Top Rated For:
- Best Online Broker for Advanced Traders
- Best Broker for Advanced Options Traders
- Best Online Broker for Advanced Day Traders
- Best Online Broker for Day Trading
- Best Charting Platform for Day Traders
- Best Broker for Low Margin Rates
- Best Broker for Fractional Shares
- Best ETF Research
- Best Online Broker for Non-U.S. Investors
- Best Broker for International Trading
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) leads the list of the most comprehensive investment platforms. Clients can trade stocks, options, futures, forex, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and funds in 150 markets from a single, integrated account. Sustainable investors will be happy with the Impact Dashboard and app, which helps you evaluate assets through a socially responsible investing (SRI) lens. The Trader Workstation (TWS) downloadable platform serves professional traders and sophisticated, active investors interested in complex technical and fundamental trading tools and deep research.
Interactive Brokers stands alone in its breadth of assets, research reports, global market access, tools, calculators, and educational materials, such as tutorials in a range of languages for international investors. This range of products and services is both a blessing and a curse. IBKR’s sheer wealth of information sometimes can be challenging to digest. That said, the free paper trading and three-month trial give users a path to try out this comprehensive investment broker.
Aside from this Interactive Brokers review, we've also reviewed the Interactive Advisors' robo-advisor service.
Founded in 1978 by current chairman Thomas Peterffy, Interactive Brokers has a streamlined approach to brokerage services that focuses on broad market access, low costs, and superior trade execution. Well-capitalized and publicly traded, IBKR has over 2.1 million client accounts and $1.99 million in daily trade values, as of February 2023. This discount broker offers a competitive and transparent fee schedule along with rock-bottom margin pricing. On the negative side, with the breadth of assets and complex tools, it takes time to wade through the pricing guide and navigate the platform.
Continuing its commitment to innovate, the company recently added cryptocurrency access and fractional shares trading for U.S. and European stocks. The Impact app is a big initiative to provide investors the opportunity to trade companies based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) leanings at a granular level.
Last but not least, the GlobalTrader app is a boon for international investors who are looking for mobile access to markets. New features and products are regularly added to the IBKR trading platforms, with additional funds regularly added to the massive number of U.S. and international mutual funds. IBKR is a superb platform for advanced and professional traders looking for a massive selection of order types to execute sophisticated trading strategies across assets and markets.
Intermediate investors will also appreciate the breadth of assets and the growing educational and research resources. Beginners may be best suited to a more streamlined investment broker, as IBKR can have too many products and services for the new investor.
Pros and Cons
Unparalleled range of available investment assets
Low commission and margin rates
Superior order execution
Vast array of technical and fundamental trading tools
Built to serve global traders and international investors
IBKR's SmartRouting not available to IBKR Lite clients
Can be intimidating to less experienced and less active investors
- The unparalleled range of investment assets: This includes stocks, ETFs, options, futures, spot currency pairs, cryptocurrencies, U.S. spot gold, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, robo-advisor, and managed portfolios.
- Low commission and margin rates: Margin rates are among the lowest available. They are up to 50% lower than the industry average and are best for larger traders as fees drop as order size increases.
- Superior order execution: IBKR’s SmartRouting allows for automatic routing of each leg of a trade to the lowest cost market maker.
- A vast array of technical and fundamental trading tools: TheTrader Workstation and Client Portal trading platforms provide interactive, customizable charts, single window access to live quotes, technical research, and analysis tools.
- Built to serve global traders and international investors: IBKR is built for global traders with access to 150 markets, 33 countries, and 24 currencies. Non-U.S. citizens from scores of countries can use IBKR as well.
- IBKR's SmartRouting not available to IBKR Lite clients: These clients might experience less optimal pricing on trades as this category of users’ trades might be paid for order flows to a specific broker.
- Can be intimidating to less experienced and less active investors: Organizing the vast array of products and services in an easy-to-access fashion is difficult. However, IBKR is making progress in improving the website’s user experience and navigation.
IBKR's onboarding process is easier than in the past. Users can open an account and try out the platform without immediate funding. Because the website is so feature-rich, new investors might find the user experience confusing. That said, the site updates help users navigate the Client Portal, Trader WorkStation (TWS), and mobile apps. The support options including FAQs, videos, phone customer service, and chat provide ready resources for assistance.
