Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 different variables to find the best online broker
. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Firstrade vs Interactive Brokers.
To start this comparison, first, we will take a look at the online broker commission rates for placing regular stock and options trades. Firstrade, with its regular stock trades costing $4.95, is more expensive than Interactive Brokers's rate of $0 (the broker charges a per share rate instead) per trade. Looking at trading options, Interactive Brokers's base fee is $0 while Firstrade's is $4.95. Option contracts are pricier at Interactive Brokers, costing $0.70 versus $0.65 at Firstrade. It's important to note that not all brokers charge a flat fee per trade. Thus, it is important to read the full commission notes for each broker, which we include with each online broker review
Next to commission rates, being able to trade what you want is important. Interactive Brokers supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading while Firstrade supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade offers its clients access to 12191 different mutual funds while Interactive Brokers has 8026 available funds, a difference of 4,165. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with Interactive Brokers having the upper hand thanks to its 33 available commission free ETFs compared to Firstrade's offering of 12.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Interactive Brokers has virtual trading, Firstrade doesn't. Taking a look at mobile trading, Firstrade supports the iPhone App and Android App while Interactive Brokers supports the 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 and Debit Cards are offered by Firstrade while Interactive Brokers offers none of these. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Interactive Brokers was rated Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2017, while Firstrade was rated none of these.
Overall, Interactive Brokers boasts 4.00 stars versus Firstrade's 3.50 stars.