TD Ameritrade vs Interactive Brokers (2022)


Compare IBKR vs TD Ameritrade: online trading fees, stock broker accounts cost, platforms, tools, and differences in 2022.


Overview of TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers


There are two powerhouses among online discount broker-dealers for advanced trading: Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade. If you’re considering opening an account with either firm, take a look at our research first.


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade
IB


Cost Comparison


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Margin
Rate
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) 13.25% $0 $0
IB $0 $14.95 5.33% $0 $30


Promotion Links


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Interactive Brokers: Use this referral link to get up to $1,000 of IBKR stock for free!



First Category: Customer Service


Interactive Brokers:

Although headquartered in the United States, Interactive Brokers is really a global brokerage firm. It does not have U.S.-based customer service, which is going to be a major turn off for many U.S.-based traders. During our testing of the company’s phone support, we have received decent service, although the quality of verbal communication is not always at a high level.

The company’s phone support is also not open 24/7. Agents can be reached during the week until 7 pm and on Saturday. Accounts based in other countries have a variety of different hours.

The IB website has an Artificial Intelligence named iBot. It can answer some questions, but it struggles at others. For the question, “How do I sign up for paperless statements?” we received a list of several answers, some of which weren’t very helpful.

More helpful is an internal messaging feature that can send and receive messages. It can be located under the Help link, which is in the upper-right corner of the site.

TD Ameritrade:

TD Ameritrade has call centers located in the United States. They are staffed around the clock for 24/7 service. During our testing of the company’s phone service, we have received decent service, although wait times can be long.

Like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade has an Artificial Intelligence on its website. For the same question we asked iBot, it delivered a much better answer, even loading the page where statement preferences can be edited. A human associate is always standing by (just type the word “human”), a great service that the Interactive Brokers site doesn’t have. The TDA site also has an internal messaging widget (look under the Client Services tab for Message Center).

One last feature that Ameritrade has that Interactive Brokers doesn’t: lots of physical locations. These are scattered throughout the United States and can provide most of the same services that online and phone agents can.

Winner: TD Ameritrade


Second Category: Investment Choices


Interactive Brokers:

Traders at Interactive Brokers get to invest in a very large assortment of assets. The company offers these instruments:

  • Warrants
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Stocks, including over-the-counter stocks
  • Fixed-income securities
  • Mutual funds
  • Closed-end and exchange-traded funds
  • Precious metals

On top of the American exchanges, Interactive Brokers offers access to many foreign exchanges. This of course increases the total number of assets available for trading.

Although Interactive Brokers does offer accounts for institutional traders, it does not offer any type of retail investment-advisory service at this time, either in robo or old-school format.

TD Ameritrade:

TD Ameritrade has shut down its investment-advisory service, so self-directed trading is now the only option. Available asset classes include everything on IB’s list except precious metals, cryptocurrencies, and warrants. TD also does not provide trading on foreign exchanges.


TD Ameritrade vs Interactive Brokers


Winner: Interactive Brokers


Third Category: Margin


Interactive Brokers:

Interactive Brokers provides margin details on specific securities on its mobile app and desktop platform Trader Workstation (discussed up ahead). To get this information on the desktop system, enter a ticker symbol in the trade ticket and click on the Advanced tab and then select Check Margin. On the mobile app, it appears on a security’s profile.

The firm’s margin rates vary by commission schedule, amount of loan, and currency. IBKR Lite customers with accounts denominated in U.S. dollars pay a flat 6.33% across all balance tiers. Pro clients pay anywhere from 5.33%.

TD Ameritrade:

Unlike its competitor here, TD Ameritrade does not provide margin details on specific assets. Its second disadvantage in this category is a very steep interest schedule. For balances below $10,000, the brokerage house charges 13.25%. The cheapest rate is 11.25% above $250,000.

Winner: Interactive Brokers


Fourth Category: Website Trading


Interactive Brokers:

The Interactive Brokers website has some really useful trading features. Charts are provided using TradingView’s software. Although right-click trading isn’t possible, color-coded buy and sell buttons are right next to the chart. A graph can be displayed in one of eleven plot styles. Examples include Kagi, Line Break, and Baseline. There are lots of technical studies, and our favorite feature is the ability to fill the entire monitor with a graph.


IBKR vs TD Ameritrade


The order ticket on the IB site delivers some really high-level features. These include integrated bracket orders that can be toggled on and off, an algo trade tool, and on-close orders.

TD Ameritrade:

SnapTicket is TD Ameritrade’s very nice trade bar. It sits at the bottom of the website and can be used not just to retrieve trade information, but to submit orders. There are two modes: regular and rapid. In the latter mode, just type a string of characters and hit enter. The order is off to the exchanges. For example, b700baba85.90 will send a buy order for 700 shares of Alibaba at a limit price of $85.90.


