Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: 2022 Comparison

Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade are both good for advanced traders. Beginners may prefer TD Ameritrade, while investors interested in fractional shares or crypto may prefer Interactive Brokers.
Mar 11, 2022

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Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade are both solid choices for advanced traders. But below, we'll compare these two brokers head-to-head to help you decide which is best for you.

Both brokers have extensive investment selections and access to quality research and tools. Interactive Brokers stands out for offering fractional shares — which is not yet table stakes among brokers — and if you're interested in cryptocurrencies, Interactive Brokers offers access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Interactive Brokers traditionally has been geared toward a more active trader, not beginners, and the website is a bit harder to use than competitor sites.

TD Ameritrade doesn't offer fractional shares or direct access to crypto, but crypto-based products, such as Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, are available on the over-the-counter market. The broker is a good deal for beginner investors — it has more than 500 mutual funds on its platform with expense ratios of 0.50% or less and more than 1,000 with investment minimums of $100 or less. Read more details on both brokers and see which might better fit you.

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
NerdWallet rating 

on Interactive Brokers's website

Interactive Brokers is best for:

  • Casual and advanced traders.

  • Day traders.

  • Margin accounts.

  • Options trading.

  • Research and data.

  • International investors.

Interactive Brokers at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

• IBKR Lite: Unlimited free trades on U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs.

• IBKR Pro: $0.005 per share; minimum $1 and maximum 1% of trade value; volume discount available.

Options trades

IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro: No base commission; 65 cents per contract with $1 minimum. Volume discount available.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

None.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Over 17,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • Bonds. • Mutual funds. • ETFs. • Options. • Fractional shares. • Futures. • Forex. • Metals.

Crypto availability

Access to BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH.

Trading platform

IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro customers get access to Client Portal trading platform and powerful Trader Workstation platform at no charge.

Mobile app

Advanced features mimic the desktop app, but iOS and Android user ratings are average.

Research and data

Extensive research offerings, both free and subscription-based.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

24-hour phone, email and chat support, available six days a week.

TD Ameritrade
NerdWallet rating 

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade is best for:

  • Beginner investors.

  • Advanced traders.

  • Investor education/advice.

  • Fund investors.

TD Ameritrade at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

$0

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee. $75 full transfer; $0 partial transfer.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,700.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • Bonds. • Mutual funds. • ETFs. • Futures. • Forex. • Foreign ADRs. • IPOs for qualified accounts.

Crypto availability

No direct access to cryptocurrencies, but crypto coin trusts are available over-the-counter, and qualified clients can trade Bitcoin futures from CME.

Trading platform

Two platforms: TD Ameritrade web and thinkorswim (desktop).

Mobile app

TD Ameritrade mobile app, TDA thinkorswim app.

Research and data

Research, analysis, commentary and news available from 15 providers, including Argus, CFRA, Reuters, Vickers and Morningstar.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website).

Phone, email and live chat support 24/7; technical phone support Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern. In-person at 250+ local branches. Support also available via text, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message, Apple Business Chat and Amazon Alexa.

Want to compare more brokerages? Here's our full list of the best brokers for stock trading.

Methodology

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

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