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Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade are two well known investment brokers, with particular strengths and weaknesses. There is no question that TD Ameritrade is the better choice for novice investors. Seasoned investors may prefer Interactive Brokers, especially those trading internationally and day traders.
Let’s take a look at the two and compare so you can decide which one is better for your investing needs. Here's our Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade comparison.
Overview of Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade
Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade are two of the pioneers of the online brokerage world. These platforms contain more similarities than differences, but those differences can determine which one is best for the individual trader. Here is a basic comparison:
|Feature||Interactive Brokers||TD Ameritrade|
|Premarket & Extended Trading Hours||Yes||Yes|
|Margin Rates||2.08% to 3.08%||9% to 11%|
|Commission||$0 for stocks and ETFs; $0.15 – $0.65 for options contracts; $0.25 – $0.85 for futures contracts||$0 for stocks and ETFs; $0.65 for options contracts; $2.25 for futures contracts|
|Payment Methods||Wire, checking, ACH||Wire, check, ACH, transfers from another firm, stock certificate transfer|
|Best For||Active traders and trading on margin||Newer investors who want more educational resources|
About Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers was founded in 1993 and has long been a top choice for advanced traders. Its IBKR Pro platform was designed for these clients, but in 2019 it added IBKR Lite for retail investors, including individuals, joint owners, trust and retirement accounts.
The minimum deposit amount at Interactive Brokers is $100. However, the company recommends a minimum deposit of $25,000 for those planning to invest in numerous portfolios or in portfolios that trade heavily. This $25,000 minimum can prevent locking of the account under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pattern day trading rules.
Interactive Brokers’ Unique Features
Few brokers offer as many products, including access to nearly 26,000 mutual funds. Clients can conduct trades in more esoteric categories, including:
- Structured products
- Physical metals
- Inter-commodity spreads
You can also trade four cryptocurrencies on the platform at the time of writing, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. In comparison, TD Ameritrade doesn't support cryptocurrency trading.
In addition, Interactive Brokers’ Traders Academy provides free and rigorous online courses, complete with tests. So you can increase your investing knowledge no matter how seasoned of an investor you are.
About TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975, shortly after the SEC eliminated fixed brokerage commissions. The company was bought by Charles Schwab in 2019 but, so far, TD Ameritrade remains a separate product.
In addition to its investing choices TD Ameritrade also offers cash management services, including online bill paying and debit and credit cards.
TD Ameritrade’s Unique Features
TD Ameritrade provides first-rate educational materials for new investors. While Interactive Brokers also offers educational opportunities, they are geared toward sophisticated traders rather than beginners.
TD Ameritrade’s fully immersive curriculum is free and easy to comprehend. Investors can learn on their own time and take advantage of courses paired with relevant webcasts, as well as the assistance of an education coach.
You can’t trade cryptocurrencies on the platform at this time, but you can invest in crypto futures. And TD Ameritrade has excellent customer support, including in-person support at 200+ branches.
How Are They the Same?
Overall, the range of offerings on these platforms are similar. Both offer robo advisors, advanced trading platforms and the ability to trade stocks, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and futures.
How Are They Different?
Interactive Brokers offers far more no-load, no fee mutual funds than TD Ameritrade, with access to more than 40,000 funds. This makes it one of the best brokers for mutual funds. Additionally, in 2020, Interactive Brokers launched Impact Dashboard, permitting clients to identify and invest in companies sharing their values. In this sense, it offers more socially responsible investing opportunities.
Interactive Brokers also has much better margin rates than TD Ameritrade. And since options contracts can be as low as $0.15 per contract, it's much more popular for active trading than TD Ameritrade.
In contrast, getting started with TD Ameritrade is easier than with Interactive Brokers. The learning curve for the latter’s proprietary trading software is much steeper than that of the former. It also offers plenty of excellent educational resources and stellar customer support.
The other difference is cost. Both brokes offer commission-free stock and ETF trades. However, TD Ameritrade charges more to trade futures, at $2.25 a contract versus the $0.25 – $0.85 at Interactive Brokers. However, Interactive Brokers charges up to $5 for crypto futures.
Finally, Interactive Brokers supports fractional shares whereas TD Ameritrade doesn't. This is a downside of TD Ameritrade if you want to invest small amounts of money, so keep this in mind.
Interactive Brokers’ Pricing and Plans
Interactive Brokers offers three distinct plans and pricing structures, which can be a little confusing to understand.
