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Active, experienced traders will find a home at Interactive Brokers, whose platform facilitates access to US and international markets. Beginners and infrequent traders may be better served on other platforms, such as that provided by ETrade.
Above all, Interactive Brokers has garnered a reputation as a low-cost commissions broker serving international markets. It rewards active traders with low costs, not just in its commissions but in its margin rates too. Its platform is highly advanced and provides access to almost every imaginable tradeable security but user experience suffers somewhat with such advanced and powerful capabilities.
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Interactive Brokers Spotlight
|INTERACTIVE BROKERS SPOTLIGHT|
4 out of 5 stars
Interactive Brokers Customers
Interactive Brokers serves clients in Europe, USA and the Asia-Pacific region, and targets active, experienced traders by rewarding them with low commissions while penalizing infrequent traders with inactivity fees.
Day traders, options traders, experienced traders and traders leveraging margin will find Interactive Brokers to be a superior platform. While Interactive Brokers does provide phone and email support, both fall short of the stellar support offered by low cost peers, such as TradeKing.
However, traders who require little handholding will not find this shortfall outweighs the low commissions costs, powerful platform capabilities and virtually unparalleled access to international markets.
The Interactive Brokers trading platform is best for traders who are:
- Active traders
- Options traders
- International traders
- Experienced traders
- Day traders
- Fee-conscious traders
Interactive Brokers Promo Deal
Interactive Brokers typically does not offer promotions within North America, however clients under age 25 are rewarded with lower inactivity fees and account balance minimums:
- Under 25: $3,000 account balance minimum
- Under 25: $0 inactivity fee with monthly commissions of at least $3
Interactive Brokers Pros and Cons
Interactive Brokers has a powerful trading platform that provides access to international markets and rewards active traders with low commissions and fees but its powerful platform is not intuitive to beginner traders, and inactive traders will be penalized with monthly fees.
|Interactive Brokers Pros||Interactive Brokers Cons|
|✅ Low Margin Rates: Margin rates ranging from 1.28% – 2.16% are extremely low and virtually without compare among rivals.||❌ Unintuitive Trading Platform: Trader Workstation, Interactive Brokers primary platform, is not intuitive and not for beginner traders. A simple search for a well-known security will frequently return numerous matches. However, where the Interactive Brokers platform falls short in user experience, it certainly compensates for in capability.|
|✅ Low Commissions Costs: Interactive Brokers charges very low commissions for stocks and options:
||❌ So-So Customer Support: Although phone and email support is available, the 24 hour support is not available on Saturdays, support hours are vary by region and support quality doesn’t quite match what is available elsewhere like ETrade.|
|✅ No-Transaction Fee Mutual Funds: Approximately 3,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds available.||❌ Limited No-Commissions ETFs: Only about 30 no-commission ETFs are available via Interactive Brokers but ETF screeners and research reports are available.|
|✅ Numerous Tradeable Securities: Interactive Brokers allows traders access international markets and trade virtually every security imaginable, including:
||❌ Limited Research: While Interactive Brokers does provide solid education, research is lacking on the platform relative to peers such as OptionsXpress. Plus, premium research and market data features frequently require subscriptions fees.|
|✅ Powerful Trading Platform: Advanced tools such as Options Strategy Lab, Volatility Lab, Risk Navigator, and Strategy Scanner, plus over 60 order types, and access to international currencies among other tradeable securities places Interactive Brokers among the elite trading platforms along with thinkorswim|
Interactive Brokers Securities
Interactive Brokers has an extensive list of tradeable securities across asset classes, from currencies to futures, options to stocks, and globally across continents, including North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
- Mutual Funds
Interactive Brokers Fees
Interactive Brokers has an industry-leading fee schedule, particularly as it relates to options and stocks:
|Stocks||$0.005 per share ($1 minimum)|
|Options||$0.70 per contract (no minimum)|
|Forex||Requires $10 million in assets|
|Mutual Funds||$14.95 per trade ($3,000 minimum)|
|Margin rate range||1.28% – 2.16%|
|Broker-assisted trades||$0.01 per share ($100 minimum)|
|Account Balance Minimum||$10,000
$3,000 for clients under age 25
|Fees||Inactivity Fees: $3-$20 (monthly)
IRAs: $30 (annually)
IRA Closure: $0
Interactive Brokers Platform Features
|Desktop||YES (real-time monitoring, customizable dashboard, alerts and watchlists)|
|Customer support||Email Support
Phone Support 8am-8pm Mon-Sat
Phone Support 1pm-7pm Sun
|Real-time quotes||YES ($10 monthly fee; waived with $30 or more of commissions monthly)|
|Research||No third-party research reports|
|Chart Tools||Options P&L Charts, Historical Trades View, Technical Studies, Notes, and Drawing Tools|
|No-transaction-fee Mutual Funds||Approximately 3,000|
Interactive Brokers Summary
Interactive Brokers makes 24 countries and over 100 markets accessible on its fast, powerful trading platform that deals in stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds.
Seasoned investors with account balances of at least $10,000 are rewarded for active trading with low commissions and margin rates. Beginner traders should consider other alternatives here.