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INTERACTIVE BROKERS: WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT WORKS

In this review, we will explore Interactive Brokers, one of the largest and most recognised online brokers in the world. We will focus on the features, products and services available to the average investor using an individual account. Investing in stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and ETFs at minimal cost through a single integrated account is available, all while taking advantage of cutting-edge technology and trading tools to trade faster and more efficiently.

INTRODUCTION
Interactive Brokers (also known as “IBKR” or “IB”) is a financial services company that was incorporated as a US broker-dealer in 1993. The firm offers a streamlined approach to brokerage services that focuses on broad market access, low prices and execution of outstanding transactions. Clients in more than 200 countries and territories can invest in global foreign exchange markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Founded by Thomas Peterffy in 1977 when he purchased a seat on the American Stock Exchange as an independent market maker, it was not until many years later, in 1993, that the broker’s electronic network and trade execution services became available to clients.

Today it is one of the largest online brokers in the world, completing millions of trades every day with clients able to facilitate trades through the broker in stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds in 135 different markets from a single integrated account. Not to mention that residents and institutions in the US now have access to cryptocurrency trading through the broker.

The platform claims to “take your investment to the next level”, it does so by allowing customers around the world the opportunity to invest at the most competitive rates. In fact, clients from over 200 countries and territories use Interactive Brokers to invest internationally in numerous assets and commodities offered from a single integrated account.

Finally, the broker is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, and has offices in North America, Europe and Asia. In total, IBKR employs more than 2,100 people and is a publicly traded corporation listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker (NASDAQ: IBKR).

WHY INVESTORS CHOOSE INTERACTIVE BROKERS
In general, both investors and traders choose Interactive Brokers, as it provides various types of accounts to its clients, including individual, joint, retirement, trust, family and institutional. As mentioned above, we will mainly analyse the facilities, products and tools accessible to the common investor while using an individual account.

Interactive Brokers is often considered one of the best options available for professional investors, day traders and anyone serious about trading stocks. Not only because the IB Trader workstation is one of the most comprehensive systems available for researching, monitoring and making investments, but also for the following reasons:

The firm’s Impact Panel allows users to examine assets through the lens of socially responsible investing (SRI);
The commissions and fees charged by Interactive Brokers are competitive, and the company offers some of the lowest margin trading rates in the online broker industry;
Interactive Brokers is considered the professional’s gateway to global markets, providing access to 135 foreign markets in 33 countries;
Users can invest and trade with various options including virtually all major asset classes denominated in multiple currencies by funding their accounts in 23 different currencies, all with market data available 24 hours a day, six days a week;
A powerful trading platform to execute trades quickly and efficiently, commonly used by institutional investors and qualified traders;
The broker introduced additional products, services and educational material aimed at less active traders to extend its appeal.
INTERACTIVE BROKERS PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Interactive Brokers’ clients can make use of, as well as buy, sell or even hold, a range of various financial products and services, including the following investment offerings:

Stocks;
ETFs;
Mutual Funds;
Bonds;
Options;
Futures;
Forex;
International Markets;
Penny Stocks;
Cryptocurrency;
Fractional Shares;
Cash management services.
Below we will discuss the services implemented to take advantage of these offerings.

Investor Marketplace
Using IBKR’s investor marketplace, clients can locate a service provider or market their business to over 200 nations and territories, including categories such as:

Hedge Fund Marketplace: hedge funds that use IBKR as their prime broker can offer their funds to IBKR clients who are accredited investors or qualified buyers. In addition, IBKR clients may use the Marketplace to research or invest in Hedge Funds;
Advisors and Brokers Marketplace: IBKR clients may access their advisory, brokerage or wealth management services through the Marketplace. In addition, IBKR clients can research and locate these service providers and access hundreds of advisor portfolios, including Interactive Advisors’ Smart Beta portfolios, on the Marketplace;
Technology Marketplace: Find and engage third-party software developers and programming consultants to help you configure Trader Workstation (TWS) or leverage APIs to create custom trading applications. Third-party software vendors and programming experts can advertise to IBKR clients on the Enterprise Marketplace;
Research Marketplace: Find third-party institutional-quality research providers and use Trader Workstation to get the information. Subscribing to a news source or contacting an educational source can also help you better understand markets, assets and technology. You can promote your research to IBKR clients through the Marketplace;
Managers Marketplace: Accountants, auditors and compliance experts from more than 200 professional services firms can be found here.

