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Interactive Brokers Review

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Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a safe online broker known for its Trader’s Workstation platform, zero-commission trades, trading tools, and market-leading pricing. The firm connects to all global electronic exchanges making trading of futures, equities, and options easy and straightforward from their desktop, Web, and mobile platforms.

Broker NameIBKR
Year Founded1978
RegulationSEC (USA), FCA (UK)
Tradable AssetsStock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, CFD, Crypto, Warrants, Structured Products
Min Deposit$0
DepositsACH, Check, Online bill payment, Direct Rollover (IRA accounts only)
PlatformsTraders Workstation (TWS)
Base Currencies22
Demo AccountYes

Review Summary

Our top findings for XTB

  1. IBKR gives traders access to 135 global markets in 33 countries. Professional traders take full advantage of industry-leading low commissions and low margin rates across all balance tiers. They provide a winning platform solution for Day, Mobile, Options, and Futures traders.
  2. They offer 68 different order types giving traders of all levels access to global investment options including stocks, options, futures, and bonds in 31 currencies.
  3. Casual and novice investors benefit from their website and platform offerings of robust fundamental research and education.

IBKR is ideal for both casual investors and advanced traders. Advanced traders obtain the lowest margin and commission rates in the industry via IBKR’s outstanding Traders Workstation (TWS) platform. The firm continues to invest in starter-friendly products and features like their ‘Client Portal.’

Founded in 1978 by Thomas Peterffy, an American Stock Exchange (AMEX) seat holder and trading technology expert, IBKR has 24 global offices. The company is based in Greenwich, CT, and is a member of the NASDAQ 400 Index. A publicly traded brokerage, IBKR is regulated and monitored by the US SEC and other global authorities. Their security precautions include:

  • Mobile app users log in with biometric (face or fingerprint) recognition.
  • Many forms of two-factor authentication.
  • Mobile Key, their mobile app for two-factor authentication, supports fingerprint and PIN verification.
  • IBKR carries excess SIPC insurance provided by Lloyd’s of London. Each account is covered for $150 million. For clients with full SIPC protection, Lloyd’s provides an extra $30 million in coverage. This includes $900,000 in cash. All accounts are subject to a total limit of $150 million.
  • IBKR’s Bank Deposit sweep program helps clients supplement existing SIPC coverage. They get $2,500,000 of FDIC Insurance on eligible cash balances.

Investment Offerings

IBKR has a broad range of international trading offerings. These include stocks, options, futures, and bonds.

IBKR customers trade across more than 120 global exchanges. They have a vast inventory of fixed-income products including 26,000 global funds, 11,000 mutual funds from 285+ fund families (including Bitcoin futures trading), and clients trade every asset class on their Mosaic-based TWS platform. IBKR Robo-advisory and interactive advisors are integrated into their website, desktop, and mobile platforms. IBKR adds new products based on customer demand.

IBKR customers trade

  • stocks long and short
  • OTCBB (penny stocks)
  • mutual funds (IBKR is the world’s largest mutual fund marketplace)
  • bonds: corporate, municipal, treasury, CDs and international
  • single-leg and multi-leg options (up to 8 legs)
  • futures and futures options and CFDs
  • forex (23 currencies, 115 trading pairs)
  • Fractional US stock share trading on NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, ARCA, or BATS, as well as OTC
  • pink U.S. penny stocks (average daily volume above $10M/market cap above $400M)
  • non-U.S. stocks
  • IPOs
  • Warrants
  • single stock futures

Retail forex trading is not available in the USA unless a trader is designated by IBKR as an “Eligible Contract Participant” (has assets of more than $10 million). Lite Account ‘Client Portal’ users must switch to TWS to execute international trades.

FeatureIBKR
Forex Spot TradingYes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex Pairs)115
Cryptocurrency traded as actualYes
Cryptocurrency traded as actualYes

Commissions, Fees, and Account Types

IBKR’s fee structure is complex. There are dozens of trading options and fees. These depend on the instrument traded, amount, and account type.

Petterfy originally launched IBKR to serve professional traders and large institutional investors (hedge funds and other leveraged, fast-moving trading groups). Their fee structure delivers the lowest possible commission schedule to this key client group.

In recent years they developed tools to assist more casual traders and investors.

IBKR offers two main pricing plans:

  • IBKR Pro (for professional investors)
  • IBKR Lite (for more casual investors)

IBKR Pro Fees:

Standard fixed price US stock trades per trade value are:

  • $.005 per share
  • minimum cost $1.00
  • maximum cost 0.5%

For order sizes of several hundred shares, IBKR Pro is a fantastic bargain. If investors trade several thousand or hundreds of thousands of shares, IBKR Pro becomes expensive. The tiered pricing option starts at $.0035 per share. IBKR Pro is not a good choice for trading large share lots of penny stocks.

