Interactive Brokers Review: Online Trading Platform for 2023

Interactive Brokers: A Comprehensive Review of the Online Trading Platform for Savvy Investors

Getting to Know Interactive Brokers

 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive, low-cost online brokerage solution that offers access to global markets and a wide range of trading products and services, then you will want to know more about Interactive Brokers (IB). Founded in 1978 by Thomas Peterffy, Interactive Brokers is an American-based discount broker that has quickly grown to become one of the largest online brokers in the world.

Softwareista Key Takeaways: Interactive Brokers Comprehensive Review

 

  1. Platform Usability: Interactive Brokers offers an advanced trading platform, Trader Workstation (TWS), which offers a plethora of tools and features suitable for professional traders and investors.

 

  1. Investment Products: The platform allows trading in stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds across 135 markets in 33 countries, making it an excellent choice for international trading.

 

  1. Educational Resources: With Traders’ Academy, webinars, short videos, and courses, Interactive Brokers provides extensive learning resources to help users understand the market better and make informed decisions.

 

  1. Customer Support: Interactive Brokers offers 24/7 customer support through phone, live chat, and email. The customer service caters to multiple languages, providing help for a global clientele.

 

  1. Fees and Pricing: Interactive Brokers has two pricing structures – fixed rate and tiered. While fixed-rate pricing includes all costs, tiered pricing separates regulatory, exchange, and clearing fees.

 

  1. Security: With high-end encryption technology, secure login systems, and the backing of regulatory bodies like FINRA and SIPC, Interactive Brokers ensures maximum security for its users.

 

REMINDER

The Softwareista Team has carefully evaluated the 20 best online brokers. For a well-informed decision, have a look at our findings: Top 20 Online Brokers for Stock Trading: Full Comparison in 2023.

Explanation of Interactive Brokers

 

Interactive Brokers is an online brokerage firm that provides access to global financial markets through its proprietary trading platform. The company offers several account types for traders of all experience levels, including individual, joint, corporate, and trust accounts. As one of the pioneers of electronic trading in the U.S., IB has become known for its advanced technology solutions and low-cost structure.

  1. Brief History and Background of the Company

 

The history of Interactive Brokers dates back to 1977 when founder Thomas Peterffy began working on a computerized trading system while at Mocatta Metals Corporation. In 1978, he founded T.P. & Co., which later became Timber Hill Inc., a firm specializing in electronic options trading.

 

In 1994, Timber Hill became one of the first firms to offer direct access to electronic trade execution using an order routing system connected directly to exchanges. In the following years, IB continued its expansion into international markets and offered new products such as forex trading and CFDs (contracts for difference).

  1. Overview of What the Comprehensive Review Will Cover

 

This comprehensive review will cover all aspects of Interactive Brokers’ platform including account types and features offered by IB, analysis on different trading platforms available on their website along with fees/commissions applied by IB. 

 

We will also provide detailed information on research tools available on the IB platform and how they can be used to make informed trading decisions. By the end of this review, you will clearly understand the benefits and drawbacks of using Interactive Brokers as your primary online brokerage solution.

Account Types and Features

  1. Understanding the Different Account Types Available

 

Interactive Brokers offers various account types to cater to the needs of different traders. These include Individual, Joint, and Trust accounts.

Individual accounts are designed for single investors, Joint accounts are for two or more individuals investing together, and Trust accounts are available for fiduciaries managing assets on behalf of a trust. Each account type has its features and benefits.

 

For instance, Individual accounts offer margin trading services to traders who want to borrow funds to invest in securities. On the other hand, Joint accounts allow multiple users to trade under one login ID.

 

This allows seamless management of investments by multiple users with varying levels of access control. Trust accounts have unique features that cater to the fiduciaries’ needs to manage assets on a trust’s behalf.

They offer specialized reporting features such as tax reporting and real-time beneficiary notifications. The different account types provide flexibility regarding ownership structure and access control.

  1. Detailed Analysis of Each Account Type’s Features and Benefits

 

Individual Accounts: Interactive Brokers’ individual account offers several benefits such as competitive pricing, over 135 markets across 33 countries, and access to various products such as stocks, bonds, and options futures amongst others. 

 

Additionally, it provides margin trading services with low-interest rates starting from 0.75% for USD loans. 

 

Joint Accounts: Joint accounts enable multiple users who operate under one username/password combination at an affordable fee across all asset classes while supporting different languages like English Chinese German etc. You manage your portfolio together but can also customize user permissions based on each user’s level of expertise or need for investment strategizing assistance.

 

Trust Accounts: Interactive Brokers’ Trust Account is designed specifically for fiduciaries managing assets on behalf of a trust or estate account or other non-individual entity types that require specialized reporting requirements like tax reports which can be generated automatically through the platform. 

 

Moreover, it offers real-time beneficiary notifications and customized access controls and provides a designated trustee who can manage the trust assets for you.