Interactive Brokers supports multiple trading platforms, including desktop, web, and several mobile versions, which are available for Android and iOS devices. The app has nearly the same functionality as the web platform, though neither is as robust as Trader Workstation (TWS), the company's flagship trading platform.
You can trade the same asset classes on any platform. Similarly, you have access to real-time streaming data, charting, drawing tools, research, and news on all the platforms. News is available from dozens of sources, including Benzinga, Dow Jones, Morningstar, Seeking Alpha, Thomson Reuters, Refinitiv, and in-house commentary. Premium news subscriptions are also accessible for a monthly fee.
IBKR offers an extensive menu of trading platforms. There are two computer-based platforms and three mobile apps:
- Client Portal
- Trader Workstation
- IBKR Mobile
- IBKR GlobalTrader Mobile
- Impact Mobile
Once on the Client Portal, users can monitor and manage all aspects of an IB account. IBKR is suitable for most intermediate through advanced investors to check on positions, get a real-time view of their accounts, and place basic trades. Viewing detailed quotes, advanced charting, news, accessing a trade ticket, and setting up trade defaults is easy. The new IBot gives you access to ready artificial intelligence (AI) chat.
TWS offers an abundance of functionality and features and is designed for active traders and investors who demand flexibility along with access to multiple products. The customizable TWS provides trading, order management, portfolio management tools, and both fundamental and technical charting.
Expert traders have access to more than 100 order types including algorithmic trading. You can define hotkeys to place orders quickly, and you have the option to stage orders for later execution—either one at a time or in a batch. You can set a date and time for an order to be transmitted or submit a conditional order that becomes active after specific conditions are met, such as when an existing order executes.
You can place, modify, and manage orders directly from the chart. You'll find streaming real-time quotes, charting, and news across platforms, even if you're using multiple devices simultaneously.
Mobile Trade Experience
The IBKR Mobile app is nearly identical to the computer-based trading platforms and includes the ability to trade all the same asset types and execute the same orders. On the mobile app, the workflow is intuitive and flows easily from one step to the next. The mobile platform offers the same research capabilities as the Client Portal, including screeners and options strategy tools.
This new international trading app allows you to deposit funds in your local currency and trade stocks from your phone or tablet. You can access 90+ global stock exchanges in North America, Europe, and Asia. This app is ideal for both U.S. and non-U.S. investors seeking worldwide market access.
Impact is Interactive Brokers’ mobile app created for investors interested in ESG investing. The Impact app lets you identify your values and contribute to the change you want in the world, like clean water, racial equality, or climate change. Users can screen for companies that meet your parameters. Your investing can even lead to rewards for the environment, you, and your friends. Even small traders can begin investing with fractional shares.
Range of Offerings
Interactive Brokers has the largest selection of asset classes in the brokerage industry. It regularly adds new products based on customer demand and links to new electronic exchanges as soon as practical. Customers can trade over 46,000 mutual funds, about 18,000 of which are no transaction fee funds, and all funds in its marketplace are no-load.
Here's a rundown of IBKR's offerings:
- Stocks long and short—over 17,500 U.S. available to borrow
- Over-the-counter bulletin board (OTCBB)—penny stocks
- Exchange-traded Funds (ETFs)—PRO users can access 150+ no transaction fee ETFs
- Mutual funds—one of the world's largest mutual fund marketplaces with over 46,000 funds and 18,000+ no transaction fee funds
- Bonds—corporate, municipal, treasury, CDs, international
- Options—available globally on 30+ market centers
- Futures and futures options
- Robo-advisory—Interactive Advisors, integrated into the website and IBKR Mobile
- International trading—150 exchanges in 33 countries where you can trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, funds, and contracts for differences (CFDs) from a single integrated account
- Forex currency pairs—24 currencies and 100+ trading pairs
- Fractional share trading on U.S. stocks listed on NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, ARCA, or BATS, as well as OTC Pink U.S. penny stocks with average daily volume above $10 million and market cap above $400 million. Eligible European stocks and ETFs are also available. (Note: TWS Build Version 979 or later is required to trade fractional shares.)
- IBKR offers cryptocurrency trading through Paxos Trust, but this is integrated into the IBKR platforms. IBKR offers access to eight coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.
