Interactive Brokers (IBKR) was originally founded as T.P. & Co. in 1977 by its Chairman and CEO Thomas Peterffy. It was later renamed Timber Hill Inc. in 1982. Over the next 40 years the company has lead the way in developing and implementing trading technology innovations including the use of fair value pricing sheets on an exchange trading floor, and an automated algorithmic trading system to automatically create and submit orders to a market. Interactive Brokers was formed in 1993 as an electronic broker-dealer in the US. In 2014, Interactive Brokers became the first online broker to offer direct access to IEX, a private forum for trading securities. Interactive Brokers has grown to become one of the premier securities firms with over $6 billion in equity capital, and over 939,000 trades per day in trading volume.
Interactive Brokers is publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the IBKR ticker. It is headquartered in Greenwich USA, and operates offices in: Switzerland, Canada, Hong Kong, UK, Australia, Hungary, Russia, Japan, India, China and Estonia. It conducts broker/dealer business activities on over 120 market destinations worldwide to professional and institutional traders for a wide variety of electronically traded products. Its regulated by the SEC, FINRA, NYSE, FCA and other regulatory agencies around the world. Its Customer funds are protected up to $30 million, including up to $1 million for cash. In the U.S., the first $500,000 of protection is provided through the SIPC, and Lloyd’s of London provides a $29.5 million umbrella coverage. On a whole spectrum of measures they are considered one of the best online brokers.
Interactive Brokers offers its clients over one of the largest array of tradable assets of any brokerage across multiple classes including: forex, stocks, CFDs, indexes, futures, options, commodities, bonds, and mutual funds. Commissions will vary on assets depending on trade size. Below is a list of instruments available for trading at Interactive Brokers. For further information on the Best CFD Brokers or Best Forex Brokers, you can see our broker compare section. This also includes a review of the best brokers for beginner investors.
|Asset class||Number of instruments||Commissions/Spreads from|
|Forex||105+ pairs||0.8 pips spread|
|Stocks||74+ markets||$1 Commission|
|Stock Index CFDs||5900+||$1 Commission|
|Stock CFDs||13+||$1 Commission|
|Futures||36 Markets||$.85 Commission|
|Options||45 markets||$1 Commission|
|Warrants||8 markets||$1 Commission|
|Indices||18 Markets||$1 Commission|
|Commodities||9 Markets||$.85 Commission|
|Mutual Funds||200 Fund Providers||$14.95 Commission|
Interactive Brokers offers different type of accounts for various types of customers. Interactive Brokers serves individual traders/investors, and trust accounts. It also serves institutions including small businesses, advisors, money managers, other brokers, proprietary trading groups, mutual funds, and hedge funds. Below is a list of details and features for Individual Trader Accounts.
|Zero spread account||No|
|Min trade||0.25 lot|
|Max trade||70 lots|
There’s a minimum balance of $2000 to open an account for and individual trader, and the minimum increases depending on the type of account that is opened. Funding deposits may be initiated by bank wire transfer, AHC, check, or online bill-payment. Deposits take 1 to 4 days to process and there are no fees for deposits. Although there may be fees charged by the originating institution.
Withdrawals are completed via AHC transfer or check. Accounts that do not participate in Interactive Brokers’ Secure Login System are limited in the amount of money that can be withdrawn. Account holders without a security device are limited to a maximum withdrawal of 50,000 USD per day and a maximum withdrawal of 100,000 USD in five business days. Typically, withdrawal requests submitted prior to a cut-off time will be sent the same day, but may take a few days. There is no charge for the first withdrawal (of any kind) in a calendar month; however, there is a fee for any subsequent withdrawal.
Interactive Brokers charges its client for holding trades beyond the close of a trading day into the next day. These costs vary depending on the instrument and the type of position (i.e. long or short) being held overnight, and in some cases may result in a credit instead of a charge. Inactivity fees take effect if accounts do not meet minimal monthly commission requirements. Funds are not held in segregated bank accounts, and Islamic accounts are not available. Opening an account is usually completed within 3-business days. Documents required are a valid ID (i.e. passport, driver’s license, or national ID), and proof of address (i.e. bank statement, utility bill, or mortgage statement). Interactive Brokers does not accept clients from the following countries: South Korea, Nigeria
Web & Desktop Trading Platforms
Interactive Brokers offers its clients a state-of-the-art trading platform. The standalone Trader Workstation (TWS) is a proprietary trading platform that provides traders with powerful and sophisticated trading and technical analysis functions and tools. It provides intuitive quick and easy access to comprehensive trading, order management, charts, watchlists, portfolio and risk management tools all in a single, customizable workspace. The TWS platform is better suited for more advanced traders. Interactive Brokers also provides the WebTrader option. It is a web-based trading platform that offers similar functionality to the TWS platform with a simpler interface and works behind a firewall. Below is a table summarizing the features of the Trader Workstation (TWS) trading platform. For more information on the best trading platforms please review.
|Platform Feature||Trader Workstation (TWS)|
|Stop loss Orders||Yes|
|Expert advisors (EAs)||No|
|Virtual private server||Yes|
|Direct market access||Yes|
TWS Trading Platform Screen Shot
Interactive Brokers also provides a mobile application for clients that need to trade on the go, and a client-portal where clients can check quotes and place trades, see account balances, P&L and key performance metrics, funding, reporting, and other important information. For institutional clients that prefer to use their own trading platforms, or a third-party application, Interactive Brokers offers an easy-to-use Excel Application Programming Interface (API) which can be adapted to most applications.
