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Interactive Brokers account opening

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Getting started with Interactive Brokers

Are you a new investor considering opening a brokerage account at Interactive Brokers but don't know how to do it? Are you wondering how long the process takes and how difficult it is?

Opening a brokerage account can seem daunting. Unfortunately, account opening is indeed not a great experience at Interactive Brokers, so if that keeps you from getting started, check some more user-friendly alternatives.

Opening an account at Interactive Brokers is not a rewarding experience
András Régely
Investments • Stock Market • Market Analysis

Together with my brokerage analyst colleagues, I have thoroughly tested the services of Interactive Brokers by opening a real-money account. Here’s what you need to know about account opening if you want to start investing with Interactive Brokers:

  • Account opening at Interactive Brokers is fully online and takes 1-3 days.

  • You will need to prove your identity and residency with documents.

  • Choose an account type that suits your needs.

  • You can choose from multiple base currencies.

  • The minimum deposit at Interactive Brokers is $0.

  • Browse the best brokers for beginners for some great alternatives.

Before we start, let's check if Interactive Brokers is available in your country:

Yes, you can open an account at Interactive Brokers if you live in the United States!
the United States
BrokerChooser score
4.9 4.9 /5
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Account opening at Interactive Brokers vs other competitors

Account opening at Interactive Brokers is fully online, meaning you can do it from the comfort of your chair. In fact, you don't even need a chair: you can simply do it on the go on your mobile phone.

See how we rated the account opening experience and how long it takes to get started at Interactive Brokers compared with its main competitors:

Interactive Brokers account opening vs similar brokers
Account opening score
3.1 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Account opening fully online
Yes Yes Yes
Time to open account
1-3 days 1 day 1 day

Opening an account is always free of charge, but the time it takes differs from broker to broker. At some brokers, it's as quick as signing up for a new Gmail account. At others, it might take a couple of days as they run a background check on your data. At Interactive Brokers, it usually takes 1-3 days to have your account up and running.

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Navigating the complexities of trading can be challenging. If you're a new investor, you'll need a broker with a user-friendly trading interface and robust educational materials. So where to find such brokers? Start with our toplist of brokers we rated as good for beginners.

How to get a verified trading account at Interactive Brokers?

First, you need to go to Interactive Brokers's website and fill a registration form to apply for an account. It takes the broker a bit of time to review and verify your application - usually 1-3 days - after which you can make your first deposit and start trading.

The journey at Interactive Brokers

Opening a brokerage account is not unlike opening a bank account. As you go through the steps, you’ll find that it is a simple and familiar process. Once your brokerage account is set up, you’ll find that the experience is similar to what you get with a bank account that you use for savings and transactions. See, it’s just another way of managing your money!

The sign-up procedure is usually self-evident; just follow the instructions carefully. Here's what awaits you at Interactive Brokers:

The account opening process is fully digital but a bit complicated. After the online registration, the account verification takes around 2 business days, which is a bit longer than the usual account verification time at most brokers.

During the account opening process, you have to provide some personal information and answer questions about your trading experience.

In the end, you have to verify your identity and residency by uploading the required documents:

  • Verification of identity: passport / national ID / driver's license
  • Verification of residency: bank statement / utility bill / driver's license / credit card statement / other document

This is a standard process, which in financial lingo is called a KYC (know-your-customer) process. This is required to make sure you are truly identifiable.

Account opening at Interactive Brokers

The following steps are typical toward the end of the application process or after verifying your identity:

  1. You'll have to fill out a trading experience survey. It might seem scary at first, but it is nothing to worry about. This is standard procedure, as brokers need to make sure that you have some basic financial knowledge and are aware of the risks of trading.

  2. Next, you'll have to choose an account type and a base currency.

  3. As a final step, you'll need to fund your account before you can start trading.

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Which Interactive Brokers account to choose?

Brokers usually provide multiple account types. When choosing an account, consider how experienced you are in trading, and pick an account that suits your needs. Some factors to take into account: your investment goals, risk tolerance, trading frequency, and any associated fees or account balance minimums.