  1. Comparison of Account Types to Help Readers Choose the Right One For Their Needs

 

Choosing the right account type depends on the needs of individual investors or traders. For instance, if you are an individual investor looking for margin trading services, then an Individual account is ideal for you. On the other hand, if you intend to invest with multiple users operating under one account, then a Joint account is preferable.

 

If you are managing assets on behalf of a trust or estate and require specialized reporting requirements such as tax reports and beneficiary notifications in real-time, then Trust accounts will cater to your needs best. Comparing these account types head-to-head in terms of fees vs.

benefits can be tricky since each has its features designed for different investors’ preferences. In general, Interactive Brokers offers competitive pricing across all its accounts with low margin rates starting from 0.75% for USD loans.

 

Evaluating which features work best for your unique investment needs is essential while considering cost as one factor in your decision-making process. Interactive Brokers offers various types of accounts that cater to different investors’ preferences based on their investment strategies and objectives at competitive pricing rates compared to other online brokerages available today.

  1. Trading Platforms

Interactive Brokers offers two main trading platforms: Trader Workstation (TWS) and WebTrader. Both platforms cater to different types of traders, with TWS being more suitable for experienced traders and WebTrader being a more simplified version for beginners.

The Trader Workstation (TWS)

 

TWS is an advanced desktop application that provides access to a broad range of trading tools and features, making it ideal for professional and active traders. The platform has an intuitive interface that can be customized to suit individual preferences. Its advanced charts allow traders to analyze markets in detail, while its powerful order management system provides access to over 60 order types.

 

Additionally, TWS provides real-time data streaming from global exchanges, news feeds, and Bloomberg TV. One of the outstanding features of TWS is its advanced algorithmic trading capabilities.

 

The platform supports automated trading strategies using Interactive Brokers’ proprietary IBKR API programming language. Advanced users can build custom algorithms that leverage real-time market data and execute trades automatically based on predefined conditions.

The WebTrader Platform

 

WebTrader is Interactive Brokers’ web-based platform designed for simpler trading needs. It’s ideal for users who want the flexibility to trade from any computer or device without downloading software or installing updates regularly.

 

The platform has a clean interface with basic charting capabilities, market news streams, and economic calendars along with a few other analysis tools but lacks most of the advanced tools available on the TWS platform. Despite its simplicity compared to TWS, it still offers several excellent features such as watchlists, customizable layouts, and supports over 20 order types.

Detailed Analysis of Each Platform’s Features

 

TWS has many advanced features like hotkeys customization allowing you to navigate through the platform more efficiently. Users can see a comprehensive overview of their positions, orders, and account balances from the trading window.

 

You can customize alerts and notifications at various levels of granularity to keep you informed about your trades’ progress. Additionally, TWS allows traders to simulate trades on historical data using paper trading accounts provided by Interactive Brokers, allowing them to test their strategies before deploying them in live markets.

 

WebTrader is a straightforward platform that caters more to beginners; its interface is well-designed and easy to navigate. It has a simple order placement method and supports multiple order types such as limit orders, market orders, etc. WebTrader also updates real-time market data for all asset classes traded on Interactive Brokers’ exchanges.

Comparison between TWS and WebTrader

 

The choice of which platform should be used depends on an individual’s trading style and experience level. For experienced traders who need access to advanced tools like algorithms and hotkeys, TWS is the right choice.

 

On the other hand, beginner traders or those who prefer a simpler user interface may find WebTrader more appealing because it has all the basics needed for executing trades without any complicated setups or configurations. Both platforms offer excellent tools for trading on global markets but with different levels of complexity and suitability for different types of traders.

Fees and Commissions

 

Interactive Brokers is known for its competitive pricing structure, which is designed to provide traders with the best value for their money. The company’s pricing structure can be complex, but in this section, we’ll break it down so you can better understand how much you’ll pay to trade on the platform.

  1. Comprehensive Breakdown of Interactive Brokers’ Fees and Commissions Structure

 

Interactive Brokers charge different fees depending on the type of asset you’re trading. For stocks and ETFs, the company charges a volume-based fee that starts at $0.005 per share and goes down as your trading volume increases. Options are priced at $0.65 per contract with no minimum fee.

 

Interactive Brokers charge a tiered commission based on monthly trading volume for futures trading. The commission ranges from $0.25 to $1.20 per side, depending on the type of contract traded and your monthly volume.

There are also fees for margin borrowing, data feeds, and market data subscriptions – these fees can add up quickly if you’re not careful. 

 

However, Interactive Brokers offers ways to reduce or eliminate these fees if you meet certain criteria or make certain minimum deposits into your account.

  1. Analysis of How Fees Are Calculated for Different Asset Classes

 

To understand what your trading costs will look like on Interactive Brokers’ platform, it’s important to understand how fees are calculated for different asset classes. For example, let’s say an investor wants to buy 100 shares of Apple (AAPL).