IBKR Pro Options:

IBKR offers a tiered commission option for US exchange contracts using IB SMART routing.

  • Premiums > $.10 equals $.65 per contract with a $1.00 minimum and no maximum.
  • Premiums between $.05 and $.10, the rate is $.50 per contract.
  • Premiums < $.05, the rate is $.25 per contract.

Other IBKR Pro Benefits: they do not accept payment for order flow, a key element in quality order execution. IBKR has the industry’s lowest margin rates. These vary from a high of 1.55% to an attractive 0.75% for clients with more than $1 million traded with the firm.

IBKR Lite Fees:

  • No inactivity or data fees
  • All US stock and ETF trades cost $0
  • Options trades follow normal IBKR Pro pricing
  • IBKR Lite has a lower order execution quality.

IBKR Lite makes money off of order flow. This designed and aimed at casual or beginning investors.

IBKR Pro Non-Trading Fees: For new or casual traders, the minimums and miscellaneous fees are high. The easiest way to avoid them is to maintain a $100,000 balance or spend $30 in monthly commissions. Inactivity charges are $20 per month.

Deposits: are fast and simple. IBKR eased its onboarding process. Traders must e-sign numerous forms to get an account functional. Most features are available when the account opens.

Minimum deposit: Traders open an account without a deposit. They must fund it within 90-days of opening or IBKR will close it. The minimum account opening deposit is $100. A $110,000 deposit minimum is required to open a portfolio margin account.

Withdrawals: There is no charge for the first withdrawal (of any kind) in a calendar month. IBKR charges withdrawal fees for each subsequent withdrawal. They support the following withdrawal requests:

  • Wire transfer
  • US ACH transfer (US accounts only)
  • Check (only for US currency and a US mailing address)
  • Canadian EFT transfer (Canadian accounts only)
  • SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) Initiated at IB
  • BACS (GBP withdrawals only)
  • GIRO/ACH (available for HKD, CNH, and SGD)
  • NZD ACH (available for NZD withdrawals only)

Accounts not part of the IBKR Secure Login System have a limited withdrawal amount. Account-holders not using a security device have a daily withdrawal limit of $50,000. Unsecured accounts may withdraw up to $100,000 over five-business days. Withdrawals are sent in the account holders’ names.

FeatureIBKR
Minimum Initial Deposit$0
Stock Trade Fee (pe trade)$0
ETF Trade Fee$0
Options Base Fee$0
Options Per Contract Fee$0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$14.95
Broker Assisted Trading Fee$30.00
Commission-Free ETFs120

Platforms and Tools

IBKR is a global leader in trading technology. Their platform and investment tools help investors trade, access client forums, conduct market overviews and analyze their portfolios.

Trader Workstation (TWS): IBKR’s flagship platform, this desktop-based program is customizable and supports global assets trading of all kinds. It is designed for professional investors and ranks among the best professional trading platforms in the industry. TWS is user-friendly, customizable, and offers updated streaming data for the novice or beginning investor.

TWS Professional tools: seasoned IBKR trading tools include: Portfolio Builder, Options Strategy Lab, Algo Trading, Risk Navigator, Strategy Builder, Market Scanner, and Volatility Lab. Traders create extensive watch lists on equities, individual options contracts, futures, forex, warrants, and CFDs. There are 494 data points traders use for customization.

IBot: this predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool handles customer requests and portfolio information. IBot handles orders, quotes, and more. Its chat feature finds analytic tools and advanced order types. Users query via voice or typed commands. IBot remembers and keeps handy links to their frequently used tools.

TWS positives: traders enter orders from inside the matrix display or any TWS graph. Advanced algorithms help them place large orders and access any market. IBKR has an exceptional order router. It identifies price improvements, maximizes possible rebates, and achieves optimal execution. The TWS Mosaic interface helps traders arrange tools like building blocks to create a custom work/trading space. Over time traders create the investing experience best for them. There is a demo version of TWS that both beginning and experienced clients use to learn the platform and test their trading strategies.

TWS drawbacks: pulling up individual stocks to trade is tricky because TWS and IBKR follow a vast number of securities. If a trader types in “AAPL” for Apple Computer, thousands of possible matches appear which may overwhelm a non-professional trader.

