Interactive Brokers vs. E*TRADE 2022

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) and E*TRADE are full-service on-line brokers which were round for many years. Interactive Brokers was based in 1978 and is primarily geared towards satisfying the wants of subtle traders with its highly effective Dealer Workstation (TWS) platform. The corporate presents brokerage companies that target broad market entry, low prices, and excellent commerce execution. Extra lately, IBKR has added IBKR Lite, a commission-free model of its buying and selling platform, to open up entry to extra novice traders. E*TRADE is a well known dealer that entered the trade within the Nineteen Eighties. Traders with E*TRADE have entry to a broad spectrum of instruments that help with all kinds of buying and selling. Traders of all ability ranges can recognize the streamlined, intuitive platform, which permits for lively buying and selling or passive investing and presents a number of pre-built portfolios and automatic portfolio constructing instruments. An already strong platform has been enhanced with the current merger with Morgan Stanley.

Though IBKR and E*TRADE have so much in widespread, there are some main variations. Most notably, IBKR presents traders the power to commerce cryptocurrencies and entry many worldwide markets, whereas E*TRADE doesn’t. On the flip aspect, E*TRADE presents extra academic content material and financial savings accounts, whereas IBKR doesn’t. We’ll take a deeper look to match these two brokers that can assist you determine which can be a greater match to your buying and selling and investing wants.

  • Account Minimal: $0.00
  • Charges: 
  • $0.00 commissions for equities/ETFs obtainable on IBKR’s TWS Mild, or low prices scaled by quantity for lively merchants that need entry to superior performance corresponding to order routing. $0.65 per contract for choices on TWS Mild; that can be the bottom charge for TWS Professional customers, with scaled charges primarily based on quantity.Futures $0.85 per contract
  • Account Minimal: $0
  • Charges: No fee for inventory/ETF trades. Choices are $0.50-$0.65 per contract, relying on buying and selling quantity.


Interactive Brokers presents traders IBKR Lite, for the extra novice investor, and IBKR Professional, for the extra subtle, lively dealer. IBKR’s professional platform options Interactive Brokers SmartRouting, which helps help superb order execution by looking for the perfect obtainable costs for shares, choices and combos throughout exchanges and darkish swimming pools. This buying and selling expertise is coupled with the power to take a position globally throughout 150 markets in 33 nations in shares, ETFs, choices, futures, currencies, bonds, mutual funds, and cryptocurrency by a formidable all-in-one platform, 24 hours a day and 6 days every week. Interactive Brokers’ huge providing is accessible by way of desktop–Dealer WorkStation (TWS)–or cellular app, and you may fund your account in 24 currencies and commerce property denominated in a number of currencies. IBKR additionally has Shopper Portal, a web-based platform, and IBKR GlobalTrader, each of that are simplified experiences in comparison with the strong TWS and IBKR cellular app. IBKR presents real-time streaming knowledge, charting, instruments, analysis, and information on all of the platforms. Merely put, IBKR presents a really highly effective and customizable buying and selling platform—a truth that’s mirrored within the buying and selling classes it continues to dominate in our opinions. 

E*TRADE has been a number one identify within the retail brokerage trade since 1982. With this historical past comes a deep information of what traders want and wish. This expertise serving retail traders is without doubt one of the causes E*TRADE gained Investopedia’s Greatest Dealer for Ease of Buying and selling Expertise class. E*TRADE additionally presents net platform, downloadable Energy E*TRADE, and cellular app variations for every platform. E*TRADE has put numerous effort into streamlining its experiences for goal customers whereas nonetheless loading them with readily accessible options and instruments. E*TRADE’s web-based platform is the unique and presents the instruments traders have to analysis investments, observe the markets, and place trades. Energy E*TRADE presents extra subtle, lively merchants instruments for charting, evaluation, and historic knowledge for shares, choices, and futures buying and selling. 

Refined merchants in search of a dealer that gives most flexibility, customization, and investing choices could be greatest fitted to an account with IBKR. Lively merchants in search of a dependable platform that is a little more intuitive in its performance could discover that E*TRADE is a greater match.

Commerce Expertise

Desktop Expertise

As talked about, Interactive Brokers presents traders Dealer WorkStation (TWS), an all-in-one platform that permits lively merchants to put money into world markets in quite a lot of currencies. With TWS, you’ll be able to instantly transmit orders from the chart utilizing sizzling buttons and set alerts primarily based on time, value, margin, and different standards. You too can select from over 120 technical indicators and overlays so as to add to charts and scan world markets for undervalued shares utilizing the GlobalAnalyst device. Cryptocurrencies have additionally been added to IBKR’s investing menu lately, giving merchants much more choices. 

