Interactive Brokers Review 2022

A Great Platform for Active Investors

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Interactive Brokers is a popular investing platform made with the DIY trader in mind. Known for its low trading fees and margin rates and its robust trading tools, Interactive Brokers offers a wide variety of investment choices to its users. Keep reading to learn more about Interactive Brokers.

Commissions & Fees - 9
Customer Service - 8
Ease of Use - 6
Tools & Resources - 7
Investment Options - 10
Accounts Available - 6

7.5

Total

Interactive Brokers is one of the most popular brokerage firms for active traders. And it's easy to see why. The company offers low trading fees and robust trading tools -- major assets to day traders and other DIY investors. Lower-volume traders will also appreciate that they can access commission-free trading through the IBKR Lite plan. However, we recommend that complete investing beginners look elsewhere.

Visit Interactive Brokers

Pros & Cons

pros

  • Commission-free trading for IBKR Lite users
  • Low margin rates
  • Robust trading tools
  • Wide variety of investment choices, including stocks, bonds, funds, futures, options and cryptocurrencies
  • International trading features

cons

  • Complicated fee structure
  • Platform isn't user-friendly, especially for beginners
  • Lack of entry-level educational resources
  • Limited account types

Interactive Brokers Features

Minimum Investment$0
Stock/ETF Trades$0
Options Trades$0.15-0.65
Mutual Funds17,000+ no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds
Investment TypesStocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Accounts Types
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • Annuities
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • CDs
Broker Assisted Trade$30
Virtual Trades

Customer ServicePhone: M-F 24 hours; Live Chat: M-F 24 hours; Email

Who Is Interactive Brokers For?

Interactive Brokers started as a trading platform designed for day traders and DIY investors. And it continues to serve those investors with the IBKR Pro plan. This plan offers robust trading tools and the IB SmartRouting tool, which helps investors time their orders to get the best price. IBKR Pro is also best for margin traders since IBKR Pro users have access to the lowest margin rates.

But Interactive Brokers now offers a second trading tier that's well-suited to more casual investors. With IBKR Lite, inventors get unlimited commission-free trading. However, this plan has higher margin rates and fewer features. So this account tier is best for inventors who don't plan to trade on margin and don't need all the robust trading tools that Interactive Brokers offers.

Both plans provide powerful tools designed for experienced traders. So it may be more intimidating than other popular brokerage firms for beginner investors. As a result, new inventors or those just learning the ropes may find that this isn't the right broker for them.

Read more: Best Investment Strategies (And How to Choose the Right One for You)

What Makes Interactive Brokers Great?

Many investors name Interactive Brokers as among their favorites. And it's easy to see why. Below we walk you through some of the features that make Interactive Brokers great.

Investment Selection

One of the biggest selling points of Interactive Brokers is the wide variety of investment choices the broker offers. First, the platform offers the investments you'd expect to find with any major broker, including stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.

In addition to those basic investments, Interactive Brokers also allows for more advanced trading strategies such as options, futures, forex and even hedge funds. Users also have access to international trading, including 150 exchanges in 33 countries worldwide.

Finally, cryptocurrency investors won't have to find a separate platform. You can buy and sell cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency futures at lower fees than at many of the most popular crypto exchanges.

Trading Platforms

One of the major selling points of Interactive Brokers is the trading platforms they offer. Here are the available platforms:

  • Client Portal: From the Interactive Brokers web application, you can place trades, check quotes, see your account balance and performance, and more.
  • Trader Workstation: This is Interactive Brokers' flagship desktop platform designed for active traders, thanks to the available technical research and analysis tools.
  • IBKR Mobile: All Interactive Brokers users can trade and monitor their investors directly from their iOS or Android device.
  • IBKR GlobalTrader: This platform allows users to trade global stocks, funds and cryptocurrencies from their mobile device.
  • IMPACT: Using this platform, users can find ESG investments and learn which companies and funds share their values.
  • IBKR APIs: The Interactive Brokers trading APIs allow users to build custom trading applications, access investments across the globe and use the IB SmartRouting tool.