Charting: IBKR’s charting is interactive. Traders see 100+ predefined indicators or create their own. Traders toggle and zoom between 15-time frames to trade from charts. The platform’s advanced settings help traders integrate trading systems to build custom dashboards.

Trading technology: Advanced algorithms let large traders place orders and access any market through TWS. IBKR’s intelligent order routers identify price improvement, maximize possible rebates, and achieves optimal execution through specialized rerouting technology. This technology gives traders access to “dark pools” (hidden institutional order flows) for executing large orders. Option orders with multi-leg requirements are routed automatically. Each leg of a spread is independently executed.

Mid-Price order: IBKR routes to several venues using an order type they call ‘mid-price order.’ Mid-price order is a floating order that adjusts to market movements, fills orders and quickly identifies price improvements.

Client Portal: for inexperienced traders, IBKR offers the web-based Client Portal platform. This includes core features necessary to trade and manage a basic portfolio. It is less robust but easier to use. Introduced in 2019, it continues to be a major focus IBKR expands and improves to attract retail traders. Client Portal has a few high-end analytical tools such as global data, customizable watch lists, and scanners. While IBot makes IBKR’s Client Portal accessible and easier to use than previous versions, becoming familiar with TWS requires a significant time and learning investment.

FeatureIBKR
Virtual Trading (Demo)Yes
Proprietary PlatformNo
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
Social Trading / Copy-TradingYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
cTraderNo
DupliTradeNo
ZuluTradeNo
Charting – Indicators / Studies (Total)51
Charting – Drawing Tools (Total)31
Charting – Trade From ChartYes
Watchlists – Total Fields7
Order Type – Trailing StopYes

Mobile Trading

Mobile trading with IBKR is supported across all Android and iOS mobile and tablet devices.

The app features lightning-fast streaming data, full-featured order entry, and portfolio management. IBKR includes everything professionals need to trade on the go. The mobile app has most of the TWS desktop and web functionality. While missing some of the full TWS or Client Portal platform functionality, all asset classes trade on the mobile app. The app gives traders an account overview, the ability to add/withdraw funds, view their trade history, create watchlists, access newsfeeds, and view charts. A nice feature, mobile watchlists are shared with the main TWS and Client Platform and data streams in real-time.

Strikes and expiry dates are represented by tiles. Traders tap these in the mobile app and get a straightforward options trading interaction. Investors compare two potential trade options using the Performance Profile tool. Their persistent ‘Trade’ button lets traders send orders. IBot is part of the mobile app and helps traders find analytical tools and advanced order types. Stock alerts cannot be delivered via push notification. They arrive via email. This is surprising considering the sophistication of IBKR’s technology.

Mobile Charting: Charting includes 70 optional indicators and easy customizations. Panning isn’t smooth copmared to other newer HTML5 charting applications. Some features one expects are not included like stock and/or index comparisons.

FeatureIBKR
Android AppYes
Apple iOS AppYes
Trading – ForexYes
Trading – CFDsYes
Alerts – Basic FieldsYes
Watch ListYes
Watch List SyncingYes
Charting – Indicators / Studies30
Charting – Draw TrendlinesYes
Charting – Trendlines MoveableYes
Charting – Multiple Time FramesYes

Research

IBKR’s research is among the best in the industry for beginners, seasoned traders, and professionals. It includes everything each group needs to be successful.

IBKR 3rd Party Research: comes from noted sources like Dow Jones, Zacks, Market Realist, TipRanks, and many others. Thompson Reuters provides ESG ratings which let traders rank and compare companies based on variables they consider critical. Premium research is available at a discount.

IBKR’s Probability Lab: is built into TWS. The Profitability Lab lets options traders compare Market Outlook to current conditions and suggests trading strategies.

IBKR’ Risk Navigator: helps traders predict specific market condition changes that could affect their portfolio.

Portfolio Analyst: provides in-depth analysis of all financial accounts in one place. It provides traders with a hedge fund-level of reporting on their portfolio’s performance and makeup.

Performance Attribution: provides a perspective on which market sectors could contribute to a trader’s portfolio. They change benchmarks across more than 230 different variables.

Fundamentals Explorer: within Client Portal is the best research tool for casual or beginning investors. It does a good job using design to visualize data. The Social Sentiment analysis tab uses Twitter data to identify trends, overall sentiment scores, and other key takeaways.

ESG Research: IBKR includes several ESG ratings and research tools across its platforms. The Impact Tool helps traders score their holdings for specific metrics. After identifying the issues that matter most to a trader (like guns, animal testing, or clean water), their Impact Dashboard displays an A – F grade. The tool makes recommendations of similar companies to trade with better alignment grades.

