Interactive Brokers Review 2024: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

Interactive Brokers is one of the best direct access brokers in the world. Yes, this is a fairly bold statement. But the reality is that you would be hard-pressed to find a better brokerage. Our Interactive Brokers review provides insights into the trading platform, gives an overview of the cost structure and compares the account types.

About Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is an automated global electronic broker that offers clients from over 200 countries and territories the ability to invest globally in stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from a single unified platform. In addition, eligible clients can also trade cryptocurrency via Paxos Trust Company.

Clients can access 150 markets, 33 countries and 24 currencies and hold multiple currencies in one account. With several trading platforms to choose from, experienced traders and institutional investors benefit from Interactive Brokers’ advanced technology, lowest cost and a broad range of products worldwide.

In addition, IBKR recently introduced IBKR GlobalTrader, a simple way to trade stocks and options globally, and IBKR EventTrader, a new web-based platform that lets investors trade their opinion on “yes or no” questions using CME Event Contracts.

With no account minimums or inactivity fees, investors also benefit from tools like IBKR GlobalAnalyst, a stock screener that lets investors compare the relative valuations and financial metrics of stocks globally and PortfolioAnalyst, which enables investors to consolidate, track and analyze portfolios. Plus, all investors (both clients and non-clients) can benefit from the free educational resources available through IBKR Campus.

A Great Place for Active Traders and Professional Traders, but also Beginners

Interactive Brokers is a great place to trade. It’s a global brokerage, and you can trade worldwide with one brokerage account, and considered one of the best online brokers for day trading. Several larger hedge funds will clear through them, as well as major prop shops. Continue reading the Interactive Brokers review.

Trading Platforms and Tools

Interactive Brokers offers several platforms to address the needs of a wide range of clients, from beginning investors to advanced traders and institutional investors:

  • Trader Workstation is the flagship platform designed for active traders.
  • IBKR Mobile provides clients with powerful trading tools and advanced order types.
  • IBKR Event is the new web-based platform that lets investors trade their opinion on “yes or no” questions using CME Event Contracts.
  • Client Portal is a simple web-based application for investors to check quotes, place trades, view account balances and manage accounts.
  • IBKR GlobalTrader is a new, straightforward app perfect for beginning investors to access over 90+ stock markets worldwide and trade options and crypto from a mobile device.

Trader Workstation is the desktop platform that most active traders will use. It gives you access to the entire world, allows you to trade many products, which we will look into in a moment, and offers charting, real-time quotes, and everything you would anticipate.

There is also the IBKR Mobile platform, which is a mobile phone platform that allows you to trade efficiently and monitor an IBKR account on the go. Investors can trade stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and more and access advanced order types and trading tools.

There is also Client Portal, a web-based trading platform that offers very similar functionality to the desktop platform, with a much more straightforward interface.

In addition, Interactive Brokers has recently introduced IBKR GlobalTrader, a simple mobile app for trading stocks and options globally and IBKR EventTrader, a web-based platform for trading Event Contracts. Using IBKR EventTrader, investors can trade their opinion on yes-or-no questions in key CME futures markets.

All things being equal, these platforms have good functionality, but there is a learning curve when it comes to the Desktop TWS. Especially as it offers a ton of different order types, which can be tricky for traders that don’t have as much experience, beginner investors may want to start with IBKR GlobalTrader before trying Interactive Brokers’ more sophisticated trading platforms. But ultimately, TWS is a trading platform that is extraordinarily flexible and powerful once you get used to it.

Tradable Markets

Without a doubt, this is where Interactive Brokers shines. It would be hard to find a better place to trade the world than this brokerage. Remember, this brokerage serves over 2 million individual and institutional investor clients, including hedge funds, proprietary traders and introducing brokers. Clients can access 150 markets, including global exchanges across the Americas, Europe and APAC regions.

In addition, Interactive Brokers now offers free streaming market data for non-consolidated US equities and ETFs from Cboe One and Alternative European Equities data from Pan European Venues, including CBOE Europe, Turquoise Europe, Aquis Ltd, Gettex and TradeGate.

The scope of products available through Interactive Brokers is far beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few highlights:

  • Forex
  • US stocks
  • Pink sheets
  • Japanese stocks
  • Mexican stocks
  • Canadian stocks
  • Treasury markets
  • Chicago-based futures markets
  • Singapore-based futures markets
  • Swiss stocks
  • Exchange Traded Funds
  • Mutual funds
  • Options on stocks
  • Options on futures
  • CFD on Brazilian shares
  • CFD on South African shares
  • CFD on Singapore shares
  • Hong Kong Futures Exchange
  • National Stock Exchange of India
  • Osaka Exchange
  • Korea Stock exchange
  • many more

Commissions and Fees

It would help if you considered that the commissions charged for stocks could be almost invisible as they are institutional-grade pricing. That could save you a lot of money, especially if you are a short-term trader. The IBKR Pro pricing plan is intended for sophisticated investors and active traders. Pricing for US stocks and ETFs is USD 0.0005 to 0.0035 for tiered pricing or USD 0.005 for fixed pricing.