Account Tiers

We've already discussed the various trading tiers available on Interactive Brokers. Still, it's worth mentioning again because the tiers make this broker great for so many investors. Interactive Brokers was designed for DIY investors and day traders who want robust trading tools. And they can still get that with IBKR Pro. But now casual investors can also enjoy the platform thanks to the IBKR Lite account tier.

Commission & Rates

Interactive Brokers is well known for its low trading fees. First, IBKR Lite users get unlimited commission-free trading on all stocks and ETFs listed on U.S. exchanges. And IBKR Pro users will pay just $0.005 (or less) per share on their trades, with a minimum commission of $1 (or less).

Interactive Brokers is also well known for its low margin rates. It's lower than rates at many of the other most popular margin-trading platforms. Margin rates decrease as the size of the margin loan increases. However, IBKR Lite users will pay a slightly higher rate.

What Are Interactive Brokers' Drawbacks?

We've talked about some of the biggest selling points of Interactive Brokers, but it's also important to discuss the features that aren't so great. Below we talk about a few of the major drawbacks of the platform.

User Interface

There's no denying that Interactive Brokers offers a powerful trading platform. But it isn't exactly a user-friendly one, especially for beginner investors. It can be challenging to find the information and tools you need on the website. And even once you find them, you may not fully understand them unless you're an experienced investor.

For that reason, investors may prefer to start their investing journeys on a more straightforward platform and then pivot to Interactive Brokers when they're well-versed in investment tools.

Lack of Basic-Level Educational Resources

Interactive Brokers offers robust tools and resources for experienced investors and day traders but not so much for beginner investors.

The Traders' Academy is a free education resource for Interactive Brokers users. But newbie investors may find it too advanced and overwhelming. If you're just getting started, you may prefer another broker that tailors to investors who are still learning the ropes.

Account Types

Compared with other popular brokerage firms, Interactive Brokers falls short in the variety of account types it offers. The platform provides basic individual and joint taxable brokerage accounts. You can also choose between a few different individual retirement accounts (IRAs), including traditional, Roth and SEP. Finally, Interactive Brokers offers both UGMA and UTMA custodial accounts.

However, you may notice that there are some account types missing from this list. For example, Interactive Brokers doesn't offer Solo 401(k)s, even though they're a popular retirement savings tool for self-employed individuals. You also won't have access to a SIMPLE IRA, banking accounts and other popular investment accounts.

Interactive Brokers Pricing & Fees

We've already talked a bit about the pricing and fees on Interactive Brokers, but we dive in a bit further in this section. For stocks and ETFs, Interactive Brokers offers commission-free trading for IBKR Lite users and commission fees of $0.005 (or less) per share — with a minimum of $1 (or less) — for IBKR Pro users. And Interactive Brokers offers an industry-leading list of 17,000+ no-transaction-fee (NFT) mutual funds.

For options contracts, IBKR Lite users will pay $0.65 per contract with a minimum of $1, while IBKR Pro users will pay rates ranging from $0.15 to $0.65 per contract, depending on the monthly volume, also with a minimum of $1.

Finally, Interactive Brokers charges all users the same fees for cryptocurrencies, regardless of account tier. For a monthly trade value below $100,000, you pay 0.18% per trade. For a monthly trade value up to $1 million, you pay 0.15% per trade. Finally, for a monthly trade value of more than $1 million, you pay just 0.12% per trade. All trades have a minimum fee of $1.75.

Read more: Investment Fees Matter… a Lot!

How to Contact Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers makes it easy to get help when you need it. You can contact the company via email, phone or live chat. Live chat support is available 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday, with limited support hours on Sundays. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. U.S. users can call the following numbers for phone support:

  • 877-442-2757 (Toll-Free)
  • 312-542-6901 (Direct Dial)

It's worth noting that Interactive Brokers is an entirely online company. As a result, there are no physical branches or offices where you can speak to a customer service representative.

