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Interactive Brokers vs TradeStation 2021

Is Interactive Brokers better than TradeStation? After testing 11 of the best online brokers over three months, Interactive Brokers (95.07%) is better than TradeStation (76.56%). Once again, in 2021, Interactive Brokers is our top pick for professionals because of its institutional-grade desktop trading platform and rock bottom margin rates. Professionals aside, Interactive Brokers also appeals to casual investors with $0 trades and its user-friendly web platform.


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Overall Rating

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Overall 5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 5 4.5
Platforms & Tools 4.5 5
Mobile Trading 4.5 4
Research 5 2
Education 4 3
Ease of Use 4 4.5
Interactive Brokers Review TradeStation Review
Winner check_circle

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $14.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.50
Futures (Per Contract) $0.85 $1.50
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $30.00 $50.00

Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Under $24,999.99 1.59% 9.50%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 1.59% 9.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 1.59% 8.75%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 1.29% 8.75%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 1.19% 8.75%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 1.14% 5.50%
Above $1,000,000.00 0.75% 5.50%

Account Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $35.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $50.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial)
$0.00 $125.00
Account Transfer Out (Full)
$0.00 $125.00

Investment Options

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
Fractional Shares
Yes No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
8 4
Futures Trading
Yes Yes
Forex Trading
No No
Crypto Trading
No Yes
Crypto Trading - Total Coins
0 5
Mutual Funds (No Load)
8734 887
Mutual Funds (Total)
11080 4357
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No No
International Trading
Yes No

Order Types

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - After Hours
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - OCO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTO
Yes Yes
Order Type - Broker Assisted
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes No
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
No No
Education (Bonds)
Yes No
Education (Retirement)
No No
Retirement Calculator
No No
Investor Dictionary
Yes No
Paper Trading
Yes Yes
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
20 10
Webinars (Archived)
Yes No
Progress Tracking
Yes No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No

Stock Trading Apps

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
Yes No
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes
Yes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes
Yes Yes

Stock App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Yes Yes
Stream Live TV
Yes No
Videos on Demand
Yes No
Stock Alerts
Yes Yes
Option Chains Viewable
Yes Yes
Watch List (Real-time)
Yes Yes
Watch List (Streaming)
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization
Yes Yes
Watch List - Column Filtering
Yes Yes

Stock App Charting

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Charting - After Hours
Yes Yes
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies
70 45
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Charting - Stock Comparisons
No No

Trading Platforms

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Desktop Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Web Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes Yes
Trade Journal
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
494 335

Stock Chart Features

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart
Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 290
Charting - Drawing Tools
9 23
Charting - Notes
Yes Yes
Charting - Index Overlays
Yes Yes
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes Yes
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes No
Charting - Custom Date Range
No Yes
Charting - Custom Time Bars
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
No No
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 12
Charting - Custom Studies
No Yes

Day Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Stock Alerts
Yes Yes
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes Yes
Streaming TV
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Yes Yes
Ladder Trading
Yes Yes
Trade Hot Keys
Yes Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv
Yes Yes
Short Locator
Yes Yes
Order Liquidity Rebates
Yes Yes

Research Overview

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Bonds
Yes No
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes No
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Screener - Options
Yes Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes No

Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Stock Research - PDF Reports
3 0
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes No
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes No
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes No
Stock Research - Social
Yes No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes No
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes No
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
Yes No

ETF Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes No
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date
Yes No
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio
Yes No
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets
Yes No
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings
Yes No
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes No
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes No
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes No
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes No
ETFs - Ratings
Yes No
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes No
ETFs - PDF Reports
Yes No

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart
No No
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes No
Mutual Funds - PDF Reports
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
Yes No
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
Yes No
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Yes No

Options Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Option Chains - Basic View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
37 32
Option Chains - Greeks
4 5
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes Yes

Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Bank (Member FDIC)
Yes No
Checking Accounts
Yes No
Savings Accounts
No No
Credit Cards
No No
Debit Cards
Yes No
Mortgage Loans
No No

Customer Service

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Phone Support (Prospect Customers)
Yes No
Phone Support (Current Customers)
Yes No
Email Support
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers)
No No
Live Chat (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
24/7 Support
No No

Overall

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Overall 5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 5 4.5
Platforms & Tools 4.5 5
Mobile Trading 4.5 4
Research 5 2
Education 4 3
Ease of Use 4 4.5
Interactive Brokers Review TradeStation Review
Winner check_circle

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2021 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 11 brokerages to find the best online broker. Let's compare Interactive Brokers vs TradeStation.

Is Interactive Brokers or TradeStation better for beginners?
Interactive Brokers is better for beginner investors than TradeStation. Interactive Brokers offers investors access to Paper Trading, Videos, Education (Stocks), Education (ETFs), Education (Options) and Education (Bonds).

What about Interactive Brokers vs TradeStation pricing?
Interactive Brokers and TradeStation both cost $0 per trade. For options trading, both Interactive Brokers and TradeStation charge the same base fee of $0. Option contracts are pricier at Interactive Brokers, costing $0.65 versus $0.50 at TradeStation. For a complete commissions summary, see our best discount brokers guide.

Does Interactive Brokers or TradeStation offer a wider range of investment options?
Interactive Brokers offers a more diverse selection of investment options than TradeStation. Interactive Brokers offers investors access to Stock Trading, Fractional Shares, OTCBB / Pink Sheets, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Futures Trading and International Trading. Looking at Mutual Funds, Interactive Brokers offers its clients access to 11080 different mutual funds while TradeStation has 4357 available funds, a difference of 6,723.

Which trading platform is better: Interactive Brokers or TradeStation?
To compare the trading platforms of both Interactive Brokers and TradeStation, we tested each broker's trading tools, research capabilities, and mobile apps. For trading tools, TradeStation offers a better experience. With research, Interactive Brokers offers superior market research. Finally, we found Interactive Brokers to provide better mobile trading apps.

Does either broker offer banking?
Online banking can be a benefit for investors, and some brokerages do provide banking services to customers. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of Interactive Brokers while TradeStation offers customers none of these.

Overall winner: Interactive Brokers

Read Next: Best Online Brokers 2021


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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/19/2021 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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