Its volume-tiered pricing features a low broker commission that decreases depending on volume, along with related exchange, regulatory and clearing fees. If an exchange provides a rebate, some of that money is returned to the client. In the U.S., the minimum per order is $0.35, while the maximum is 1% of the trade value.
The fixed rate plan charges a low, fixed rate commission, either per share or for a preset percentage of the trade’s value. When trading U.S. stocks, ETFs and warrants, these fees are passed through on all stock sales. The minimum fee per order is $1, while the maximum is 1% of the trade value.
Forex and bond trading is available at tiered pricing. For IBKR Lite, all other types of trades, with the exception of commission-free U.S. exchange listed stocks and ETFs, fall under fixed pricing. IBKR pro traders may choose between fixed or tiered pricing.
There are no fees for portfolio redemption. Inactivity fees of $1 per month are charged for IBKR Pro traders with account minimums under $1,000. Commissions on mutual funds outside of its no transaction fee funds are 3% of trade value or $14.95 per trade, whichever is less.
TD Ameritrade’s Pricing and Plans
There are no platform or data fees and no trade minimums. Overall, TD Ameritrade has simpler and more transparent pricing than Interactive Brokers.
While online stock orders are free, clients using the interactive phone system to execute trades are charged $5 and those opting for broker assistance will pay $25.
Traders pay a $6.95 commission for online trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, which are not listed on U.S. exchanges. TD Ameritrade charges up to $74.95 for mutual funds outside of its no-transaction-fee offerings. It does not impose inactivity fees.
Paper Trading Comparison
Novice traders should have access to a simulator, so they can “paper trade” and learn to develop trading strategies before using their own funds. Interactive Brokers’ paper trading account allows clients to use its entire range of trading facilities in a simulated environment, but is only available to those whose regular trading accounts are approved and funded. Demos are available on the website so potential clients can get a system functionality overview.
TD Ameritrade offers its paperMoney virtual stock market simulator. Designed for those learning a new strategy, paperMoney is available on the thinkorswim trading platform. Along with paper trading, those using the simulator can research stocks outside of their knowledge base and experiment with different asset classes.
Mobile Apps Comparison
TD Ameritrade features two mobile apps. The TD Ameritrade app, with its intuitive design, allows you to trade stocks and ETFs easily. This app offers the ability to set up price alerts, receive real-time quotes, access watch lists and search integrated charts with indicators. Users can also access third-party research and analyst reports.
Active traders may appreciate TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim mobile app. This app contains all of the standard app’s features, along with the ability to trade forex in segregated sub-accounts. Its charting and analysis allows clients to build their own order execution. Users have access to thinkScript, a proprietary programming language, to test algorithms for highly specific results.
Interactive Brokers’ IBKR mobile app allows clients to access more than 135 global markets. Clients can trade stocks, futures, options, future options and forex while on the go, while receiving the same institutional quality research and more than 50 data columns available on its desktop trading platform.
Foreign Investments Comparison
When it comes to international trading, Interactive Brokers is the clear winner, as TD Ameritrade only permits trading in U.S. markets. In contrast, Interactive Brokers offers access to 135 exchanges in 33 countries and 23 currencies.
Customer Service Comparison
Interactive Brokers provides 24-hour customer service on business days. Online chat services are available to current clients.
Clients can reach TD Ameritrade’s customer service by phone 24/7 for live chat, a rarity in the online brokerage world. Technical support is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. It also has 200+ physical branches and offers some of the best customer service out of the top brokers.
How Safe Are They?
As members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), Interactive Broker and TD Ameritrade client assets are protected up to $500,000 in value, which includes $250,000 in cash awaiting reinvestment. Should a SIPC member firm fail and lose the ability to meet the obligations of securities clients, SIPC also provides protection for such firms against losses.
In the event of a brokerage insolvency, TD Ameritrade also provides each client with $149.5 million of protection for securities and $2 million of protection for cash via supplemental coverage through London insurers.
As for security features, TD Ameritrade offers an asset protection guarantee if cash or securities are lost due to unauthorized trading. It offers numerous security downloads to protect client accounts, including TrendMicroTM HouseCall and Symantec security check.
Interactive Brokers security features a secure login system, an extra layer of security, at no charge for clients. This system requires the use of a free physical security device or a digital security app for smartphones. The secure login system mandates an extra step when logging into the account by entering a randomly generated security code.
