Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

 1.4/5 (17 ratings)
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About Interactive Brokers

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Interactive Brokers is an online broker of investment trading, including mutual funds, bonds, ETFs and other investment products. The company offers two trading plans, the IBKR Lite, which includes $0 commissions on U.S. stocks and ETF trades, and IBKR Pro, which includes access to the company’s SmartRouting system for a fee. The company allows domestic and international trading on its online platform or mobile app.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

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Pros

  • Large investment selection
  • International trading available
  • Comprehensive mobile app

Cons

  • Unintuitive website
  • Some inactivity fees with IBKR Pro

Bottom Line

Interactive Brokers is a brokerage firm open to national and international investors alike. It's popular with advanced traders, but casual traders may enjoy the low commission rates of IBKR Lite.

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What is Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers is a brokerage that provides low-cost, direct-access trades and clearing services to professional and institutional traders. The company connects to any electronic exchange worldwide, allowing you to trade equities, options and more at any time of day. Customers can also purchase fractional shares to buy only a portion of a company’s stock instead of its full-priced share.

Traders enjoy low to no commission rates and low margin rates. There are more than 8,300 funds with no transaction fees, and customers can earn income through the Stock Yield Enhancement Program by lending fully held shares to other traders.

How Interactive Brokers works

Interactive Brokers customers can make trades from their client portal for casual trades or use the Interactive Brokers’ Desktop Trader Workstation for advanced trading. The company’s mobile app is an on-the-go version of its Trader Workstation, sporting a slew of features like trading shortcuts, order presets and more.

Customers can choose from a wide selection of offerings, such as stocks, precious metals, warrants and more. Users also have access to many news services and research providers for free, including Fundamentals Explorer, as well as paid options.

The firm’s advanced trading platform has a host of asset classes and tools, including an Impact Dashboard that lets customers make trading decisions in tune with their personal values. It also offers real-time monitoring, watchlists, alerts and a customizable dashboard.

Interactive Brokers fees

Interactive Brokers boasts they have low trading costs and the lowest financing rates. Its IBKR Lite plan for retail clients has $0 commissions on U.S.-listed stock and ETF trades, no inactivity fees and no account minimums.

IBKR Pro for experienced investors and active traders has access to the company’s IB SmartRouting system, which the company claims allows for $0.47 per 100 shares of price improvement compared to the industry.

The company’s fixed pricing for shares under IBR Pro are $0.005 per share with a minimum order of $1.00 and a maximum 1% trade value. It includes exchange and most regulatory fees.

Its tiered pricing per share depends on the volume per month and ranges from $0.0035 for 300,000 or fewer shares to $0.0005 for greater than 100,000 shares. The minimum is $0.35 per trade, and exchange and regulatory fees aren’t included.

Interactive Brokers FAQ

What is Interactive Brokers’ margin rate?
Interactive Brokers uses a blended margin rate based on tiers, such as a Tier I rate for the first $100,000 of your balance and a Tier II rate for the next $900,000 when the total balance is $1 million. You can use its calculator to calculate the interest charged on margin loans.
Does Interactive Brokers charge options fees?
Yes, Interactive Brokers charges fixed and tiered commissions for its option fees. Fixed fees are $0.65 per contract plus surcharge, regulatory and other fees. Tiered fees range from $0.15 to $0.65 per U.S. option contract.
What is Interactive Brokers’ account minimum?
The IBKR Lite plan has no account minimums or inactivity fees. IBKR Pro also has no account minimum but charges account maintenance fees anywhere from $0 to $10, based on your activity for accounts with less than $100,000. However, traders 25 and younger are only charged a minimum monthly trade commission of $3.
Is Interactive Brokers good for beginners?
Interactive Brokers’ IBKR Pro is popular with experienced traders and may be challenging for new or less active traders to navigate. The IBKR Lite plan is better for beginners, but it can be challenging to find the information you need on the website.

Is Interactive Brokers safe?

Interactive Brokers has always been a great option for active traders. The recent introduction of its IBKR Lite plan now makes it a strong choice among casual traders as well. IBKR Lite customers have the advantage of $0 commission on stocks and EFTs and no account minimums or inactivity fees. But the firm’s website can be counterintuitive for inexperienced traders and may not provide enough educational resources or guidance to help beginners succeed. Either way, it's a trusted company and a solid option for many.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 15, 2022

I have to spend some time to write this review about IBKR platforms to save peoples' time who are looking for brokers. I have used this broker for a couple of years, its platform is just a piece of garbage, one bug follows another bug, never end, also the same bug keeps emerging. The error message "logged in without data" comes daily, which prevents you to put any orders. If you like to have headaches, try this platform, otherwise keep away as far as possible.

