Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade 2022

Each Interactive Brokers (IBKR) and TD Ameritrade (TDA) had been early entrants to the net brokerage house within the Nineteen Nineties, and have constantly earned recognition for know-how, analytical instruments, and availability of various merchandise to commerce. This 12 months, each brokers gained a lot of classes. TD Ameritrade was prime rated for rookies, cell, cell choices, investor training, and customer support. Interactive Brokers has a good longer listing of accolades, rating within the prime for superior merchants, superior choices merchants, superior day merchants, day buying and selling on the whole, charting for day buying and selling, low margin charges, fractional share buying and selling, ETF analysis, and was our decide for greatest for non-U.S. traders and greatest for worldwide buying and selling by a large margin. 

TD Ameritrade acquired thinkorswim in 2009, and incorporating this revolutionary buying and selling platform has helped maintain TDA on the forefront. IBKR has developed its personal know-how, and regularly innovates from firm roots that return to the primary hand-held inventory buying and selling units. IBKR has lengthy been well-known by subtle merchants for its intensive array of product choices, together with futures, choices, overseas trade, and entry to a variety of worldwide markets, whereas TD Ameritrade has extra historical past on the retail aspect of the enterprise earlier than buying thinkorswim and including futures and complicated choices buying and selling instruments. 

Each IBKR and TDA have quite a bit to supply traders and merchants. We’ll take a look at each the similarities and variations between these two brokers so you’ll be able to decide which is likely to be the correct match on your funding and/or buying and selling wants.

  • Account Minimal: $0.00
  • Charges: 
  • $0.00 commissions for equities/ETFs out there on IBKR’s TWS Gentle, or low prices scaled by quantity for lively merchants that need entry to superior performance akin to order routing. $0.65 per contract for choices on TWS Gentle; that can be the bottom fee for TWS Professional customers, with scaled charges based mostly on quantity.Futures $0.85 per contract
  • Account Minimal: $0.00
  • Charges:
  • $0.00 for equities/ETFs.$0.65 per contract for choices.Futures $2.25 per contract


As main on-line brokers, each TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers supply a variety of facilities for its prospects. Each firms present entry to streaming quotes, information, analysis, watchlists, charting/technical evaluation, fundamentals, calendars, and every day commentary and market updates. Each brokers even have internet, desktop, and cell variations of the buying and selling platforms. TDA’s flagship program is thinkorswim, and that is the platform with the subtle instruments and options which can be immediately similar to IBKR’s Dealer Workstation (TWS). TD Ameritrade additionally has a less complicated internet platform and two apps—one mirroring the net platform and one mirroring thinkorswim.

Interactive Brokers has added two new platforms: the GlobalTrader app helps cryptocurrency buying and selling and assists traders and merchants on the lookout for alternatives in worldwide markets, and Influence Cell helps traders fascinated with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing throughout 90 worldwide markets. Along with these two, IBKR nonetheless has a web-based Consumer Portal, IBKR Cell, and the strong Dealer Workstation.  

Opening an account is smoother with TD Ameritrade, which makes the method of opening and funding an account straightforward through pc or cell. That is in all probability owing to the dealer’s lengthy expertise on the retail aspect. In distinction, IBKR’s course of is a little more difficult, regardless that it has improved. The sheer breadth of choices on IBKR can overwhelm some much less skilled customers even because the dealer has made strides to be extra welcoming to retail traders.

We give the sting in usability to TD Ameritrade as a result of the account opening course of was smoother and the platforms are extra intuitive to make use of general—partially resulting from the truth that TDA’s providing is narrower than IBKR. 

Commerce Expertise

Desktop Expertise

The 2 desktop buying and selling platforms, TWS and thinkorswim, each have good performance and a number of options merchants and traders would anticipate of main on-line brokers. Each platforms present nice customization, the flexibility to route orders, arrange customized defaults, choose tax tons, group orders, stage orders, and create very particular custom-made commerce orders that may make the most of standards akin to quantity, p.c achieve or loss, and plenty of different particular information items. Subtle traders and merchants will discover the expertise with both of those to be satisfying, though we now have famous that TWS is evolving sooner than thinkorswim just lately as IBKR continues so as to add belongings, markets, and options, whereas TD Ameritrade is probably specializing in its remaining integration into Schwab. 