IBKR supports a flexible array of order types on the Client Portal and mobile app, as well as over 100 order types and algorithms on Trader Workstation. One-triggers-other (OTO) orders are supported on TWS with attached orders and on the mobile app as part of bracket order functionality. With one-cancels-other (OCO) orders, you can choose from and combine logical conditions from price, time, and volume variables (using <, =, > operators), as well as margin cushion, daily P&L, percent change, number of shortable shares, and rebate rate. Options traders have access to single- and multi-leg options trades, up to eight legs.
Frequent Pro traders will like IBKR’s SmartRouting which automatically transmits the best available prices for stocks, options, and combinations across exchanges. SmartRouting isn’t a one-and-done process but considers each leg of a transaction, account transaction costs, fees, and rebates. There are additional opportunities for traders to select their trading routes. In 2023, Interactive Brokers launched IBUSOPT order destination to help large options traders get better execution. Similar to SmartRouting, this gives traders more control over the execution of their orders through TWS.
Other technological advances have been implemented to improve the trading experience. The accumulate/distribute algorithm helps large-volume traders receive the best pricing. Bracket orders curtail losses, with two opposite-side orders. Orders priced within the spread between the bid and ask price typically receive “split-the-spread” price improvement. IBKR doesn’t have a setup environment or tool to facilitate backtesting, so you will need a third-party application programming interface (API) to test customized strategies using historical data.
Interactive Brokers' pricing scheme is complicated, especially for PRO account holders. IBKR LITE clients receive fee-free stock and ETF commissions.
The PRO plan includes three types of commissions for U.S. equities:
- Fixed per-share pricing of $0.005 per share traded with a $1.00 minimum and a maximum of 1% of the trade value. This includes all exchange and most regulatory fees.
- Tiered per-share pricing is based on monthly order activity. This ranges from a high of $0.0035 per share for less than 300,000 shares per month to $0.0005 per share if you trade more than 100 million shares per month, with a minimum of $0.35 per trade and a maximum of 1% of the trade value. It does not include exchange and regulatory fees.
- The IBKR Lite program offers free trades for U.S.-listed equities and ETFs. Trades are routed to generate payment for order flow (PFOF).
Here's a closer look at IBKR commissions and fees, assuming you use the fixed rate per share system:
- Trading 1,000 shares costs $5 (free for IBKR Lite clients).
- The same fees are charged for OTCBB stocks, though you must meet specific requirements to trade this asset class.
- There is no per-leg fee for trading options. You'll pay $0.65 per contract for options trades with a minimum commission of $1. Low-value contract fees drop to $0.50 (premium $0.05–$0.10) or $0.25 (premium under $0.05).
- Trading a single contract is $1.00. Trading 50 contracts costs $32.50.
- Covered call trade of 500 shares plus five contracts costs $5.75.
- Mutual fund fees are the lesser of 3% of trade value or $14.95 for funds that aren't on the no-transaction fee list.
- Margin interest for Pro customers is 6.08% for balances up to $100,000 and 7.08% for Lite customers. These are the lowest interest rates among the brokers surveyed. Margin interest for Lite customers is 1% higher than the Pro rate.
- Futures trades are $0.85 per contract (plus exchange and regulatory fees). Volume is tiered between $0.25 and $0.85 per contract.
- Forex trades cost between 0.20 and 0.08 basis points, depending on volume.
- Cryptocurrencies are charged a fee based on trade value. The fee is 0.18% up to $100,000 in crypto, 0.15% for 100,000 to $1 million, and 0.12% for monthly trade values above that.
- 150 ETFs can be traded with no commission for clients on the fixed or tiered commission plans—otherwise, it's $0.005 per share with a minimum of $1 per order. (LITE clients pay no ETF trading commissions.)
- There are no fees to close or transfer an account.
- There are no inactivity fees on any accounts.
How This Broker Makes Money From You and for You
The fees and commissions listed above are visible to customers, but there are a few behind-the-scenes ways IBKR makes money from you and for you:
- Interest on cash: Like most brokers, IBKR generates interest income from the difference between what you are paid on your idle cash and what it can earn on customer cash balances. IBKR pays interest on idle cash balances at a blended rate with higher yields for larger balances. As interest rates have increased, the payout on long-settled cash balances has risen. IBKR provides a calculator to see the blended interest rate on account balances above the $10,000 threshold.
