Using data from the StockBrokers.com 2017 Broker Review which tested 16 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. Charles Schwab's per contract rate of $0.65 is less than Interactive Brokers which charges $0.70. 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. Both Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers support Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, Charles Schwab trails Interactive Brokers by 2,861 total mutual funds, with Interactive Brokers offering 8026 and Charles Schwab offering 5165. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, with Interactive Brokers falling behind Charles Schwab, offering 33 commission free ETFs compared to Charles Schwab's 229.
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, Both Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers offer clients access to an iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Clients can have Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans at Charles Schwab while customers at Interactive Brokers can have none of these. All factors considered, when it comes to platform tools, research, and mobile trading, Interactive Brokers posted awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2017, while Charles Schwab found itself with Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research.
Overall, Charles Schwab takes the upper hand with 4.50 stars over Interactive Brokers's 4.00 stars.