Each IBKR and TDA have glorious platforms, with performance that surpasses most brokers. Whereas thinkorswim has a more moderen feel and appear than IBKR, we fee this class a tie, with IBKR being the higher alternative for entry to worldwide markets and extra asset lessons.

Cell Expertise

TD Ameritrade affords two cell choices, the less complicated TD America Cell app for extra passive traders and a thinkorswim app for lively merchants. IBKR has IBKR Cell, which does a very good job to place some group on the multi-country, multi-exchange, product choices on one platform. There’s additionally GlobalTrader, which is a extra streamlined expertise and truly the very best on-ramp into IBKR for newer traders. 

IBKR cell and the thinkorswim app largely replicate the workstations, with pages for portfolio, watchlists, and the flexibility to simply arrange an order ticket or take a look at choices chains. Each apps additionally assist a variety of order varieties, together with conditional orders and the simple skill to decide on an choices technique, akin to vertical and calendar spreads, butterfly, and condors utilizing drop downs. IBKR Cell doesn’t assist drawing on charts. however charts do present orders which may be introduced as much as change or cancel. TDA has drawing instruments out there on its cell charts. Additionally, watchlists sync between the desktop and cell apps.

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One limitation of TDA’s thinkorswim cell app is its lack of assist for mounted earnings buying and selling. Thinkorswim, nevertheless, permits customers to log onto each the desktop and cell variations concurrently, whereas IBKR solely permits customers to go online to at least one platform at a time. That mentioned, IBKR helps buying and selling for all of its merchandise on its cell platform. 

The Google Play Retailer app opinions give a transparent edge to TDA’s Thinkorswim Cell, with 3.8 stars (4.7 on the Apple Retailer) on greater than 11,000 opinions to simply 2.8 stars (2.9 on the Apple Retailer) on greater than 8,000 opinions for IBKR Cell. It also needs to be famous that IBKR’s newer Influence and International Dealer apps obtained larger rankings than TWS Cell.

As our alternative for greatest cell app, we give this class to TDA’s thinkorswim app as a result of it’s a simple to make use of platform that does a very good job of replicating the desktop expertise. That mentioned, IBKR has a wider vary of merchandise out there to commerce.

Vary of Choices

Each TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers have a variety of asset varieties out there to commerce on their platforms, together with shares/ETFs (lengthy and quick); OTCBB points, mutual funds, mounted earnings, futures/commodities, single and multi-leg choices, CDs, and overseas trade. There are some variations between the 2 brokers inside these classes, nevertheless, akin to IBKR’s 9,030 no-load mutual funds to TDA’s 3,628, and IBKR has 4,405 to TDA’s 1,608 for no-transaction charge no-load mutual funds. 

Entry to worldwide exchanges exhibits a large disparity between brokers, as IBKR helps merchants in 200 international locations and gives entry to 95 worldwide exchanges, in comparison with simply 1 worldwide trade provided by TDA. For overseas trade buying and selling, IBKR affords 100 foreign money pairs utilizing 24 totally different currencies, the place TDA affords 70 pairs utilizing 19 currencies.

Each brokers have a very good set of choices, like futures, that aren’t broadly out there on different dealer platforms. Nevertheless, the breadth of merchandise from markets all around the globe which can be all tradeable on Interactive Brokers’ platform is unequalled by TD Ameritrade or another dealer. IBKR is the clear winner for its vary of choices.

Order Sorts

TD Ameritrade has a full suite of the most typical order varieties, akin to market, restrict, stop-limit, and trailing cease orders. The thinkorswim platform additionally permits conditional orders, together with one-cancels-the-other (OCO) and order-triggers-two (OTT). TDA additionally permits customers to stage orders for later entry and offers traders the flexibility to pick out the tax lot when putting an order.

Interactive Brokers additionally has these identical orders out there, however goes a lot additional, supporting greater than 100 order varieties and algorithms on the TWS Professional platform. This permits customers to mix logical circumstances with OCO orders that permit customers use value, time, quantity, margin cushion, every day P&L, p.c change, and different variables to create finely custom-made orders for place entry and exit. Even IBKR Lite has greater than 25 order varieties out there on its platform, together with the flexibility to make use of customized algorithms. 

