TD Ameritrade 300

Differences Between IBKR Pro vs IBKR Lite in 2022

IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro: are they the same? Differences and relationship for online stock and options trading and investing.

IBKR Lite vs. IBKR Pro

If you have an Interactive Brokers account, you can choose either the IBKR Lite commission schedule or the IBKR Pro pricing plan. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right one for you really boils down to how you plan to trade. Here’s everything you need to know:

General Overview

The primary difference between the Lite and Pro plans is that Lite customers get commission-free trades on US-listed ETFs and stocks. Pro clients don’t.

In return, Pro customers get lower margin rates, some extra software tools, and an FDIC sweep program for uninvested cash. The Pro commission schedule also comes with a $10 monthly fee (that is reduced by total commissions paid during the month). The Lite plan has no monthly fee.

Similarities Between the Two Programs

Both Pro and Lite accounts have no minimum balance requirements. Pro and Lite customers get to use most of the same software. Both accounts can be used by retail investors, introducing brokers, and institutional accounts.

IBKR Lite Stocks Trading Review

Lite Customers Do Pay Commissions on Some Trades

The Lite plan does charge trading fees on several investment vehicles, including bonds, forex, futures, options, mutual funds, and foreign equities.

IBKR Pro Commissions

Traders who sign up for the Pro plan will have to pay trading fees on US-listed ETFs and equities. There are two pricing schedules available: fixed and tiered. The former charges half a penny per share, has a $1 minimum, and 1.0% of trade value maximum.

The latter has a minimum commission of 35¢ and a maximum of 1.0% of trade value. The exact commission varies according to the number of shares traded per month.

Interactive Brokers Alternatives

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Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
WeBull 3 FREE stocks valued $3-$3,000 give-away at Webull. $0 na $0 $0
Tastyworks $0 commissions on stocks/ETFs + $75 for each friend referred. $0 na $0 $0
Thinkorswim $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement. $0 $49.99 $0 $0

IBKR Pro vs IBKR Lite Differences

Interactive Brokers offers Pro customers an earlier pre-market trading session. They can start trading at 4:00 am, EST. Lite customers have to wait until 7:00 am.

Market data packages for US-listed equities vary between the two plans. The Lite commission schedule has a cheaper and simpler package.

The Lite plan is not available to institutional clients, but the Pro schedule is.

IBKR Lite clients cannot use APIs or Web Trader (a browser platform). Surprisingly, both clients can use Trader Workstation, the broker’s very advanced desktop software. Both subscription plans also come with all of the desktop program’s many widgets and tools, including free simulated trading on the platform.

IBKR Pro clients can choose between fixed and tiered pricing for options, futures, and mutual fund trades. Lite customers only get fixed pricing.

The IBKR Lite plan does not get all the desktop software features. It does not have basket trader, rebalancing, and portfolio builder.

In addition to getting better rates on margin loans, Pro clients also get higher interest rates on free cash balances. Right now, the difference is 1.0%.

Our Recommendations

If you want the simplest pricing schedule with free trades, definitely pick IBKR Lite. That’s what it’s designed to deliver. The Web Trader platform isn’t that good, anyway.

Despite Lite’s advantages, the Pro pricing schedule could actually be cheaper if you trade on margin a great deal with lots of shares. Despite Lite’s $0 commission policy, its extra 1.0% in margin could tip the balance in favor of the Pro option.

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