then you have to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on the portion over this amount. And if you breach your £1,000 dividend allowance (reducing to £500 in 2024/25), you’ll also have to pay tax.

Interactive Brokers stocks and shares ISA

The Interactive Brokers stocks and shares ISA lets you use your annual ISA allowance to invest and you can use up to your full allowance each tax year. The allowance is £20,000 in 2023/2024, which means you can invest up to £20,000 without paying UK tax on your profits.

Other than the tax benefits, the regular GIA and stocks and shares ISA are pretty much the same, including the features and the fees.

Interactive Brokers self invested personal pension (SIPP)

This account lets you save up for your retirement with tax benefits. SIPPs are a type of personal pension that give you more control over what you invest in. You can’t withdraw your pension until you turn 55 (rising to 57 in 2028).

However, with the Interactive Brokers SIPP, you can’t control everything yourself. A SIPP Administrator has to open a master account which basically means you need a middleman company to use this account.

Interactive Brokers junior ISA

The Interactive Brokers junior ISA (JISA) allows you to invest on behalf of someone under 18. You can invest up to £9,000 each tax year, which doesn’t count towards your annual allowance. The child can only access the account once they turn 18.

Other than the structural restrictions and allowance limit, the IBKR JISA operates in much the same way as the adult version of the stocks and shares ISA.

Interactive Brokers ease of use

Ease of use score

★★★★★

Apple iOS rating4.3/5
Google Play rating4.8/5
Ways to contact customer servicePhone, email, chat and post
UI/UXBad
Desktop or mobile appBoth

Interactive Brokers scored fairly well in our ease of use assessment with a few ways to contact the customer service team and generally positive reviews for its app.

Most reviewers seem to enjoy the Interactive Brokers app on Apple and Android devices. On the App Store it has a 4.3 out of 5 and on Google Play, it has an impressive 4.8 out of 5 (as of February 2024).

One thing to note is that the Interactive Brokers app is popular with more experienced investors but the overall interface and experience is fairly challenging if you’re a beginner – so it’s definitely worthwhile trying the demo account out first.

Interactive Brokers customer reviews

RatingScore
Trustpilot3.7/5
User reviews4.5

On Trustpilot, reviewers gave Interactive Brokers a 3.7 out of 5 “average” rating from over 2,500 reviews.

Interactive Brokers tools, resources and features

Tools, resources and features

★★★★★

Analysis features
Tools for investing/trading
Social features
Learning resources
Additional Features

Interactive Brokers has lots of tools and resources packed into its comprehensive platform. The only area where it’s lacking is the social investing aspect, with no community forum or way for investors to connect and share ideas.

With Interactive Brokers, there’s plenty of features like:

  • Advanced charting and analysis tools
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • IBKR GlobalAnalyst, which scans global markets for undervalued stocks
  • Multiple trading platforms (Trader Workstation, desktop, mobile app, GlobalTrader) to suit your style of investing
  • Plenty of trading order types
  • Market commentary, research and news

There’s also plenty of educational and learning resources such as:

  • The IBKR Campus
  • Traders’ Academy and Traders’ Insight
  • Podcasts, blogs and webinars
  • Investing calendars

With Interactive Brokers, the information and tools on offer are pretty diverse, to help you make the most of the platform and research all the investment opportunities available.

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.

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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