TWS Research highlights: include numerous screeners, extensive back-testing functionality, and portfolio analysis tools, which are all excellent. For traders looking to conduct specific research, IBKR offers over 70 third-party provider feeds a la carte, including Morningstar, which is available either free or for a monthly fee. Any provider package purchased integrates straight into TWS.

TWS Research drawbacks: traders must learn to navigate TWS to find the information they want. There are few streamlined views. Client Portal is easier to use. While not intuitive it provides a better research experience than TWS.

Additional IBKR technical tools: help traders create flexible order types on TWS, Client Portal, and the Mobile app. These include:

  • Conditional Orders based on price, volume, daily P&L, margin cushion, number of shortable shares, and rebates from the trading venue.
  • Portfolio Builder creates a tailored strategy to construct a portfolio of stocks.
  • Share and Dollar lots for any asset class.
  • Tax Optimizer selects tax lot defaults to maximize several factors.
  • Portfolio Checker lets traders assess portfolio health. Compares performance to 200 global benchmarks and evaluates risk measures.
  • Trader’s Journal is a note-taking feature to record/save trading notes/ideas on any product.

Charting: IBKR charting is interactive. Traders see 100+ predefined indicators or create their own. Traders toggle and zoom between 15-time frames and trade from their charts.

FeatureIBKR
Daily Market CommentaryYes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)Yes
Weekly WebinarsNo
AutoChartistYes
Trading Central (Recognia)No
Delkos ResearchYes
Social Sentiment – Currency PairsYes
Economic CalendarYes

Education

IBKR is a market leader providing a range of free investor education programs.

IBKR Traders Academy: is a structured, rigorous curriculum intended for financial professionals, investors, educators, and students. It helps them seek a better understanding of asset classes, markets, currencies, tools, and functionality available on IBKR’s platforms. There are 45+ courses available to traders, quizzes, and tests. These benchmark progress against learning objectives. The website includes a trading glossary, FAQ section, and daily expert webinars. Traders Academy is available on mobile desktop and all other platforms.

Webinars: IBKR hosts 250 live webinars annually. They provide access to 1,000 recorded webinars. Many videos are available on their YouTube channel. IBKR offers a large variety of short platform tutorial videos.

Outlooks: IBKR’s Traders’ Insight blog provides outlooks for the US, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and various market sectors along with retirement and tax topic content is included in the Traders’ Insight blog. Clients who want to write their trading algorithms and model financial markets access the IBKR Quant blog.

IBKR Fundamentals Explorer: combines research from Refinitiv and TipRanks. These offer deep fundamentals research for every covered stock. In-depth mutual fund data from Lipper is presented in a similar format. Hovering over a field shows more information and peer comparisons.

Customer Service

IBKR has a reputation for providing lackluster customer service. This an area they are working to improve.

Telephone customer support: causes irritation. Their digital assistant IBot is helpful on mobile devices as it integrates with voice commands. It is powered by an AI engine answering questions in plain English. IBot sends customers to online FAQs and resources. Phone service includes 24/5 phone with call back service.

Online chat: is available with a live human agent.

Securities Class Action Recovery solution: this automated service removes administrative burdens of joining securities class action lawsuits. It examines positions and detects filing eligibility. The service submits claim filings on an investor’s behalf to administrators to recover compensation. Court-awarded settlement amounts are deposited into their account.

Banking

IBKR does not provide traditional banking services nor do they own a bank. They do offer traders the ability to earn interest on uninvested cash, provided the account is in a base currency with a positive interest rate. With most interest rates pegged at near zero, there is little to no yield to be captured.

Closing Argument

IBKR is a great online broker for professional traders based on its TWS platform, zero-commission trades, 70 optional order types, and over 137 global assets to trade. The Client Portal web platform, extensive educational material, Traders Academy, and $0 ETF and stock trades make them a great broker for beginners. New investors often feel intimidated by the number of tools available.

Their news feed and research tools are second to none. IBKR is the natural next step for those who may have outgrown their current broker’s offerings. It is ideal for those looking to apply more complex strategies. One low-cost way to become familiar with the platform is through the Robo-advisory service. The wide variety of order types, trading algorithms, and global asset classes available through IBKR will please frequent traders.

With industry-leading commission rates for professional traders, more than 68 optional order types, trading in more than 135 international markets, and a robust trade platform suitable for any professional, IBKR is an excellent choice for investors who fit into its target mold.

About IBKR

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, by Thomas Peterffy, a respected early innovator in computer-assisted trading, IBKR is recognized for its extensive international reach. They service more than 135 global market destinations. IBKR clients daily place 1.9 million trades. They have more than 980,000 brokerage accounts with $232 billion in customer equity.