E*TRADE presents two ranges of buying and selling expertise, with Energy E*TRADE being the extra strong platform. Energy E*TRADE has instruments geared toward merchants, together with charting instruments and an expanded commerce ticket that features projected revenue and loss to your order. Regardless of the superior options and customization provided by the buying and selling platform, E*TRADE doesn’t provide investing in world markets with completely different currencies (or in cryptocurrencies) presently.

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IBKR undoubtedly edges out E*TRADE with the consolidated platform and skill to commerce in a number of world markets and completely different forex sorts. Nevertheless, in case you are in search of a extra simple buying and selling platform for home investing, E*TRADE stands out as the higher possibility.

Cellular Expertise

IBKR presents three completely different cellular apps for various kinds of investing: 

  • IBKR Cellular mirrors the Dealer WorkStation buying and selling platform with the power to commerce and execute orders in the identical asset courses, and offers related analysis, screeners, and technique instruments.
  • IBKR GlobalTrader is a brand new worldwide buying and selling app that permits traders to deposit funds of their native forex and commerce shares and simply make trades on-the-go. Merchants can entry 90+ world inventory exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia. This app is good for home and worldwide traders searching for worldwide market entry.
  • Affect is IBKR’s cellular app created for traders eager about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. 

E*TRADE presents two cellular apps, which correspond immediately with the kind of investing account chosen:

  • E*TRADE presents primary investing for the novice or much less lively dealer.
  • Energy E*TRADE presents strong charting, evaluation, and screening capabilities geared towards the extra subtle, lively dealer. 

IBKR has made progress in making its platform simpler to make use of, and that features the GlobalTrader app and the IBKR Lite account kind, however E*TRADE wins on this class for its simple app design and ease of use.

Vary of Choices

IBKR and E*TRADE each present a full spectrum of the standard funding providing that features shares, ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds. Past the standard, nevertheless, IBKR stands out from E*TRADE with the big variety of property and markets it presents entry to. IBKR has added cryptocurrencies to its record along with already providing entry to worldwide exchanges foreign currency trading, and practically double the quantity of no-load, no-fee mutual funds that E*TRADE presents.

Order Sorts

Interactive Brokers presents entry to over 100 order sorts and algos, additionally providing third celebration algos to offer extra order kind alternatives for shoppers. Only a few platforms can method the extent of place entry and exit management enabled by IBKR’s vast number of orders. 

E*TRADE presents a extra primary vary of order sorts giving traders a number of methods to enter, exit, and shield inventory trades, together with: contingent, bracketed, one-triggers-the-other (OTO), one-cancels-the-other (OCO), and one-triggers-a-one-cancels-the-other (OTOCO) orders. It’s also notable that the cellular app solely helps contingent and OTO orders.

Interactive Brokers has a big edge over E*TRADE on the subject of order sorts.

Buying and selling Know-how

IBKR additionally presents SmartRouting to traders with a Professional account. SmartRouting routinely transmits the perfect obtainable costs for shares, choices, and combos throughout exchanges, which evaluates every leg of the transaction and always assesses quickly altering market circumstances and has the capability to redirect all or a part of an order searching for to perform optimum execution. IBKR reported internet value enchancment of $0.0108 per share. 

E*TRADE implements superior order routing expertise to hunt the perfect execution obtainable out there. In accordance with a statistical report, E*TRADE is ready to fill its S&P 500 orders at or higher than the Nationwide Greatest Bid or Provide (NBBO) 94.33% of the time, execute 82.81% at a value higher than the NBBO, and keep a mean of 0.12 seconds order execution pace. E*TRADE reported internet value enchancment of $0.0079 per share. 

Whereas each brokers provide their very own model of good or superior order routing, a direct comparability is hard right here due to that lack of standardized knowledge. General, the worth enchancment and fee for order circulation (PFOF) stats recommend IBKR does it higher, however the dealer additionally caters to bigger merchants doing bigger orders, and E*TRADE seemingly has extra retail merchants with trades beneath the 100-share reporting threshold. Then again, E*TRADE does provide in-house instruments for backtesting funding methods, whereas Interactive Brokers solely presents backtesting by a third-party software programming interface (API). There is no such thing as a clear winner between these two in commerce expertise.


Interactive Brokers fee and charge schedules might be fairly complicated to determine. Precise prices fluctuate relying on whether or not the investor has an IBKR Lite account or IBKR Professional account, and relying on the nation from which the consumer is buying and selling. Nevertheless, IBKR does provide low commissions on merchandise throughout 150 world markets, with no added spreads, ticket fees, platform charges, or account minimums.

E*TRADE has a way more simple pricing plan, with no distinction in charge schedules for account kind. One notable charge distinction for primary investing is for choices contracts, with lively merchants (these making over 30+ trades in 1 / 4) getting a lowered charge of $0.50 per contract, versus these making 29 trades or much less per quarter, who pay the usual value of $0.65 per contract. 