Whereas each brokers have a wide variety of order varieties to select from and most merchants will simply use these order varieties, IBKR goes a lot additional. Total, IBKR has a transparent edge over TDA for order varieties.

Buying and selling Expertise

Each Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade have glorious know-how to assist buying and selling. Each brokers permit automated buying and selling methods and the flexibility to stage and route their orders. Concerning value enchancment and cost for order circulate, TDA receives $0.001 per share for fairness trades and $0.50 per contract for choices trades. IBKR receives $0.0020 per share in cost on order circulate for fairness and $0.092 for choices. Value enchancment at IBKR is $0.01076 per share for fairness trades and $0.02856 per choices contract. TDA has value enchancment of $0.019 per fairness share, and doesn’t disclose value enchancment for choices.

Each IBKR and TDA supply options not out there in any respect brokers, akin to securities lending and portfolio margining. There are some variations between the brokers, akin to IBKR’s assist for fractional share buying and selling, which is unavailable at TDA. Nevertheless, TD Ameritrade affords backtesting, which is a function not out there at most brokers, together with Interactive Brokers. Contemplating how a lot IBKR does to assist skilled and complicated merchants, akin to its flexibility with order varieties, it’s stunning that backtesting just isn’t out there from IBKR. Additionally of notice in a rising rate of interest atmosphere, IBKR pays curiosity on money balances over $10,000, whereas TDA pays principally nothing at simply 0.001% on money.

With backtesting and higher value enchancment, we give TDA the benefit over IBKR for buying and selling know-how.


IBKR has totally different fee and charge schedules for the varied international locations it has prospects in;  we are going to give attention to US dollar-based commissions on this evaluation. IBKR has a extra difficult fee construction for equities and ETFs as a result of there are three choices: IBKR Lite, IBKR Professional Mounted, and IBKR Professional Tiered. IBKR Lite is a zero fee mannequin for shares and ETFs, and $0.65 per choices contract. IBKR Professional Mounted prices $0.005 per share traded, with a minimal fee of $1 and most of 1% of the commerce worth. IBKR Professional Tiered has a scaled commision fee based mostly on month-to-month quantity, with a minimal of $0.35 and most of 1% of the commerce worth. The tiered pricing is $0.0035 per share as much as 300,000 shares; $0.002 to three million shares; $0.0015 as much as 20 million shares; $0.001 to 100 million shares; then $0.0005 per share. 

IBKR Professional choices pricing can be tiered based mostly on month-to-month quantity. There is no such thing as a per-leg charge for buying and selling choices. Buying and selling as much as 10,000 contracts, you may pay $0.65 per contract for choices trades with a minimal fee of $1. Low worth contract charges drop to $0.50 (premium $0.05–$0.10) or $0.25 (premium beneath $0.05). These charges go down in tiers till after 100,000 contracts in a month, the place the choices fee drops to simply $0.15 per contract. Much less lively merchants on the lookout for zero fee buying and selling will doubtless select IBKR Lite, however larger quantity merchants will in all probability gravitate to the IBKR Professional mannequin, figuring out whether or not the tiered or mounted mannequin is greatest for them based mostly on their buying and selling exercise. The best quantity merchants will gravitate in the direction of the tiered mannequin. 

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IBKR additionally has business main margin charges. Margin charges are tiered for IBKR Professional customers, with a fee of 4.58% (base fee + 1.5%) as much as $100,000, and a low margin fee of three.58% (base fee +0.5%), whereas IBKR Lite prices a hard and fast 5.58% (base fee +2.5%) fee no matter quantity.

TDA has a a lot less complicated fee schedule, with no cost for inventory and ETF trades, and $5 + $0.65 per contract for choices. TDA’s margin charges are additionally tiered at 12.5% (base fee + 1.25%) for lower than $10,000, to 10.5% (base fee – 0.75%) between $250,000 and $500,000. 

Though TDA has business aggressive zero fee inventory and ETF buying and selling, and $0.65 per contract for choices trades, IBKR has higher pricing. IBKR’s costliest platform, IBKR Lite, matches TDA, however lively, high-volume merchants specializing in execution velocity and management over order routing will take into account IBKR Professional’s cheap charges. For choices merchants, the $0.65 most cost at IBKR (decrease for prime quantity accounts) continues to be decrease than TDA’s $5 + $0.65 per contract charge for all choices no matter month-to-month buying and selling quantity. For futures merchants, TDA’s $2.25 per contract is greater than 2.5 instances larger than IBKR’s highest fee of $0.85. IBKR is the clear winner on prices in comparison with TDA. 