Broker NameIBKR
Year Founded1978
RegulationSEC (USA), FCA (UK)
Tradable AssetsStock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, CFD, Crypto, Warrants, Structured Products
Min Deposit$0
DepositsACH, Check, Online bill payment, Direct Rollover (IRA accounts only)
PlatformsTraders Workstation (TWS)
Base Currencies22
Demo AccountYes

Review Summary

Our top findings for XTB

  1. IBKR gives traders access to 135 global markets in 33 countries. Professional traders take full advantage of industry-leading low commissions and low margin rates across all balance tiers. They provide a winning platform solution for Day, Mobile, Options, and Futures traders.
  2. They offer 68 different order types giving traders of all levels access to global investment options including stocks, options, futures, and bonds in 31 currencies.
  3. Casual and novice investors benefit from their website and platform offerings of robust fundamental research and education.

IBKR is ideal for both casual investors and advanced traders. Advanced traders obtain the lowest margin and commission rates in the industry via IBKR’s outstanding Traders Workstation (TWS) platform. The firm continues to invest in starter-friendly products and features like their ‘Client Portal.’

Founded in 1978 by Thomas Peterffy, an American Stock Exchange (AMEX) seat holder and trading technology expert, IBKR has 24 global offices. The company is based in Greenwich, CT, and is a member of the NASDAQ 400 Index. A publicly traded brokerage, IBKR is regulated and monitored by the US SEC and other global authorities. Their security precautions include:

  • Mobile app users log in with biometric (face or fingerprint) recognition.
  • Many forms of two-factor authentication.
  • Mobile Key, their mobile app for two-factor authentication, supports fingerprint and PIN verification.
  • IBKR carries excess SIPC insurance provided by Lloyd’s of London. Each account is covered for $150 million. For clients with full SIPC protection, Lloyd’s provides an extra $30 million in coverage. This includes $900,000 in cash. All accounts are subject to a total limit of $150 million.
  • IBKR’s Bank Deposit sweep program helps clients supplement existing SIPC coverage. They get $2,500,000 of FDIC Insurance on eligible cash balances.

Investment Offerings

IBKR has a broad range of international trading offerings. These include stocks, options, futures, and bonds.

IBKR customers trade across more than 120 global exchanges. They have a vast inventory of fixed-income products including 26,000 global funds, 11,000 mutual funds from 285+ fund families (including Bitcoin futures trading), and clients trade every asset class on their Mosaic-based TWS platform. IBKR Robo-advisory and interactive advisors are integrated into their website, desktop, and mobile platforms. IBKR adds new products based on customer demand.

IBKR customers trade

  • stocks long and short
  • OTCBB (penny stocks)
  • mutual funds (IBKR is the world’s largest mutual fund marketplace)
  • bonds: corporate, municipal, treasury, CDs and international
  • single-leg and multi-leg options (up to 8 legs)
  • futures and futures options and CFDs
  • forex (23 currencies, 115 trading pairs)
  • Fractional US stock share trading on NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, ARCA, or BATS, as well as OTC
  • pink U.S. penny stocks (average daily volume above $10M/market cap above $400M)
  • non-U.S. stocks
  • IPOs
  • Warrants
  • single stock futures

Retail forex trading is not available in the USA unless a trader is designated by IBKR as an “Eligible Contract Participant” (has assets of more than $10 million). Lite Account ‘Client Portal’ users must switch to TWS to execute international trades.

FeatureIBKR
Forex Spot TradingYes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex Pairs)115
Cryptocurrency traded as actualYes
Cryptocurrency traded as actualYes

Commissions, Fees, and Account Types

IBKR’s fee structure is complex. There are dozens of trading options and fees. These depend on the instrument traded, amount, and account type.

Petterfy originally launched IBKR to serve professional traders and large institutional investors (hedge funds and other leveraged, fast-moving trading groups). Their fee structure delivers the lowest possible commission schedule to this key client group.

In recent years they developed tools to assist more casual traders and investors.

IBKR offers two main pricing plans:

  • IBKR Pro (for professional investors)
  • IBKR Lite (for more casual investors)

IBKR Pro Fees:

Standard fixed price US stock trades per trade value are:

  • $.005 per share
  • minimum cost $1.00
  • maximum cost 0.5%

For order sizes of several hundred shares, IBKR Pro is a fantastic bargain. If investors trade several thousand or hundreds of thousands of shares, IBKR Pro becomes expensive. The tiered pricing option starts at $.0035 per share. IBKR Pro is not a good choice for trading large share lots of penny stocks.

