ETRADE vs Interactive Brokers


2021 compare Interactive Brokers (IBKR) versus ETRADE: fees, online trading platforms, stock broker differences, and charting tools.



2021 Interactive Brokers vs. E*Trade Comparison


With zero commissions on equity trades and no account fees, E*Trade and Interactive Brokers still manage to provide very good software packages and plenty of tradable assets. So which broker should you choose? Read this first:


Services


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


Commissions and Fees


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
IB $0 $14.95 $0.70 per contract $0 $30


Promotions


E*Trade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.

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



First Category: Investment Vehicles


E*Trade offers trading in equities, options, futures, options on futures, bitcoin futures, fixed-income securities, funds (including closed-end, mutual, and exchange-traded), and IPO’s.

Interactive Brokers customers get all the same financial instruments E*Trade clients get plus warrants, contracts for difference, forex, structured products, cryptocurrencies, and precious metals.

The opening category goes to Interactive Brokers.


Second Category: Website Trading


E*Trade clients get to use a well-designed website. There is no trade bar, but the site’s order form has several helpful features, such as a calculator that displays a number of shares based on a dollar amount entered.


Etrade or Interactive Brokers


Website charting comes with some very good features, although we found better charting on the broker’s browser platform Power E*Trade. Launched from the website, the program offers a simulated trading mode, live streaming of Bloomberg video news, over 100 technical studies, and a very sophisticated order ticket.

Interactive Brokers does not offer any website trading capability. Its site is used mainly to advertise and explain its services and technology. And yes, it does offer a lot of great technology.


Interactive Brokers or eTRADE


A web portal can be used by both IBKR Lite (the closest equivalent to E*Trade’s current commission schedule) and IBKR Pro clients. It offers elementary charting, several watchlists, market data, and an order ticket.

WebTrader is a browser platform with a much more sophisticated order ticket than the web portal provides. Direct-access routing is integrated, and many investment vehicles can be traded on it. For example, currencies and bonds can be traded from it. The major downside of the platform is that only IBKR Pro customers can use it.

Power E*Trade is better than IBKR Lite; so this category is awarded to E*Trade.


Third Category: Mobile Apps


Interactive Brokers offers a mobile app that both Lite and Pro traders can use. A really nice feature on the platform is iBot, an AI that can answer some—but not all—questions. The software’s order ticket provides several trade types, such as market-on-close and stop limit. Duration choices include at-the-opening and GTC. An order wheel system is a more advanced ticket.


Interactive Brokers vs Etrade


E*Trade offers two apps. Combined, they offer mobile check deposit (absent on IB’s app), watchlists, alerts, options trading, mutual fund trading, and streaming video news (also absent on IB’s software). One of the trade tickets offers eight duration choices. Trade types include trailing stop limit and stop.


Etrade or IB


Pretty even here.


Fourth Category: Desktop Software


Both brokerage firms in this matchup have desktop platforms. However, at IB, only Pro clients can use the software, and this means stock and ETF commissions are charged. E*Trade requires a $1,000 account balance and a subscription to real-time data (free for non-professionals). E*Trade’s minimum seems more palatable.

E*Trade takes another victory.


Etrade vs Interactive Brokers


Fifth Category: Extended Hours


IB offers an early-morning session that begins at 7:00 am, EST (4:00 am for Pro customers). Its late-night period closes at 8:00 pm for both Lite and Pro traders.

E*Trade’s extended hours are the same as IBKR Lite hours.

The availability of longer hours gives IB the advantage here.


Sixth Category: Level II Quotes


Both brokers offer Level II data. Non-professional traders at E*Trade get them for free on the broker’s desktop platform. IB charges for the quotes.

E*Trade wins here.


Seventh Category: Margin


Both companies offer margin accounts. Both have 50% initial and 25% maintenance requirements for long stock positions. For short positions, E*Trade requires 50% for initial, while IB requires just 30%.

E*Trade charges 8.95% for debits below $10,000. IB customers pay 1.59% for the same loan.

IB easily wins this one.


Eighth Category: Options and Futures


Options, futures, and options on futures are available at both E*Trade and Interactive Brokers. Commissions for derivatives are generally lower at IB. But what about tools? IB’s desktop platform can scan for futures, including bitcoin futures. The software also has some very good option tools.

Over at E*Trade, both the desktop platform and the browser system can be used to find and analyze options and futures. Multi-leg option strategies are integrated. And the broker’s website has some very good futures information for beginners.

We’ll call it a draw here.


Ninth Category: Other Services


Dividend Reinvestment Program: At E*Trade, individual securities or an entire account can be registered for dividend reinvesting. At Interactive Brokers, DRIP service can only be specified for an entire account.

IRA’s: Both brokers offer Individual Retirement Accounts; although E*Trade offers more types.

Automatic mutual fund investing: E*Trade, but not Interactive Brokers, offers recurring deposits into mutual funds.

E*Trade wins the final category.


Recommendations


Mutual Fund Traders: We suggest E*Trade over IB. The former has much better fund resources, including a great screener. E*Trade also provides a free list of fund picks.

Beginners: Interactive Brokers is designed for advanced traders. Not surprisingly, Trader Workstation is harder to learn than E*Trade’s desktop system. E*Trade’s learning resources are geared towards novices. Beginners should definitely pick E*Trade.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Although E*Trade has some irritating $25 IRA fees, it does offer the Complete IRA, which is designed for retirees over the age of 59½. It also has a solo 401(k), financial planning services, and plenty of target-date mutual funds. Our pick is E*Trade again.

ETF and Stock Trading: We suggest E*Trade over Interactive Brokers. E*Trade’s software has lower requirement; plus, we like its stock and ETF tools better than IB’s. For instance, E*Trade offers free stock reports in pdf format, a great service that IB customers don’t get. Also, E*Trade’s ETF and stock screeners are easier to use than IB’s.


Promotion Links


E*Trade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.

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



Judgment


IB’s customer service tells us that the company may provide all of its software free of charge to IBKR Lite customers in the future. But as of now, that hasn’t happened. E*Trade has a slight edge over Interactive Brokers at this point. Value oriented investors should also take a look at the completely $0 commission broker, Webull.