ETFs without transaction fees
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as a rapidly expanding area of the financial products universe, are ideal for adopting a wide range of investment strategies for IBKR clients. They cover a variety of investment themes, including equities, fixed income and alternative investments.

Clients can create a core allocation using ETFs, diversify existing portfolios or implement new strategies by combining them. Similarly, the platform supports ETFs in the context of options trading and short selling.

Commission Redemption Programme
More than 150 ETFs are included in interactive Brokers’ “commission-free” programme, which reimburses IBKR Pro clients for fees paid on ETF shares held for at least 30 days, while IBKR Lite clients never pay any commission on ETFs.

Bond Market
The Bond Market offers a wide range of global fixed income securities.

IBKR does not charge any built-in spreads or mark-ups, and its bond commissions are minimal and transparent;
There are more than one million bonds in the global market, including a full universe of US government securities, including 25,674 corporate bonds, 1,034,521 municipal bonds, 19,170 certificates of deposit and non-US sovereign bonds, as well as fixed income futures and fixed income options;
Use the broker’s bond search tool to compare yields offered. You can check availability by maturity, yield and quality or compare prices with your broker. Enter a suitable maturity date range for corporate bonds and click [View results];
IBKR clients can trade directly with each other by submitting bids and offers and negotiating trades online. IBKR clients’ market data will include non-marketable limit orders that are equal to or greater than the current best quote in the market.
Mutual Fund Market
IBKR offers one of the largest mutual fund markets in the world, including funds from companies such as Allianz, American Funds, BlackRock, Fidelity, among many others. In addition, the marketplace does not provide proprietary funds; therefore, there is no conflict of interest.

Overall, there are more than 40,000 funds from 400 fund families accessible to residents worldwide, including more than 7,700 funds with no transaction fees. In addition, the broker provides the mutual fund inventory search tool, which allows clients to find funds by location, commission paid, fund type and fund family.

In general, mutual funds are offered without custody fees and with low and transparent commissions. Within the United States, the lesser of $14.95 or 3% of market value, while outside the United States, the lesser of €4.95 or comparable currency.

Availability of short securities
An automated, self-service tool, the Securities Loan Borrow (SLB) system allows clients to search for short securities from within IBKR’s Client Portal account management platform. Throughout the day, the system is updated so that the abbreviated search tool can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

View the amounts available, the number of lenders and the current indicative borrowing rate (the rate at which brokers in the Securities Lending / Borrowing Market are ready to trade today);
You can look at historical indicative borrowing rates;
Short securities can be found using the symbol and exchange as well as the ISIN or CUSIP number. In addition, you can search for short bonds based on their credit rating;
Upload a text file containing a bulk request to search for the availability of many short securities simultaneously;
Download short securities listings that have been produced and organised by nation.
Cash management
Unlike other brokers who have separate bank accounts from which you must move money back and forth, IBKR’s cash management is integrated into your brokerage account, saving you time and money. This means you can always borrow money at the lowest possible interest rate without having to worry about transferring money beforehand.

IBKR customers in the United States can quickly transfer money between their IBKR account and a bank account using automated Clearinghouse (ACH). In addition, customers can easily deposit funds by signing up for automatic payroll deposits or deposit checks using the mobile app.

The IBKR Mastercard Debit Card
With the addition of an IBKR Mastercard Debit Card, you can borrow against your broker account at competitive margin rates with no monthly minimums or late fees. Using the IBKR Mastercard debit card allows you to access the money in your account anywhere a Mastercard debit card is accepted.

Bill Pay
Use Bill Pay to effortlessly pay cash to vendors such as the IRS, mobile phone providers and cable companies. Any vendor, such as your dentist or doctor, can receive payments from us by check if your payee is not available electronically. If you do not have sufficient unused funds in your account, you can borrow at the lowest possible interest rates.

TRADING PLATFORMS
IBKR has built four different trading platforms:

Client Portal;
Trader workstation;
IBKR Mobile;
IBKR API.
Each of these platforms offers its own unique set of advantages to clients, which we will discuss in more depth below.

1. Client Portal
In addition to monitoring quotes and placing trades, the firm’s online client portal provides access to viewing account balances, profit and loss statements, key performance metrics, funding, reporting, among other functions.