Best Alternatives

Not sure that Interactive Brokers is the right for you? Here are a few similar stock brokers that may be worth exploring:

HighlightsAlly InvestTD AmeritradeRobinhood
Rating9.5/109/108.5/10
Min. Investment$0$0$0
Stock Trades$0/trade$0/trade$0/trade
Options Trades$0.65/contract$0.65/contract$0
Crypto Trades
Mutual Funds
Virtual Trading

Want even more options? Check out our full list of the top stock brokers for 2022

Bottom Line

Interactive Brokers is one of the most popular brokerage firms for active traders. And it's easy to see why. The company offers low trading fees and robust trading tools — major assets to day traders and other DIY investors. And thanks to the various account tiers, casual investors can also enjoy the platform with an IBKR Lite plan.

However, the Interactive Brokers website is a bit cumbersome to navigate and lacks some of the basic-level educational resources you can find on other broker websites. Thus, it may not be the first choice for beginner investors or those who need a bit more assistance.

Further reading:

Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance based in Madison, Wisconsin. After seven years working in state politics, she left to pursue writing full-time. Now she writes about financial topics including mortgages, investing, and more for major publications like Fox Business and NextAdvisor. In addition to finance writing, Erin also provides financial coaching services where she works with individuals to help them reach their money goals.

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21 Comments

  1. Interactive Brokers are The Worst. Terrible support, was half-forced into an Interactive Brokers account after my broker closed for personal accounts (Folio Investing). I followed the process but they left my account in a half-open status – can’t trade, can’t see my account balance. Can’t get phone support, chat support or anything! Basically non-functional for 6 weeks, mean while my holdings are losing value without any active management. Driving me nuts. Go with Schwab or TD if you are a part time investor, IBR just has 0 attention for small investors.

  2. Unless you have a PHD in trading stay far away from Interactive Brokers. Trying to find the simplest stuff like what are my holdings can take a day to figure out. Vastly complex system for highly experienced pro traders. For the average person, even average business person, you feel handcuffed by their complex reports system such that you end up closing it off and moving on to solve another task of the day. I am switching to Qtrade where I have other holdings and everything is super simple. I can;’t even find a support phone number on Interactive Brokers site.

    1. Read some of the current reviews, and you will see how bad this company has become. I have never a company so poorly run, and customer service non existent that it is beyond a horrible nightmare. I have thousands locked up here, having major problems with the website, signing on, and can not get hold of a person to help me. I hope the Federal Government steps in.

  3. Interactive brokers is not a quality service by any means. Beyond the low margin rates I cant say anything good about it. Long wait times for customer service on chat or calling in, Margin doesn’t get paid off automatically when cash is in the account. Too easy to make errors due to pre populated actions in trading,. I had an inherited position that is a penny stock. They keep asking for confirmation of purchase. I’ve explained it via the portal and in person to customer service and it keeps getting added to my incoming notifications.
    Want to print a statement? You have to go digging through the not so intuitive web site to find it. Web site is not user friendly by any means.
    I am a licensed Financial Advisor. I’ve used many platforms. Go somewhere else.

  4. As other have pointed out their customer service is very bad.
    And obviously they have no made any effort to fix that in the past few years even though so many have complained about it.
    Their customer reps are pften clueless and there doesnt seem to be any chain upt to supervisors or managers
    So if you have any issues you have no recourse.

    I still use them becuase of their low fees and platform but moved most of business to other platforms

  5. I’m currently worried about this platform, being in a position where at 9am you can’t access your account, can’t trade, and no one avaialble via customer service online or by phone. Markets open, and no access to my funds or live data. It’s horribly disconcerting. And a bit of a liability if a company thinks it’s ok to shut down customer service while advertising to be available 24/7, especially while there are connection issues to their platform.

  6. I had very bad experience with the customer care. In fact they don’t respond. if at all they response, they will ask you to send some screenshots of issue to which they won’t respond. Commissions are okay but software has lot of issue I pointed out but no response. Some time it freezes. I had to re-login. Some of the time suddenly my profits blows-up (like 10 times than actual values).

  7. I’ve had an account with ib for 18 years. There have been many screw ball moments in this time. Ib charges $6.50/month for quotes that are available all over the web for free and that is only when you churn up $ 30.00 in commissions / month or the charges rise to $16.50…their best feature is quote line order entry….their requirements promote day trading and churning your own account. As in the Wolf of Wall Street,” keep them addicted to trading”. (pf)

  8. I don’t know how you objectively rated this company 4 stars. It has the worst service I’ve experienced. I called to fund an account I had opened, and the person on the phone didn’t know how to help. Seems like they hire amateurish sales people. Wouldn’t ever trust this company with my money even if it’s cheap.