A key distinction, nevertheless, is discovered within the margin charges, with IBKR Lite charging 5.58% for $100,000 (Professional 4.08%), whereas the corresponding margin charge at E*TRADE is 10.45%, giving IBKR the benefit in the associated fee class.

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Analysis Facilities

Interactive Brokers offers a number of free sources of real-time analysis, information, and evaluation for traders. There are additionally quite a lot of extra paid companies that traders can subscribe to, many providing a free trial interval. Analysis companies are additionally conveniently accessible to traders with demo accounts and don’t require an account software to be permitted or funded. Moreover, IBKR has PortfolioAnalyst, which is a professional-level funding evaluation device.

E*TRADE presents a large suite of investing instruments, screening performance, and analysis capabilities for merchants. Inventory, mutual fund, ETF, and choices screeners include many various filtering settings and charting skills. Analysis, market information, and several other academic instruments are featured in E*TRADES Insights.

IBKR simply has the sting on this class with the huge array of real-time analysis and information from each in-house and exterior sources, whereas E*TRADE presents extra normal market insights and investing data.

Portfolio Evaluation

Interactive Brokers offers each particular person and institutional traders with PortfolioAnalyst, a complicated portfolio administration software program and account aggregation system that permits traders to consolidate, observe, and analyze their portfolio for an entire monetary image. The system offers real-time monitoring and highly effective on-the-go analytics. Traders can add funding, checking and financial savings accounts, bank cards, annuities, mortgages, scholar loans and extra to get an total complete image of their monetary state of affairs. IBKR additionally has the power for merchants to maintain an in depth buying and selling journal.

E*TRADE presents a number of helpful portfolio evaluation instruments. Reviews and evaluation are furnished in actual time and customised to your specific pursuits. An aggregator device permits traders to hyperlink exterior brokerage accounts for a complete portfolio view. 

Each IBKR and E*TRADE provide insightful portfolio evaluation instruments for traders to evaluate their portfolio holdings. Nevertheless, Interactive Brokers edges out the competitors right here with its potential to hyperlink extra than simply brokerage accounts to present the investor an evaluation of their total monetary state of affairs, in addition to offering traders with probably the most complete buying and selling journals within the trade.


Interactive Brokers presents merchants a number of free assets for investor schooling. Traders can go to the IBKR Campus to search out the informational assets they want. Merchants’ Academy helps merchants discover ways to make funding choices relating to equities, fixed-income, choices, crypto, futures, foreign exchange, and extra. Traders can even discover ways to extra successfully use IBKR’s buying and selling instruments, together with navigate Dealer Workstation (TWS), IBKR Cellular, Shopper Portal and TWS API functions. Merchants’ Insights offers traders with monetary evaluation, webinars, podcasts, blogs, and movies. Pupil Buying and selling lab is one other precious, academic device which permits for paper buying and selling follow. IBKR additionally presents multi-language tutorials to help worldwide traders. 

E*TRADE has been in a position to vastly develop its schooling choices for traders since becoming a member of forces with Morgan Stanley. Traders can begin on the “Insights” tab and go from there to determine what kind of academic data they want, together with: investing fundamentals, superior buying and selling, retirement planning, tax planning, market information, thematic investing, and extra. In every of those areas, traders can discover movies, articles, courses, and market commentary. E*TRADE additionally presents traders a simulated buying and selling platform wherein to check out buying and selling methods with out risking actual cash.

IBKR and E*TRADE each provide a mess of academic assets. Interactive brokers assets are increased degree and greatest fitted to the extra superior investor. Conversely, E*TRADE’s academic assets are usually geared extra towards starting traders.

Buyer Service

IBKR offers 24-hour customer support every enterprise day by way of phone by regional Shopper Companies Facilities. Regardless that there are stay brokers obtainable, Interactive Brokers encourages traders to look by the “Fast Ideas,” that are designed to reply primary consumer questions. Current shoppers, in addition to shoppers within the software part, are inspired to submit formal inquiries by way of the Message Heart situated inside Account Administration or by way of the e-mail hyperlink on the help web page as a result of inbound communications despatched by way of industrial electronic mail should not supported resulting from safety and spam considerations. IBKR presents stay, on-line chat companies to present and potential shoppers 24 hours a day Monday by Friday, and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Jap) on Sundays.

E*TRADE presents 24/7 customer support by way of cellphone, wherein traders can communicate to a customer support consultant, brokers, retirement specialists, monetary consultants, lively dealer consultants, and product specialists. They’re additionally capable of finding their closest department and make an in-person appointment utilizing the department locator. E*TRADE’s web site additionally clearly states that a few of its department places should be briefly closed resulting from COVID-19, so shoppers would wish to name to substantiate if their native department is offered for in-person help, and traders can count on delayed response instances resulting from excessive name quantity. In fact, shoppers even have entry to the FAQ web page to reply any normal questions. 