- Payment for order flow (PFOF): Many brokers generate income by accepting payment from market makers for directing orders to those trading venues. This is called payment for order flow (PFOF). IBKR-Pro clients can route their orders as they please and the default routing doesn't seek PFOF. IBKR-Lite clients get zero commission trading and fixed-rate U.S. equity options, but those orders are run to market makers who provide IBKR with PFOF.
- Stock loan programs: Stock loan programs generate revenue for brokers when stocks held in customer accounts are loaned to other traders or hedge funds, usually to sell that stock short. IBKR pays you 50% of the income it earns from lending the shares. The program is available to customers who have been approved for a margin account or have a cash account with at least $50,000.
- Price improvement: IBKR's smart order router seeks out price improvement and attains an average of $0.62 per 100 shares traded.
- Portfolio margining: Eligible IBKR clients can apply for portfolio margining, which can lower the margin you need based on the overall calculated risk. Typically, portfolio margining works best for customers who trade derivatives that offset the risk inherent in their equity positions.
Account and Research Amenities
True to form, IBKR has more research capabilities than most investors will need. The platform provides numerous screeners, tools, calculators, idea generators, and research to help you find your next trade. All research and screeners are available for clients and those just trying out the site. The research reports include dozens of free or freemium offers. In addition to the research and screeners, the PortfolioAnalyst is a professional-level investment analysis tool.
Stock and ETF Screener
The TWS Market Scanners let you scan global markets for the top instruments (including stocks, ETFs, options, futures, bonds, and indexes) based on the parameters and filtering criteria you define. You can use predefined scanners or create a custom one. It's possible to transmit orders directly from a scanner and save a scan as a template to use again. The Fundamentals Explorer (on both TWS and Client Portal) dives deep into hundreds of data points covering historical trends, industry comparisons, key ratios, forecasts, ratings, ownership, and more. There's a stock scanner on Client Portal, but it's not as powerful as the one on TWS. This is a professional-level tool that is completely customizable.
Mutual Fund Screener
The Mutual Fund Search Tool is a user-friendly screener for domestic and international mutual fund screening. The four broad screening categories include country/region, fund family, commission charged, and fund type. The categories within the fund type category span types of assets like bonds or equities as well as mixed, alternatives, commodities, and money markets.
IBKR offers several tools to help you find your next options trade. The customization abilities are suitable for the most advanced traders. The Probability Lab translates an equity's option price into the market's price forecast for that equity. Customers enter a price forecast, and the Lab provides strategies with the richest Sharpe ratio. The Option Strategy Lab generates option strategies based on price and volatility forecasts for a stock. The Option Strategy Activity Scanner scans most active multi-leg option strategies for a given ticker, or you can search by other options-related metrics such as volume and open interest.
We found this one of the best options platforms, but too complex for the average retail trader. That said, IBKR has upped its game with more education and assistance in navigating the platform.
Fixed Income Screener
The Bond Search Tool is another pro-level fixed-income screener that surpassed our expectations. The search categories began with global corporate, U.S. CDs and Treasuries, U.S. municipal, and non-U.S. sovereign. Next, the criteria become granular with choices from maturity date, yield to worst, coupon rate parameters, country, and currency. For fixed-income investors, this is one of the best fixed-income screeners we’ve encountered.
Tools and Calculators
Numerous calculators are available throughout the platforms, including options-related calculators, margin, order quantity, interest, and financing. The PortfolioAnalyst enables advanced investment analysis and planning.
The redesigned Fundamentals Explorer is available on all IBKR trading platforms. This tool lets you dive deep into hundreds of data points covering historical trends, industry comparisons, key ratios, forecasts, ratings, ownership, and more. You can see how a company compares to competitors and industry averages across various data points, as well as how the company has performed over time with historical trends.
Charting helps you process market data into something meaningful. IBKR's charts are fully customizable, and you can set chart parameters, modify them from within a chart using the Edit menu, and save a chart layout as a template. You can choose the time period, primary display, bar type (TWS native charting offers line, bar, candle, historical volatility, implied volatility, option open interest, option volume, heikin-ashi, and hollow candles), volume plot height, dividends, number of bars to display, and the vertical scale—plus dozens of additional chart parameters. Technical traders will enjoy more than 120 technical indicators and a suite of easy-to-use drawing tools.
