What Is Interactive Brokers

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

Interactive Brokers has been established since 1978, and in that time it has built a solid reputation for itself by consistently meeting the needs of investors all around the world. The firm has been successful as an online broker since it caters to those who trade stocks, and since it eliminated inactivity fees in July 2021, it has grown even more widespread.

The firm is well-known for providing sophisticated traders with all the resources they need to compete successfully on Wall Street, in addition to providing a variety of trading platforms that are accessible to anybody. As a long-time favorite among the most technical traders, this platform provides a wealth of tools for doing in-depth research. Now, the essentials:

Key Characteristics of Interactive Brokers

You may choose between the IBKR Lite and the IBKR Pro account types at Interactive Brokers. For the sake of this analysis, we will utilize the IBKR Lite account, which is tailored to the needs of most individual traders, as our primary emphasis. The target audience for IBKR Pro consists of busy financial advisors and wealthy individuals.

The zero-commission, low-cost IBKR Lite account is ideal for most novice traders and the great majority of professional traders.

Several Simple Trading Platforms

As a primary selling point, Interactive Brokers distinguishes out due to the variety of trading platforms it provides. Each exchange is tailored to a certain kind of investor. Among the possibilities are:

Client Access Portal

The Client Portal is the brokerage’s easiest-to-use trading platform, and it’s highly recommended for new traders and those who aren’t interested in very aggressive trading techniques. The software provides easy-to-understand charts and every piece of information you could possibly need to make educated trading and investing choices.

  • Trader Workstation (TWS)

Most of the company’s professional trader customers congregate at the Trader Workstation (TWS). The TWS platform provides users with entry to the industry’s best technical analysis tools. The charting features are far superior to those required by the ordinary trader, and they provide exceptional understanding of the risk/reward profile of every possible transaction.

  • IBKR Mobile

It’s convenient to be able to make trades and investments in the market on the fly, whether you’re a day trader or a buy-and-holder. You’ll have that capability while using Interactive Brokers.

The company’s mobile app is as easy to use as the desktop version, and it’s available for both Android and iOS. Mobile trading on your own terms is now feasible thanks to the flexible layout of the trading area, which puts all the relevant information right at your fingertips whenever you need it.

Global Market Access

International investments are often cited as an essential component of a diversified portfolio by financial experts. To be sure, not every broker facilitates transactions on a global scale.
One company that offers such services is Interactive Brokers. More than 200 nations and territories’ worth of property will be available to you. That gives you the widest possible exposure to international trade.

Cryptocurrency Access

In the past few years, investors in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin have seen incredible returns, with many becoming millionaires as a direct result of their decisions to enter the market. Everyone nowadays appears eager to dive into the metaverse, but there’s a major catch.

Brokers you can put your faith in are essential when dealing with the volatile cryptocurrency market, but this is easier said than done given the industry’s youth and lack of oversight.
Due to the limited availability of crypto assets through regular stock brokers, investors are forced to take greater risks with less reputable firms. And Interactive Brokers is contributing to that shift.

Paxos, the company’s cryptocurrency trading platform, facilitates low-fee transactions including the aforementioned four digital currencies. Its trading fees of 0.18% are far cheaper than those of competitors like Coinbase and Gemini Active Trader, which are 0.50% and 0.35%, respectively.

Interactive Brokers provides its cryptocurrency traders with all the industry-standard trading tools, including advanced technical analysis capabilities.

IBKR Campus

Your chances of being successful on Wall Street increase in proportion to the level of knowledge you bring to your investing and trading selections. However, few parents and educators discuss the stock market with their children.

Although some newcomers turn to pricey training programs, few can afford it. When you sign up for an account with Interactive Brokers, you’ll have access to the IBKR Campus, a comprehensive learning resource for traders of all skill levels.

You may find educational resources on the IBKR Campus that suit your learning style, whether it’s through reading or through viewing videos and participating in webinars. The nicest aspect about the IBKR Campus is that everything is totally free. Because of this, there is no longer any need for either costly classes or unstructured learning.

Simulator of the Stock Exchange

Members get access to the broker’s instructional resources, including a Paper Trading account. With the Paper Trading service, you may practice trading stocks in a realistic simulated market that is updated in real time and features all the same tools as a genuine trading platform.

Paper Trading accounts begin with $1,000,000 in virtual funds upon registration. Before you risk your hard-earned money, try out your tactics in a simulated setting. If you test your method and find that it performs well, you are ready to enter the actual trading market. 

However, if your plan results in losses, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Just fine-tune your approach until you’re always winning.

Algorithmic Trading

Trends in the market tend to cycle in predictable ways. Traders’ whole professions have revolved around deciphering these patterns in order to predict the next major market shift.
In spite of the fact that some people are quite competent at forecasting market moves using technical indicators, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be able to compete with a machine.

Because of this, algorithmic trading has gained a lot of attention. Trading algorithms are programmed into some of the world’s most advanced computers so that technical analysis may be performed in real time. More than one hundred different kinds of trades and trading algorithms have been compiled by Interactive Brokers, and they are all available to consumers for no charge.

You’ll need the TWS system if you want to use these algorithms. It isn’t accessible via the Client Portal or mobile devices.

Interactive Consultants

In addition to traditional brokerage services, Interactive Brokers now provides a product called Interactive Advisors. You may put your trust in this robo-advisor powered by AI and let it handle your investments for you. You just need to answer a few questions about your financial situation and it will create a strategy for you.

After that, all you have to do is stick to your contribution plan and check in on your progress every once in a while; Interactive Advisors will handle everything else.

Cash Management Integrated

You may achieve true financial independence with the assistance of Interactive Brokers. You can keep your entire financial situation on track with the aid of the company’s many integrated cash management solutions.

If you need money, you may use your debit card to borrow against your brokerage account at the company’s low margin rates, which are far lower than the interest rates you’d pay with a standard credit card. Invoices may be paid directly from your brokerage account, streamlining your cash flow management.

Research & News

The stock market may be volatile, so it’s crucial to keep up with the latest news about companies and the economy. Market news and research are syndicated by Interactive Brokers, which include reports from reputable sources including Dow Jones and Benzinga. By syndicating press releases from services like AccessWire and Globe Newswire, the firm also provides the most recent news on the wire.

Portfolio Analyst

When you open an account with Interactive Brokers, you have access to PortfolioAnalyst, a tool that allows you to view your whole financial picture in one place. You may manage your investments, annuities, student loans, bank accounts, incentive schemes, mortgages, and credit cards by connecting them to the service.

With the help of this service, you will learn how to save costs and increase your returns on investments.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a top online stockbroker, go no further than Interactive Brokers. The organization provides not only standard industry benefits like fractional shares and low-cost trading, but also extensive instructional and technical analysis resources that make market research a breeze.

While doing business with Interactive Brokers, you’ll be partnering with a firm that has been serving investors for decades. The safety and security of your funds is guaranteed when you register an account with the firm.

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