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As a result of E*TRADE presents 24-hour buyer care by way of phone 7 days every week, the corporate has a slight benefit on this class.


Each IBKR and E*TRADE offers traders with safety requirements, corresponding to two-factor authentication, biometric identification, and safety ensures, that are typical inside the trade. 

Investor accounts at Interactive Brokers are protected by the Securities Investor Safety Company (SIPC) for as much as $500,000, with a money sublimit of $250,000. Extra SIPC protection offers as much as an extra $30 million, with a money sublimit of $900,000, topic to an combination restrict of $150 million. For accounts in extra of $1 million USD, a digital safety card is offered as properly. E*TRADE is a member of SIPC, which protects buyer accounts as much as $500,000 for securities and money (together with $250,000 for money solely). Nevertheless, E*TRADE shoppers will likely be lined beneath the Morgan Stanley extra of SIPC supplemental insurance coverage coverage, which has an combination restrict of $1 billion. This quantity is above and past the required insurance coverage by SIPC. 

In terms of safety, your account is protected with both of those brokers.

Account Sorts

IBKR presents a variety of account sorts for each particular person {and professional} traders, with worldwide accounts obtainable to these dwelling exterior the U.S. 

Particular person account sorts embody:

  • Particular person and joint brokerage
  • Retirement: conventional, Roth, rollover, and inherited particular person retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Custodial: UGMA and UTMA
  • Belief

Skilled account sorts embody:

  • Household workplace
  • Small enterprise: company, partnership, LLC, and unincorporated authorized construction
  • Advisor 
  • Cash supervisor
  • Hedge and mutual fund
  • Institutional
  • Proprietary buying and selling group 
  • Dealer & FCM

E*TRADE prospects can select from an in depth providing of account sorts: 

  • Particular person brokerage accounts
  • Custodial accounts
  • Coverdell schooling financial savings account (ESA)
  • Conventional particular person retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Roth IRAs
  • Rollover IRAs
  • Beneficiary IRAs
  • IRAs for minors
  • Simplified Worker Pension IRAs
  • Financial savings accounts
  • Checking
  • Line of credit score

Whereas each corporations provide the usual array of primary account sorts, every firm has nuanced choices that differentiate it from the competitors. IBKR presents a number of skilled account sorts, whereas E*TRADE presents academic financial savings accounts and customary banking accounts, corresponding to checking, financial savings and features of credit score. No clear winner right here, because it depends upon the combo of account sorts that a person is in search of.

Last Verdict

Interactive Brokers and E*TRADE are key gamers within the monetary brokerage trade. Each provide a full array of buying and selling merchandise, account sorts, customizable platforms, purposeful buying and selling apps, investor schooling assets and analysis, and low prices. IBKR’s platform and analysis is extra targeted on the superior dealer, though the corporate has added IBKR Lite to draw much less lively merchants. Whereas E*TRADE presents an easy-to-use platform and investing fundamentals academic assets that cater to novice traders, the corporate’s merger with Morgan Stanley has allowed it to supply extra to draw the delicate dealer as properly. 

In the long run, private preferences will decide which platform type suits a specific investor’s wants greatest. In case you are in search of an easy-to-use funding platform with room to develop into the extra superior options, then E*TRADE suits that want properly. You too can transfer extra of your monetary life to E*TRADE with its number of banking accounts. In case you are in search of top-end buying and selling instruments and entry to world markets, nevertheless, it’s arduous to discover a dealer that has a stronger total providing than Interactive Brokers.

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Investopedia is devoted to offering traders with unbiased, complete opinions and rankings of on-line brokers. This yr, we revamped the assessment course of by conducting an in depth survey of consumers which might be actively trying to begin buying and selling and investing with an internet dealer. We then mixed this invaluable data with our material experience to develop the framework for a quantitative rankings mannequin that’s on the core of how we compiled our record of the perfect on-line dealer and buying and selling platform corporations.

This mannequin weighs key components like buying and selling expertise, vary of choices, cellular app usability, analysis facilities, academic content material, portfolio evaluation options, buyer help, prices, account facilities, and total buying and selling expertise based on their significance. Our group of researchers gathered 2425 knowledge factors and weighted 66 standards primarily based on knowledge collected throughout in depth analysis for every of the 25 corporations we reviewed. 

Most of the brokers we reviewed additionally gave us stay demonstrations of their platforms and companies, both at their New York Metropolis workplaces or by way of video conferencing strategies. Reside brokerage accounts have been additionally obtained for a lot of the platforms we reviewed, which our group of professional writers and editors used to carry out hands-on testing as a way to lend their qualitative perspective. 

Learn our full Methodology for reviewing on-line brokers.