Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers
over six months, we can compare Charles Schwab vs Interactive Brokers to determine which broker is best. Let's dive in.
First, we will break down the commission charges of both brokers for placing stock and options trades. Charles Schwab charges more than Interactive Brokers for placing regular stock trades ($4.95 and $0 (the broker charges a per share rate instead), respectively). Looking at trading options, Interactive Brokers's base fee is $0 while Charles Schwab's is $4.95. Each option contract then costs $0.70 at Interactive Brokers and $0.65 at Charles Schwab. Instead of flat rate fees, several brokers charge a per-share fee instead. For a complete review of trading charges, read our full online broker reviews
Next, investors want to make sure they can trade the investment vehicle they want. Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers provide clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, Charles Schwab trails Interactive Brokers by 4,542 total mutual funds, with Interactive Brokers offering 10051 and Charles Schwab offering 5509. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, with Charles Schwab having the upper hand thanks to its 244 available commission free ETFs compared to Interactive Brokers's offering of 45.
Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Interactive Brokers makes virtual trading available to clients, while Charles Schwab does not. For mobile trading, Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers both have a iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Debit Cards are offered by Interactive Brokers while Charles Schwab offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. All factors considered, when it comes to platform tools, research, and mobile trading, neither Charles Schwab nor Interactive Brokers were rated Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, both Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers are rated 4.50 stars.