If you are a day trader, you would be hard-pressed to find a cheaper alternative to Interactive Brokers for day trading. Also, future contract traders will be amazed by the fee structure.

Futures traders pay as low as $0.25 per futures contract if they trade 20,000 futures contracts or more per month. That makes Interactive Brokers one of the best futures brokers based on the commission structure for futures trading. The maximum even for the less active futures trader is $0.85 per contract. That’s much less than the competition offers.

Retail investors may consider the IBKR Lite pricing plan that offers clients in the US access to zero commissions on US-listed stock and ETF trades.

Education and Research

Interactive Brokers has a considerable amount of education available through IBKR Campus. IBKR Campus is open free of charge to clients and non-clients. In addition, investors can use IBKR Campus to learn about trading, financial markets and IBKR’s trading tools. Included within IBKR Campus are the following resources:

Traders’ Academy

  • Over 65 total courses with 20 new and revamped courses for 2022

IBKR Webinars

  • Watch, listen and learn about current market topics, IBKR tools and more
  • Participate in free, live webinars or view recorded webinars
  • Hosted by industry leaders such as Nasdaq, Cboe, CME Group and more

Student Trading Lab

  • A free online resource for educators looking to blend finance or computer science classwork with real-world trading experiences

Traders’ Insight

  • Watch or read market commentary and analysis from nearly 100 industry pros
  • Features content from Steve Sosnick, IBKR’s Chief Strategist and José Torres, IBKR’s Senior Economist

IBKR Quant Blog

  • This blog is for quantitative professionals interested in programming, deep learning, API, AI, Blockchain and other transformative technologies.

IBKR Podcasts

  • New podcast series featuring discussions on topics that impact global markets and trading

This is an area that Interactive Brokers have stepped up recently, as it once was the domain of purely institutional traders. In addition, Interactive Brokers offers over 200 news and research services with over 90 free services.

Customer Service

Interactive Brokers has excellent support, as they are used to dealing with institutional clients that hold millions of dollars with them. Institutional investors won’t be bothered by a company that won’t take care of them.

For example, by serving the hedge fund community, and Interactive Brokers has been around for decades, they know how to take care of their clients. In addition, you can reach out to trading desks, chat, fax/post, phone, and the FAQ section. Support is 24 hours a day and handled around the world.

Interactive Brokers Review Summary

The bottom line is that if you are truly looking to become a professional trader, Interactive Brokers offers professional platforms accessible to beginner investors, experienced traders, and institutions. One mouse click and the scanner Trade Ideas connects to the Interactive Brokers Platform via the API.

Artificial-based trading signals are sent directly to the trading platform, and you can choose between manual trade transmission, semi-automatic and even fully automatic trading.

This is unique, and you should check out the Trade Ideas Review for more information. There are hundreds of markets around the world that you can trade. Ultimately, if you truly want to diversify a professionally styled portfolio, this will be the place to do it.

Interactive Brokers also now offers free streaming market data for non-consolidated US equities and ETFs from Cboe One and Alternative European Equities data from Pan European Venues, including CBOE Europe, Turquoise Europe, Aquis Ltd, Gettex and TradeGate.

Registered Investment Advisors also use Interactive Brokers frequently since the broker provides a low-cost global trading and custody solution that can help advisors grow their businesses.

If you are not looking for somebody to hold your hand and are confident in what you do, this will be a great place to trade. Beginners can start trading with IBKR GlobalTrader and access the educational materials available via IBKR Campus to learn about the markets, investing, and IBKR’s trading platforms, products and tools.

Pros

  • Award-winning trading platform for all types of investors and traders
  • Competitive commission structure
  • Supports multiple exchanges worldwide for international trading
  • Trading API for automated and algorithmic trading
  • No account minimum, no inactivity fee

Cons

  • Interactive Brokers charges commissions for users outside the United States.
Alexander Voigt, CEO
Article by
Alexander Voigt is the founder of DayTradingZ, was a regular contributor to Benzinga and has been featured and quoted on leading financial websites such as Investors.com, Capital.com, Business Insider and Forbes.
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