2. Trader Workstation API (TWS)
Trader Workstation is a desktop platform created specifically for active traders and investors who trade numerous products and want a high level of functionality, speed and power.

Ib Trader Workstation, developed by market makers, allows traders, investors and institutions to conduct principal trades in over 135 markets worldwide in stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds, all through a single integrated account.

When it comes to automating your trading techniques, requesting market data and tracking your balance and portfolio in real-time, the TWS API provides a simple yet effective interface. Build your own trading application or integrate your existing application with TWS to utilise its sophisticated trading functions.

In one window, you will have immediate access to TWS trading and order management tools such as real-time quotes, technical research and analysis, increasing the speed and efficiency of your trading activities.

By using TWS, users can also take advantage of the following trading benefits:

Use interactive, customisable charts that support research and trend lines;
View real-time news for a specific topic;
Modify market scans with gradients, lines and bars to facilitate the identification of trends and patterns;
Create unique market scans by combining numerous watch lists to examine groups of instruments at the same time;
Attached orders, such as support, stop limit, profit taker, one cancels Other, beta, FX order and pair hedge orders, can be created directly from the Orders panel, saving you time and effort.

TWS Mosaic

Mosaic provides a unique and customisable workspace with quick access to trading, order management, charting, watch lists and portfolio management tools.

Classic TWS

Order entry of bid and ask prices is simple and fast with Classic TWS, which displays the order row just below the Market Data row. Traders who want more powerful tools and algorithms can rely on the Classic TWS platform.

3. IBRK Mobile
The IBKR mobile application has all the features you need, including trading tools you can carry in your pocket. This allows clients to complete complex order types to trade stocks, futures, options, futures options, forex and more from anywhere in the world at any time.

In addition, users can obtain quotes and research at a higher level, as IBKR Mobile provides the same market-moving information as the broker’s powerful desktop TWS trading platform, thanks to more than 50 columns of data and access to institutional-level research.

Using easy and creative trading tools, such as the options spread grid and order entry wheel, the broker redefines mobile trading and facilitates trading on the move.

In addition, IBKR Mobile allows you to securely pre-authorise significant transactions. Therefore, you can avoid fraudulent card activity by notifying the broker several minutes before making a transaction worth $1,000 or more with your Interactive Brokers Mastercard debit card. Pre-authorisation is simple and only takes a few seconds using the IBKR mobile app.

From your iOS or Android device, you can easily trade and manage your IBKR account while on the go (tablet or smartphone), and users can download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

4. IBKR API
The company offers different application programming interfaces (APIs), one of which is a straightforward Excel API and another which is a powerful industrial-grade FIX API, so there is something for customers of all levels of experience and competence. The broker’s TWS API is well supported, and there are several examples to help you get started.

To operate, monitor and manage your IBKR account, you can make use of the broker’s advanced REST API. The Customer Portal API facilitates direct integration and allows you to access account and sub-account data, as well as FYI messages and other information from the Customer Portal.

Broker trading APIs are used not only by individuals, but also:

Leading hedge funds;
Proprietary trading firms;
Introducing Brokers;
Investment Advisors;
Third party software developers;
In addition, Interactive Brokers’ trading API solutions allow clients to create customised trading applications and automate any step of the end-to-end trading process. Users can also incorporate trading into their existing applications and front-ends. In addition, there are several other advantages, such as:

Create trading software;
Get access to 135 different markets in 33 different countries to trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds;
Use IB SmartRoutingSM to get the best prices for stocks, options and combinations available at the time of your order.

Trading features

Among the other trading products and features available on IBKR’s trading platforms are tools such as OptionTrader and Probability Lab, which allow for simple single leg options trading and more complex multi-leg options trading.

In addition to financial tools, including FXTrader for forex trading, there is a mutual fund/ETF replicator to help you quickly locate lower-cost ETF alternatives to well-known mutual funds, not to mention fixed income screeners for corporate, municipal and agency bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs), plus other available features.

Crucially, the broker aims to provide its clients with additional services and products that will enhance their trading experience.

By way of illustration, clients who want a specifically tailored and customised investment strategy have access to more than 30 algorithms, including the broker’s Accumulation / Distribution Algorithm. In addition, the customisable logic helps you complete large volume orders while reacting to market circumstances according to your criteria.

