Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review
, we factored in 308 different variables to assess 16 different brokers. So when taking a look at Charles Schwab vs Interactive Brokers, there is a huge database of information available to us.
To start this comparison, first we will take a look at the broker commission rates for placing regular stock and options trades. Charles Schwab charges more than Interactive Brokers for placing regular stock trades ($4.95 and $0.00 (the broker charges a per share rate instead), respectively). For options trading, Charles Schwab has a base fee of $4.95, and Interactive Brokers a base fee of $0.00. Each contract then costs $0.70 at Interactive Brokers and $0.65 at Charles Schwab for a difference in price of $0.05 per contract. Not all brokers charge a flat rate fee per trade though, so it is important to read the full commission notes to know the complete breakdown (go to any online broker review
page, then scroll to the "Commissions Notes" section).
Next to commission rates, being able to trade the instrument you want is important. Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers provide clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Charles Schwab trails Interactive Brokers by 2,861.00 total funds, with Interactive Brokers offering 8026 and Charles Schwab offering 5165. Commission free ETFs also should not be forgotten, Charles Schwab offers 229 versus Interactive Brokers's total of 33.
Lastly, taking a look at popular features and functionality, we can go a bit deeper to really break down the difference of both brokers. Interactive Brokers has virtual trading, Charles Schwab doesn't. Taking a look at mobile trading, Both Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers offer clients access to an iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Not to be left out, online banking is also a nice benefit for many investors, and some brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are offered by Charles Schwab while Interactive Brokers offers none of these. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and trading on the go, Interactive Brokers posted awards for Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2014, while Charles Schwab found itself with Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research.
Overall, Charles Schwab boasts 4.50 stars versus Interactive Brokers's 4.00 stars.