At Interactive Brokers, we tested the two most popular account type setups:

  • If you are a beginner, go with the 'Individual IBKR PRO' account - Wide range of products, fixed or tiered pricing, SMART routing.
  • If you are more experienced, choose 'Individual IBKR LITE' account - Commission-free US stocks and ETFS for US residents only, SMART routing.

Find out more about Interactive Brokers's specific account types in our comprehensive Interactive Brokers review for 2024.

Which base currency should you choose?

At Interactive Brokers, you can choose from the following base currencies: AED, AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CNH, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HUF, IDR, ILS, JPY, MXN, MYR, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SAR, SEK, SGD, USD, TRY, ZAR. If possible, try to deposit money to your brokerage account in your account's base currency. Better yet, choose a base currency in the first place that you plan to most often use for depositing.

Why is all this important? If you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account, you won't have to pay a conversion fee. Conversion fees apply if:

  • You make a deposit in a different currency than the currency of your brokerage account.

  • You trade assets denominated in a different currency than your brokerage account's base currency.

A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank.

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BrokerChooser score
4.9 4.9 /5
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Fund your account and start trading at Interactive Brokers

Once you have filled out the registration form, uploaded your documents, finished the trading survey and selected your account type and base currency, Interactive Brokers will verify your account shortly. After successful verification, you need to fund your account to be able to begin trading.

This is where you are in the account opening process at Interactive Brokers
  • Choose your funding method.

  • Enter the amount to be deposited and other necessary details for the transaction.

  • Double-check if payment details are correct.

  • If all looks OK, click to submit your deposit request.

At Interactive Brokers, the minimum deposit is $0. This means that you can deposit as little money as you wish.

Brokers that don't require a minimum deposit do so to encourage people to try their services without requiring a large initial commitment. Many brokers no longer require a minimum deposit nowadays; so if you want to compare Interactive Brokers and its rivals along other criteria, you can do so using our broker comparison tool.

At Interactive Brokers, the only available option to deposit money to your account is via bank transfer.

Minimum deposit
Bank transfer
Interactive Brokers
Deposit requirement and funding methods

After successfully funding your account, you're all set to start trading.

To explore Interactive Brokers’s top competitors, head over to our top list of the best brokers for beginners, whose low fees and user-friendly features benefit new investors like you.

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How long does it take for IBKR to approve?

It usually takes about 2-3 working days for Interactive Brokers to approve your account once you have completed the online application form and submitted all the required documents.

Who can open an interactive broker account?

Interactive Brokers is present in almost all countries of the world, so unless you live in a politically or economically unstable or isolated country, such as North Korea or Syria, you will be able to open an account. In most countries, you need to be 18 or older to open a Cash account, and 21 or older to be able to trade on margin.

How do I know if my IBKR account is approved?

You will be notified by email once your IBKR account is approved. This usually happens about two working days after you have completed your application. You can also log in through the “Complete Application” link you received earlier to view your application status.

How much do I need to open an Interactive Brokers account?

To open an Interactive Brokers account, the required minimum deposit for a basic Cash account is $0, meaning there is no minimum deposit. To actually start trading, you need to deposit at least $100. If you want to trade on margin (ie. use leverage), you must deposit at least $2,000.

How long does it take to open an account at IBKR?

It usually takes about 2-3 working days to get a live IBKR account. Completing the application form takes about 30+ minutes.

How long does deposit take on IBKR?

It takes around 2-3 business days using bank transfer.

Can I use debit card with Interactive Brokers?

Deposit by debit cards is only available to US customers.

Can I use PayPal to fund Interactive Brokers?

No, you can't use PayPal to fund your Interactive Brokers account.

Can I transfer USD to IBKR?

Yes, you can transfer USD to your IBKR account.

Does Interactive Brokers have instant deposit?

No, Interactive Brokers does not have instant deposit.

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Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

András Régely
Author of this article
As a Broker Analyst at BrokerChooser, I'm dedicated to providing data-driven insights that simplify the world of investments. With a solid academic background, including an MSc in Accounting and Finance from LSE, I bring a deep understanding of financial markets to my role. My mission is to assist retail investors in finding the perfect broker fit by leveraging my trading experience and analytical skills. At BrokerChooser, I merge my passion for trading with a keen eye for market trends, helping clients navigate online brokers confidently and effectively.
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