Who Are They Best For?
Active traders and investors desiring access to global markets will likely prefer Interactive Brokers. Their low margin rates make daily trading cheaper over the long term. It's also a better choice for options trading due to lower potential trading fees.
Novice and intermediate investors may find TD Ameritrade the better choice. The platform offers additional educational resources as well as bricks-and-mortar branches in which those just starting out can get advice in person. It also has a simpler fee structure than Interactive Brokers.
Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Which Option Is Best?
If you want an easy-to-use broker with low, transparent fees and excellent customer support, TD Ameritrade is for you. It also has in-depth research offerings to help newer investors learn the ropes. And you can still trade most asset classes like you can with Interactive Brokers with the exception of crypto.
If you plan on trading options or on margin, Interactive Brokers is superior to TD Ameritrade. We also like that it offers fractional shares, and it has plenty of in-depth research offerings as well.
Ultimately, picking a winner between Interactive Brokers or TD Ameritrade depends on how actively you trade and what type of trading you do. But both brokers offer competitive pricing and a range of features investors can take advantage of.
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IBKR is our choice as best broker for both advanced traders and international trading, while TD Ameritrade is our choice for best broker for beginners and mobile. True to these rankings, IBKR is the better suited platform for the most sophisticated and high volume traders.What are the cons of Interactive Brokers? ›
|• Low trading fees||• Complicated account opening process|
|• Wide range of products||• Complex desktop trading platform|
|• Many great research tools||• Understaffed customer service|
|• Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading)||• You can trade only on US markets|
|• Superb desktop trading platform||• Accounts mostly limited to US residents|
|• Great customer support||• No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer|
Interactive Brokers: Best Charting Platform for Day Traders
There are a lot of competing platforms that have robust charting built into the trading interface, but none have what it takes to dethrone Interactive Brokers as our pick as the Best Charting Platform for Day Traders.
The best online stock brokers for beginners:
Fidelity Investments. Charles Schwab. TD Ameritrade. E-Trade Financial.
- Angel Broking Speed PRO trading platform.
- ICICI Direct Trade Racer trading platform.
- 5Paisa Trader Terminal trading platform.
- FYERS ONE trading platform.
- Sharekhan TradeTiger trading platform.
- Motilal Oswal Trader trading platform.
- NSE Now trading platform.
It's easy to withdraw your funds from Interactive Brokers, just go to your 'Client Portal' and look for 'Make a Withdrawal within 'Transfer & Pay'.Do professionals use Interactive Brokers? ›
A wide range of advanced tools and platforms are available at Interactive Brokers. On the whole, IBKR is suitable for professional traders and skilled, active traders who wish to make use of a robust array of tools and worldwide access to a diverse selection of assets.Is IBKR good for beginners? ›
Based on our scoring methodology, Interactive Brokers is not considered good for beginners. If you'd like to see alternatives, check out our picks for the best brokers for beginners.Why is TD Ameritrade the best? ›
TD Ameritrade also excels at offering low-cost and low-minimum funds, with over 5,300 mutual funds on its platform with expense ratios of 0.50% or less, and over 3,600 with investment minimums of $100 or less. It's an ideal broker for beginner mutual fund investors.
We expect the combination to conclude in 2024. Until then, we will continue to operate separate broker-dealers, and clients of Schwab and TD Ameritrade will continue to do business with their respective firms as usual. Throughout, we will continue to deliver the superior service you have come to expect.Why should I choose TD Ameritrade? ›
Commission-free trades are everywhere. Smarter investors are here. Value is so much more than a price tag. With TD Ameritrade, not only can you trade commission-free online, but you get access to all our platforms and products with no deposit minimums, trading minimums, or hidden fees.Who is the No 1 broker? ›
After testing 15 brokers and collecting 3,075 data points, we found that TD Ameritrade has the best desktop trading platform, E*TRADE has the best web trading platform, and Fidelity has the best investor app.How do I know which broker to use? ›
- Step 1: Ask about the commission split. ...
- Step 2: Evaluate the brokerage culture. ...
- Step 3: Decide between a franchise or independent brokerage. ...
- Step 4: Learn its reputation and niche. ...
- Step 5: Make sure it will offer support.
- The Best Online Brokers of November 2022.
- TD Ameritrade — Best Online Broker for Beginners.