Beyond that, the company’s “hypothetical portfolio scenarios” allow you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation before making a buy or sell. While the company’s professional-calibre IB Risk NavigatorSM identifies exposure across asset classes worldwide, allowing you to monitor and alter your holdings as necessary.

INTERACTIVE BROKERS RATES (IBKR LITE VS. IBKR PRO)
Interactive Brokers has established a reputation for offering low fees and commissions. They offer individual investors two different accounts depending on their goals and experience with investing in general, IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro.

The first, IBKR Lite, offers retail clients zero commissions on transactions in US-listed stocks and ETFs, with no account minimums and no inactivity fees. Investors who are just getting started with trading will find IBKR Lite a more user-friendly platform.

On the other hand, IBKR Pro is the IBKR Plan designed for qualified investors and busy traders. IBKR Pro clients have access to IB SmartRoutingSM technology, which provides a stock price improvement of $0.47 per 100 above the market average compared to the industry.

Because it caters more to professional and institutional investors, IBKR Pro charges commissions, with fixed and tiered pricing options available to clients.

For US-listed stocks, Interactive Brokers charges three different forms of commissions subject to a set pricing structure detailed below:

Tiers: The firm has a modest broker commission, which is reduced in proportion to volume, as well as exchange, regulatory and clearing costs. For less than 300,000 shares, there is an IB commission per share of $0.0035 for all US stocks, ETFs, ETPs and warrants, while there is a minimum per order of $0.35 and a maximum of 1.0% of the trade value.
Fixed: Share prices are set at $0.005 per share, and shares trade with a minimum of $1.00 and a maximum of 1% of the total transaction value; all exchange and regulatory fees are included in the price. Transaction costs for shares, ETFs and US warrants are passed through to the share purchaser on all sales.
Free: This means zero commission for trading U.S. stocks. Zero commission trading for U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs for U.S. citizens who have individual, joint, IRA or qualified trusts. In addition, there are no activity fees or account minimums. Fixed-rate pricing will apply to stocks and ETFs that are not publicly traded in the United States.

Volume per month Fee per share Minimum per order Maximum per order
≤ 300.000 shares.   US$ 0.0035    US$ 0.35               1,0% of market value

300,001 – 3,000,000 US$ 0.002 US$ 0.35 1,0% of market value

3,000,001 – 20,000,000 US$ 0.0015 US$ 0.35 1,0% of market value

20,000,001 – 100,000,000 US$ 0.001 US$ 0.35 1,0% of market value

> 100.000.000 shares US$ 0.0005 US$ 0.35 1,0% of market value

Trading on margin
To improve your purchasing power, you can use cash or assets in your account as leverage. Trading on margin with IBKR allows users to obtain the lowest interest rates on market margin loans available from any broker. At any time, you can borrow money against your margin account and repay the loan according to your own schedule.

Interest rates
Customers can earn interest at the current market rate on their unspent cash balances in their securities accounts, which accrue and are paid daily.

For example, customer accounts are entitled to earn credit interest on long-term cash balances that have been settled. Those accounts that have a Net Asset Value (NAV) of at least $100,000 (or equivalent) are entitled to receive interest at the full rate applicable to their situation. While accounts with a NAV of less than $100,000 earn interest at rates proportionate to the size of the account.

For example, an account with a NAV of $50,000 earns credit interest at a rate equal to half the rate given by IBKR to accounts with a NAV of $100,000 or more.

Cryptocurrency trading
Cryptocurrency futures are available on the same integrated platform that allows users to trade stocks, options, futures, spot currencies, bonds, funds, among others.

The commission is 0.12% to 0.18% using Paxos on the Interactive Brokers platform for trading cryptocurrencies. There is also a minimum of $1.75 per order (although the minimum is limited to 1% of the transaction value).

Using the above commission, if you buy $1,000 worth of cryptocurrency, the total cost will be 0.18%, with no spread or mark-up charge, and therefore the total cost of the trade will be $1.80.

In addition, when trading cryptos, customers have some benefits such as:

Low commissions: 0.12% to 0.18% of the transaction value;
No additional spreads, mark-ups or custody charges;
Access cryptomarkets with ease with IBKR’s professional-grade desktop software, as well as its innovative online and mobile platforms;
Execution and custody of cryptocurrency transactions are managed by the reputable Paxos Trust Company, which uses military-grade security to safeguard your crypto assets.
INTERACTIVE BROKERS DEPOSIT OPTIONS
When it comes to funding your account, Interactive Brokers offers a variety of options that are flexible and easy.

