Is Interactive Brokers free?

Interactive Brokers does charge a commission for real stock trading on US markets, so in this sense it is not a free-to-trade broker. However, it might still be a reasonable choice for some of you, as there are many other aspects other than commissions that are important when you choose a broker. If you wish to stick with Interactive Brokers though, then you will find the fees they charge below. Alternatively, you could check our article detailing the best zero commission brokers and how their apps scored in our test.

We should note that the payment-for-order-flow model, which is used by some zero-commission brokers to generate income (rather than relying on commissions), could potentially create a conflict of interest between you and your broker. This could result in trade execution (like routing your orders to specific market makers) that might be unfavorable for you under certain market conditions, especially when using market orders (as opposed to limit orders, which seem to be less affected).

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Interactive Brokers fees
Overview of Interactive Brokers fees and charges

It's safe to say that Interactive Brokers's fees are low in general. They either don't charge a brokerage fee for things that other brokers do, or they only charge a small amount.

Here's a high-level overview of Interactive Brokers's fees

Interactive Brokers Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Low $0.005 per share, min. $1, max. 1% of trade value. Free for US clients choosing IBKR Lite plan.
EURUSD fee Average Trade value less than $1 billion: 0.2 bps * trade value; min. $2
US mutual fund fees Average $14.95 per transaction or 3% of trade value, whichever is lower
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers fees explained

Online brokerages in general charge much lower brokerage fees than traditional brokerages do - this is largely because online brokerages' businesses can be much better scaled: from a purely technical standpoint, it doesn't make that much of a difference for them if they have 100 or 5,000 clients.

This is not to say, however, that they don't charge any fees at all. They make money by charging you various rates for various actions or events. Usually you need to keep an eye on the following three types of fees:

  • Trading fees - these are brokerage fees that you pay when you actually carry out a trade, like buying an Apple share or an ETF. What you pay is either a commission, a spread or a financing rate. Some brokers apply all of these.
    • A commission is either fixed or based on the traded volume.
    • A spread is the difference between the buy price and the sell price.
    • A financing rate or overnight rate is charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than one day.
  • Non-trading fees. These are usually related to some operations you carry out in your account, such as depositing money, withdrawing money, or not trading for an extended period.

We compare Interactive Brokers fees with its closest competitors, Saxo Bank and TradeStation Global.

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers trading fees

Interactive Brokers's trading fees are low, which makes it suitable for you even if you trade often (i.e. several times a week).

Let's break down trading fees according to the different asset classes available at Interactive Brokers.

Trading fees

Interactive Brokers's trading fees are low.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Interactive Brokers has low stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
US stock $1.0 $10.0 $1.5
UK stock $4.2 $11.2 $2.4
German stock $3.6 $12.0 $2.4

Forex fees

Interactive Brokers's forex fees are average.

Forex fees of a $20,000 30:1 position (open, 1-week-hold and close)
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
EURUSD benchmark fee $10.7 $7.8 $10.7
EURGBP benchmark fee $10.7 $8.9 $10.7

Fund fees

Interactive Brokers fund fees are average.

Fees of a $2,000 fund purchase
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
Mutual fund $15.0 $0.0 $25.0
EU mutual fund $4.4 - $2.4

Bond fees

Interactive Brokers has low bond fees.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
US Treasury bond $5.0 $96.0 $7.5
EU government bond $10.0 $96.0 $15.0

Options fees

Interactive Brokers's options fees are low.

Options fees for 10 contracts
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
US stock options $6.5 $30.0 $15.0
US stock index options $6.5 $30.0 $15.0
UK stock index options $23.8 $42.0 $21.0
German stock index options $13.2 $48.0 $18.0

Futures fees

Interactive Brokers's futures fees are low.

Stock index futures fees for 10 contracts
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $40.0 $5.0
UK stock index futures $23.8 $42.0 $13.3
German e-mini stock index futures $9.6 $48.0 $16.2

CFD fees

Interactive Brokers has average CFD trading fees.

CFD fees and commissions on a $2,000 trade
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
Apple CFD $1.2 $10.2 $1.7
Vodafone CFD $4.5 $11.5 $6.6
Germany $3.4 $11.4 $15.0

Margin rates

Interactive Brokers margin rates are low.

Interactive Brokers margin rates
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
USD margin rate 1.6% - 4.1%
EUR margin rate 1.5% - 2.5%

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, Interactive Brokers is a rather cheap broker.

Non-trading fees include various brokerage fees and charges at Interactive Brokers that are not related to buying or selling assets. This can be a withdrawal fee, deposit fee, inactivity fee or account fee.

A high-level overview of how Interactive Brokers stacks up in terms of non-trading fees
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Account fee No No No

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers deposit fee

Usually, brokers don't charge anything for deposits, and Interactive Brokers is no different.

Interactive Brokers deposit methods
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No Yes No
Electronic wallets No No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers withdrawal fee

Interactive Brokers generally doesn't charge a withdrawal fee.

Interactive Brokers withdrawal fees and options compared
Interactive Brokers Saxo Bank TradeStation Global
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No Yes No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee for bank transfer $0 $0 $0

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Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers inactivity fee

Interactive Brokers does not apply an inactivity fee, which is great because your account won't be charged even if you do not trade for an extended period (like several months or years).

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Author of this article

Gergely Korpos

Author of this article

Gergely is the co-founder and CPO of BrokerChooser. His aim is to make personal investing crystal clear for everybody. Gergely has 10 years of experience in the financial markets. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and equity portfolio manager.

Gergely Korpos

Co-founder, CPO

Gergely is the co-founder and CPO of BrokerChooser. His aim is to make personal investing crystal clear for everybody. Gergely has 10 years of experience in the financial markets. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and equity portfolio manager.

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

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