TD Ameritrade vs IBKR


But charts on TD Ameritrade’s website are on a lower level. A graph can be expanded nearly the width of the screen, but they don’t fill the entire screen vertically like they do at Interactive Brokers. There are also fewer graph styles and technical studies.

In terms of usability, we do like TD Ameritrade’s website quite a bit. During our research, we found it easier to use than Interactive Brokers’ site.

Winner: Pretty even overall


Fifth Category: Desktop Software


The trading battle continues with two very good desktop programs, both of which have demo modes and educational sections to help learn these very advanced trading platforms.

Interactive Brokers:

Trader Workstation has a lot of advanced features that even professional-level investors will be satisfied with. Highlights we found during our test drive of the software include:


Interactive Brokers vs TD Ameritrade


  • Full screen graphs with lots of tools and a right-click menu
  • Sophisticated trade ticket with several order types and many high-level features
  • iBot
  • Economic calendar
  • Bloomberg TV

Trader Workstation can be used to submit orders for forex, futures, and foreign assets.

TD Ameritrade:

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform can be used for futures and forex but not foreign assets, as these products are not available through the brokerage firm. thinkorswim has a lot of the same features that Trader Workstation has, although there are layout differences. thinkorswim uses CNBC and TD Ameritrade Network instead of Bloomberg. It also has more technical indicators than Trader Workstation.


ameritrade vs interactive brokers


Winner: This will be debatable, but we like thinkorswim better


Sixth Category: Mobile Apps


Interactive Brokers:

The most demanding of traders will find much to like about Interactive Brokers’ mobile app. It has very good charting with several tools, including a playback tool. A graph can be swiped over an order ticket, which is a really nice feature.


Interactive Brokers vs TD Ameritrade


Speaking of the order ticket, there are actually two of them. Both are quite advanced. One displays vertically, while the other is horizontal. Combined, they deliver several order types, including market if touched.

iBot, the company’s AI, makes an appearance on the app. But some widgets are missing on the app, including video news and mobile check deposit.

TD Ameritrade:

Streaming financial news and mobile check deposit are available on the TD Ameritrade app. In fact, there are two apps available, one of which is a thinkorswim app. It has the most powerful charting and order entry tools. There are hundreds of technical studies on the thinkorswim app, a number that far exceeds what the IB app has.


ibkr vs td ameritrade


Winner: TD Ameritrade


Seventh Category: Day Trading


TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers are good choices for day and swing trading.

Level 2 Quotes. Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade both offer Level 2 quotes. Only TD Ameritrade offers them for free.

Direct-access Routing. Orders can be routed to specific market centers with either brokerage firm. Interactive Brokers has a much longer list of market centers. Even some foreign exchanges have routing choices.

Shorting. It’s possible to take short positions at either broker in this contest. Interactive Brokers’ website shows how many shares of a particular stock are available for shorting. TD Ameritrade does not provide this information.

Routing Fees and Rebates. Interactive Brokers has maker-taker fees. TD Ameritrade does not.

Winner: Interactive Brokers


Last Category: Other Services


Periodic Mutual Fund Investing: Available only inside a TD Ameritrade account.

DRIP Service: TD Ameritrade provides auto dividend reinvesting for stocks and ETFs. At Interactive Brokers, the service is available only for stocks.

Fractional Share Trading: Only available at Interactive Brokers for stocks and ETFs.

Individual Retirement Accounts: TD Ameritrade has more IRA types, including the SIMPLE IRA, which Interactive Brokers doesn’t have.

Extended Hours: Pre-market and after-hours trading periods are available at both firms. IBKR Pro clients get a longer morning session. TD Ameritrade has overnight trading in a small group of funds.

Cash Management Features: Although Interactive Brokers does have a debit Mastercard, the policies just don’t measure up to TD Ameritrade’s service, which has ATM fee refunds and more.

Initial Public Offerings: Available to U.S.-based accounts only through TD Ameritrade.

Winner: TD Ameritrade


Promotions


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Interactive Brokers: Use this referral link to get up to $1,000 of IBKR stock for free!



Our Recommendations


Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: TD Ameritrade has much better resources for long-term investing and retirement saving.

ETF & Stock Trading: For its fractional-share service, we would go with Interactive Brokers.

Small Accounts: Either TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers on the IBKR Lite schedule.

Mutual Fund Trading: TD Ameritrade gets our seal of approval. It has better mutual fund resources, including a fund screener that is missing in action at Interactive Brokers.

Beginners: We endorse TD Ameritrade because Interactive Brokers is designed for professional-level traders.


IBKR vs TD Ameritrade Final Verdict


These two brokerage powerhouses are very close. Now that you know the details, you should be able to pick the right one for your trading needs.


Updated on 10/4/2022.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.