For clients wishing to deposit funds in the United States, there are a number of options available, including:

Direct ACH transfer from your bank: Set up a one-time connection with your bank or request that your employer deposit your paycheck into your IBKR account. After initial setup, operate within one business day or less. This is free, IBKR does not have a limit, but your bank may have one.
Connect your bank via ACH: This approach is completely free; however, it is restricted to a total of $100,000 each seven-day period. Initial deposits can be negotiated after four business days, while subsequent deposits can be accessed immediately after the first deposit (depending on tenure, deposit history and account balance). Otherwise, it will take four business days before trading.
Wire transfer: Trade in as little as one business day or less, depending on your bank. Fees are determined by your bank, although in general, fees are charged. There are two steps: the first involves notifying IBKR of each deposit in accordance with their procedures, while the second involves contacting your bank to arrange a wire transfer. There are no limits on the amount.
Online bill payment: You can start trading anywhere from one to six business days, depending on your bank. Fees are decided by your bank, but are generally free. Completed in two steps: first, notify IBKR of each deposit, then submit the deposit through your bank’s bill payment application. Limits will be determined by your bank.

Sending a cheque by mail: Sending a paper cheque is the slowest method of all financing options. However, customers can begin trading six days after the cheque arrives. Your bank does set fees; however, they are often non-existent. It is your responsibility to notify the broker of each deposit and then write a check to IBKR; your banking institution, not IBKR, sets the limits.

IBKR TRADERS’ ACADEMY
Overall, the broker has made an effort to broaden its appeal by releasing additional products, services and instructional material geared towards less active traders and investors.

In general, clients and the general public can benefit from IBKR’s wide selection of investor education programmes. For example, the broker offers a well-defined and comprehensive curriculum through the IBKR Trader Academy, which is accessible online and on demand.

For those working in the financial sector, as well as investors and students interested in learning more about IBKR’s trading platforms and its many asset classes, markets, currencies and features, the broker created the Trader Academy.

However, the company provides several instructional resources that consumers can employ to achieve their financial goals.

IBKR Campus: Learn everything you need to know about trading, financial markets and IBKR’s trading tools. Improve your understanding of the markets and keep abreast of current developments by following these lessons.
Trader information: The principles and skills of financial trading are covered in free online courses designed for active traders, investors, instructors and students. Lessons that make use of their award-winning trading tools, plus notes and quizzes provided, to help reinforce each lesson.
IBKR Quant Blog: The IBKR Quant Blog is aimed at quantitative professionals and covers a variety of programming languages in depth.
Webinars: Interactive Brokers offers FREE trading webinars that are presented by leading financial services organisations and research sources from around the world. Watch, listen and ask questions during live events on trading, international finance and current developments in the stock market are options for participants. In addition, you can select from a list of topics to view pre-recorded events.
Student Trading Lab: Teachers from around the world use the IBKR Student Trading Lab to enhance classroom learning. Students get a free paper trading account with all the trading tools of the IBKR Student Trading Lab. In addition to currency trading, students can also trade stocks, options, futures and bonds on the US stock market.
Short videos: As a new trader, you can quickly learn about Trader Workstation, TWS trading tools and account management functions through the broker’s short video tutorials.
Market News
Interactive Brokers clients have access to a wealth of free and paid market research and financial news sources available. Users with demo accounts can also use the research services, which are provided without the need for an account application to be authorised or funds to be allocated.

IBKR SECURITY
IBKR is a reliable service you can trust and rely on. The company’s strong capital position, conservative balance sheet and automatic risk controls are geared to safeguard IBKR and its clients from substantial trading losses.

In particular, IBKR is listed on Nasdaq, one of the world’s largest stock exchanges. In addition, the broker has more than $10 billion in equity capital with 76.5% private ownership. Not to mention that the firm has more than $6.2 billion in excess of regulatory requirements.

In terms of securing brokerage, there are firewalls, 128-bit encryption, two-factor authentication and mobile security measures at Interactive Brokers to protect your account.

It is also worth mentioning that 1.54 million clients have an account with Interactive Brokers, with a daily average of $2.26 million in trading revenue.