  9. In my experience, IB offers excellent execution; orders fill very fast at the best available price. But the real reason to use IB is the low commissions. Option trades often cost less than a dollar. A few times, I even had money credited to my account for making an option trade!! And option assignments are free. Finally, their margin loan interest is the lowest I’ve seen anywhere, lower than what you can get on a home loan.

  10. Well having spent literally days on the phone with IB trying to resolve a withdrawl issue, I received a message
    saying that there wasnt an issue at all, the compliance dept had simply blocked the withdrawl, along with instructions as to how to close my account.
    Absolutely pathetic

  11. Interactive Brokers has developed some ok software for trading. It’s a little overly complicated and would work better if some of the less used features could be configured-in instead being part of the base platforms. The worst part of the system is the ‘security token card’. This has got be one of the most obnoxious developments by any broker. Interactive Brokers is basically forcing their customer to change their password every time they log on to the trading platforms or to the Interactive Brokers website. This ridiculous security ‘appliance’ or ‘device’, as they call it, is nothing more than a card of passwords that have to be used to use their platforms or websites. For this reason I can never take them seriously. There is better software and adequate security elsewhere.

  12. Hello all,
    I am writing to renounce my previous statement regarding Interactive Brokers having bad fills. Despite my lengthy mostly negative review earlier, I have discovered that I was simply having difficulties with my Internet service provider. I apologize for the previous comments and ask anyone who read them to disregard anything pertaining in particular to bad fills from Interactive Brokers. I believe that this issue with my Internet service provider has also caused my TWS platform to crash eight times in a single trading session the other day, but neither the crashes or the bad fills are directly related to the TWS platform offered by Interactive Brokers directly.
    However, I do feel that the Interactive Brokers platform, mosaic screen, and technical data displays on TWS, are somewhat outdated and clunky. Regardless, after sorting out any issues with my Internet service provider, my experience with Interactive Brokers has been relatively smooth, fills have been lightning fast, and the commissions are rock bottom and perfect for day traders that make multiple round trips daily. Also, from what I understand, there are many other platforms that can be used for a fee with Interactive Brokers besides TWS, which is free, for technical analysis, etc.
    So, I have obviously decided to stick around and continue using Interactive Brokers as my broker of choice. I was hasty in my initial assessment of Interactive Brokers and should have contacted the broker directly to discuss these issues to try and discover the nature of the issues I was having rather than jumping to conclusions.

    Thank you to Investorjunkie for allowing me to add some clarity to my experience with this broker so far.

    Regards,

    Brad Paluch

  13. I decided to try Interactive Brokers because a friend of mine recommended it to me. Previously I had tried several other brokers, and none were perfect. Each of my prior brokers all had pros and cons. According to the friend who recommended me to Interactive Brokers quite literally everything would be perfect here for me. So, I gave Interactive Brokers a shot. Their TWS platform has to be the worst trading platform I have ever seen, and streaming data is not free even with an account balance that meets day trading minimums. In fact, my first day trading there, I was not notified that the data on my live trading screen was delayed by 15 minutes, although I had seen this on my paper trading platform, but assumed that the delay only pertained to the paper trading platform. That cost me a few dollars during live trading my first day at IB. I resolved the issue in a matter of minutes. I also noticed on my first day trading with Interactive Brokers that the fills were extremely slow. Sometimes I would have to adjust the order price on an already placed and unfilled order within the market price range after the price moved out of the range. This had me scratching my head, but I figured I could manage with the poor fill speed and decided to give the next day a shot regardless.

