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Interactive Brokers Account Opening

Sep 2019
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Interactive Brokers account opening

Interactive Brokers logo

The account opening at Interactive Brokers is fully online but not user friendly.

This means that you can go through the registration part of the account opening can be done on your desktop, however, it might be more time consuming due to unnecessary complications during the process.

Check out this comparison table to compare the rating and duration of Interactive Brokers's account opening process to its main competitors:

Interactive Brokers account opening vs. similar brokers
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank Degiro
Rating 3 stars 3 stars 5 stars
Account opening time 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

An account with an online broker is pretty much like a regular bank account and opening one is at least partly an online process. At some brokers it's as quick as opening a new Gmail account, at other brokers it takes a couple of days until they do some background check on you. Instead of storing only money on it you will store your financial assets, e.g. shares or forex positions. Opening an account is always free of charge. To learn more about trading accounts, read our article on the topic.

There are a couple of other factors to consider when you are about to open an account at Interactive Brokers. Here are the main pros and cons when it comes to registering at Interactive Brokers:

Pros
  • No minimum deposit
  • Number of base currencies
Cons
  • Not user-friendly

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Interactive Brokers account opening
Countries where Interactive Brokers accounts can be opened

Fortunately, almost anyone can open an account at Interactive Brokers. The few exceptions are residents of countries with unstable economic or political background.

Check out this table to see whether Interactive Brokers is available for the residents of the listed countries:

Availability of Interactive Brokers accounts in 15 countries
Country Availability
Australia Yes
Canada Yes
China Yes
Germany Yes
Hong Kong Yes
India Yes
Ireland Yes
Japan Yes
Malaysia Yes
Netherlands Yes
Singapore Yes
South Africa Yes
United Arab Emirates Yes
United Kingdom Yes
United States Yes

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Interactive Brokers account opening
Interactive Brokers account opening requirements

To be able to open an account with an online broker, you are generally required to provide proof of identity and proof of residence. Ideally, this process is completely digital. The difficulty is that some brokers eventually require physical copies of the documents.

Interactive Brokers accepts the following documents for identification purposes:

Proof of identity: national ID / passport / driver's license
Proof of residency: bank statement / utility bill / driver's license / credit card statement

Account opening at Interactive Brokers is fully digital, so you can go through the whole identification process on the company's web platform.

Once the registration and the account opening is done you will first need to transfer the minimum deposit to your brokerage account from your bank account to be able to start trading.

There is no minimum deposit required by Interactive Brokers.

As such, this is an ideal broker if you want to trade or invest with a smaller amount of money. It is a good broker to start your investment journey with, as you can add more funds to your account later as you get more experienced in managing your investments.

Interactive Brokers minimum deposit vs. similar brokers
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank Degiro
Minimum deposit $0 $725 $0

Besides the Interactive Brokers minimum deposit for standard accounts, there is a $2,000 minimum deposit for margin accounts. The margin account means that you trade with borrowed money, also known as leverage.

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Interactive Brokers account opening
Account types at Interactive Brokers

One of the important choices to make when you open a new account is the “type” of account to set up. Each of these has specific requirements and features. Most online brokers offer accounts varying based on your identity, the nature of the traded product, the available currencies, and the included features such as personal investment advice. Of course, each broker company will offer slightly different packages.

You can trade at Interactive Brokers in 21 base currencies. This is convenient because if your bank account's currency is the same as any of the base currencies, you won't have to pay the conversion fee.

But even if your account's currency is not offered by Interactive Brokers, to save on the conversion fees you can open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone. You can read more about brokerage fees in this article.

See the following table on how Interactive Brokers's base currency number compares to its main competitors

Interactive Brokers base currencies vs. similar brokers
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank Degiro
Base currencies 21 32 9

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Interactive Brokers account opening
The steps of account opening

The specific process of opening an account at Interactive Brokers might vary slightly from the one detailed here, but generally the process involves the following steps:

1. Choose your account

Before you would disclose any of your personal information, make sure that you have chosen the right type of brokerage account for you. Choose this one on the registration page and then proceed to the next step.

2. Add personal info

The next step is to go through the basic information questionnaire. You will have to provide your name, birth date, address, nationality, employment and other info like this. The complexity of this step depends on the broker you chose. You will also have to answer some security questions to make sure you are legally able to trade and some questions on your trading experience.

3. Identify yourself

In this part of the process, the broker website will ask you to scan and upload your proof of identity. This can be a passport, and ID card, bank statement. The requirements vary broker by broker. Some online brokers will ask you to mail them physical copies of your documents. This can elongate the account opening process a lot.

4. Seal the deal

Once you've progressed through the basic registration and identification, you will have to review the provided information and sign a virtual contract based on the terms and conditions of the broker you chose.

5. Fund your account

Once your account is confirmed and opened, you can start trading. Transfer the minimum deposit, or if there is none, any amount of money to your broker account and let's roll! Your are now an investor!

The steps of opening an account at an online broker

For the specific instructions on account opening with Interactive Brokers visit their website or see our own review:

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If you want to know more about the next steps, like investing and trading with different types of financial assets give a read to these articles:

AUTHOR

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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