Ameritrade x Interactive Brokers

Read this Ameritrade x Interactive Brokers comparison and learn the main differences between these companies, and which one is the best for you.


A clash of giants with tons of resources and technology for short-term traders and long-term investors

Check out which company provides the best services. Source: The Post New.

Since the beginning of the online brokerage space in the 1990s, both Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade have been present. Let’s make an Ameritrade x Interactive Brokers comparison!

Both have gained wide recognition for their variety of tradable products, analytical tools, and technology.

This year, TD Ameritrade has ranked high as a platform for beginners, with the mobile application, investor educational resources, and excellent customer service. 

Interactive Brokers has also ranked at the top for advanced traders (whether day traders or options traders), offering some of the best charting for day trading, low margins, ETF research, fractional share trading, and more.

One of TD Ameritrade’s moves that have helped the company stay at the forefront was their acquisition of thinkorswim in 2009. Interactive Brokers, on the other hand, has developed its own technology.

Sophisticated traders know Interactive Brokers for its wide product selection, whereas TD Ameritrade is more recognized on the retail side of the business.

Both of these brokerages offer excellent advantages to investors and traders. So in this comparison we will see what makes them different, and help you decide which is best for you.

Ameritrade x Interactive Brokers

online broker
Find the best online broker to help you on this journey. Source: Adobe Stock.

In order to take a comprehensive look at both platforms, we will divide our analysis into a few subtopics.

They are costs, usability, educational resources, portfolio analysis, and customer service.

Comparing costs

Interactive Brokers has a complex commission structure for equities and ETFs because it has three options: Lite, Pro Fixed and Pro Tiered. 

Its Lite version does not charge commissions for stocks and ETFs. It charges for options though, and it is $0.65 per options contract.

The Pro Fixed version charges a minimum commission of $1 and a maximum of 1% of the trade, or $0.005 per share. The Pro Tiered version charges commissions based on monthly volume.

Pro Tiered charges a minimum of $0.35 and a maximum of 1% of the total trade value.

Tiered pricing is $0.001 per share for up to 100 million shares, $0.0015 for up to 20 million shares, $0.002 for up to 3 million shares, and $0.0035 for up to 300,000 shares.

Options pricing is also tiered in the Pro version based on monthly volume.

With no per-leg fee for trading options, it charges $0.65 per contract if you trade up to 10,000 contracts with a minimum commission of $1.

Until after 100,000 contracts in a month, these fees go down in tiers. Options commissions drop to $0.15 per contract. If you are a less frequent trader, you might choose the Lite version.

TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, has a much more simple commission structure.

It charges nothing for stock and ETF trades, and $5 plus $65 per options contract.

Although TD Ameritrade’s zero commission is quite competitive, Interactive Brokers’ pricing is better. 

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TD Ameritrade review: $0 minimum and free tools

With TD Ameritrade you get access to multiple investment vehicles, as well as some of the best tools and platforms available in the market.

Comparing usability

Both TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers offer access to streaming quotes, watchlists, news, research, technical charting, calendars, and more. Both also offer web, desktop and mobile versions.

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is a platform with sophisticated features and tools. It is comparable to Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation (TWS).

Interactive Brokers now offers the GLobalTrader app which supports cryptocurrency trading, and also facilitates finding opportunities in international markets.

The broker also offers Impact Mobile, a platform that helps investors focused on ESG.

Interactive Brokers also offers an online Client Portal, Interactive Brokers Mobile and Trader Workstation.

TD Ameritrade has a smoother account opening process, possibly stemming from the broker’s long retail experience.

Less experienced users may find Interactive Brokers’ process overwhelming.

Comparing educational resources

TD Ameritrade offers educational resources tailored to investors in all levels of experience. You will find segments about personal finance, trading, investing and retirement. 

Plus, TD Ameritrade’s educational resources cover technical analysis and product specific information, such as advanced options spread trading and options strategies.

Both TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers offer real-time paper trading for people to practice and test their skills.

Interactive Brokers offers short videos on how to use the TWS and client portals. They also have content in different languages for international users.

Their Traders Academy provides a rigorous curriculum aimed at gauging students’ progress against objectives.

Within the curriculum you will find information about markets, technical analysis, asset classes and much more. 

interactive brokers

Interactive Brokers review: a great paltform!

Interactive Brokers provides you with an incredible trading platform and access to a wide range of investment options.

Comparing customer service

customer service
Which online broker has the best customer service? Let’s find out! Source: Adobe Stock.

Both brokers provide a variety of customer service options. That includes email, phone support, live chat, broker-assisted trading (at a fee), and an FAQ section.

If you are a TD Ameritrade customer, you can even speak with a financial advisor. On the other hand, Interactive Brokers has been investing in better AI-powered customer service.

Interactive Brokers encourages customers to use the AI-powered customer service before talking to a real person, and they are also slower to answer the phone.

Comparing portfolio analysis

The full version of Interactive Brokers’ PortfolioAnalyst comes with advanced features and real-time updates. It tracks and analyses financial accounts, including checking, savings and debt.

This gives you a complete picture of your financial situation. Not to mention the ability to track net deposits, margin, realized gains and losses in real time.

In addition to that, Interactive Brokers offers a Tax Optimizer, and a Trader’s Journal. Everything a trader needs to make the best decisions.

TD Ameritrade als offers good tools for portfolio analysis. You can track, in real time, realized and unrealized gains and losses, net deposits, margin, withdrawals and buying power.

You also have access to capital gains reporting monthly on their website.

However, the broker, however, does not give you the ability to track the tax impact of future trades. 

The bottom line

Both TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers are excellent companies with a long history in the business. The main thing that makes one different from the other is the kind of user they cater to.

While TD Ameritrade caters to beginners, Interactive Brokers is better suited for more sophisticated and high volume traders. 

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About the author  /  Danilo Pereira

Danilo is a copywriter with a passion for learning. Deeply interested in philosophy, politics and arts.

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