Interactive Brokers Review
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 65% and 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Interactive Brokers is a long-standing and highly-trusted broker that holds numerous regulatory licenses across the globe. We've rated IBKR as the best broker for professional traders, and it provides traders with access to over 100 markets, including forex and CFDs. IBKR's recently introduced web-based platform caters well to beginners, and its powerful research and extensive educational content makes for a balanced experience for newcomers and professionals alike.
Interactive Brokers Trust Score
We consider Interactive Brokers to be Highly Trusted, with an overall Trust Score of 99 out of 99.
Interactive Brokers is currently licensed and/or authorised by the following regulatory bodies:
- Tier-1 Regulators - Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Securities Futures Commission (SFC), Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) - Ireland, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
- Tier-2 Regulators - Securities and Exchange Board of India
- Tier-3 Regulators - None
About Trust Score: Trust Score, a proprietary algorithm that allows traders to get an at-a-glance rating of a broker’s overall trust, was originally developed for BrokerNotes.co’s sister site, ForexBrokers.com. Trust Score is based on our independent research and powered by the extensive data we’ve collected on brokers and regulatory agencies across a wide range of regulatory environments, jurisidictions, and countries.
Regulatory licenses held by Interactive Brokers, compared to the industry average
Interactive Brokers currently has 8 Tier-1 Licenses, 1 Tier-2 Licenses, and 0 Tier-3 Licenses. To get an idea of how Interactive Brokers stacks up against the industry average, check out our visual breakdown of the average number of Tier-1, Tier-2, and Tier-3 regulatory licenses held by brokers in the BrokerNotes database:
Can I trust Interactive Brokers?
Interactive Brokers has a Trust Score of 99, compared to the industry average of 82, and BrokerNotes.co considers Interactive Brokers to be Highly Trusted. Trust Scores can vary from broker to broker (a "Highly Trusted" label means a broker is at the top of our scoring scale, and a "High Risk" label indicates a broker that's at the lowest end of our Trust Score scale), so it’s helpful to know where your broker stands in comparison to the rest of the industry.
Check out our visual breakdown below to get an idea of how Interactive Brokers’s status as a Highly Trusted broker compares to the average Trust Score label in our database of 60+ forex brokers.
Why should I care about regulatory licenses?
Determining the legitimacy of a forex broker (and avoiding forex scams) can be a real challenge. Unregulated brokers do not have to report to a governing body. If your broker lacks regulation, and you are scammed in any way, you often have no recourse for recovering your funds. That being said, not all regulator licenses carry the same weight.
In our three-tier Trust Score system, the strictest regulatory agencies and licenses are labeled Tier-1. Here are a couple of examples of how Tier-1 licenses provide the highest consumer protections:
- Many regulators impose additional capital requirements. Brokers that offer forex trading to retail clients in the U.S. must maintain at least $20 million in regulatory capital as a Retail Forex Exchange Dealer (RFED) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
- Brokers are subject to stricter laws. In an effort to prevent consumers from sustaining heavy losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K. does not permit leverage beyond 100:1. The FCA also requires that forex companies segregate client funds from their own. Read our guide to trading forex in the U.K. to learn more.
Investment Types at Interactive Brokers
There are now dozens of regulated forex brokers, each with their own product offering and range of available markets. It’s important to make sure that the forex broker you’ve chosen allows you to trade your preferred instruments and markets. To help you decide if Interactive Brokers is the right broker for you, we’ve included a breakdown of the major products and range of markets available at Interactive Brokers:
- Total tradeable symbols - 8500
- Total forex pairs - 90
- Copy trading - No
- Cryptocurrency (physical) - Yes
- Cryptocurrency (CFD) - No
- Spread betting - No
Overall, Interactive Brokers ranks #1 out of the 62 brokers that have been evaluated and scored within our investment types category.
Note: The range of markets available to you may vary, depending on your country or region of residence. To learn more about country-specific regulations and restrictions (and to discover our data-based picks for the best brokers by country), check out our country guides.
How many tradeable symbols does Interactive Brokers offer?
Interactive Brokers provides access to 8500 tradeable symbols and 90 different forex pairs, compared to the median number of 982 symbols and an average of 65 available forex pairs across the 60+ brokers reviewed on BrokerNotes.
How does Interactive Brokers’s offering of investments compare to the rest of the 60+ brokers on BrokerNotes.co?
Tracked as variables within our database, our research team closely monitors the availability of features and products such as bitcoin, cryptocurrency CFDs, commodities, social copy trading, Islamic accounts, stocks (CFD and non-CFD), and some of the most popular forex pairs – among many others.
According to our independent database (currently tracking over 2,200 data points), the average forex broker offers 29 of the 37 products and features currently tracked for our offering of investments category. Interactive Brokers offers 30, which helped contribute to the broker ranking #1 out of 62 brokers overall in this category.