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 7, 2022

I've called several times over the course of several months and have been on the phone with them for over 30 minutes each session with no solution. I still cannot access my account. The last time I called I had to toggle between the app and website to try to fix my pw problem.?? This has gone on months. Still can't access my account.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: April 11, 2022

    Because of my net worth and annual income, the amounts are "greater than most people your age," I have waited almost 3 weeks for approval. - Two (2) days ago I got a message saying, "Your application has been received"? (After 3 weeks?) So I cancelled my application yesterday. Today I got a message that my application had been denied?? Then attempting to recover funds deposited with application, has been 2 hours of hoops, hurdles and talking to agents. When I finally got to my acct and asked for a withdrawal, I got the message "Because you have used your one free withdrawal for the month, you will be charged an ACH fee." My God, how do these people get/keep customers???

    --- As a wise man once said, "I came with the facts, told nothing but the truth and was called a 'liar.' Next time I will be better prepared." --- No "next time" IBKR. At almost 70 yrs of age, 20+ years trading, and income/net worth "higher than most people your age," I am regarded as an IBKR "reject?" In the end it has to be age discrimination. --- LOLOLOLOL

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 26, 2022

    Contacted them 4 times to get tax documents because I can't get logged into my closed account which they keep telling me I should be able to do for the purpose of getting the tax documents. They keep telling me it's been sent and still nothing. Also before closing account it was extremely difficult to get my money that was there, it took over an hour on the phone and two different people to try and figure it out. They would NOT work with the new firm that was given permission to handle everything dealing with transfers. Oh and the reason for moving the money is they started charging a monthly fee.

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 14, 2022

    I was a client of Interactive Brokers (IB) for over 15 years until recently. My experience with them had generally been good - granted, all I was doing with them was a moderate amount of trading of stocks and options, so I didn't need to interact with their customer service. Once I needed them to do something, the trouble began.

    In December 2021, a situation arose that I needed a US-listed stock transferred to my Interactive Brokers account from a transfer agent located in Canada. Because there was likely going to be a surge of people transferring and selling the stock at the same time as me (due to a SPAC-related restriction period expiring), I wanted to get the stock into my trading account as quickly as possible. I coordinated with the transfer agent and IB in the days leading up to the date that the restriction would expire, and confirmed that everything was in order to transfer the stock, which it was. Until the day came that the transfer was to be initiated.

    The morning of the date that the transfer was supposed to be initiated, I was contacted by Interactive Brokers for more information, which I promptly provided (of course, I had previously been assured that they had everything they needed, but so be it). A few hours later, I was contacted again - the person processing my transfer request, who I will refer to as IBREP, told me that the transfer could not be initiated because IB did not trade the "CAD version of this stock". That alone was not a surprising fact, since NO CAD VERSION OF THE STOCK EXISTS! The shares were US-listed shares held at a Canadian transfer agent - the transfer agent's written instructions (with which IB had been provided) specifically contemplated this scenario.

    I engaged in some back and forth with IBREP via IB's messaging system, because apparently the group that IBREP belongs to is not allowed to speak verbally to clients. So instead I had an infuriating text back and forth where IBREP continued to insist that my shares were in fact a Canadian stock and that there was no way that a US-listed stock could be held at a Canadian transfer agent. Which was obviously untrue, because my US-listed stock was held at the Canadian transfer agent at that moment! The fact that the CUSIP listed on my statement and the CUSIP for the US-listed stock were the same did not resonate with him - he continued to insist that I instead owned a stock that did not exist. When I called IB's customer service and told them I was having issues, they just directed me back to the chat with IBREP and said they could not help any further, I should direct all my inquiries to IBREP via the messaging system.

    At this point, I called the transfer agent's customer service to see if they could clarify the situation. The person I spoke with at the transfer agent was incredibly confused when I read him IBREP's messages, telling me, "I have no idea why they're telling you that; it doesn't make sense and it's not correct. All they need to do is submit a DRS request for these shares, it should be very standard."

    I then put IBREP in touch with the transfer agent, whose representatives he apparently spoke with. IBREP came back to me to tell me that the transfer agent had not been helpful. He continued to list problems with the transfer that made no sense and then asked me to provide more recent DRS Advices from the transfer agent, as the DRS Advices that I provided were more than a year old (according to him). That was news to me, as the statements I had provided were in fact only a month old!

