Interactive Brokers Investing Review

Interactive Brokers checks all the boxes as a trading platform, but investors who trade large blocks of shares should be weary of a $1 fee.

Stock Trading Fee
Option Trade Fee
$0.65 per contract
Customer Satisfaction Score
4 / 5.0
SimpleScore Interactive Brokers 4
Mobile App 3
Products 5
Resources 5
Support Channels 3
Customer Satisfaction N/A

Founded in 1977, Interactive Brokers is currently headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Interactive Brokers has grown to become one of the largest U.S. electronic investment trading services, and it’s ideal for professional and novice traders who want direct market access. Investors can select from a variety of securities, including stocks, bonds, options, futures and mutual funds. Other Interactive Brokers’ products include ETFs, EFPs, metals and forex.

Interactive Broker’s Trader Workstation software is available for professional traders. A simplified version, WebTrader, is available for novices and new traders. Key selling points include low commissions, low margin rates and only $1 per trade up to 200 shares.


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In this article

    Interactive Brokers at a glance

    BrokerAccount MinimumStocks and ETFs per tradeBondsMutual FundsKey Benefit
    Interactive Brokers$0$0.005 for each share with a $1 minimum0.1% face value for municipal and corporate bonds


    0.02% face value for Treasury bills, bonds and notes

    $14.95Low-cost trades

    What we like about it

    Interactive Brokers is a reputable brokerage firm that offers low commissions and low-cost trades for $1 per trade and $0.70 per options trade. New and beginning traders can benefit from WebTrader, their no-frills software. The flagship platform, Trader Workstation (TWS), is a global trading system for professional traders that gives them access to over 120 markets in 31 countries.

    Traders have access to real-time monitoring, customizable charts, streaming news and analytics. The mobile app includes the same features as TWS and WebTrader. Investors have access to low-cost margin loans for advanced trading opportunities. Lower-tiered pricing is another benefit for high-volume traders.

    Things to consider

    One concern is that the site’s account management area needs to be simplified to cater to new traders. Other concerns are fee-related. With the $1 trade fees, investors who turn over larger share blocks — over 200 shares — should explore low-tiered pricing.

    Accounts under $100,000 can incur $120 inactivity fees annually. Traders need to generate $10 monthly in commissions to avoid fees, since balances under $2,000 can incur $20 in fees. Balances over $2,000 and under $100,000 require $10 commissions monthly or inactivity fees will accrue. However, balances over $100,000 don’t have fees or commission requirements.

    Interactive Brokers stock and ETF trading

    Interactive Brokers charges fixed pricing at $0.005 a share for U.S. stock trades, with a minimum of $1 and a maximum total of 0.05% of the total trade value. The headline rate of $1 per trade for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) looks ideal. However, for high-volume traders and anyone trading penny stocks, that rate can quickly add up.

    The $1 trades are typically best for trading smaller numbers of shares. For higher volumes, traders should consider switching to lower-tiered pricing. Interactive Brokers offers special pricing for active traders, the bulk of whom make up its core clientele.

    Interactive Brokers bond trading

    Interactive Brokers makes it easy for investors who want to trade Treasury, corporate and municipal bonds. Bond trading through the Trader Workstation platform is fitting for financial advisors. It’s also available to institutional, market and individual traders. To trade bonds, traders will need to upgrade their trading permissions to include fixed-income assets.

    For multiple liquidity sources, Interactive Brokers connects traders to bond alternative trading systems. These can include NYSE Bonds, Tradeweb, KCG BondPoint or IB ATS. To access relevant bond data, traders can set up subscriptions to U.S. Bond Real-Time Data and Moody’s Ratings for municipal bonds.

    Interactive Brokers options and futures trading

    With options trading, Interactive Brokers caters to professional and high-volume traders and offers some of the cheapest prices with commissions. Instead of a base commission price and a $0.70-per-contract fee, they charge $0.15 per contract for traders who have over 100,000 contracts in any given month. This is for smart-routed orders, where the set fee is $0.65 for each contract.

    With futures, Interactive Brokers has some of the lowest futures-trading fees among brokers. They are about 51% cheaper than their competitors, and traders can select from fixed-rate or volume-tiered pricing.

    Interactive Brokers trading platform

    Interactive Brokers’ flagship platform, Trader Workstation (TWS), is available for active investors. With a vast array of customizing options, it ranks as one of the best online platforms for investors. Watch lists can include futures, contracts, equities, warrants, forex and other choices.

    An array of tools include Market Scanner, Portfolio Builder, Risk Navigator and Volatility Lab. The TWS mobile app includes an IBot artificial intelligence (A.I.) tool to assist with investor questions through chat or voice. For example, you can ask things like, “What’s the latest price for AAPL?” or “Chart WMT vs. AMZN” or even “Buy 100 shares of GOOG.”

    Interactive Brokers mobile app

    MobileTrader is the mobile version of WebTrader and it offers simplified trading features. For professional traders, mobile TWS is the condensed version of the Trader Workstation. It includes advanced options, shortcuts and spread templates, and has more than 50 data columns.

    Margins, market values and balances are easy to access. Traders can create order presets to help fill order tickets faster. However, the charts aren’t that flexible, despite having about 68 optional studies. Users can access Interactive Brokers with a PIN or swipe and two-factor login. The app supports Touch IDs as the interface uses key technology, but secondary key apps may be necessary.

    Interactive Brokers research and resources

    Interactive Brokers Information System (IBIS) includes research, market data and real-time news. It’s a research platform with about 33 different options. Examples include Seeking Alpha, Thomson Reuters and Zachs. However, the additional 100 research providers require a surcharge and premium subscription.

    Investors can also explore resource categories by individual topics like Chinese market research, ETF analysis or investment analysis. Bundled services are another cost-saving feature for both professional and non-professional data bundles. An example is Dow Jones,, The Fly, Central Trading and MT NewsWires, which can be bundled as a package for a low monthly fee.



    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best stock trading platforms and brokerages of 2020.


    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for brands to have multiple SimpleScores, as we measure each category individually with a separate set of criteria. For example, when we apply our methodology to Chase’s stock trading product, it scores a 3.6 out of 5. On the other hand, when we compare Chase checking accounts, it scores a 4.4 out of 5.

    Questions about our methodology?

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    Mobile app rating

    We took an average of each stock brokerage’s iOS App Store and Google Play ratings and scored brands based on the result.

    Additional products

    Investing is not just about stocks. We rated brands based on their product variety including ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs and options. The more products means higher the score.


    We rated brands based on how many educational and investing resources are available. This includes Morningstar reports, market trends, how-to guides and more.

    Customer support

    When you run into trouble with your stock investment account, how can you get in touch for support? We award brands with more channels of support with higher scores in this aspect.

    Customer satisfaction

    We leveraged J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study to rate each brand’s customer satisfaction. As always, a higher customer satisfaction rating means a higher SimpleScore.