IBKR Pro Options:

IBKR offers a tiered commission option for US exchange contracts using IB SMART routing.

  • Premiums > $.10 equals $.65 per contract with a $1.00 minimum and no maximum.
  • Premiums between $.05 and $.10, the rate is $.50 per contract.
  • Premiums < $.05, the rate is $.25 per contract.

Other IBKR Pro Benefits: they do not accept payment for order flow, a key element in quality order execution. IBKR has the industry’s lowest margin rates. These vary from a high of 1.55% to an attractive 0.75% for clients with more than $1 million traded with the firm.

IBKR Lite Fees:

  • No inactivity or data fees
  • All US stock and ETF trades cost $0
  • Options trades follow normal IBKR Pro pricing
  • IBKR Lite has a lower order execution quality.

IBKR Lite makes money off of order flow. This designed and aimed at casual or beginning investors.

IBKR Pro Non-Trading Fees: For new or casual traders, the minimums and miscellaneous fees are high. The easiest way to avoid them is to maintain a $100,000 balance or spend $30 in monthly commissions. Inactivity charges are $20 per month.

Deposits: are fast and simple. IBKR eased its onboarding process. Traders must e-sign numerous forms to get an account functional. Most features are available when the account opens.

Minimum deposit: Traders open an account without a deposit. They must fund it within 90-days of opening or IBKR will close it. The minimum account opening deposit is $100. A $110,000 deposit minimum is required to open a portfolio margin account.

Withdrawals: There is no charge for the first withdrawal (of any kind) in a calendar month. IBKR charges withdrawal fees for each subsequent withdrawal. They support the following withdrawal requests:

  • Wire transfer
  • US ACH transfer (US accounts only)
  • Check (only for US currency and a US mailing address)
  • Canadian EFT transfer (Canadian accounts only)
  • SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) Initiated at IB
  • BACS (GBP withdrawals only)
  • GIRO/ACH (available for HKD, CNH, and SGD)
  • NZD ACH (available for NZD withdrawals only)

Accounts not part of the IBKR Secure Login System have a limited withdrawal amount. Account-holders not using a security device have a daily withdrawal limit of $50,000. Unsecured accounts may withdraw up to $100,000 over five-business days. Withdrawals are sent in the account holders’ names.

FeatureIBKR
Minimum Initial Deposit$0
Stock Trade Fee (pe trade)$0
ETF Trade Fee$0
Options Base Fee$0
Options Per Contract Fee$0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$14.95
Broker Assisted Trading Fee$30.00
Commission-Free ETFs120

Platforms and Tools

IBKR is a global leader in trading technology. Their platform and investment tools help investors trade, access client forums, conduct market overviews and analyze their portfolios.

Trader Workstation (TWS): IBKR’s flagship platform, this desktop-based program is customizable and supports global assets trading of all kinds. It is designed for professional investors and ranks among the best professional trading platforms in the industry. TWS is user-friendly, customizable, and offers updated streaming data for the novice or beginning investor.

TWS Professional tools: seasoned IBKR trading tools include: Portfolio Builder, Options Strategy Lab, Algo Trading, Risk Navigator, Strategy Builder, Market Scanner, and Volatility Lab. Traders create extensive watch lists on equities, individual options contracts, futures, forex, warrants, and CFDs. There are 494 data points traders use for customization.

IBot: this predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool handles customer requests and portfolio information. IBot handles orders, quotes, and more. Its chat feature finds analytic tools and advanced order types. Users query via voice or typed commands. IBot remembers and keeps handy links to their frequently used tools.

TWS positives: traders enter orders from inside the matrix display or any TWS graph. Advanced algorithms help them place large orders and access any market. IBKR has an exceptional order router. It identifies price improvements, maximizes possible rebates, and achieves optimal execution. The TWS Mosaic interface helps traders arrange tools like building blocks to create a custom work/trading space. Over time traders create the investing experience best for them. There is a demo version of TWS that both beginning and experienced clients use to learn the platform and test their trading strategies.

TWS drawbacks: pulling up individual stocks to trade is tricky because TWS and IBKR follow a vast number of securities. If a trader types in “AAPL” for Apple Computer, thousands of possible matches appear which may overwhelm a non-professional trader.

Charting: IBKR’s charting is interactive. Traders see 100+ predefined indicators or create their own. Traders toggle and zoom between 15-time frames to trade from charts. The platform’s advanced settings help traders integrate trading systems to build custom dashboards.