Trading Idea Generators
All of the screeners also provide trading ideas. In addition to screeners, the news and educational resources can inspire traders with new ideas. As parameters are customized, clients will uncover trades, specific to their preferred asset classes. Additionally, IBKR customers can use Capitalise, IBKR Market Signals, Benzinga, and Refinitiv Significant Developments for idea generators. For more ideas, the “Top Lists,” accessible from the research portal, list the most popular assets in a range of geographic regions and asset classes.
Dozens of real-time news sources are available on all platforms. The list includes 24/7 Wall Street, AccessWire, Benzinga Pro News, Benzinga Crypto News, Briefing.com, China Perspective, China Investment Insight, Dow Jones North American Briefing, IBKR Market Signals, IBKR Quant Blog, IBKR Traders' Insight, Insider Insights, Market Realist, Morningstar Insider Trade Log, Seeking Alpha, StreetInsider.com Top News and Analyst Actions, TalkMarkets, The Motley Fool, Thomson Reuters Global Financial Market News, TipRanks Market News, Refinitiv Briefs, Refinitiv Transactions, and Zacks Investment Research Newswire. Premium news subscriptions are available for a monthly fee.
IBKR customers have access to dozens of free and premium market research and news providers, including AltaVista Research (ETF and mutual funds), Edison Investment Research, EventShares Research, ETF Guide, Morningstar Equity Ownership, Reuters Stockreports+, ValuEngine, and Zacks. In 2023, IBKR added Morningstar news and research directly into TWS, with a summary tile inside the Fundamentals Explorer. Users can screen and sort suitable research resources by categories like fundamental, technical, Macro, Quantitative, Ratings, and Media.
IBKR recently improved its cash management options. Unlike other platforms which require clients to open a separate cash management account, at IBKR the cash management features are integrated within a single account. You can transfer cash, borrow, pay bills, and deposit via a mobile device. Interest is paid on cash balances according to a formula, with higher interest paid on larger balances.
The Interactive Brokers Debit Mastercard is linked to your IBKR account and facilitates low-margin borrowing, for eligible users, and access to IBKR funds across the globe.
Fractional Dividend Reinvestment Plan
IBKR Clients can set an account-wide default for the reinvestment of dividends on qualifying stocks. By automatically reinvesting dividends, clients can make sure that their money remains invested in the markets, instead of sitting in cash, on the sidelines. However, if there is not enough cash to buy a share, fractional shares will not be purchased and the cash is instead credited to your account.
SRI/ESG Research Amenities
The Impact Dashboard—available on TWS, Client Portal, and the new mobile Impact app—helps you evaluate and invest in companies that align with your values. First, you create a personal impact lens. Next, select ESG investment criteria from 13 impact values and principles, including clean air, pure water, ocean life, consumer safety, ethical leadership, gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQ inclusion, company transparency, sustainable product lifecycle, mindful business models, fair labor, and thriving communities.
You can also exclude investments based on 10 categories: animal testing, business ethics controversies, corporate political spending and lobbying, energy-intensive, fossil fuels, greenhouse emissions, hazardous waste, high water usage, tobacco, alcohol and gambling, and weapons and gun manufacturers.
The PortfolioAnalyst is not your typical money management system. With an option for institutional and individual investors, this software consolidates, tracks, and analyzes all of your financial accounts. After linking checking, savings, debt, annuities, and more, you’ll get an in-depth analysis of your entire financial picture. The tool offers a portfolio checkup, including total returns, risk measures, and allocations by geography, asset class, and sector. Socially conscious investors can view their portfolio’s ESG ratings. The tool is free, even if you don’t have an IBKR account, but only customers can access advanced features and real-time updates.
IBKR's proprietary Tax Optimizer tool lets you set a default matching method, which you can override for specific symbols if desired. To help you maximize tax efficiency, the Tax Optimizer provides a "what-if" capability, which provides a preview of P&L for each of the matching methods.
IBKR's TWS offers the Trader's Journal, a note-taking feature that lets you record and save trading notes and ideas on any product. You can save screenshots as part of a note, attach notes to trades, and configure charts to display both orders and executed trades. This is one of the more comprehensive trading journals available from any brokerage.
IBKR provides a broad range of investor education programs for customers and the public. The short videos are ideal for bite-sized learning about TWS and the Client Portal. The multi-language tutorials aid international investors in learning to navigate the platform.
