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Trading stocks at Interactive Brokers: an expert guide and rating

Your expert
Adam N.
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Is Interactive Brokers a good broker for stocks?

Are you interested in stock investing? Thankfully, many of the world's leading online brokers offer stocks; but not all do, and trading conditions such as fees or stock selection can vary greatly.

You're looking in the right place, though, as Interactive Brokers is a great choice for stock trading in many respects. Click to open your Interactive Brokers account or read on for details and comparisons.

Interactive Brokers is ideal for stock trading
Adam
Adam Nasli
Trading • Safety • Market Analysis

I've tested dozens of stockbrokers over the years, using live accounts to have a closer look at fees, market access and platform usability. Interactive Brokers ticked all the right boxes:

  • You can trade stocks across 90 stock exchanges at Interactive Brokers.
  • Stock trading fees at Interactive Brokers are low.
  • Want to start small? You can trade fractional shares at Interactive Brokers.
  • Looking for even better options? See our list of the best stock brokers.

Before we begin, let's see 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

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BrokerChooser score
4.9 4.9 /5
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You can access 90 stock exchanges at Interactive Brokers

Diversify your portfolio! That's probably the first advice you'll get as a stock investor, and it's one you should definitely heed in order to minimize risk. You can diversify your stock investments in many ways; for example, by picking stocks across several sectors or from different countries. To be able to do that effectively, choose a broker that offers you access to as many stock markets as possible.

The world's biggest stock markets, such as the NYSE, the NASDAQ, or the exchanges of London, Tokyo or Hong Kong each have about 2,000-4,000 listed stocks. So having a broker with access to multiple exchanges can potentially let you choose from tens of thousands of stocks. Just be aware that some brokers that offer access to these exchanges may focus on the biggest names only and may not let you trade some smaller companies on a specific exchange.

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are also a great way to diversify your investments. In fact, they take some of the burden of diversification off your shoulders, as they already often include a diverse set of stocks. Brokers where you can trade stocks also invariably offer ETFs, and Interactive Brokers is no exception. If you find picking individual stocks too much trouble, click to learn more about ETFs, or head straight to our selection of the best ETF brokers.

In the table below, we give an estimate of the number of stocks and ETFs available at Interactive Brokers and its peers, where available.

Broker
Stock markets (#)
Interactive Brokers
90
Saxo
50
DEGIRO
29
Stock market availability at Interactive Brokers and selected competitors

How do I find the stock I need at Interactive Brokers?

Most online brokers, including Interactive Brokers, have an easy-to-use search function, where you can simply type in a stock's name or symbol. Some brokers also let you browse stocks and ETFs by categories - e.g. by sector or by geographic region.

Interactive Brokers - Web trading platform - Search

Stock CFDs at Interactive Brokers

In addition to real stocks, you can also trade stock CFDs at Interactive Brokers.

What are stock CFDs? CFDs (short for 'contract for difference') are derivative products. If you buy a stock CFD, you speculate on the price movement of a particular stock without actually owning it. CFD trading normally involves leverage, which makes it much riskier than real stock trading. Stay away from CFDs unless you're an experienced trader or can afford excessive risk; or at least educate yourself about the basics of CFD trading. Trading CFDs is banned in the US and restricted in many other countries.

Were you actually looking for stock CFDs? Then see our overview of trading conditions and fees for stock CFDs at Interactive Brokers.

Disclaimer: 60.0% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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Stock trading fees at Interactive Brokers are low

Stock trading involves various types of fees. The most important of these are commissions, charged after each trade either on a percentage basis or as a flat fee. Thankfully, an increasing number of brokers no longer charge a commission for stock and ETF trading.

Among less obvious trading fees, your broker may charge a conversion fee if you trade a stock quoted in a different currency than your brokerage account (e.g. if you have a euro account but buy a USD-priced stock). The spread - that tiny gap you see between the buy/sell quotes for a stock - is an indirect cost for you that goes toward the profits of the stock exchange and other intermediaries.

Most brokers apply the exact same pricing to stocks and ETFs.

For a more detailed overview of costs related to stock investing, check out our in-depth guide to brokerage fees.

Broker
US stock
Interactive Brokers
$1.0
Saxo
$1.6
DEGIRO
$2.2
Stock trading fees at Interactive Brokers and selected competitors

Other fees at Interactive Brokers

The costs of stock investing don't stop at trading fees, as there may be fees related to maintaining or funding your account. Most online brokers don't charge an account fee or a deposit fee, but inactivity fees (for not using your account for an extended period) and withdrawal fees are more common.

Broker
Inactivity fee
Interactive Brokers
Saxo
DEGIRO
Other fees at Interactive Brokers and selected competitors

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You can trade fractional shares at Interactive Brokers

OK, so you've decided to follow everyone's advice and diversify your stock investments. But there's a problem: many popular stocks cost $200-300 apiece or even more. Just how are you supposed to buy several (or even just one) of these stocks if you have only $100 to invest at a time?

Fractional shares are an increasingly popular solution to this problem. So how do fractional shares work? It means you can buy just a small fraction of an otherwise pricey stock - often as small as $1. In other words, your $100 can actually buy you dozens of shares. These behave just like the 'full' share, rising or falling by the same percentage. It works the same way when it comes to selling. You don't need to sell the exact same fraction you bought; you can sell any fraction you like.

You can trade fractional shares at Interactive Brokers, so it's a great choice if you want to start investing in stocks with smaller amounts only.

Broker
Fractional shares
Interactive Brokers
Saxo
DEGIRO
Fractional shares availability at Interactive Brokers and selected competitors

Minimum deposit at Interactive Brokers

If you are starting small, choose a broker that doesn't require a large initial deposit. Thankfully, many brokers no longer require a minimum deposit, or only a reasonably small one.

Broker
Minimum deposit
Interactive Brokers
$0
Saxo
$0
DEGIRO
$0
Minimum deposit at Interactive Brokers and selected competitors

Choose from the world's best stock brokers

Interactive Brokers may be good, but why not check out the best in class? To rank the world's best stock brokers, our expert team of analysts looked at hundreds of features and data points at 100+ online brokers to see which ones have:

  • the lowest stock trading fees,
  • the broadest stock selection, and
  • the best overall user experience when it comes to trading platform features, account opening and funding.

Go pick the one that best suits your needs!

Alternatively, read our full review of Interactive Brokers for 2024, including fees, deposit options, and platform features on desktop and mobile.

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Check out this short video for a behind-the-scenes peek into how our experts personally test and evaluate brokers.

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Further reading

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.

author image
Adam Nasli
Author of this article
I bring extensive financial expertise as one of BrokerChooser's earliest team members. Personally, I tested nearly all 100+ brokers on our site, opening real-money accounts, executing trades, assessing customer services, and providing firsthand assessment. My professional background includes roles in the banking sector and a degree from Central European University, where I teach finance. My passions lies in in-depth research of the financial industry, building trading algorithms, and managing long-term investments.
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