- Interactive Brokers — Best Online Broker for Traders.
- TD Ameritrade — Best Online Broker Mobile App.
- Tastyworks — Best Online Broker for Options Trading.
- Fidelity — Best Online Broker.
- Fidelity - 5 Stars - Best overall for beginners.
- TD Ameritrade - 5 Stars - Excellent education.
- E*TRADE - 5 Stars - Best for ease of use.
- Merrill Edge - 4.5 Stars - Best client experience.
- Webull - 3.5 Stars - Best investor community.
The primary advantage of having your investment assets in a single brokerage account is simplicity. Rather than having to keep track of different accounts separately, you can consolidate all of your holdings in a single place.What is the easiest kind of trading? ›
The simplest and most common type of stock trade is carried out with a market order. Market orders indicate that you are willing to take whatever price is presented to you when your order is executed.Which trading is most profitable? ›
Intraday trading: This trading type makes you buy and sell your stocks on the same day before the market closes. You need to track your market position the entire day, looking for a good opportunity to sell your stocks. Intraday trading is a great method of making fast profits provided you invest in the right stocks.How much money do day traders with $10000 Accounts make per day on average? ›
Day traders get a wide variety of results that largely depend on the amount of capital they can risk, and their skill at managing that money. If you have a trading account of $10,000, a good day might bring in a five percent gain, or $500.
This can occur if the receiving bank decides to reject and return the funds because the client's bank account is closed or if the title of the account at IBKR differs from the bank account to which it is being deposited (i.e., a 3rd party transfer).What happens if Interactive Brokers goes bust? ›
While unlikely to happen, especially for interactive brokers, when a broker goes bust, one of two scenarios will occur: Your holdings are liquidated and returned to you. The broker is bought out by another broker and your holdings are transferred to the new broker.How Much Does Interactive Brokers charge per transaction? ›
If that's you, you'll probably like the broker's per-share pricing of $0.005 per share, advanced trading platform, and unmatched range of tradable securities — including foreign stocks. Both tiers of service have a $0 account minimum and offer fractional shares of stock.How much money can you withdraw from Interactive Brokers? ›
|Security Device||Maximum Withdrawal Per Day||Maximum Withdrawal in Five Business Days|
|None||50,000 USD||100,000 USD|
|SMS||200,000 USD||600,000 USD|
|IBKR Mobile Authentication (IB Key)||200,000 USD||600,000 USD|
|Security Code Card1||200,000 USD||600,000 USD|
Interactive Brokers ' margin rates are low because they monetize other aspects of their service (like subscription to market data, pro account monthly fees, and so).Do you actually own shares with Interactive Brokers? ›
You own these shares directly in your name. Custodial accounts have their own HIN and own the shares.Does IBKR pay my taxes? ›
Unless specifically directed by a taxing authority, IBKR does not withhold taxes on proceeds from security sales. We are required by US tax law, for example, to withhold US taxes on dividends paid by US corporations to foreign persons at a rate of 30%.Does IBKR have monthly fee? ›
If total commissions paid during any month after the first 8 months are less than the monthly minimum, the difference is paid as a maintenance fee. Example: USD 2,000 minimum - USD 1,400 commissions = USD 600 maintenance fee.How much is IBKR pro per month? ›
|$0.05 or less||$0 per trade, $0.25 per contract|
TD Ameritrade delivers $0 trades, fantastic trading platforms, excellent market research, industry-leading education for beginners and reliable customer service. This outstanding all-around experience makes TD Ameritrade one of our top overall brokers in 2022.
We have good news for you: basic withdrawal at TD Ameritrade is free of charge.What is the fastest way to make money on TD Ameritrade? ›
Fund your TD Ameritrade account quickly with a wire transfer from your bank or other financial institution. There is no minimum initial deposit required to open an account. To avoid a rejected wire or a delay in processing, include your active TD Ameritrade account number.Can TD Ameritrade be trusted? ›
In short, yes. TD Ameritrade is regulated by top-tier authorities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). With that said, it is safe to say that TD Ameritrade is a safe online broker.What happens to my money if TD Ameritrade goes out of business? ›
In addition, cash in your account can be held in a TD Ameritrade FDIC Insured Deposit Account (IDA). Balances in an IDA are held at one or more banks (“Program Banks”), where they are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) against bank failure for up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank.What happens if TD Ameritrade goes out of business? ›
If a brokerage fails, another financial firm may agree to buy the firm's assets and accounts will be transferred to the new custodian with little interruption. The government also provides insurance, known as SIPC coverage, on up to $500,000 of securities or $250,000 of cash held at a brokerage firm.Are TD Ameritrade fees high? ›
Commission-free stock and ETF trades
Like most of the online brokerage industry, TD Ameritrade has no commissions on stock and ETF trades, putting it among the leaders in the industry. The broker charges $0.65 per options contract, putting it in line with other major peers such as Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge.