Analysis Facilities

Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade have glorious analysis facilities, akin to inventory, ETF, mutual fund, and stuck earnings screeners, in addition to a number of instruments, calculators, and concept mills alongside piles {of professional} analysis. For each brokers, customers can construct their very own screens, display based mostly on technical elements, save screens for future use, and create a watchlist from display outcomes. 

Interactive Brokers has two screeners for ESG/SRI and choices which can be unavailable at TDA. Additional, the buying and selling concept generator at TDA is proscribed to lined name and calendar spreads from CFRA (previously the Heart for Monetary Analysis and Evaluation), whereas IBKR permits scans on nearly limitless standards, and in addition gives actionable information and analysis that features analyst suggestions. TDA affords every day market experiences, fee-based analysis, and Market Edge experiences (each free, and two ranges of premium service). IBKR additionally affords a every day market report, in addition to a number of premium market analysis and information suppliers with no further price.

Each brokers have above-average analysis facilities, however IBKR has the higher suite of analysis facilities due to the ESG/SRI and choices screeners unavailable at TDA in addition to extra intensive information and analysis choices.

Portfolio Evaluation

IBKR’s PortfolioAnalyst is a robust providing. The complete model with superior options and real-time updates is obtainable to prospects and a much less strong model is obtainable to anybody. PortfolioAnalyst tracks and analyzes monetary accounts, together with linked accounts akin to checking, financial savings, and debt, so that you get evaluation in your whole monetary image. Realized good points/losses, internet deposits, margin, and shopping for energy are all out there in actual time. Performance on PortfolioAnalyst additionally features a portfolio checkup that exhibits whole return, danger, and allocations. IBKR additionally calculates a portfolio’s ESG rankings. IBKR additionally has a proprietary Tax Optimizer that lets customers set their most popular matching methodology and gives a preview of income and losses for every methodology. Lastly, IBKR has a wonderful Dealer’s Journal, which permits customers to document and save buying and selling notes and concepts, together with the flexibility so as to add screenshots and configure charts to point out orders and executed trades. 

TDA additionally has good portfolio evaluation instruments, together with the flexibility to consolidate exterior belongings for reporting and evaluation via its Personalised Portfolios instruments. Realized and unrealized good points/losses, internet deposits, withdrawals, and margin and shopping for energy are all in actual time, however the tax affect of future trades just isn’t out there. Capital good points reporting is obtainable from the web site month-to-month. 

Each TDA and IBKR present good portfolio evaluation instruments for his or her prospects, however IBKR has the sting on this class due to the flexibility to research the tax affect of trades. IBKR additionally has higher commerce journaling capabilities.


Interactive Brokers has strong investor teaching programs out there to prospects and the general public. This consists of quick movies for purchasers to discover ways to use the TWS and consumer portals in addition to multi-language content material to assist worldwide customers with the platform. IBKR’s Merchants Academy is obtainable on-line, on demand, and gives a rigorous curriculum full with quizzes and checks to assist college students gauge their progress in opposition to goals. Content material consists of details about asset lessons, markets, technical evaluation, particular belongings, and IBKR platform performance. There’s additionally extra detailed and particular content material, akin to a bit on hedging with grain and oilseed futures and choices that exhibits why IBKR is our prime decide for superior merchants. IBKR has been increasing its academic choices to incorporate every day webinars with numerous matters, akin to product training and platform instruments. 

TDA is our prime decide for investor training as a result of it has all the knowledge you would ask for tailor-made to each degree of investor. Along with detailed data on the right way to use the platform, TDA has academic data segmented for private finance, investing, buying and selling, and retirement. It additionally has content material on technical evaluation and product particular data, akin to choices methods and superior ideas like choices unfold buying and selling. Additionally a optimistic for investor training, each Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade supply real-time paper buying and selling utilizing their precise platforms. 

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As our prime decide for academic sources amongst all brokers is TD Ameritrade, it additionally comes out on prime of IBKR within the training class due to the breadth of fabric and adaptation for all ranges of investor. 