Trading technology: Advanced algorithms let large traders place orders and access any market through TWS. IBKR’s intelligent order routers identify price improvement, maximize possible rebates, and achieves optimal execution through specialized rerouting technology. This technology gives traders access to “dark pools” (hidden institutional order flows) for executing large orders. Option orders with multi-leg requirements are routed automatically. Each leg of a spread is independently executed.

Mid-Price order: IBKR routes to several venues using an order type they call ‘mid-price order.’ Mid-price order is a floating order that adjusts to market movements, fills orders and quickly identifies price improvements.

Client Portal: for inexperienced traders, IBKR offers the web-based Client Portal platform. This includes core features necessary to trade and manage a basic portfolio. It is less robust but easier to use. Introduced in 2019, it continues to be a major focus IBKR expands and improves to attract retail traders. Client Portal has a few high-end analytical tools such as global data, customizable watch lists, and scanners. While IBot makes IBKR’s Client Portal accessible and easier to use than previous versions, becoming familiar with TWS requires a significant time and learning investment.

FeatureIBKR
Virtual Trading (Demo)Yes
Proprietary PlatformNo
Desktop Platform (Windows)Yes
Web PlatformYes
Social Trading / Copy-TradingYes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)No
cTraderNo
DupliTradeNo
ZuluTradeNo
Charting – Indicators / Studies (Total)51
Charting – Drawing Tools (Total)31
Charting – Trade From ChartYes
Watchlists – Total Fields7
Order Type – Trailing StopYes

Mobile Trading

Mobile trading with IBKR is supported across all Android and iOS mobile and tablet devices.

The app features lightning-fast streaming data, full-featured order entry, and portfolio management. IBKR includes everything professionals need to trade on the go. The mobile app has most of the TWS desktop and web functionality. While missing some of the full TWS or Client Portal platform functionality, all asset classes trade on the mobile app. The app gives traders an account overview, the ability to add/withdraw funds, view their trade history, create watchlists, access newsfeeds, and view charts. A nice feature, mobile watchlists are shared with the main TWS and Client Platform and data streams in real-time.

Strikes and expiry dates are represented by tiles. Traders tap these in the mobile app and get a straightforward options trading interaction. Investors compare two potential trade options using the Performance Profile tool. Their persistent ‘Trade’ button lets traders send orders. IBot is part of the mobile app and helps traders find analytical tools and advanced order types. Stock alerts cannot be delivered via push notification. They arrive via email. This is surprising considering the sophistication of IBKR’s technology.

Mobile Charting: Charting includes 70 optional indicators and easy customizations. Panning isn’t smooth copmared to other newer HTML5 charting applications. Some features one expects are not included like stock and/or index comparisons.

FeatureIBKR
Android AppYes
Apple iOS AppYes
Trading – ForexYes
Trading – CFDsYes
Alerts – Basic FieldsYes
Watch ListYes
Watch List SyncingYes
Charting – Indicators / Studies30
Charting – Draw TrendlinesYes
Charting – Trendlines MoveableYes
Charting – Multiple Time FramesYes

Research

IBKR’s research is among the best in the industry for beginners, seasoned traders, and professionals. It includes everything each group needs to be successful.

IBKR 3rd Party Research: comes from noted sources like Dow Jones, Zacks, Market Realist, TipRanks, and many others. Thompson Reuters provides ESG ratings which let traders rank and compare companies based on variables they consider critical. Premium research is available at a discount.

IBKR’s Probability Lab: is built into TWS. The Profitability Lab lets options traders compare Market Outlook to current conditions and suggests trading strategies.

IBKR’ Risk Navigator: helps traders predict specific market condition changes that could affect their portfolio.

Portfolio Analyst: provides in-depth analysis of all financial accounts in one place. It provides traders with a hedge fund-level of reporting on their portfolio’s performance and makeup.

Performance Attribution: provides a perspective on which market sectors could contribute to a trader’s portfolio. They change benchmarks across more than 230 different variables.

Fundamentals Explorer: within Client Portal is the best research tool for casual or beginning investors. It does a good job using design to visualize data. The Social Sentiment analysis tab uses Twitter data to identify trends, overall sentiment scores, and other key takeaways.

ESG Research: IBKR includes several ESG ratings and research tools across its platforms. The Impact Tool helps traders score their holdings for specific metrics. After identifying the issues that matter most to a trader (like guns, animal testing, or clean water), their Impact Dashboard displays an A – F grade. The tool makes recommendations of similar companies to trade with better alignment grades.