    Interactive Brokers inability to fill orders in a timely fashion, cost me a few hundred on my second day trading there. Well, they filled my stops nearly instantly, but my entry orders all had major delays. One buy order was within the market price range for over a minute and still had not been filled. It was so slow, I thought there may have been an issue with the archaic platform, so I logged out then logged in…still not filled. I cancelled the order, and reentered. That wasn’t filled either. I could have called the broker on the phone and had my order filled quicker that way. This cost me a large enough win that would have easily made up for my loss earlier in the day. I was literally sitting there…watching…waiting…with my order unfilled which would have been filled in an instant elsewhere. My opinion, is that losses are always my fault, but when I can not get an order filled within the market range at near instantaneous speed, something is wrong. I feel like buy orders here take place so slowly that they must be going through a live specialist rather than a bot, or their bot and exchange routing (which is randomized) are junk…uncertain. If you like bad fills or no fills at all, this is the broker for you.

    The technical tools are all there, but they are clunky, outdated, and not customizable. In fact, I would suggest if one chooses to use Interactive Brokers to use their own preferred trading platform for technicals as I do.

    The pros of Interactive Brokers include their ultra low interest rates as well as per-share commissions. This is how my friend at Interactive Brokers convinced me to join him there. Needless to say, after only two days at this brokerage I have seen enough. I would suppose, you get what you pay for. I think Interactive Brokers is cheap for a reason, and I think that reason has something to do with their TWS platform and their poor fills, if a fill is even executed. I think Interactive Brokers makes sense on paper regarding its interest rates, commissions, etc., but after actually having traded here, I can clearly see that the functionality of the brokerage does not meet the same standards as its rates. For a day trader Interactive Brokers makes sense, however, once there you will see that the idea is truly senseless. I would have to say, here, what should work doesn’t.

    I have no opinion on customer service yet, but they seem moderately helpful. I wouldn’t say super helpful, but moderately. I would rate their customer service as average. If I encounter any unusual fees or have difficulties withdrawing the funds from my account I will definitely report back here, but I do not expect any issues with the matter.

    Well, I came to Interactive Brokers to try it. I tried it. Enough of that.

    Pros: low cost brokerage
    Cons: trading platform, order entry, and fills

  14. ij: thanks for your very useful and informative review. Everything sounds great to me EXCEPT one show-stopper. It sounds like penny-stocks are a no-no, due to the per-share fee. I fairly often want to buy, say, 50,000 units of a stock costing $0.40. Only $20K, but a $250 fee – ouch. I must call and ask whether they have an upper limit on a single transaction.

  15. Customer service – worst I have ever seen. IB has worst rating for Customer service in other blogs also.

    TWS – not only clunky it is the most UNUSER friendly platform out there in the market.

  16. Interactive Brokers is the only broker in the world that doesn’t charge its clients for options assignment and exercise. Everywhere else you’d be charged at least $20 per assignment transaction. I have hundreds of assignment every week. I had several thousand of assignments during the months of the financial crisis. IB saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars by not charging for options an assignment and exercise.
    Commissions are virtually non-existent in IB. Where else in the world would you be able to trade an options contract for $0.70 (yep 70 cents, sometimes even less – just recently I had contracts buys for $0.46)???
    The fact that you pay almost nothing for trades make commission considerations absolutely irrelevant. Simply put – commissions consideration doesn’t exist and doesn’t affect you trading strategy.
    This means that an options traders, hedgers, dividend capture folk and actually any other type of traders has no better alternative than IB. Period!
    The only reason the entire trading community hasn’t switch to IB yet is a lack of proper advertising on the part of IB.
    Interactive Brokers is the best online discount broker in the world.
    And by the way the IB stock has tripled since the publishing of this article.

    1. You must be kidding! IB is absolutely the worst broker in the world! I have been in the business for 27 years and have worked with at least a dozen brokerage firms and none compares to how bad IB is. Their customer service is nothing short of pathetic. Their people are clueless when it comes to solving any problem. You remain on hold for hours. They never send your wire transfers when they tell you they will. I’m currently in arbitration with them over hundreds of dollars in fees and charges they can’t explain. You do know that they have been fined by the regulatory agencies for screwing their clients on hundreds of occasions? JR, Holladay, UT

    2. If you are an institution – there is zero reason to do business with IB. Retail investors maybe.

  17. I am a client of IB, and have a feeling that the % of assignment for in the money calls before dividend payment is extremely high.

    Any similar experience? can you comment about it?
    Thanks,

    Michael

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