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Interactive Brokers vs TradeStation 2019

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 TradeStation better than Interactive Brokers? After scoring brokers in nine separate categories for our 2019 review, Interactive Brokers (80.99%) is better than TradeStation (71.75%). While Interactive Brokers is not suitable for casual investors, it leads the industry for low-cost trading for professionals. Through the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, Interactive Brokers offers excellent tools and an extensive selection of tradable securities.

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Overall Rating

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Overall 4 3.5
Interactive Brokers Review TradeStation Review

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $500.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) N/A $5.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.01 $5.00
Options Base Fee $0.00 $5.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.70 $0.50
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $14.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $30.00 $50.00
Commissions & Fees 4.5 3.5
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers
Open Account
TradeStation
Open Account
Under $24,999.99 3.68% 9.25%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 3.68% 9.25%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 3.68% 8.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 3.18% 8.50%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 3.18% 8.50%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 3.18% 5.25%
Above $1,000,000.00 2.68% 5.25%
Commissions & Fees 4.5 3.5
Winner check_circle

Account Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $35.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $50.00
Returned ACH Fee N/A $25.00
Returned Wire Fee N/A $25.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee N/A $150.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A $15.00
Paper Statement Fee N/A $1.00
Paper Confirmation Fee N/A $1.00
Domestic Wire Fee $10.00 $25.00
International Wire Fee $10.00 $35.00
Commissions & Fees 4.5 3.5

Investment Options

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
4 4
Futures Trading
Yes Yes
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs 48 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
7558 887
Mutual Funds (Total)
11000 4357
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 4
Winner check_circle

Order Types

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
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 Yes
Offering of Investments 5 4
Winner check_circle

Trading Platforms

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Yes Yes
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Yes No
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes Yes
Trade Journal
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
453 335
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Yes Yes
Heat Mapping
Yes No
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 282
Charting - Drawing Tools
9 23
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes Yes
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes No
Charting - Automated Analysis
No No
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 12
Charting - Custom Studies
No Yes
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Day Trading

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

Mobile 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 - Conditional Orders
Yes Yes
Trading - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes
Winner check_circle

Mobile App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Charting - After Hours
Yes Yes
Charting - Drawing
No Yes
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 4.5
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
No No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
Yes No
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes No
Screener - Mutual Funds
No No
Screener - Options
Yes Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes No
Research 3.5 1.5
Winner check_circle

Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Stock Research - Reports
1 0
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes No
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes No
Stock Research - Metric Comp
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
Research 3.5 1.5
Winner check_circle

ETF Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes No
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes No
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes No
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes No
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes No
ETFs - Ratings
Yes No
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
No No
ETFs - Reports
Yes No
Research 3.5 1.5
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
No No
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Reports
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
No No
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
No No
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
No No
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
No No
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
No No
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
No No
Research 3.5 1.5
Winner check_circle

Options Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
37 32
Option Chains - Greeks
4 5
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
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
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 No
Paper Trading
Yes Yes
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
20 30
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Live Seminars
No Yes
Progress Tracking
Yes No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No
Investor Magazine
Yes Yes
Education 3 3
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Retail Locations
0 0
Member FDIC
No No
Checking Accounts
Yes No
Savings Accounts
No No
Credit Cards
No No
Debit Cards
Yes No
Mortgage Loans
No No
No Fee Banking
No No
Banking 2 0.5
Winner check_circle

Overall

Feature Interactive Brokers TradeStation
Interactive Brokers Review TradeStation 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 Interactive Brokers vs TradeStation 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. TradeStation, with its regular stock trades costing $5, 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 TradeStation's is $5. Option contracts are pricier at Interactive Brokers, costing $0.70 versus $0.50 at TradeStation. 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 Interactive Brokers and TradeStation support Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, TradeStation trails Interactive Brokers by 6,643 total mutual funds, with Interactive Brokers offering 11000 and TradeStation offering 4357.

Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Interactive Brokers and TradeStation both offer virtual trading. For mobile trading, Both Interactive Brokers and TradeStation 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. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are offered by Interactive Brokers while TradeStation offers none of these.

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

Interactive Brokers Review
TradeStation 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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