Finally, Interactive Brokers is also a member of NYSE – FINRA – SIPC and is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

HOW TO OPEN AN INTERACTIVE BROKERS ACCOUNT (STEP BY STEP)
Firstly, by seeking access to all of Interactive Brokers’ platforms, the opportunity to experiment with strategies, trades and order types and experience the benefits of having an IBKR account by gaining immediate access to all of their platforms and tools.

Clients can test the broker’s platforms risk-free and compare their low commissions, spreads and financing costs with those of their existing broker. To start your free trial, follow the steps below.

Step 1: To begin creating an account, go to Interactivebrokers.com and select Free Trial at the top of the screen.

Step 2: You will then be taken to a screen where you will enter your email address, username, password, country and then select [Create Account].

Step 3: Next, to test the Customer Portal panel, you can log in with your exact details. Alternatively, you can download Trader Workstation, which also offers a demo version to practice first.

Step 4: After logging into the customer portal, you will be taken to your account dashboard from here, you will be able to deposit, withdraw, trade as well as use many other functions.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Most customers or prospective customers seeking support can usually resolve their issue by browsing through the frequently asked questions to resolve the query; if the issue is not resolved using many of IBKR’s information resources, customers can use some of the methods listed below.

Phone
IBKR offers 24-hour customer support through regional customer service centres in the Americas, Europe and Asia. While an agent is always available to help, solutions can often be discovered faster and without a phone call through IBKR’s website and knowledge base.

IBot
In addition, the broker has an IBot service that uses artificial intelligence to answer queries in plain English. The IBot can help clients discover answers quickly and easily on the website and trading platforms, saving waiting times.

Chat
IBKR provides online chat for existing customers. If you are a current or newly authorised client, you can access the chat by clicking on the “Support” menu option in your Client Portal.

For more information about the platform, check out Interactive Broker’s social channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

IBKR PROS AND CONS
Pros
Available worldwide in 33 countries, 23 currencies and access to multiple asset classes in 135 markets;
Wide range of investment offerings, including stocks, cryptos, ETFs, options, futures, warrants, CFDs, bonds, commodities and forex.
Low fees and commissions;
A powerful platform that is packed with practical tools;
Trades are executed promptly;
Competitive margin rates;
A robust collection of educational and research resources
Cons
The amount of tools and services can be overwhelming for a novice investor simply looking to invest in a few blue-chip stocks;
Complex tiered pricing plans;
CONCLUSION
Overall, our verdict is that IBKR is a solid choice for professional traders and active, skilled traders who want to utilise a solid range of tools and worldwide access to a diverse selection of assets.

Considering the fact that you can trade multiple different assets from a single integrated account is something that many brokers do not offer. On top of that, Interactive Brokers’ services, tools and technology offered for investing and trading are extensive.

In addition, IBKR is working to make their technology more accessible to the general public, with their wealth of useful tools and educational information to try to reduce intimidation for many potential investors.

Even if its flagship IBKR Pro platform is a touch overwhelming for beginners, Interactive Brokers still offers comparatively simple and easy-to-use mobile and web-based alternatives.

Finally, for those investors who have outgrown the capabilities provided by their current broker or anticipate doing so in the near future, Interactive Brokers may be a sensible alternative to help you take your trading to the next level.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT INTERACTIVE BROKERS
Is margin available on IBKR Lite?
As with Pro accounts, Lite accounts have access to the same level of leverage and short stock capability as Pro accounts. A Lite account has only one distinction from a Pro account: the borrowing rate for margin loans is 1% higher with Lite accounts.

Is Interactive Brokers safe?
Yes, client securities accounts at Interactive Brokers are covered up to $500,000 by SIPC (with a cash sub-limit of $250,000). Lloyd’s of London also provides $30 million in investment asset coverage and $900,000 in cash coverage.

Is Interactive Brokers good for beginners?
Many beneficial features are available to traders through Interactive Brokers. A wide selection of stocks, mutual funds, bonds and other financial products are available for trading on the platform. IBKR Lite is aimed at novice and retail investors, while IBKR Pro is aimed at more sophisticated traders.

Can you trade cryptocurrencies with Interactive Brokers?
The IBKR Pro platform allows you to buy and sell a variety of cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Costs vary from 0.12% to 0.18% of trading volume, with the particular price determined by monthly volume, and there are no additional spreads, margins or custody fees.

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