 

If they place this order through the IBKR Lite account type, they will pay only $1 commission (for US exchange-listed stocks only). But if they placed the same order through the IBKR Pro account type, they will pay 0.5 cents per share ($0.005) as a commission charge of $0.5 for 100 shares.

 

Conversely, let’s consider an investor interested in trading crude oil futures with the Interactive Brokers platform. The standard commission for such a contract is $1.20 per side, but if you trade more than 300 contracts during the month, commissions fall to $0.25 per side.

  1. Comparison with Other Online Brokers to Determine if Interactive Brokers is Competitive in Terms of Pricing

 

Regarding pricing, Interactive Brokers is known for being one of the most competitive online brokers on the market today. Interactive Brokers’ fees and commissions structure tends to be lower than many other brokerages offering similar services and platforms.

 

Let’s compare Interactive Brokers’ pricing against TD Ameritrade’s pricing as an example: For equity trades both offer no-commission trades, but for options trading TD Ameritrade charges $0.65 per contract while Interactive Brokers charges only $0.50 per contract (for more than 10 contracts).

 

For futures trading, TD Ameritrade charges a flat fee while Interactive Brokers has its commission based on volume so it could be better or worse depending on how much you are trading but overall most traders find IB’s futures commissions better. 

 

When it comes to fees and commissions structure there is no one-size-fits-all answer since each trader will have different needs and preferences based on their investment style and budget constraints however after this comprehensive analysis we can say that Interactive Broker’s pricing structure is highly competitive compared with other online brokerages making it an attractive choice for those who are looking for a value-based broker.

 

Research Tools

 

 

  1. Overview of research tools available on Interactive Brokers’ platform, including news feeds, market data, and analyst reports

 

Interactive Brokers offers extensive research tools that can help traders make informed decisions about their portfolios. These tools include news feeds from various sources, including Reuters and Dow Jones Newswire.

 

The platform also provides traders access to real-time market data for equities, options, futures, and foreign exchange. This information includes bid/ask prices and historical data so traders can track trends over time.

 

Interactive Brokers also provides in-depth analyst reports on individual stocks. These reports are created by third-party firms such as Morningstar and Standard & Poor’s.

 

The reports contain detailed information on the company’s financials, earnings forecasts, and stock price targets. Traders can use this information to determine whether a particular stock is undervalued or overvalued.

  1. Detailed analysis of how these research tools can be used to make informed trading decisions

 

The research tools provided by Interactive Brokers are designed to help traders make informed decisions about their portfolios. For example, news feeds can be used to stay up-to-date with breaking news that may affect the markets or individual companies. Real-time market data can be used to monitor bid/ask prices for specific assets so that traders can enter or exit positions at the most advantageous times.

 

The analyst reports provided by Interactive Brokers are particularly useful for fundamental analysts who are looking for detailed information about individual stocks or companies. The reports contain comprehensive financial statements so traders can assess a company’s profitability and growth potential.

 

Traders can also use the earnings forecasts contained in the reports to project future cash flows. Overall, the research tools provided by Interactive Brokers are an invaluable resource for both novice and experienced traders alike.

Softwareista Final Word

 

Interactive Brokers provides traders comprehensive research tools to help them make informed decisions about their portfolios. The news feeds, real-time market data, and analyst reports are all designed to provide traders with the information they need to succeed in the markets.

 

By using these tools, traders can monitor trends, assess risk and identify opportunities in a constantly changing market environment. As such, Interactive Brokers is an excellent choice for traders who value a robust set of research tools as part of their trading platform.

Softwareista FAQ Section: Interactive Brokers Comprehensive Review

  1. What is the Interactive Brokers trading platform like? 

 

Interactive Brokers provides an advanced trading platform, Trader Workstation (TWS), which offers many tools and features for experienced traders and investors.

 

  1. What types of investments does Interactive Brokers offer? 

 

Interactive Brokers allows trading in various instruments like stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds across numerous international markets.

 

  1. Does Interactive Brokers provide educational resources? 

 

Yes, Interactive Brokers provides an extensive range of learning resources, including Traders’ Academy, webinars, short videos, and courses.

 

  1. How can I contact Interactive Brokers’ customer support? 

 

Interactive Brokers offers 24/7 customer support, which can be reached via phone, live chat, and email. The service supports multiple languages.

 

  1. What are the charges associated with Interactive Brokers? 

 

Interactive Brokers offers two pricing structures – fixed rate and tiered. The fixed-rate includes all costs, while the tiered structure separates regulatory, exchange, and clearing fees.

 

  1. Is Interactive Brokers Secure? 

 

Yes, Interactive Brokers uses high-end encryption, and secure login systems and is backed by regulatory bodies such as FINRA and SIPC, providing a highly secure environment.

 

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