    IBREP, supposedly an experienced expert at these transfers, had not even managed to correctly read the statements I had provided! Also, if he couldn't do the transfer at all, why did he need newer statements? It was pretty clear at that point that he had made up his mind not to do this transfer and was just stalling and trying to get rid of me (getting new DRS Advices from this transfer agent takes several days or weeks, which presumably would make me no longer IBREP's problem).

    I pointed out that my DRS Advices were in fact current, and IBREP did not even acknowledge his mistake. Instead he came up with new problems as to why the transfer would be difficult, and that IB would have to take additional steps to do transfers like this, and the standard procedures would not work. He now seemed to be saying that the transfer was possible, but he was very blatantly leaving it completely ambiguous as to whether or not IB was willing to take these steps. By this point the market had long closed for the day, and my friends who were in the same situation (but with other brokers) had initiated their transfers with no problems whatsoever.

    At this point I gave up trying to reason with IBREP and Interactive Brokers, and started an account with Charles Schwab instead. Charles Schwab was extremely easy to deal with and ultimately transferred the shares with no issues whatsoever. The debacle caused a 2-3 day delay in my shares being transferred, during which time the stock cratered, as expected, due to the sudden unlocking of huge numbers of shares. IB and IBREP's inability to do their job wound up costing me highly significant amounts of money. I closed my account with IB and will never, ever, ever recommend them to anyone ever again.

    Frankly, we need laws to deal with issues like this. The broker and its representatives should be held liable when they cause losses due to their incompetence. All of my interactions with IB and IBREP were recorded - I don't understand how IB continues to employ someone like IBREP after seeing how he handled a situation like this. IBREP claimed to be an expert with a decade of experience at his job, but he also seemed to have no idea what he was talking about and was saying things that were completely false and nonsensical. It seemed like at some point he was just trying to find a reason, any reason, real or made up, to deny the transfer. No brokerage should be allowed to operate like this.

    Conclusion: Interactive Brokers is fine as long as you don't need to use their customer service. But if you need them to do something, be ready to deal with people who don't know how to do their job, and, worse, either don't even seem to care or are actively working against you.

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 27, 2022

    I have the same issues as the previous reviewer. You never know when you may or may not have made a trade... System logs you out without telling you or changing format so it LOOKS like you are still logged in. Absolutely terrifying and tear your hair out level frustrating. The TWS platform is ghastly and the customer online portal is 100% unreliable for even the simplest transaction. They took away their dedicated legacy webtrader a few months ago and it has been a disaster ever since. Moving everything out of there ASAP. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 11, 2022

    Dishonest, unethical, terrible customer service. I have been trying to get issue with its system since last summer. Every time I jump through one of their hoops, they set up another one. Today, I spoke with a condescending person who identified herself as "Joe" by randomly called to at about 19 times who informed every time to me that their old manager Brian will contact me and last week said by another Brian the old Brian is NOT manager anymore (fired??) and new manager Sue will contact us. NEVER again as expected!! More detail example in next reviews.

    4 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 10, 2022

    Absolutely horrible trading platform. And trying to talk to a customer service rep, yeah, right... Not gonna happen. Their website constantly kicks me out of being able to trade with the system saying that I already have a session opened (when I have not opened ANY other windows or browsers, just literally clicked on the open trade to go close it). Please avoid this company at all costs until they figure out that they are supposed to be providing services of value to their clients.

    8 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 28, 2021

    They are known for being cheap but almost everything else about them is awful. One advantage they have is that they integrate with Global Auto Trading to allow for automatic trading based on some popular investment newsletters. But everything else is so much harder than it needs to be. Everything from site navigation to transferring funds to getting customer service all are woefully lacking. I spent 5 minutes just looking for my account number, for example. Want to get real-time quotes on basic stocks? Good luck finding how to do that. And on and on and on...

    10 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 21, 2021

    Unhelpful and confused staff, really long waiting times to get through and then when I cancelled the process, held my initial deposit funds hostage with and unending stream if issues. For a simple custody account to migrate a 7 figure portfolio the amount of information was intrusive and not needed by any other platform. Appalling service, thank God I didn’t move substantial funds to this broker, I hate to see how poor their customer service is when a real problem presents itself. Bunch of pirates, stay away.

    10 people found this review helpful
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    Interactive Brokers Company Information

    Company Name:
    Interactive Brokers
    Website:
    www.interactivebrokers.com