What is the minimum amount required to open an account? There is no minimum to open a new account; however, a $2,000 deposit is required to be considered for margin and certain options privileges, regardless of any promotional offer.Why is TD Ameritrade charging a fee? ›
TD Ameritrade remits these fees to certain self-regulatory organizations and national securities exchanges, which in turn make payment to the SEC. These fees are intended to cover the costs incurred by the government, including the SEC, for supervising and regulating the securities markets and securities professionals.Who is the biggest broker in USA? ›
Founded in 1971, Charles Schwab introduced the concept of the low-cost brokerage and has risen to be the largest stock brokerage firm around. It offers a variety of financial products and services, including stock trading, individual retirement accounts, and banking.Who is the richest stock broker in USA? ›
Carl Icahn Net Worth - $15.4 Billion
Icahn Enterprises is a holding corporation with headquarters in New York that American billionaire Carl Icahn founded. Through his business, he also invests and trades. In 1961, Icahn began working as a stockbroker.
1. George Soros. Billionaire George Soros aka “the king of Forex trading” or the “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” is, without doubt, the greatest trader.Which is best broker for beginners? ›
- Fidelity Investments: Best overall for beginners.
- Charles Schwab.
- TD Ameritrade.
- E-Trade Financial.
- Ally Invest.
- Merrill Edge.
- Interactive Brokers.
Best Forex Trading Platforms
IG - Most trusted, great for beginners. CMC Markets - Best platform technology. Interactive Brokers - Best for professionals. TD Ameritrade FX - Best desktop platform (U.S. only)
- Pillow Fund. Pillow Fund is a dollar savings app that helps users get the best returns on their digital assets with none of the associated hassles. ...
- PiggyVest. PiggyVest allows you to save and invest easily. ...
- Cowrywise. ...
- Carbon. ...
- Bamboo. ...
- RiseVest. ...
- Trove. ...
- Wealth NG.
- Interactive Brokers - the best broker for buy-and-hold investors in 2022. Low trading fees. ...
- Zacks Trade - Low fees. ...
- Ally Invest - Low trading and non-trading fees. ...
- E*TRADE - Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). ...
- Charles Schwab - Free stock and ETF trading.
- Wisdom Capital.
- Trade Smart Online.
- Aditya Birla Money.
- Bonanza Online.
It also offers plenty of excellent educational resources and stellar customer support. The other difference is cost. Both brokes offer commission-free stock and ETF trades. However, TD Ameritrade charges more to trade futures, at $2.25 a contract versus the $0.25 – $0.85 at Interactive Brokers.Is Ibkr good for beginners? ›
Based on our scoring methodology, Interactive Brokers is not considered good for beginners. If you'd like to see alternatives, check out our picks for the best brokers for beginners.Why is Ibkr the best broker? ›
Interactive Brokers attracts active traders with low per-share pricing, an advanced trading platform, a large selection of tradable securities — including foreign stocks — and ridiculously low margin rates. Its new offering, IBKR Lite, offers commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs.Does Interactive Brokers charge for withdrawal? ›
Miscellaneous - IBKR allows for one free withdrawal per month and charges a fee for each subsequent withdrawal.
Customers choosing to subscribe to US non-professional real-time market data will have the USD 10 (or non-USD equivalent) monthly market data subscription fee waived if they spend USD 30 (or USD equivalent) or more in commission for the month.How much does IBKR charge per trade? ›
|Monthly Volume (shares)1,7||IBKR Pro - Tiered||IBKR Pro - Fixed|
|20,000,001 - 100,000,000||USD 0.0010|
|> 100,000,000||USD 0.0005|
|Minimum per order||USD 0.35||USD 1.00|
|Maximum per order||1% of Trade Value4,8||1% of Trade Value4,8|
Product summary (based on IBKR Pro): What you can invest in: Stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds. Minimum balance required: US$0. Maintenance fee: None.