Highly experienced traders looking for a complete multi-asset broker will find Interactive Brokers offers competitive rates and access to nearly every global financial market.
Founded in , Interactive Brokers is one of the oldest online brokerages in the U. It was one of the first to offer a multi-asset solution that now includes options, futures, forex, and bonds across market centers in 24 countries.
Regulated in numerous major financial centers globally, Interactive Brokers is known for its competitive commission rates, and today offers retail forex outside of the U. For active traders, there are applicable discounts you may be entitled to depending on your monthly trading volumes and the relevant products, and while active traders can be rewarded with commission discounts, beginners may find overcoming fees more challenging due to monthly minimum spend requirements.
Despite all these various fees and trading costs, Interactive Brokers appears to score well in this category, but without publishing its average spreads, it is difficult to make a precise comparison.
Overall, we would like to see IB publish its average forex spreads in , since it competes well in other asset classes such as equities, where it ranked first out of 16 U. Starting with phone support, reaching Interactive Brokers customer support via phone took much longer than I would expect for a world-class broker. On two separate occasions, I was on hold for at least ten minutes, ultimately hanging up and trying again later.
Fortunately, after speaking with customer support while calling from Asia and Europe, the service I received was satisfactory. Reaching live chat was much easier. While live chat is not available from within the web platform, it is available within the desktop platform and online account management portal. I found support reps knowledgeable and professional each time.
Without question, if Interactive Brokers enhances the speed with which it answers inbound phone calls from clients, it would present a much more positive experience when it comes to phone support and overall customer service.
On the research front, Interactive Brokers provides a broad range of choices. Available resources include a long list of analytical tools covering nearly every spectrum, including technical and fundamental analysis, news, and portfolios.
While these are useful, it would be nice to see them displayed within the platform instead of redirecting the user to an external browser. Like most multi-device platforms, you cannot login to both mobile and desktop or web at the same time, as logging into one will log you out of the other. However, a reconnect button that remains in place makes it easy to log back in when switching between devices. Overall, the TWS desktop version of the platform is the clear choice at Interactive Brokers, and for those who are willing to dedicate time to learn to use the platform, it can become a powerful tool in your multi-asset trading arsenal.
One interesting feature with order pre-populating is that you can repeat this process and have several orders that have not yet been transmitted but are pre-filled and ready for submission. Besides exchange-traded forex futures and forex options, Interactive Brokers offers two types of spot forex contracts: This is a neat feature that helps uphold transparency with regard to price execution.
Overall, using Risk Navigator for a high-level overview of your position or exposure across an entire portfolio can be useful, but the more advanced analysis that is available will probably be ignored unless you need the type of quantitative performance rankings a professional trader might use, such as analyzing the value of Greeks on options positions. Shifting to charting within the TWS desktop platform, there are 91 available studies that can be added to a chart, which is far above the industry average compared to other brokers reviewed, and only surpassed by thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade, which has , followed by Dukascopy Bank with , and then City Index with The drawing tools were not as extensive, with only 10 to choose from, and while the number of customizations that can be made in the TWS platform is impressive, the complexity and long lists of possible configurations can be intimidating to unseasoned investors.
Unless you cannot access the desktop or mobile version and need quick access to perform rudimentary actions, I do not recommend the WebTrader platform. The advanced features of the desktop version are positive attributes compared to other platforms from multi-asset brokers that lack depth of options, such as Plus or XTB. Interactive Brokers offers several mobile applications, including its TWS mobile trading app for Android smartphones and tablets as well as all iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch.
My testing was conducted using the Android smartphone app. Charting within the mobile app had nearly one-third less indicators than the desktop platform, but it still packed in 68 indicators, which is far more than most brokers offer in their mobile apps or even on their desktop and web platforms.
Surprisingly, one drawback was the lack of drawing tools, including the ability to plot a trend line. Overall, there is a good charting foundation in the app and also room to improve key areas to improve the experience. The bottom line is that the Interactive Brokers TWS mobile app packs in innovative features, helping it rank well among multi-asset brokers that offer forex, CFDs, and exchange-traded securities internationally.
Besides the algorithmic-driven orders, Interactive Brokers offers multiple options for algorithmic traders or those who wish to connect programmatically via API using various protocols across its trading platforms, including the FIX CTCI platform for traders who need to build their own trading systems.
While Interactive Brokers still offers forex to institutional clients in the U. For low-volume traders and beginners, I do not recommend Interactive Brokers.
Even though experienced traders will require time to learn the TWS platform, Interactive Brokers is a great choice for professional and active traders. For our Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 20 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on variables. There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to foreign exchange trading, 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 currency pair.
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. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1, published articles about the online finance industry.
Over the past 18 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.
Open an account today. Likes Regulated in major jurisdictions and publicly traded Extensive range of global markets and asset classes Advanced research and analysis tools Competitive fees and discounts for high-volume traders. Dislikes High account opening minimum deposit Discontinued retail forex offering to U. Interactive Brokers Competitors Select one or more of these brokers to compare against Interactive Brokers.