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Interactive Brokers vs Firstrade 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

Is Interactive Brokers better than Firstrade? After scoring brokers in nine separate categories for our 2019 review, Interactive Brokers (80.99%) is better than Firstrade (67.1%). While Interactive Brokers is not suitable for casual investors, it leads the industry in international trading and low-cost commissions desired by professional traders.

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Overall Rating

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Overall 4 3.5
Interactive Brokers Review Firstrade Review

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) N/A $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.01 $0.00
Options Base Fee $0.00 $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.70 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $0.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $30.00 $19.95
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Under $24,999.99 3.68% 9.50%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 3.68% 9.00%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 3.68% 8.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 3.18% 8.00%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 3.18% 7.75%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 3.18% 6.00%
Above $1,000,000.00 2.68% 5.25%
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

Account Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
IRA Annual Fee 0 0
IRA Closure Fee 0 0
Returned ACH Fee N/A 50
Returned Wire Fee N/A 50
Stock Certificate Processing Fee N/A 300
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A 300
Paper Statement Fee N/A 5
Paper Confirmation Fee N/A 3
Domestic Wire Fee 10 30
International Wire Fee 10 50
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4

Investment Options

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
8 2
Futures Trading
Yes No
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs 48 all
Mutual Funds (No Load)
7558 5234
Mutual Funds (Total)
11000 12603
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No No
International Trading
Yes No
Offering of Investments 5 3.5
Winner check_circle

Order Types

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Contingent
Yes Yes
Order Type - MultiContingent
Yes Yes
Order Type - OCO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTOCO
Yes No
Offering of Investments 5 3.5
Winner check_circle

Trading Platforms

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Yes No
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Yes No
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Trade Journal
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
453 13
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Yes No
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 4.5 2
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Yes No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 58
Charting - Drawing Tools
9 5
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
No No
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes No
Charting - Study Customizations
6 6
Charting - Custom Studies
No No
Platforms & Tools 4.5 2
Winner check_circle

Day Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No No
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes No
Streaming TV
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Options
Yes No
Ladder Trading
Yes No
Trade Hot Keys
Yes No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes No
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes No
Short Locator
Yes No
Client Liquidity Rebates
Yes No
Winner check_circle

Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
Yes No
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Conditional Orders
Yes No
Trading - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes No
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes
Winner check_circle

Mobile App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes No
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No No
Charting - After Hours
Yes No
Charting - Drawing
No No
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Customizable Homescreen
No No
Heatmapping
No No
Stream Live TV
Yes No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 4.5 3.5
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
No Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
Yes Yes
Research - Futures
Yes No
Research - Forex
Yes No
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
No Yes
Screener - Options
Yes No
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes
Research 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Stock Research - Reports
1 1
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Metric Comp
Yes Yes
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Social
Yes No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
Yes No
Research 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

ETF Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
No Yes
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes
Research 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
No Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
No Yes
Research 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Options Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes No
Option Chains - Total Columns
37 8
Option Chains - Greeks
4 5
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes No
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis Adv
Yes No
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes No
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes No
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes No
Platforms & Tools 4.5 2
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Has Education - Stocks
Yes Yes
Has Education - ETFs
No No
Has Education - Options
Yes Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds
No No
Has Education - Fixed Income
No No
Has Education - Retirement
No Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
20 5
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Live Seminars
No No
Progress Tracking
Yes No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No
Investor Magazine
Yes No
Education 3 3
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Retail Locations
0 2
Member FDIC
No No
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
No No
Credit Cards
No No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
No No
No Fee Banking
No No
Banking 2 2
Winner check_circle

Overall

Feature Interactive Brokers Firstrade
Interactive Brokers Review Firstrade Review
Overall 4 3.5
Winner check_circle
Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers over six months, we can compare Firstrade 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. Firstrade and Interactive Brokers both cost $0 per trade. With options, the base fee is $0 for both Firstrade and Interactive Brokers. Firstrade's per contract rate of $0 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. Interactive Brokers supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading while Firstrade supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. As far as mutual funds go, Interactive Brokers trails Firstrade by 1,603 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Interactive Brokers offering 11000.

Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Interactive Brokers offers virtual trading while Firstrade does not. For mobile trading, Firstrade along with Interactive Brokers both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are found at Firstrade alongside Interactive Brokers.

Overall, between Firstrade and Interactive Brokers, Interactive Brokers is the winner.

Firstrade Review
Interactive Brokers Review


All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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