Buyer Service

TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers present a variety of customer support choices, together with electronic mail, stay chat, telephone assist, entry to stay brokers (there are charges for broker-assisted buying and selling), and a useful FAQ part. TD Ameritrade prospects may communicate with a monetary advisor. IBKR, which has been investing in higher customer support and sooner response instances, additionally has an AI-powered IBot that may obtain questions requested by a buyer in plain English and direct customers to useful sources, akin to FAQs. IBKR encourages its prospects to make use of the IBot as the primary customer support, quite than a stay particular person. IBKR can be slower in answering telephones than TDA, regardless that the dealer has improved. 

TDA is our prime decide for customer support general within the 2022 evaluation cycle. It has the sting within the customer support class over IBKR as a result of its reps are  a lot faster to reply the telephone and the corporate makes registered funding advisors (RIAs) out there to prospects, whereas IBKR doesn’t. 


Each IBKR and TDA meet or exceed business requirements for safety. Neither dealer has skilled an information breach or outage previously 12 months. Each brokers supply two-factor authentication and biometric recognition. Extra SIPC safety can be provided by each brokers, though TDA affords higher extra protection, with IBKR offering $30 million in account safety and $900,000 for the money sublimit, whereas TDA affords in account safety of $149 million and a money sublimit of $2 million. 

IBKR additionally affords a Securities Class Motion Restoration service, which robotically detects, based mostly on securities purchased or bought on the IBKR platform, if a buyer is eligible to file a declare for a category motion lawsuit. IBKR submits the declare and assists to get well funds for a 20% contingency charge.


When it comes to safety, it’s successfully a tie. TD Ameritrade does have extra extra protection, however the insurance coverage at each corporations is above business requirements. Equally, IBKR’s Securities Class Motion Restoration service is a neat function, nevertheless it doesn’t make the platform any safer than it already is. 

Remaining Verdict

We’ve a little bit of a cut up choice on this. Each TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers are elite firms within the on-line brokerage world, with roots within the early days of on-line investing. This shines via of their glorious know-how and entry to a wide selection of merchandise not out there for buying and selling on many on-line brokerage platforms. IBKR is our alternative as greatest dealer for each superior merchants and worldwide buying and selling, whereas TD Ameritrade is our alternative for greatest dealer for rookies and cell. True to those rankings, IBKR is the higher suited platform for essentially the most subtle and excessive quantity merchants. TDA gives simpler to make use of platforms and glorious academic supplies to assist newer traders and merchants, making TDA a better option for brand new and fewer lively merchants. 

Total, the platforms have quite a lot of overlap of their performance, so both platform will meet the wants of almost all U.S.-focused traders and merchants, particularly since IBKR Lite gives a comparable no-commission platform with decrease choices pricing than TDA. The better to make use of and be taught from platform is TDA, so that’s more likely to entice traders and fewer lively merchants that additionally need some entry to classy instruments and choices markets. Nevertheless, merchants who need entry to markets across the globe, merchants who use margin, high-volume merchants, and futures merchants will doubtless select IBKR. For some merchants, one other issue which may tip the dimensions in favor of IBKR is the provision of cryptocurrency buying and selling (not out there on TDA) and the brand new Influence app for the ESG-conscious. On the entire, nevertheless, traders are effectively served by both of those prime rating platforms.  

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Investopedia is devoted to offering traders with unbiased, complete opinions and rankings of on-line brokers. This 12 months, we revamped the evaluation course of by conducting an intensive survey of consumers which can be actively trying to begin buying and selling and investing with a web-based 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 listing of the very best on-line dealer and buying and selling platform firms.

This mannequin weighs key elements like buying and selling know-how, vary of choices, cell app usability, analysis facilities, academic content material, portfolio evaluation options, buyer assist, prices, account facilities, and general buying and selling expertise based on their significance. Our crew of researchers gathered 2425 information factors and weighted 66 standards based mostly on information collected throughout intensive analysis for every of the 25 firms we reviewed. 

Lots of the brokers we reviewed additionally gave us stay demonstrations of their platforms and companies, both at their New York Metropolis places of work or through video conferencing strategies. Dwell brokerage accounts had been additionally obtained for a lot of the platforms we reviewed, which our crew of knowledgeable writers and editors used to carry out hands-on testing with a purpose to lend their qualitative perspective. 

Learn our full Methodology for reviewing on-line brokers.