How does Interactive Brokers compare to the rest of the 60+ brokers on BrokerNotes.co for its offering of investments?
According to our independently researched database of international forex brokers, 100% of brokers offer forex trading (spot or CFDs), 8% offer crypto trading (physical asset), 89% offer trading physical cryptocurrency CFDs, 90% offer trading on U.S. stock CFDs, 27% offer trading on physical U.S. stocks, 57% offer ETFs, 32% offer international stock trading (non-CFDs), and 79% offer social copy trading.
Commissions and Fees at Interactive Brokers
Your forex broker’s trading costs can be a factor in the overall profitability of your trading strategy. That being the case, it’s crucial to choose a forex broker with commissions and fees that are affordable for your trading style. We’ve researched and broken down the trading costs that you can expect to find with Interactive Brokers:
- Minimum initial deposit - $0
- Average Spread EUR/USD - 0.6
- All-in Cost EUR/USD - 0.6
- Active Trader or VIP Discounts - Yes
Interactive Brokers has a score of 9.5/10 in this category, while the average broker received a score of 8/10. Overall, Interactive Brokers ranks #3 out of the 62 brokers that were evaluated and scored for our commissions and fees category.
What is the minimum deposit requirement for trading with Interactive Brokers?
The average minimum deposit requirement across the industry is £115 (55 brokers), whereas Interactive Brokers requires an initial minimum deposit of $0. Forex brokers require a minimum deposit in order to cover their own costs associated with opening and maintaining a trading account for the client. The amount required can vary depending on the broker and the type of account being opened.
What are the typical spreads at Interactive Brokers?
Interactive Brokers delivers an average spread of 0.6 when trading the EUR/USD within a standard account. The all-in cost of trading the EUR/USD with an active account is 0.6. We were able to obtain average spread data for over 30 brokers, and found the industry averages for these data points to be 1.04 (standard) and 0.87 (all-in).
How does Interactive Brokers fare against the rest of the 60+ brokers on BrokerNotes.co for commissions & fees?
Looking at our database, the average forex broker offers 6 of the 11 features variables we track in the commissions & fees category, and has average spreads of 1.04 when trading the EUR/USD. Interactive Brokers offers 4 of the 11 features, while offering average spreads of 0.6 which helped contribute to the broker ranking #3 out of 62 brokers in this category.
Traders are constantly on the hunt for low-cost forex brokers – you can learn more about low-cost forex trading by checking out our guide to zero-spread forex brokers.
Funding Methods at Interactive Brokers
The availability and flexibility of your broker’s banking options and payment methods can make an impact on your overall trading experience. Simply put: all traders need to have a reliable method for depositing and withdrawing funds. We’ve researched the banking and funding options at Interactive Brokers to see if it’s the right broker for your preferred payment method:
- Visa/Mastercard (credit/debit) - No
- Bank Wire (deposit/withdrawal) - Yes
- PayPal (deposit/withdrawal) - No
- Skrill (deposit/withdrawal) - No
92% of the brokers in our database (60+) offer Visa/Mastercard, 78% offer Skrill, 71% offer Neteller, and 43% offer PayPal. PayPal has become a popular funding option for many forex traders – find out which brokers support it as a payment method by reading our PayPal guide for forex traders.
Trading Platforms at Interactive Brokers
A vital part of any trader’s experience, a broker’s trading platform can make or break any trading experience.
Here’s what Interactive Brokers offers in terms of trading platforms. Ultimately Interactive Brokers ranks #4 of the 62 brokers graded across our platforms & tools category.
- Proprietary platform - Yes
- Desktop platform (windows) - Yes
- Web platform - Yes
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4) - No
- MetaTrader 5 (MT5) - No
- DupliTrade - No
As far as platform trading tools are concerned, Interactive Brokers provides 128 charting indicators, 85 drawing tools, and 640 watchlist fields, contributing to its overall category rating of 9.5/10.
How do trading platforms at Interactive Brokers stack up against the competition?
Of the 60+ brokers reviewed on BrokersNotes, 62% offer a proprietary platform, 100% offer a web platform, 90% offer a desktop platform, 13% offer cTrader, 19% offer Zulutrade, 81% offer MetaTrader 4, and 62% offer MetaTrader 5.
How is Interactive Brokers graded against the other 60+ brokers on BrokerNotes.co for platforms & tools?
Analyzing our 1,178 data points for our platforms & tools category, the average forex broker has 12 of the 19 features we track for desktop web platforms. Interactive Brokers has 12. Interactive Brokers received an overall rating of 9.5/10 in the platforms & tools category, contributing to its overall category ranking of #4 out of 62 brokers overall.