TWS Research highlights: include numerous screeners, extensive back-testing functionality, and portfolio analysis tools, which are all excellent. For traders looking to conduct specific research, IBKR offers over 70 third-party provider feeds a la carte, including Morningstar, which is available either free or for a monthly fee. Any provider package purchased integrates straight into TWS.

TWS Research drawbacks: traders must learn to navigate TWS to find the information they want. There are few streamlined views. Client Portal is easier to use. While not intuitive it provides a better research experience than TWS.

Additional IBKR technical tools: help traders create flexible order types on TWS, Client Portal, and the Mobile app. These include:

  • Conditional Orders based on price, volume, daily P&L, margin cushion, number of shortable shares, and rebates from the trading venue.
  • Portfolio Builder creates a tailored strategy to construct a portfolio of stocks.
  • Share and Dollar lots for any asset class.
  • Tax Optimizer selects tax lot defaults to maximize several factors.
  • Portfolio Checker lets traders assess portfolio health. Compares performance to 200 global benchmarks and evaluates risk measures.
  • Trader’s Journal is a note-taking feature to record/save trading notes/ideas on any product.

Charting: IBKR charting is interactive. Traders see 100+ predefined indicators or create their own. Traders toggle and zoom between 15-time frames and trade from their charts.

FeatureIBKR
Daily Market CommentaryYes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources)Yes
Weekly WebinarsNo
AutoChartistYes
Trading Central (Recognia)No
Delkos ResearchYes
Social Sentiment – Currency PairsYes
Economic CalendarYes

Education

IBKR is a market leader providing a range of free investor education programs.

IBKR Traders Academy: is a structured, rigorous curriculum intended for financial professionals, investors, educators, and students. It helps them seek a better understanding of asset classes, markets, currencies, tools, and functionality available on IBKR’s platforms. There are 45+ courses available to traders, quizzes, and tests. These benchmark progress against learning objectives. The website includes a trading glossary, FAQ section, and daily expert webinars. Traders Academy is available on mobile desktop and all other platforms.

Webinars: IBKR hosts 250 live webinars annually. They provide access to 1,000 recorded webinars. Many videos are available on their YouTube channel. IBKR offers a large variety of short platform tutorial videos.

Outlooks: IBKR’s Traders’ Insight blog provides outlooks for the US, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and various market sectors along with retirement and tax topic content is included in the Traders’ Insight blog. Clients who want to write their trading algorithms and model financial markets access the IBKR Quant blog.

IBKR Fundamentals Explorer: combines research from Refinitiv and TipRanks. These offer deep fundamentals research for every covered stock. In-depth mutual fund data from Lipper is presented in a similar format. Hovering over a field shows more information and peer comparisons.

Customer Service

IBKR has a reputation for providing lackluster customer service. This an area they are working to improve.

Telephone customer support: causes irritation. Their digital assistant IBot is helpful on mobile devices as it integrates with voice commands. It is powered by an AI engine answering questions in plain English. IBot sends customers to online FAQs and resources. Phone service includes 24/5 phone with call back service.

Online chat: is available with a live human agent.

Securities Class Action Recovery solution: this automated service removes administrative burdens of joining securities class action lawsuits. It examines positions and detects filing eligibility. The service submits claim filings on an investor’s behalf to administrators to recover compensation. Court-awarded settlement amounts are deposited into their account.

Banking

IBKR does not provide traditional banking services nor do they own a bank. They do offer traders the ability to earn interest on uninvested cash, provided the account is in a base currency with a positive interest rate. With most interest rates pegged at near zero, there is little to no yield to be captured.

Closing Argument

IBKR is a great online broker for professional traders based on its TWS platform, zero-commission trades, 70 optional order types, and over 137 global assets to trade. The Client Portal web platform, extensive educational material, Traders Academy, and $0 ETF and stock trades make them a great broker for beginners. New investors often feel intimidated by the number of tools available.

Their news feed and research tools are second to none. IBKR is the natural next step for those who may have outgrown their current broker’s offerings. It is ideal for those looking to apply more complex strategies. One low-cost way to become familiar with the platform is through the Robo-advisory service. The wide variety of order types, trading algorithms, and global asset classes available through IBKR will please frequent traders.

With industry-leading commission rates for professional traders, more than 68 optional order types, trading in more than 135 international markets, and a robust trade platform suitable for any professional, IBKR is an excellent choice for investors who fit into its target mold.

About IBKR

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, by Thomas Peterffy, a respected early innovator in computer-assisted trading, IBKR is recognized for its extensive international reach. They service more than 135 global market destinations. IBKR clients daily place 1.9 million trades. They have more than 980,000 brokerage accounts with $232 billion in customer equity.