Interactive Brokers’ education page is sizable. You will be able to find various study materials to become a better trader at the broker’s website. Its education page offers articles, webinars, podcasts, videos and many more.
Articles are still many people’s favorite source of knowledge. You will find numerous articles discussing investment and trades on Interactive Brokers’ page. Some articles explain details about equities, fiats, crypto and futures. While several articles are great for beginner traders who want to expand their knowledge, other articles, like the ones found on the Trader Insight page, are great for people who already know about trading and need data to make better trading decisions.
Interactive Brokers also offers a News page, which informs traders about the latest happenings in the financial world. You can find news about central banks’ policies around the globe as well as the fluctuation in gold and oil prices.
The broker regularly holds webinars to provide users with opportunities to learn directly from experts. Interestingly, Interactive Brokers often partner with experts from outside of the company to deliver high-quality webinar materials to users.
Because of the frequent collaborations, the webinar topics are varied. You can find a webinar that teaches you how to use order flow to gauge the market sentiment or how to read the options market. It is necessary to note that some webinars offered by Interactive Brokers involved real trading activities. You need to use your funds and trading account to participate in these webinars.
If you’re unable to participate in a webinar on its schedule, you can visit Interactive Brokers’ website to watch the replay. The broker will request you to provide personal information like name, email address and even risk tolerance in investment. You don’t have to own an Interactive Brokers account to join its webinar.
You will be pleased by Interactive Brokers’ podcasts because the company fairly regularly updates the content. Investors can learn numerous trading topics, such as the commodity market, cryptocurrency and market movements. You can listen to these podcasts on Amazon Music, Apple, Spotify and other popular platforms.
The length of each podcast varies depending on the difficulty of the material. While some podcasts are suitable for people with limited trading knowledge, several others require a deeper understanding of the financial market.
Interactive Brokers also runs a Youtube channel that accommodates learners with an audiovisual preference. You will find videos explaining basic financial market concepts, such as economic indicators and the equity market. New investors at Interactive Brokers will also find the videos beneficial because they teach people how to operate the broker’s app.
Two other featured educational materials that Interactive Brokers offers are IBKR Quant and Student Trading Lab. The IBKR Quant program aims to teach traders and developers about technology that are pivotal in the fintech industry. Meanwhile, the Student Trading Lab is designed for educators who want to teach their students about real trading via simulation.
You can also subscribe to Interactive Brokers’ newsletters if you want to receive the latest updates in the finance industry on your email address every day.
Interactive Brokers offers several support options including 24-hour phone and live chat which is available during market days, but shifts to foreign venues overnight. The website also includes a comprehensive knowledge database which clients can easily access. All agents speak English, and all call centers have multi-lingual agents in order to help customers worldwide.
Interactive Brokers is regulated by authorities in several countries, including the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Users need to check the laws applicable in those countries because some implement stricter trading regulations than others.
As a regulated broker, Interactive Brokers abide by the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering conventions. During registration, the broker will perform due diligence to confirm the user’s data and their source of money. Interactive Brokers also monitor every transaction on their platform to ensure there is no foul play.
Regulated brokers, like Interactive Brokers, offer better protection on customer funds. In the case of business solvency, customers will likely get their money back in bankruptcy proceedings. There are other forms of customer protection specific to each jurisdiction as well.
How do I put funds into my Interactive Brokers account?
Here are the steps to fund your Interactive Brokers account:
- Sign into the Client Portal.
- Access the Transfer & Pay menu.
- Choose the Transfer Funds.
- Click Make Deposit.
- Choose a deposit method and a preferred currency.
- Click Connect.
Do I need to pay to create or maintain an account at Interactive Brokers?
You don’t need to pay to open a brokerage account at Interactive Brokers. Except for ISA accounts, Interactive Brokers also doesn’t implement platform, custodian or monthly fees. However, there are fees associated with investment products offered by the broker. You can check the complete list here.
How do I make sure that my order has been executed?
You can check the Status column on your trading account. If your order has been executed, you will find the share or contract number in the column.
Trade Log can also give you information on whether an order has been executed. You can access Trade Log from the Account menu option.
Can I access my Interactive Brokers account using two devices at the same time?
You can do that, but you have to create a second user for your account. Here are the steps to do it:
- Sign into the Client Portal.
- Click on the User menu and head to Settings.
- Find a dropdown option called Users & Access Rights under Account Settings.
- Click Add (+) to create the second user.
Does Interactive Brokers offer a referral program?
Yes, you can receive $200 per successful referral from Interactive Brokers. The maximum number of referrals for every user is 30.
Can I maintain my Interactive Brokers account if I move abroad?
You can maintain your pre-existing Interactive Brokers account if you move to a country where the broker can operate it.
In some cases, though, you may still need to re-apply for an Interactive Brokers account despite moving to a country where it can legally operate. Once you’ve set up a brokerage account in the new country, you can request a manual transfer from your old account to the new one.
- Around for more than four decades and offers its clients a wide range of assets
- Ability to buy actual shares, in addition to FOREX trading and CFDs
- Extremely low rates and fees, which are a big benefit to frequent traders
- Bad reputation when it comes to customer service, especially with smaller accounts.
- The trading platform that Interactive Brokers designed has been described as ‘unintuitive’.
Expert advisors (EAs)
Virtual private server
Direct market access
Major Stock markets (US UK Germany)
Hong Kong stocks
Listed on Stock Exchange
Zero spread account