Research at Interactive Brokers
Having consistent access to high-quality market research is hugely important to forex traders. To effectively keep track of market movements, traders need to stay up-to-date with global events, industry news and trends. We gave Interactive Brokers a 10/10 in the research category, while the average broker received a 7/10. Here’s our summary of the research offerings available at Interactive Brokers:
- Autochartist - No
- Daily Market Commentary - Yes
- Economic Calendar - Yes
- Forex News (Top-Tier Sources) - Yes
- Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs - Yes
- Trading Central (Recognia) - Yes
How does the research offering at Interactive Brokers measure up against the 60+ brokers in the BrokerNotes database?
While conducting our evaluations of online forex brokers, we’ve collected over 360 data points that track the research-specific features that are most important to traders and investors. Interactive Brokers offers 4 of those 5 features, whereas the average forex broker offers 3 of those features. Interactive Brokers received an overall rating of 7/10 in the research category, contributing to its overall category ranking of #3 out of the 62 brokers in the BrokerNotes database.
Mobile Apps at Interactive Brokers
Nearly every trader on the planet owns a smartphone, but that doesn’t mean that every mobile trading app offers the same forex trading capabilities. A wide range of mobile trading apps are available across the globe – some of which are developed in-house by online brokers, while some are developed by third-party developers.
We’ve tested mobile trading apps for over 60 online brokers, collected over 744 data points, and identified 11 of the most important features for traders who want to trade on the go. The average forex broker offers 9 of those 11 features, Interactive Brokers offers 10. Interactive Brokers received an overall rating of 9.5/10 in the mobile trading category, contributing to its overall category ranking of #5 out of 62 total brokers.
Here are some of the important mobile features tracked in our database, take a look to see whether they are available with Interactive Brokers:
- Android App - Yes
- Apple App - Yes
- Forex Calendar - Yes
- Mobile Alerts - Basic Fields - Yes
- Mobile Charting - Draw Trendlines - Yes
- Mobile Watchlist - Yes
How do the mobile features available at Interactive Brokers stack up against the industry average?
In terms of mobile charting indicators and studies Interactive Brokers has 97, compared to the industry average of 41. Mobile charting indicators can be a useful tool to help traders analyze price trends, identify potential entry and exit points, and make informed trading decisions.
Education at Interactive Brokers
Client education is another staple of forex brokers. Here’s how Interactive Brokers fares in providing clients with the most common types of educational content.
- General education on forex or CFDs - Yes
- Client webinars - Yes
- Beginner videos - Yes
- Advanced trading videos - Yes
- Investor Glossary - Yes
How does Interactive Brokers compare to the rest of the 60+ brokers on BrokerNotes.co for educational content?
According to our database, 81% of brokers offer general education, 62% offer webinars, 75% offer beginner videos and 43% offer advanced videos. Analyzing our 372 data points for our education category, the average forex broker has 4 of the 6 features we track. Interactive Brokers has 6 of these features and received an overall rating of 9.0/10 in the education category, contributing to its overall category ranking of #3 out of 62 brokers overall.
As a recap here’s how Interactive Brokers fared in each of our core categories.
- Trust Score - 99
- Investment Types - 10/10
- Commissions & Fees - 9.5/10
- Trading platforms - 9.5/10
- Research - 10/10
- Mobile Apps - 9.5/10
- Education - 9.0/10
- Overall - 9.7/10
Does Interactive Brokers offer copy trading?
Yes; in case you were wondering, 79% of the brokers reviewed on BrokerNotes.co offer this popular feature. To learn more about social copy trading (and to see our picks for the best forex brokers for copy trading), check out our guide to copy trading.
Can I trade US stocks with Interactive Brokers?
If you want to trade U.S. stocks as CFDs with Interactive Brokers, then Yes. If you are looking to trade non-CFD stocks (and own the underlying asset or stock), then Yes.
Remember – there’s a difference between trading U.S. stocks as CFDs (tradeable instruments that track the price of an underlying security or asset) and being able to own the underlying stock. If you purchase a U.S. stock, you own the actual shares; if you purchase or trade a CFD, you don't own the asset itself. According to our database, 90% of forex brokers allow you to trade U.S. stocks as a CFD, while only 27% allow you to own the stock itself. To learn more, check out our popular guide to CFD trading.
Can I use MetaTrader with Interactive Brokers?
If you want to use MetaTrader 4 (MT4), then No. If you were looking to use the newer version of MetaQuotes Software’s popular trading platform, MetaTrader 5 (MT5), that's a "No." Popular with forex traders all over the world, MetaTrader is a third-party trading platform that connects to a broker for forex trading.
We’ve researched the MetaTrader offerings of 60+ forex brokers and found that 81% of brokers offer the more famous version of MetaTrader, MT4, while only 62% offer the newest version, MT5. We have in-depth guides on MetaTrader if you'd like to learn more; check out our guide to MT4, or read our in-depth guide to MT5.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more about foreign exchange risk.
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