Traders Academy is an online, on-demand resource with a structured, rigorous curriculum intended for financial professionals, investors, educators, and students who want to learn about asset classes, markets, currencies, tools, and functionality available on IBKR's trading platforms. Quizzes and tests benchmark student progress against learning objectives. Course offerings include introductions to asset classes such as options, futures, forex, international trading, bonds, and how to use margin.
IBKR and industry experts offer daily webinars. These events cover various topics, including how-tos for platforms and tools, options education, trading international products, and more.
IBKR has long been considered short on customer service, but the company is improving its customer service access and response time. The AI-powered IBot answers questions asked in plain English. IBot is available throughout the website and trading platforms and can help customers find answers—without having to endure long wait times.
Customer service features include:
- Toll-free telephone support, which is available 24 hours a day, six days a week
- Callback service, which lets you request a call back if you need to hang up and don't want to lose your place in the line
- Online chat with a human agent, available from within the trading platform or website
- Secure message center, available from within the trading platform or website
- AI-powered IBot, which directs customers to online FAQs and resources
Security and Reliability
IBKR offers security protocols for your account, personal information, and data that surpass most industry standards. Client accounts at Interactive Brokers LLC are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for up to $500,000, with a cash sublimit of $250,000. Excess SIPC coverage provides up to an additional $30 million, with a cash sublimit of $900,000, subject to an aggregate limit of $150 million.
Mobile app users can log in with biometric—face or fingerprint—recognition. Users can request an additional layer of security through a device. For accounts in excess of $1 million, a digital security card is available as well.
The IBKR Securities Class Action Recovery service automatically detects if you are eligible to file a claim for securities purchased or sold through IBKR. This service will submit your claims automatically and assist you in recovering your eligible funds, minus a 20% contingency fee.
Although complex, the IBKR website is comprehensive and transparent. Commissions and fees are readily available as are statements of financial strength and liquidity. Commissions are broken down by plan and asset class: stocks, ETFs, and warrants; options, futures, and free-of-payment transfers (FOPs).
There have been no reported regulatory actions against IBKR since Aug. 10, 2020, when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC ) levied fines for failures in the firm’s anti-money laundering program.
Available Account Types
As you would expect with a platform designed for both professional and individual investors, IBKR offers a wide range of account types to fit the needs of its clients. International accounts are available to those living outside the U.S. The only account type lacking is the 529 college savings account.
Individual account types include:
- Individual and joint brokerage
- Retirement: traditional, Roth, rollover, and inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- Custodial: Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA)
Professional account types include:
- Family office
- Small business: corporation, partnership, LLC, and unincorporated legal structure
- Hedge and mutual fund
Sophisticated individual investors and professional investors will be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive platform. IBKR stands out with a massive array of tradable assets, several computer and mobile trading apps, low costs, efficient order routing, and a global marketplace. The online curriculum and daily webinars provide multiple options for the intermediate investor to continue learning. IBKR Lite is appropriate for average investors willing to forgo the SmartRouting trade routing order feature. IBKR Pro slashes prices for large orders and provides a commission structure that gets better with volume, enticing advanced, institutional, and professional traders.
Although IBKR continues to lead the way in fractional share trading with many European stocks and ETFs now offered, that is not enough for us to recommend the platform to newer investors. Beginning investors are still better suited to a simpler platform, but IBKR does make a powerful case to be the broker of choice for intermediate investors while continuing to own the field when it comes to serving the most advanced traders.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. This year, we revamped the review process by conducting an extensive survey of customers that are actively looking to start trading and investing with an online broker. We then combined this invaluable information with our subject matter expertise to develop the framework for a quantitative ratings model that is at the core of how we compiled our list of the best online broker and trading platform companies.
This model weighs key factors like trading technology, range of offerings, mobile app usability, research amenities, educational content, portfolio analysis features, customer support, costs, account amenities, and overall trading experience according to their importance. Our team of researchers gathered 2425 data points and weighted 66 criteria based on data collected during extensive research for each of the 25 companies we reviewed.
Many of the brokers we reviewed also gave us live demonstrations of their platforms and services, either at their New York City offices or via video conferencing methods. Live brokerage accounts were also obtained for most of the platforms we reviewed, which our team of expert writers and editors used to perform hands-on testing in order to lend their qualitative point of view.
Read our full Methodology for reviewing online brokers.