- Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan: $5 ($4 for IRA)
- Stocks and ETFs per-share plan: $0.01 per share first 500 shares, $0.006 per share after that; $1.00 minimum per trade
- Options per trade plan: $5 + $0.50 per contract ($4 + $0.30 per contract for IRA)
- Options per contract plan: $1.00, no base or ticket charge, market or limit orders
- Futures: from $1.20 (1 to 300 monthly contracts) to $0.25 (20,000+ monthly contracts) per side, per contract + exchange, regulatory & overnight fees
- Mutual funds: $14.95
- Bonds: $14.95 + $5 per bond
- Investment products: stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, forex, ETFs
- Tradestation minimum deposit to open account: $5,000 for non-daytraders, $5,500 for IRA accounts, and $30,000 for daytraders
- All Tradestation fees
- Tradestation promotions
- Stocks and ETFs: $0.005 per share with $1 minimum, 0.5% of trade value maximum for SMART routed orders
- Options: $0.70 per contract if premium => $0.10; $0.50 per contract if $0.05 =< premium < $0.10; $0.25 per contract if premium < $0.05 + exchange fees. Minimum $1 per order.
- Mutual funds: $14.95 (minimum size on initial fund order is $3,000, subsequent minimum order size is $100)
- Corporate and municipal bonds: 0.1%* face value (10 bps) if <= $10,000 face value; 0.025%* face value (2.5 bps) if > $10,000 face value
- Treasuries (bills, notes, bonds): 0.02%* face value (2 bps) if <= $1,000,000 face value; 0.002%* face value (0.2 bps) if > $1,000,000 face value; $5 minimum
- Metals: 0.15 basis point * trade value; minimum $2; storage cost 0.10% per annum
- US-future and future options: $0.85 per contract
- Forex: 0.20 basis point * trade value if <= $1,000,000,000; minimum $2
- Investment products: stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, futures, currency transactions, US SSFs, EFPs, metals
- Interactive Brokers\IB minimum deposit to open account: $10,000 for non-IRA account, $5,000 for IRA account, $3,000 for anyone age 25 or younger
- All Interactive Brokers fees
- Interactive Brokers promotion
- Very low commissions on all investment products
- Great direct-access platform
- Best charting package
- Trading modeling functionality
- Rich selection of investment products
- Active online trader community
- Virtual trading (practice account)
- Low pay-per-share commissions on stock trades with up to 1,000 shares and on options trades of up to 20 contracts
- Professional trading platform
- Lowest margin rates in the industry
- Access to 100 markets worldwide
- Rich selection of products for trading
- Steep learning curve to master the trading platform
- Only about 100 mutual funds available
- Minimum amount to open account is high: $5,000 for non-daytraders and $30,000 for daytraders
- $50 annual fee if client makes less than 5 trades and average account balance is less than $2,000
- Direct routing fee of $0.004 per share applies. Orders greater than 10,000 shares will be charged $0.0005/share for all shares in excess of 10,000 in the same order.
- $10,000 minimum to open most accounts
- $10 per month minimum commission requirement to avoid $10 monthly fee (rises to $20 monthly if account balance is less than $2,000; waived for $100,000+ accounts)
- $10 monthly for market data feed (waived if trade commissions are more than $10 per month)
- $7.50 quarterly fee for IRA accounts ($30 per year)
- Complicated fee structure
- Trader Workstation is designed for professional traders; it is not intuitive and difficult to learn
- Expensive to make trades with over 1,600 shares
- Lots of customer complains about snobby customer service (and yes, we experienced it ourselves)
- Merciless margin tightening and fast margin calls - IB apparently doesn't care if their customers get completely wiped out
- Minimum size on initial mutual fund order is $3,000 (subsequent minimum order size is $100). Only no-load funds and short term redemption fee funds are offered
- Technical problems with trading platforms and website
Interactive Brokers vs Tradestation: Comparison Summary
Interactive Brokers/IB (Interactive Brokers Review) and
Tradestation/TOS (Tradestation Review) are two
very similar direct market access brokerage companies with the same customer base: very active traders (day-traders), institutions and hedge funds.
Tradestation has active trader oriented flat-rate commission structure with rates as low as $4.99 on equity trades, while IB does not
offer flat-rate plan. Both firms offer pay-per-share pricing schedule. Interactive Brokers' rate is lower than what Tradestation charges:
$0.005 per share versus TOS' $0.01 per share for up to 500 shares and $0.006 per share thereafter. Minimum commission per trade is $1
at both firms. Obviously, with this pay-per-share schedule all orders of up to 1,000 shares will be very cheap (orders of up to 100 shares
at both firms will cost just $1.00), and all orders with over 2,000 shares will be very expensive - $10 or more.
The two firms developed impressive, customizable, powerful trading platforms (IB's platform is called Trader Workstation), and Tradestation offers
clients access to helpful trader community. These brokerages also provide wide selection of investment products, and access to all noteworthy markets
around the world for customers to trade.
Both companies are trying to discourage customers who rarely trade to apply for an account: IB has monthly $10 fee ($20 per month for accounts with
balances less than $2,000) and another $10 per month charge for market data if client makes less than $10 in commissions per month. Tradestation charges
$100 monthly fee to use its trading platform if client have not traded at least 5,000 shares in the previous month (the fee is waived for accounts with $100K+).
Interactive Brokers is known for very obnoxious customer service, and the firm will tighten margin requirements and liquidate positions with very little warning.
It often happens at the worst possible time for clients (last time was during market crash in 2008), and it wipes out completely some customers who
use the margin heavily. IB is also the only company we have reviewed who's clients complain that the firm is trading against them.
Interactive Brokers never offers promotional offers in U.S. Tradestation right now offers new customers 90 days of no account service fee
(logo link below). This is an excellent opportunity to try one of the best trading platforms in the industry and save a lot of money.
We recommend Tradestation and Interactive Brokers only for experienced, active traders and hedge funds. Tradestation is the best firm for futures
and options trading as well as for making large size (1,000+ shares) equity trades. IB is excellent for stock trading. For everybody else, especially
beginners and anyone who rarely trades, we suggest researching other companies in Online Brokers List.